January 31, 2017

Tuesday's Math Lesson

Once again, for Math, the boys and girls are going to work with their elbow partners to find their way to the blog and use this graph below to answer some data-related questions. We've been talking about the parts of a graph and how organization and presentation is key. 

When the boys and girls first viewed the graph below it was missing quite a bit of information and as a result, it was kind of useless. After we "put it back together" we were able to draw many conclusions.  

Boys and girls, here are the questions we need to answer today: 
  1. How many more girls want to be a cheese tester than boys?
  2. Why do you think more teachers want to be a professional sleeper for a day?
  3. How many people altogether voted for puppy player?
  4. The data for how many girls voted to be a ninja for a day is missing.  If 22 people voted altogether for ninja, how many are girls?  

January 27, 2017

Math Unit 5: Data Management

It's time to talk data!

We're learning all about data management in this next Math unit. Today's lesson was a look at how we interpret data (we even used that word: interpret

We'll also explore the difference between what we can interpret from data and what we observe or notice on a graph. So we might observe that the graph is a bar graph and the bars are yellow, but when we interpret data, we have to do a little bit of math. For example, in the bar graph below, one can interpret that 9 chocolate chip cookies were left over after the bake sale.  

I've attached a document taken directly from the teacher support materials for the Math Makes Sense program that outlines our learning goals and big ideas for this unit.

Unit 5 Big Ideas and Learning Goals

Here's a quick video tutorial for the boys and girls on the difference between interpreting and observing/noticing.  

January 25, 2017

It's like raaaay-yaaaaain on your wedding day...

I'm gonna do it! 
I'm goin' where no Third Grade teacher has gone before!* I'm teaching the kids the meaning of "ironic"!  
So many of the reading responses questions we explore now and especially those on EQAO can be answered quickly and easily with "It's ironic", and rather than kids fret over trying to explain "What's funny about a man named Mr. Cheeseman who hates cheese?", how about I just teach them irony?  

It's not easy, but I think we're up to the challenge. 
We've talked so far about how irony is a funny or unexpected surprise, but not quite like a Christmas morning surprise, more of a "Hey that sign for fasteners isn't fastened to the pole!" type of surprise.  I've been referring to irony as a sort of quirky twist.  

We'll continue to focus on this over the next week or so. I think it can really be a helpful literary device for kids to learn because understanding irony means thinking critically about what we read, see and hear. I also suggested that the kids pay really close attention to some of the jokes in the cartoons they watch, because there are often great examples of irony to be found!  

*this fact has not actually been proven 

January 24, 2017

Week 19's Text of the Week

This week, as their text of the week, the boys and girls are reading a story about a class election. The story complements a number of cross-curricular items we're learning about in Room 208.  On Monday, I read the story to the kids and we talked about some of the new words and their meaning. We also briefly explored who we'd vote for and why.  On Tuesday, we read the story aloud and then we talked about how important it is to think very critically about who or what we vote for.    

As part of our faith development, we have talked a lot lately about how the way we judge someone is not by their appearance, race, ability or gender, but by their words and deeds, so this is why I've made a point to comment in the story on the overall character of the the two candidates. We'll talk about this again throughout the week as we explore the text on a closer level.  

We've also started our Data Management Unit in Math and part of this includes "graphing in" most days. Students participate in a number of polls and in doing so, learn about voting and how to analyze data. The story complements this Math unit very nicely as we can also talk about the rules and policies that make the election process safe and authentic.  

Getting back to literacy, we're also going to look at this story with some of the items in mind I shared in a blog post from last week:  

  • From whose perspective is this story being told?  
  • How do I feel about what I'm reading?
  • Where do I stand on this topic? 
  • Did my thinking change throughout the text?
As always, we'll have our TOTW test on Friday, that will combine a bit of word study along with reading comprehension. 

January 23, 2017

Henry's Freedom Box

On Thursday, I read the boys and girls the story called "Henry's Freedom Box" by Ellen Levine. I use this text to launch our study of the Civil Rights Movement as part of our Literacy Block.  

When we expose children to rich, high quality texts that are based on real-world events and then ask them to write about it, something happens to their writing. In my experience, students are far more interested in stories when they know they are "true stories". This interest translates into very high quality, very passionate writing.

This text in particular is a great one for sparking all kinds of thick questions and rich discussions about respect for all of God's people and the rights and freedoms we are all entitled to. 

It's also a great story for helping kids to make text-to-world connections, which can often be one of the hardest types of connections to teach as so many real-world events might not be age-appropriate. When done sensitively and sensibly, teaching children about the civil rights movement at this age can take their writing to a new level.    

There are three types of connections we teach children to make while they read:
  • text to self (What does this remind me of in my life?) 
  • text to text (Does this remind me of something else I've read) 
  • text to world (What does this remind me of in the real world?) 
But it's not just about making connections to what we read. If we focus too much on connecting to the text, we can miss out on key content and meaningful learning because we're too "self-focused" to so speak, as a reader. If we focus too heavily on "What does this remind me of in my own life?", it's possible readers quite literally, miss the point of the text.  

