Friday, February 25, 2011

And This Is What It's All About ...

I was having a look at some of my student glogs tonight, and I came across this one that one of my students made. I just had to share it here (right click to see the full screen glog):

This is really what teaching's all about. Hearing that a student loves school and is excited to learn is so important. A special thank you to this student, and all of my students, for reminding me daily why I love what I do!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sharing Our Learning And Trying Something New

Today, my class had the amazing opportunity to learn about Mardis Gras from @plnaugle and her Grade 4 students in New Orleans. Paula's class Skyped with ours, and using a combination of words and visuals, they taught us all about this special celebration.

My students decided to share what they learned by working alone or in partners to create a Common Craft video. Here are various examples of these videos:

Students were excited to try this out, as for the next couple of weeks, they're going to need to make Common Craft videos for Show and Tell.

For a first attempt, I was amazed by what they did: the students were creating, applying, and connecting, and having fun too! Watching what my students did today makes me wonder in what other ways the class can create Common Craft videos to share their learning with others. Have your students created Common Craft videos before? On what topics did they do so?

A special thank you to @plnaugle for inspiring today's activity, and @kathycassidy and @mariak for sharing their students' Common Craft videos (see here and here)! I love learning from all of you!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When Technology Doesn't Work

When I got to school this morning, the wireless network was down. Oh no! It's Tuesday, and my students always do a blog post for our Word Wall and Word Family activity. I knew that they would be disappointed.

Sometimes technology doesn't cooperate though. We all needed to be flexible. Instead of doing a blog post, students got to work on their own or with a partner to write a number story. The Grade 1's needed to use a selection of numbers from one to ten, and the Grade 2's needed to use a selection of numbers from one to twenty. We read a bunch of number stories together as a class, and we even wrote one together too. The students could be as creative as they wanted to be though!

They really wanted to still share their work with an audience, so I decided to take photographs of their stories and share them here in a Slideshare Presentation. I will never win any photography awards,:) but hopefully you can still read their work, and enjoy their number stories too!

My class would love to hear some of your number stories and number sentences as well. Please feel free to add a comment with your own. Thanks for your help with this special activity!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Talking About Math

I love to get video footage during classroom activities. It's great to hear what students have to say, and I really enjoy listening to them explaining their learning. During math centres today, I took short video clips of three students explaining "symmetry."

How would your child define symmetry? What objects can you think of that are symmetrical? Please help us learn together!

Miss Dunsiger and Her Grade 1/2 Class

Blogging: A Student Voice

Tonight I uploaded a video that I took of a Grade 2 student explaining blogging. He was completing a blog post during math centres today, and when I asked him what he was doing, he shared his blog post with me, and also explained what he was going to continue to write about.

After uploading the video, I tweeted out the link, and within minutes, I received mentions from @langwitches and @_zebrastripes:

I love what they had to say here. We really do need to hear from more students about their definition of blogging. This student does make blogging sound so easy, as blogging is a regular part of his classroom routine. He's excited to blog, and he sees the power of sharing his thoughts online.

Let's see if we can get some more students sharing their thoughts on blogging. What would your child say about blogging? I can't wait to hear!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Explaining Symmetry

During math centres today, I went around and talked to the students about what they were doing and what they learned. Below is a video clip of a child explaining her symmetrical picture. I like hearing her explanation of symmetry.

What do you know that is symmetrical? What does it mean for an object to be symmetrical? My class would love to hear your thoughts!


Monday, February 14, 2011

100th Day Lino It Wall: 100 Things We Know

We didn't quite make it to 100 posts on this wall, but with your help, we might. Please feel free to add a sticky note of "something you know."

Let's see just how many different things we know!

100th Day & Valentine's Day: Learning Should Be Fun!

Today was both the 100th Day of School and Valentine's Day. It was definitely cause for a big celebration ... but why can't we have both learning and fun together? This was certainly my theme for today, and as I said goodbye to my students and they said to me, "This was the best day EVER," I know that I succeeded.

A special "thank you" to my amazing Twitter PLN that encouraged my students all day today by replying to their numerous tweets. We didn't quite make 100 tweets today, but with the last few that students sent on their way out the door today, we got to 88, and hopefully we can do those final 12 tomorrow. Without all of you, I know that we wouldn't have gotten half as far. You were our cheering section today, and so a special cheer for you: "Give me a T. Give me an H. Give me an A. Give me an N. Give me a K. Give me an S. What does that spell? Thanks, thanks, and more thanks. You're awesome!"

