This was definitely an interesting day! The 3rd graders took their Beginning-of-Grade test like my students did last year. With this being a state test, testing conditions applied and if only one grade is testing, the rest of the school does its best to accommodate them. In 4th grade's case, we switched specials so instead of having music today from 3:10 to 4:00, ours was 9:30 to 10:20. That was definitely different and the academic schedule changed too. We had math as soon as we returned from specials followed by literacy. Lunch and recess were still the same and we ended the day with science.
Below is the prewarm-up that I have my students do first thing in the morning. I try to make this more challenging in comparison to the actual tests and quizzes that they take. If they can master the more difficult content, they should have little trouble getting an A on the tests.
In literacy, we continued with context clues and comprehension with a lengthier and more difficult reading passage. In writing, I had my class finish up with the writing of their leads before turning them in for a grade. Then, I had them take their main character (themselves since it is a personal narrative) and focus on the conflict. Good stories have a conflict, or problem that needs to be overcome. For example, the conflict in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was trying to stop Sauron from possessing the one ring,and conquering Middle Earth.
For today, I gave each group a set of task cards. Each card had a short paragraph with an underlined word that had to be defined. They chose from the answer choices given below the paragraph. I also tried to build-in independent reading time.
In their case, they needed to come up with a conflict, however small or simple, and write a brief description of it.
I also reviewed the stems and words from Caesar's English for Friday's quiz.
In math, the focus for the rest of the week is enrichment. Our school does a Teach/Test/Reteach/Retest (or Enrich) cycle. The content is taught and then the students are tested. The students who do not show mastery (scoring 79 or below) get at least one day of reteaching to help them understand what they got wrong. Then, they take a retest.
For my class however, every single student showed mastery so instead of reteaching, I do enrichment which is more challenging. But first, I had them do a warm-up and challenge activity to get their minds math-ready.
Below is a screen shot of the problem being worked out.
After that, I gave them an activity called Place Value Detective which more than kept them busy in their groups.
For science, we discussed how adding an electrical charge around a metal object containing iron will create a temporary magnetic field. This electromagnet will retain its ability to attract metals with iron content as long as the electricity is flowing.
Each student received a nail, a length (about 10 inches, give or take) of wire, and a battery.
The wire was tightly wrapped around the nail until it covered most of its length, leaving enough wire at each end sticking out to connect with the battery. Once each end of the wire is connected to the battery to complete the circuit, students took turns picking up paperclips.
The big problem with this activity is that the ends of the wires tend to get very hot and can burn fingers. In the past I used electrical tape with success but this year I used battery holders and test leads with alligator clips. The reason is that when a circuit is completed, all of this electrical energy from the battery transfers to the wires. There is nowhere for the electrical energy to be discharged so it builds up and generates heat.
I tried something different this year by putting batteries in battery holders and using alligator clips to connect everything. It was marginally successful but at least we avoided burned fingers.
Students were then handed ziplock bags to take their electromagnets home.