My hope is that with this unit of study, comes a shift in reading for my students. My goal is that they'll begin to read more as historians and think about the texts on a higher level. I'm hoping they'll ask really thick questions about the content they're reading, but also of themselves. Questions like: 
  • From whose perspective is this story being told?  
  • How do I feel about what I'm reading?
  • Where do I stand on this topic?
  • Who am I upset with in this story? 
  • What are the possible solutions to this problem? 
  • Did my thinking change throughout the text?
We're going to spend a lot of time on questions: asking questions about the content (e.g. Dr. King's work, segregation, slavery, etc.) and also questions of ourselves as readers.  While we do this, we'll look for ways to provide evidence from the text to support our ideas and opinions.  It's a lot to ask of a third-grade student, but I know they're up for the challenge.  
This has always, always been a turning point in my class. My students' reading and writing always improves, but so does their sense of social justice and genuine interest in learning more about the world around them.  

Click on the link below for more information on Henry's Freedom Box. We'll spend the next four or so weeks talking and writing about the Civil Rights movement as part of our Literacy Block/Writer's Workshop.    

Henry's Freedom Box  

Here are some of the other books we have in our classroom library. I'll read many of these books to the boys and girls in the coming weeks.  

January 20, 2017

Friday's Math Lesson

We've started our new Math unit! We're on Unit 5: Data Management and as part of Friday morning's Math lesson on interpreting data, students are going to use the iPads to find their way to this blog post and analyze the data they see on the graph.  

Students will be required to provide information they interpret from the graph and then answer the following discussion questions:  

  1. How many teachers chose bacon-flavored gum?
  2. What is the scale of this graph? 
  3. How can you determine how many people were interviewed?  
  4. How many more boys votes did Nacho-Cheese need to be tied with Strawberry? 

January 18, 2017

Valentine Fun!

Down below, you'll find a video I made a few years ago to explain a special Valentine activity I like to do with my class this time of year. I found the idea on Pinterest. In the past, it has been very successful so I like to start it nice and early.  

We'll get this rolling this week and I hope it'll be another hit! So while the video is a few years old, the message is still the same: it's all about spreading kindness and positivity! 

January 17, 2017

Tuesday Night's Practice Page

With transportation cancelled today, I've decided to move the math test to Wednesday.  It's hard to know how many students will be in class on days like today, and it's always best to write a test in one session (as opposed to a few kids today and then a bunch more tomorrow). 

With this change in mind, tonight's Practice Page was designed to give students an extra opportunity to prepare for the test.  If your child was absent today, please have them complete the page by either writing their answer on a regular sheet of paper, or by printing it from this link.  

January 13, 2017

Moments from week 17

It certainly took no time to get back into the swing of things! And I must warn you: time flies from now until June.  Don't blink, because it's over before you know it. Even though we're not quite at the halfway point in the year, we are over a hump, so to speak. Now that routines and expectations are well-established, the classroom quite literally runs itself. It's still a tight ship, but there's SO much more time for fun and adventure. It goes without saying that students are continuing to learn and of course, I'm teaching, but there's a lot more room for creativity because we're not quite so focused on "getting used to grade three".  So buckle up!  

This week, we were all about conferencing.  I met with students to discuss their "What does Mrs. Claus do on Christmas Eve" assignment. They were marked over the holidays and students received their feedback. We talk a lot in class about the importance of implementing that feedback right away, so my expectation is that students were listening during our chat and then will keep their new goals in mind when working on future assignments, including homework.  

In Math, we're learning about attributes as part of our geometry unit. You'll recall students have their test on Tuesday.  There's a study guide (it's pink) that went home last week, but if you scroll back a few posts, you'll find it there too.  

I was thrilled when a student, let's call him "Mr. P" shared an observation with us this week. He noticed as part of one of his video games (Donkey Kong or Pac-man I'm sure 😉) that the word to describe the features of the character he creates for the game was "attributes".  Thank you to his mother for emailing that pic to me. We were able to discuss it as part of Morning Message.  Students are learning that attributes are just another way to say "trait" or "feature".  

I've encouraged the kids to ask you to send along any photos that you think might relate to what we're learning in class. Especially the ones the kids find themselves. Send them to mrs.mihalides@gmail.com. 

So that's where we are in Math. In Language, students are writing all about their goals for the new year.  Most students have finished up this little craftivity that I created called, "2017 is gonna rock!". It's an opportunity for them to reflect on the year ahead, use their feedback from their Mrs. Claus activity and create a nifty little rock-character.  

Next week, it's back to procedural writing, where we'll be writing about how you get ready for winter play.  I'll be expecting ALL KINDS of feedback implementation there! The goal will be to make this their best writing piece yet by engaging the reader with humor AND effective instructions!  

In Social Studies, we're talking about some of the reasons people moved to Canada back in the day. This week, we talked about the Irish potato famine and there were many, many questions. I think we'll carry on our discussion next week.  

