Today, a big portion was spent on MAP testing for reading. As I mentioned before, I will share the results as soon as I can as I too am eager to see how all of my students have done. This is the first of three administrations (January and April) and with this one, each student will be assigned a score to reach as a goal by the third test.
Tomorrow is the math portion and then on Monday, we will resume our normal schedule.
Lastly, this evening is our Back to School Night. I hope to see you there!!!
I hope everyone wasn't too affected by Hurricane Florence. Before leaving on Wednesday, all of us had to prepare our classrooms in the event that the storm wreaked havoc. That entailed unplugging everything, putting a trash bag over my desktop, moving things away from the windows, and moving the Chromebook carts to a tutor room for safekeeping. I am glad that the severity wasn't as bad as it potentially could have been but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Today we switched classes like we normally did but I used the bulk of the literacy time in order for the students to work on a writing prompt. I decided to have everyone do it because it is a very good opportunity to practice writing.
School Cancelled Due to Inclement Weather.
Today was the first of four early-release days for the school year. Students were dismissed at 1:15 and teachers spend the afternoon learning more about Project-Based Learning, which is actually a neat idea that we are already doing for science.
Speaking of science, the students got to see a presentation by Mr. Romberger, who used to teach PE here. He talked about the different types of exercise and the importance of good nutrition.. This is important because it ties in with the PBL that students have begun working on in science, as I had mentioned in yesterday's entry.
The other thing that the students did was take a math test using their Chromebooks.
Today we began the new unit in literacy with an eventual emphasis on realistic fiction. I introduced the class to our rotation groups. I have the class divided up into five different groups. The groups will change in a few weeks once I get the fall MAP scores. As for now, I just have them grouped roughly based alphabetical order or grouped based on how they interact. Each day, I am hoping to have the groups do two different stations. The literacy class will start off with a mini lesson then rotations, followed by a 20 minute lesson on writing.
In science, we are beginning our unit on Molecular Biology, which is really just a health unit. We will be doing a Project-Based Learning activity that will take time. Students will be designing Field Day activities that will be appropriate for physical exercise.
Here is the scenario:
Mr. Bennett has decided to have a field day a month from now! Students at Winget Park will compete in different outdoor games and activities. Each class will earn points depending on how well the students from that class perform in each event. The class that earns the most points will win a big prize. We are determined to win!! However, we need to prepare in order to win. To prepare, you will need to design a series of exercises to improve your fitness level.
How can you design exercises that will improve your fitness level over time?
Today was only the introduction so not a lot was accomplished. Students were grouped based on where they sit. They were given time to discuss what they wanted to do and even start initially planning things out.
Today was the last day of the :Launching Literacy unit. The lesson in reading was to discuss how reading aloud can be done with passion and meaning to make it enjoyable for the listener. Why? Because students will be going to a station during rotations called Read to Peers which involves reading aloud.
Here are the tips for preparing to read aloud:
Reading Aloud - Readers Rehearse By:
I conscientiously try to do this each day so hopefully I have served as a good model for it.
In writing, the students did a free-writing activity in which they wrote about whatever they liked.
For WIN time, students were given a pre-assessment activity in which they read a passage and answered questions in a short response. This is different from the standard multiple choice and will help me determine instruction during WIN time.
Ms. Sanders has created and printed out a reference on how to access Raz-Kids at home. It was printed out and distributed to each student.
In science we concluded our introductory unit on the scientific method and inquiry with part 2 of what we started last week. Students used clay to design boats. Due to the heavy density of the clay, the first challenge was to make it so that it actually floated. The second challenge was to see how many washers it could hold before sinking. Since I used 1.25 inch thick washers, they didn't hold as many as they would if the washers were smaller and thinner.
The final challenge was to improve the design to hold more.
This too will be a short entry because most of the time was taken up with the very first reading quiz. The quiz consisted of one longer passage rather than two shorter ones and had twenty questions for comprehension. For this quiz, I gave students the opportunity to fix wrong answers and then give them a final grade. As soon as I have all of them graded, I will be posting them in Power School where they may be accessed through Parent Assist.
This is going to be a shorter entry today since I sent out the weekly newsletter.
In literacy, we didn't have writing since reading took up the whole period. We did the warm-up (see below) and then we did an activity where students filled out a graphic organizer based on whichever book is being read-aloud to them, depending on the class.
They listed three of the most important events (prioritizing) that lead up to where we left off, where we are currently (where I stopped reading), and a prediction of where the events were leading to.
In science, we did part one of a two day experiment. Today, students copied the following chart in their notebooks for the actual experiment tomorrow.
Students will use clay to make three different boat designs and do three trials for each design. During each trial, they will record how many washers the boat can hold before sinking. Then, they will average the numbers.
Here we are at mid-week already and we are starting to get to the end of your Launching Literacy unit. Today's focus was on how hard text makes readers work harder. Students copied this list into their reading notebooks to keep as a reminder of what to do when encountering difficult text.
Strategies for Dealing with Difficulty: What to Do when the Book Gets Hard
Students also did a warm-up to practice comprehension skills.
During morning meeting time, I continued the Community of Caring curriculum by sharing three statements with the class:
I played bass in a heavy metal band.
I got two speeding tickets in the same day.
It took me four days to drive to Seattle for my sister's wedding.
Two are true and one is false. The students had to discuss in their groups which they thought was the false statement (the last one - I flew instead of drove).
In writing, our focus was that writers unfold stories bit-by-bit rather than summarizing them. I shared two versions of the same short story and students decided which one was a more enjoyable read. Details without going overboard are important to make a story readable and enjoyable.
In science, we did an interesting activity involving something called Mobius strips. A Mobius strip is a paper that is twisted and kinked. When you draw a continuous line, you can return to the exact same spot from where you started without ever lifting the pencil. The strange thing is, BOTH sides are covered. It only works when twisted.
We then made another one and cut it down its middle to see what happened along with a further one involving a double twist.