Below is an Animoto Slideshow of our very exciting day:

I'd love to hear from the students here:

What activity did you enjoy the most? Why did you like it?

Please feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts. A very special happy 100th Day and happy Valentine's Day to all of you!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Readers' Theatre Presentation Of The Three Little Pigs

This week, my students have been working on rehearsing a Readers' Theatre presentation of The Three Little Pigs. We have read the script together as a class, and the children have read it in small groups. They practiced the actions in small groups too. They even rehearsed the script with a global audience by presenting it to @mrmacnology's class yesterday via Skype.

Today, the class read the script together, and we recorded the first reading using the Livescribe Pen. The children listened to this reading, and reflected on how they did. Students noted that they were not loud enough and did not always remember when to speak and when to listen. They also noted that they did not always speak in time with the other people in their group. We used the reflections from this initial recording to make our second recording even better. Students still noted when they forgot to speak or when they were not in time with their other group members, but they all agreed that they did a better job the second time around.
Students then got in groups and rehearsed their lines with the other group members. They added in some actions too. Eventually it was time to record the plays. All four groups took turns presenting, and in between the presentations, students offered positive feedback to their peers and some suggestions too. The class agreed that it was great that all students participated and tried to project their voices so that they could be heard too. They liked how students helped each other track the lines. They also enjoyed the voices that the students gave to the different characters. For the first two presentations, their peers suggested that students remember to "act" their role as well as "speak" it. Students thought that the third group did better than this, but that some classmates interrupted the presentations by walking in front of the filming. All of the students agreed that the last group used the feedback well from the other three groups, and remembered to "speak" and "act."

I hope that you enjoy these presentations. I was proud of all of the students for participating so eagerly in this Readers' Theatre activity and really trying to take on the different character roles. What Readers' Theatre activities have you tried with your class? I would love to hear some suggestions to try out with my students too!


Reflecting On The Great Fish Problem: Day Three of the Three Part Lesson

Today was our final day of the three part lesson. Yesterday, the students worked in partners to complete The Great Fish Problem, and today they reflected on their work. We decided to use the Livescribe Pen to record our reflections. I picked a couple of the sample questions provided by our math facilitator, and as a class, children shared their thoughts. Here is what they had to say:

Based on their discussion, I had some more reflections as well:

1) Students can explain the process of what they did, but they need to continue to make reference to the tools and the strategies that they used when completing various math problems. Continue to model this during full class activities, and give students lots of opportunities to discuss tools and strategies in small groups and with the class.

2) Students can make connections between various math problems, but many of their connections are general ones based largely on involvement in other problem-solving activities, and not specific ones related to the type of question asked. Give lots of opportunities for students to discuss connections between different math problems completed in class, and encourage students to make reference to specific skills addressed in both problems.

3) Students know what they learned from this experience, but they need to continue to use the appropriate vocabulary to describe their learning too. Model this vocabulary in class during math problem reflection opportunities. Maybe even try making an anchor chart of words that students can use to explain their learning.

4) Students know what was difficult for them, and they also know the importance of overcoming these challenges. Try to address their concerns though. Many expressed that the writing was the hardest part of this word problem, so continue to model how to write a complete answer, and provide anchor charts to assist students with this writing. Try the use of the Livescribe Pen to allow students to expand on the ideas in their written work too.

Completing this three part math problem and reflecting on the process has been a very beneficial activity for both me and my students. I look forward to trying more of these problems in class too!

For those of you that completed this problem at home or at your own school, I would love to hear your reflections too. Maybe you just listened to these recordings and you have something else to add. All insights would be much appreciated! Thanks for your help!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Great Fish Problem: Part Two Of The Three Part Problem

Today my students completed part two of the three part math problem. Both the Grade 1 and Grade 2 students had to work in partners to solve a problem involving fish. There were different numbers for each grade. Right away, the children applied what was asked in this problem to what was asked in our Great Smartie Problem completed on Monday. Connecting the two problems, many of them chose to solve this problem in a similar way. They quickly figured out that some of the ways to solve the Smartie Problem may not apply here: no one wanted to eat any real fish.:) The students were creative though. One discussed putting the fish all into one bowl and moving one over at a time until there was an equal number in both bowls, and one even suggested going out to buy more fish. Someone said that she was going to "put some of the fish into the pond," but her solution changed when she started working with her partner. I'll be interested in hearing what the students think of their solutions as they discuss them tomorrow.