At evening meeting on Friday, we finished our novel "Swindle" (Woo-hoo!) and we're on to a new one on Monday. I won't reveal the title here, but it's a true story and it's about a gorilla.  It's a real good one.  

We had Talent Time today.  We'll do this every other Friday. We were getting a little slowed down with requests to share various dances and presentations before the holidays, so we decided that we needed to come up with a system.  So this is what we agreed to: every other Friday, if you have a special talent (that you've rehearsed) and you want to share it, there will be time set aside to do so. As a class, the boys and girls understand that this means we will not have our brag tag ceremony on those Fridays. Ya can't have it all and everyone agreed this was a fair solution.  

So there you have it! Week 17!  No photos this week. Editing and posting pics can really add to the time it takes to prepare a blog post, and it's fun to write to you while it's all fresh in my mind.  Sure, I'll have more time on Saturday or Sunday, but who knows what I'll remember about our week by then! LOL!  

January 11, 2017

100th Day T-Shirt Fun!

I'll talk more about this with the kids in the coming days, but I'm so excited, I want to announce our 100th Day of School "project" today! It's not really a project-project, it's mostly just for a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate! 

We've been counting down to the 100th day since that very first day back in September. 

The hundredth day of school is a really big deal! 

I'm asking the boys and girls to design their own 100th Day t-shirt. They can use a new or old shirt, it doesn't matter, as long as it shows 100 of something! 

I'll ask the kids to wear them to school on Tuesday February 14th.  That's the day where we'll celebrate both the 100th day AND Valentine's Day!  

This project is limited only by imagination! I tried back in 2015 for the first time and it was a real hit!  

Have a look at this post from that year to see some of the great shirts kids came up with!

100th Day of School 2015 

January 10, 2017

2017 is gonna rock!

Annnnd...we're back!
Just like that!
The kids looked so happy to be back at school and ready to go yesterday! We have had a nice "soft start" to our week so far: nothing too heavy and lots of fun and chatting about food and favourite presents!  
We got started on a "Have a Rockin' New Year" booklet that I created for us to use during the first few days of the new year. It's great because it incorporates a bit of everything. It's perfect for getting us all back on track. 
Please note that we're going to use this resource as our"Practice Pages" for homework this week as well.  

In Math, we reviewed all of our geometry unit to date.  We talked about attributes, parallel lines, hatch marks, angles and three dimensional shapes.  This week, we'll take a more intense look at attributes by creating a folder that will support my students' learning. 

This afternoon, we looked at the two cookies pictured below and talked about their different attributes.  We made these charts to help us (chart A). Then,we took each cookie attribute and determined which attribute category it would fall under (chart B).    

Chart A

Chart B

We have also started working on a little craftivity called, "2017 is gonna rock!" . Students are asked to write about the exciting things that the year holds for them, using prior feedback and a checklist to make sure their work is on track. 

Is it a pyramid or a prism?

To assist the boys and girls with practice at home for Tuesday's Math test, here is the strategy we use to help remember the difference between a pyramid and a prism.  

January 09, 2017

Unit 3 Math Test

The boys and girls are having their Unit 3 Math test on Tuesday January 17. They are bringing home their workbook and study guide on Tuesday January 10 . Please note, there is no Practice Test for this unit (the student agenda should have read "Study Guide is on the blog", not "Practice Test is on the blog"). 

Being able to complete all of the tasks indicated within the study guide will be the most effective way to prepare for this test.  We still have a few concepts to cover (e.g. "what's a net?"). Students should also strive to complete any incomplete or blank work from their workbook. With so many of this unit's activities being "hands on", you'll find a number of section blank in the workbook.  

January 03, 2017

Moments from Week 16

We had such a great final week of 2016 together! With so many fun and memorable events that week, I thought I'd share our photos. Most of these great pics were taken by students!  So let's all go back to a week or so ago. I don't know about you, but when I look at these photos, I am reminded of the energy and excitement that filled our classroom and school during that special week. 

Making our snowman ornaments was so much fun!

We loved our Polar Bear Express afternoon! Thank you
to Miss Penwarden for organizing this! 

This little tree was packed away in our crawl-space for
years! I was so happy to find a home for it in Room 208!

This little Solo-Cup engineering activity gave everyone an opportunity to release some energy and get their creative juices flowing! The object of the activity was to build a Christmas tree without touching the cups! Their tools? An elastic band,  four pieces of string and a whole lotta teamwork!

What would happen if we built one GIGANTIC tree?

I loved reading all the responses from my students' interviews with their loved ones about their favorite Christmas gifts!

Each morning, I write the "Morning Work" on the Smartboard. After students copy their agendas, they are to complete whatever task is indicated on the board. During week 16, students buddied up with their elbow partners and read Christmas stories together.  It was such a warm, happy way to begin the day!

And finally, students practiced their multiplication skills by making this adorable Christmas tree! They are hanging on our board, ready to welcome everyone back next week! 

And that's that! What a great week we had together!  I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Christmas break and that 2017 brings you health, happiness and prosperity. See you soon! 


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