I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored the students in my class. As of yesterday, my class has a total of $590.00 in pledges which is amazing! Actually, this number is outdated because I had at least three more students turn in pledge forms this morning and who knows how many did it online. I will get the update this evening since the emails usually come around 6:30 pm. It takes the Fun Run crew a considerable amount of time to collect everything, compile it into a spreadsheet, and distribute prizes.
In literacy, we continued with the usual higher level comprehension. I use an activity called Jacob's Ladder that Mr. McDonald introduced me to. It uses a tiered level approach to reading. Students read a passage and when they answer questions, they start at the bottom of the page and work their way upward (just like a ladder - clever, huh?). Each step upward requires more higher level thinking skills such as summarizing, predicting events in a what-if scenario (my favorite!), etc. I like the what-ifs because it requires the reader to really delve into the text and then use the existing knowledge of a character's personality and history to predict how he/she will likely react in a hypothetical situation.
In math, we went back to subtraction and addition of large numbers (with and without decimals) since I jumped a bit far ahead. I still use the prewarm-ups and some math challenges from two years ago.
While just about all of the students are doing pretty well with this unit, I am noticing that any wrong answers are caused by minor mistakes. So, I am continuing to talk about the need to be careful and methodical when solving problems because one mistake will bring about an incorrect answer. The more steps there are in a problem, the more potential for a mistake and thus the need for being careful is more pronounced.
In science, we did the first of three experiments after reviewing the notes and main concepts. Today's experiment was to measure the distance of the force (attracting and repelling) between two magnets.
The class was divided into pairs and each pair was issued two magnets and a ruler. I had the class use the metric side of the ruler because: 1) It is easier to use until we cover fractions and measurement much later in the year and; 2) The rest of the world uses the metric system. With the economy becoming only more interconnected and global, I want my students to be acclimated to the metric system since they are more likely to be working with people from around the world in their adult lives.
The students first checked to see which edges of the magnets attracted and made note of it.
One magnet was placed with its right side at the 0 cm mark along the edge of the ruler. The other magnet was place along the same edge about 10 cm away. One student had his/her finger holding the magnet on the left side at the 0 cm mark. That magnet needed to remain fixed. The other student slowly moved the magnet on the right side along the edge of the ruler towards the fixed magnet. Watching carefully, they observed the distance at which the magnet first began to attract. Afterwards, the magnet was flipped over and the procedure was repeated to test for the distance of repulsion.