Here are some things that I noticed:

1) The students seem to understand the concept of equality. Even though there were many different solutions, all of the students ended up with an equal number of fish in each bowl. I loved seeing how eager the students were to find different ways to solve the same problem.

2) Many students rely on writing addition sentences even when their solution would involve both addition and subtraction. I need to continue to have the students complete math problems that involve both addition and subtraction, and model for the students the need to include both number sentences in the solution.

3) When students solve the same problem in a different way, they often write the same addition and/or subtraction sentence even though their new solution might involve a different one. I need to model for the students how to change the number sentence when the solution changes too. I will do this when completing math problems with the whole class, and then slowly transition the students to doing this on their own.

4) When provided with a paper copy of the fish bowls to use, students often just drew one picture cue, even though more than one picture could be used to show what they were doing. Giving the students just a large, blank piece of paper to complete the problem tends to result in a higher number of picture cues that actually match the various steps in the solutions.

5) While all of the students told me what tool they used to solve this problem (and, in fact, in this case all of them used counters), none of them actually wrote this down. To help get the students in the habit of writing down the tool that they used, I am going to provide a place for them to do so for upcoming math problems. Then I will slowly transition them to automatically including this information in their written work.

6) Sometimes the students have more to share than they are comfortable writing down, and talking to each of the groups showed me just how much they had to say. Using the Livescribe Pen at Math Problem Solving Centres might encourage the students to orally add additional information to what they have written down as well. I will have to give this a try!

Below is a Photopeach Slideshow of the various solutions:

The Great Fish Problem on PhotoPeach

I would love to hear what you notice.

If you would like to try out this math problem with your students too, please feel free to add a comment here letting us know how you solved it. Seeing various solutions and hearing about the process used to solve these problems will definitely help us when we discuss this on Friday.


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Great Smartie Problem

In preparation for our upcoming PA Day, all of the teachers at the school are having their students complete a three part problem. We have been given the "Day 2" activity -- the actual open-ended word problem to complete -- but we have to design the "Day 1" and "Day 3" activity. The problem is a challenging one, and it will be interesting to see how it goes. I'm looking forward to the debriefing session on Friday!

Today, our students completed the "Day 1" activity. Mrs. Howe and I made a Math Story to share with our classes called The Great Smartie Problem.

After reading the math book together, we had our students work in partners to try and solve the problem presented at the end of the story. It was interesting to see their solutions, and hear what they had to share. All of the groups shared their completed work with the class.

Our Solutions To The Great Smartie Problem on PhotoPeach

Here are some of the observations noted by my students:

1) All but one of the groups used counters to solve this problem. The other group used a reckenreck.

2) Most of the groups thought that there should be 8 Smarties in each bucket, but they came to this conclusion differently. Some students dumped all of the Smarties out of the buckets, and put them back in one at a time. One of the groups, dumped all of the Smarties out of the buckets and put them back in two at a time. Still other groups moved two of the Smarties from the first bucket to the second one.

3) One group decided to buy more Smarties and put an additional four Smarties in the second bucket that had less Smarties than the first bucket.

4) One group decided to just put six Smarties in each bucket and eat the additional Smarties. The children thought that this would be a yummy choice!:)

5) Even though all of the solutions are different ones, all of them make sense, and all of them are well-explained. In all of the cases, the answer is a "fair" one.

We wonder how the students will apply what they did here to the problem that they solve on Wednesday. We would all love to hear your solution to this problem too. Please consider adding a comment here letting us know how you would solve this problem. Thank you for your help with this!

Aviva and Sharon

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thank You!

This is a special "thank you" to @technolit and the other six educators from the Thames Valley District School Board that came to visit our classroom yesterday. My students enjoyed sharing with you what they do and how they use technology in the classroom. They loved how you photographed their work and recorded their thoughts on using technology to help them learn. You really made their opinions matter ... thank you!

At the second nutrition break, one student whispered to another one, "I'm going to be famous! One of those visitors recorded what I said, and he's going to put the recording on his website too. Isn't that cool?" Wow! This student went home last night so proud of his accomplishments, and that is all thanks to you.

When the children wrote their Friday Journals in the afternoon, I told them that it could be a "free write" week. Three of the students chose to write about your visit, and I recorded their readings (posted below). Imagine the impact that you had on them, if when given the choice to write on any topic, they chose your visit as their favourite one. Many thanks for such a memorable day!