Saturday, 30 May 2015

Summer Reading

Remember those days when the school year ended in elementary school or even during University and you got excited thinking"YES no books to read!" Yeah if that was you and you are thinking that this summer you are going to be shouting that from the roof tops then stop reading right now and leave. Yep! Click, on another webpage now. Do it! Because if you don't then you will probably suffer a crushing blow that summer reading does exist and it exists for all of us.

As a teacher I am always looking at how to improve and I am also consumed with the ever changing trends that are taking place to help meet my potential students needs. If you are like me you are likely scrolling through Twitter and favouriting "tweets" that mention new book titles. Maybe you are a part of a teaching resource page on Facebook and compiling a list of recommended books. Or possibly you sit in your staff room during breaks and pass along titles of great reads rather then discussing the daily school yard gossip.

I've compiled my list of summer reading. Here are the four books that I am choosing to bury my nose in this summer.

I am excited about all these choices. The reason is simple I am excited to learn. The two books I am really itching to get into are "Drive" and "The 20time Project" I had the chance to listen to the author of the later book speak at the Google Summit earlier this year. If his book is as gripping as his talk then I will be hooked from cover to cover. His book and "Drive" really talk about the idea of doing a "Passion project" which is a concept I would love to try with my students next year. 

"No More I'm Done!" I skimmed through at the beginning of the school year and I gained a lot of great ideas from the sections I read for my writing lessons in class. I am now going back to really throw myself into the entire book. 

Finally, "Making Thinking Visible" caught my attention because of the fact that it really talk about creating engagement and independence in all learners. Which I think is a great need for all of our students.  

So what are you reading this summer? Are you going to read anything at all? 

Share your ideas maybe you might inspire someone else. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Friday News

Wow! Just think only 4 more Fridays until the school year is done. Where did the past 8 months go? It's hard to believe the year is almost over. This, like any school year has been a tremendous learning experience. Each day has been a new adventure and also exciting to watch student progress as the year went along. As we get closer to the end of the year I am starting to reflect on the year and all of the cool events and projects we did as a class.

The one project that I am particularly proud of is the I Survived assignment that we just completed as a class. If your unfamiliar with the book series "I Survived" by Lauren Tarshis then I suggest you pick up one of her 11 books and give them a read as they are fantastic. The series looks at some tragic events around the world such as the Japanese Tsunami of 2011 or Gettysburg, the Nazi Invasion, and September 11th. Tarshis, creates a fictional character during the time period and event and then lets the reader learn about these events through the eyes of this character.

With the project we did in our class, we used these books to guide us in our non-fiction writing unit. The students read the books with partners, then they researched the actual events, and then wrote about the topic in the forms of a Google Slides presentation which they of course presented to the class. When they looked at the topics I asked them to look at things with an open mind. They where asked to also think about the events and think of actions they could take to avoid making some of the same mistakes. I have to say I was absolutely blown away by what they came up with. Their presentations where amazing and the research they conducted was fantastic. So many of them really thought their issues out really took an objective point of view to their topic and theme. It was truly hard to believe they students are just in grade 3 and 4. Even our principal thought the same thing as she sat in on many of the presentations. Below are just some of the pictures from some of the presentations.

As you look back on this last Friday of May what sort of things are you proud of that your class has accomplished.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday's News

Happy Friday!
There has always been debate on wether cursive writing should be introduced, although it's not in the Ontario Curriculum.  Does your school district encourage cursive writing? We use it as a quick bell work activity. 

Each day we work on one word.  I have noticed a spike in interest with our boys.  

Some are even experimenting using cursive writing in their journals.  

Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday's News

Wow what a quick week. They all seem to be heading that way as we rapidly get closer and closer to the end of school. Well, I am keeping focused on finishing out this year strong and getting those last minute notes and marks for reports, I am also looking at new things I would like to incorporate next year as a full time thing.

One of the things that I've started to do recently is use video in the classroom. I've created my own Youtube channel and have started to post videos of things going on in the classroom. It's been a fantastic way to re-cap a day or a period of time for students. It also has been excellent in the fact that many of the students have had a chance to see how they act and present in the classroom. As well parents have access to the videos as well and it's creating amazing conversations at home between parent and child (well that's what parents are telling me. It might be something different for the kids ;) Any video I post with a kid that includes their face I make private but videos that have no faces in them are posted publicly.

I am really looking forward to the different way to use this awesome tool next year in the classroom. Is there anything you are looking forward to experimenting with our using in the classroom next year? Share them here.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday's News

Happy Friday.  

Well I have been fighting something for a few weeks now, I did manage to put out a cursive writing package

and a Mother's Day card package...

What have you been up to? We would love for you to share.

Wishing all the Moms out there a Happy Mother's Day this weekend.