Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Making Maps: So Much More Than Social Studies

For the past month, we have been working on mapping skills in class. The students have learned how to create and read a legend, as well as learned how to create and read a map. They now know the important information to include on a map, as well as information that does not need to be included on a map. They understand the importance of a scale, and they know why objects on a map are smaller than objects in real life.

Today my students worked in partners to create community maps. They needed to include at least five street names on their maps and use the items that we created in our group legend on their maps.

It was amazing watching the students work together on this activity. Every child was engaged, and every child was contributing to the final product. The incredible thing about this activity though was that it was about so much more than Social Studies. When students were asked to reflect on their maps, they all thought that they did a "great job," and when asked why, they commented on the fact that they helped each other well, they worked together to create one final piece, and they learned that it's okay to not always get your way. Who knew that a Social Studies activity could be as much about mapping as about character education?

I'm so proud of what my students did today, and here's a little slideshow that they made -- from uploading the photographs to choosing the music -- to showcase their amazing work. After watching this video, please leave a comment here with any feedback you have on this mapping activity as well as any mapping activity suggestions that you may have. I would love to hear what you have to say!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Next Day ...

As a follow-up to this activity, we did a more formalized self-assessment the next day at school. All of the students contributed their thoughts to a couple of Wordles: one where they looked at what they liked about their maps and one where they looked at what they would add to or change about their maps the next time. These Wordles will be up for display at Open House on Thursday, May 6th. I was so impressed with my students' reflections.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Marvelous Monsters -- Our Movie

For our Fridge List activity this week, the students are learning about adjectives. Here are some monsters that they made thanks to an idea from @rmcdonald17. Please have a look at this Monster Movie, and leave a comment here letting us know what adjectives you would use to describe these monsters.

We hope you like our movie!
Miss Dunsiger's Class

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Look At Our Week

Below is a slideshow capturing what we did in class last week. It was definitely a very busy, but very exciting, week! Please watch this slideshow with your children and talk about what they enjoyed doing most last week. Add a comment here to let me know. I would love to hear their thoughts!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Telling Time To The Hour And The Half-Hour

My students were so excited to use the Palm Treos when I introduced telling time to the hour, that I used them again when showing the students how to tell time to the half-hour. After reviewing this concept, the students had to take photographs of different times: some of which were to the hour and some of which were to the half-hour. Watch this slideshow with your child and discuss this activity. What did they think of it? What did they find more difficult: telling time to the hour or telling time to the half-hour? Why? Please post any comments here. I would love to read what you have to say.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fun And Learning All In One!

I have always believed that learning should be fun, and one thing that I love about using technology in the classroom, is that it helps make learning fun. Last week, my students used their Palm Treos in a new way: to take photographs to demonstrate their learning. In class, I am teaching the students how to tell time to the hour using an analog clock. I used Destination Math to introduce this concept, and then I gave each student his/her own analog clock, and we reviewed some of the different times together. Then the children had to cut out a sheet of various times (from 1:00-12:00), make that time on their individual analog clocks, and take a photograph of this time on their Palm Treos. As they were taking photographs of their clocks, I was taking photographs of their learning, as the slideshow below will demonstrate. It was incredible! Everybody was engaged, everybody was having fun, and everybody was learning!

The second part of this slideshow does not involve the use of technology at all, but instead, uses art to engage the children and have them develop their problem-solving skills as well as their artistic abilities. Students are creating their own plasticine pictures as part of an author study on Barbara Reid. They are learning how to mix colours and add texture to their art work. All of the Grade 1 students are excited to show off their completed plasticine pictures during Open House in May!

Please watch this slideshow with your children, and talk to them about these different activities. What did your children learn while engaging in these activities? What did they enjoy the most? Why? Please let your children add a comment here to share their thoughts.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

It really is about making it meaningful ...

Over the course of the year, my class has had the opportunity to connect with some amazing teachers and students from around the world. Whenever possible, I use all of these wonderful connections to help create meaningful reading and writing opportunities.

One of these connections is with @rmcdonald17's Grade 2 class. When my students first started their own blogs, Mr. McDonald's students commented on all of their blogs. These comments helped encourage my students to continue to write. I am now fortunate enough to be at the point that when my class is given the choice to either have 15 minutes of time to draw or write in their creativity books or 15 minutes to blog or comment on blog posts, all of them choose the latter. Wow!

Since my students are so excited about blogging, yesterday I signed out the laptop cart, and I had my students work in partners to comment on @rmcdonald17's student blogs. Each group of students was given one or two student names, and they read a variety of the posts, and chose which one they wanted to reply to. We wrote a sample reply together first, and we even included a question in it. When reading through the posted replies, I noticed that some of my students included questions too. Yeah!

The best part of this blogging activity though was that when it was time to stop responding and shut down the laptops for lunch, nobody wanted to tidy-up. The students were so engaged that they wanted to keep on reading and writing. Isn't this what learning should be all about?

Here's a short video of my students writing these replies to Mr. McDonald's students. Please talk to your children about the blogs that they read, and then let them leave a comment here to share their thoughts on this activity. I would love to hear their feedback!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Animoto Video Of Our Busy Week In Grade 1

Below is an Animoto video that highlights our busy week in Grade 1. Watch this video with your child and talk about some of the activities that they enjoyed the most this past week. Please comment here to share these favourite events. I would love to hear them!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Self Assessment Of Our Birthday Party Pictures

Self assessment is a really difficult skill to teach and to learn, as in order to self assess, people need to realize what they can do to make their work better. I always tell my students to "do their best work," so if this work is their best, then how can it be better?

We have been working for a while now on self assessment, and in follow-up to an art activity completed on Friday, I had my students reflect on their work. They were asked to answer these two questions:

1) What did they like about their picture?

2) What would they like to add or to change about their picture?

Here is the completed VoiceThread with their self assessments. I was really pleased that everybody thought of something that they could do to improve their work!

I'm sure that my students would love to hear some of your positive feedback too, both on their assessments and on their work. Please feel free to leave a comment here with your thoughts or add one to the VoiceThread. Thank you for encouraging my class to learn and to want to learn too!


Friday, April 2, 2010

VoiceThread For Our TLCP: Inferring Activity

The Grade 1's decided that for this TLCP Goal (Teaching Learning Critical Pathways Goal) we were going to use technology as part of our final task and find a way to share our work with a larger audience. This would help make this inferring activity more meaningful, providing an opportunity for others to comment on the work and hopefully help our students reflect on their thinking too.

Some students feel more comfortable than others in sharing their thinking orally, but as you can hopefully tell from the slides, all students got to use pictures and words to brainstorm their ideas first. The assessment of this activity is based on both what the students share orally and share in their graphic organizer too.

We hope that you enjoy our first attempt at getting all of our Grade 1 students to record their ideas in a VoiceThread, and talk without the use of a script but just with some ideas brainstormed first.

If you have read The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist, please comment here and let us know what you think Sister Bear is thinking now (being the end of the story) and how you know this. We would love to hear your ideas too!