Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Mini Fieldtrip

Focus of the lesson was speaking.  I decided to take my class to The Wagon Wheel for du café et parlez parlez parlez.
It was awesome how students actually put in effort to speak in French because of the change of setting.  We pretended that we were in a real French café.
 It might be a bit more difficult to take my class of 25 there, but today worked really well with a small group.

For more examples of changing the physical learning environment, see this post. 

Post Courtesy of Lindsay Anderson

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Simple Machines Scavenger Hunt (Grade 4/5)

After having lessons on the six simple machines, my teaching partner and I wanted the kids to expand their understanding from the examples we had in class.  We made them a table with a row for each machine and one for compound machines.  They were to list examples they saw in their environment.  We gave them some time in the class then walked them around the school and went outside to the playground. Finally, we went for a walk around the neighbourhood.  They were observing, questioning, debating and noticing more things than I'd have imagined!  It was quick and simple and they always enjoy being outside.  Today we went to the S.S. Sicamous and students were noticing simple machines around the boat.  It reminds me how great it is when we can get them out of the class to apply their learning.  Just a little shift in how they see things.

Post courtesy of Judy Schneider

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Tell-Tale Whiteboards (English 10)

In the spirit of trying new assignments, here's one that was a success. Students, in groups of 3, had to re-write a section of Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" and make it into a poem with a creative lay-out. There were some very creative ideas demonstrated.

Post courtesy of Rick Van Camp

Note: Other examples of whiteboards in classrooms:

Whiteboards in Spanish 10

Whiteboards in Biology

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Math/Art Mixer (Grade 4)

We've been trying to link art with math, linking our geometry lessons.  The lesson for horizontal, vertical,intersecting, point, line, parallel and perpendicular was to draw in perspective following step by step directions.  The art came out wonderfully, however the students didn't seem to transfer the knowledge from geometry to the art.  To reinforce Judith suggested I have students write the terms on post-its and then attach to their art.

Post Courtesy of Norma-Jean Berg

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Testing, Testing... Can you hear me now?

At the conclusion of a large unit in science on the Human Body we had a semi-traditional assessment to measure our students' learning.  Judy and I had previously designed a cut, sort, paste test in another subject with great results.  We felt, and the students commented that by not having to write as much they were more motivated to complete the test, and the cutting and pasting allowed them to arrange their thoughts, check their answers prior to gluing them down, AND cutting and pasting for a test was more fun!

Now there was a lot of information to cover in this unit so it was a lot of cutting and pasting.  The results on the test were mostly great.  Well over half of the students scored As and the rest had solid Bs, except for 5 or 6 that failed terribly, like not even close.  What happened?  So we decided to re-test these students.  It turns out they were confused and/or a little lazy in completing the test with its different format.

The re-test was an oral test/discussion where we met one on one with the students.  The results were eye opening.  Four of the students scored As (3 perfects) demonstrating they had definitely learned the material well.  That's what we thought as we felt we'd really nailed the unit!

It was a strong lesson/reminder to allow for variety in how kids demonstrate their learning.  If an assessment does not go well for a student then follow up is needed and often the most efficient way is to talk with them and find out what they really do know.

Post courtesy of Kent Percevault

Monday, 13 May 2013

Authentic Activities (Psychology 12)

This has been an amazing week with my students!  First of all, it's been an unusual week because we have had 2 major activities that are very different from our regular classroom format. The first activity was an infant/toddler/preschooler panel where we had 3 moms bring in 7 children.  My students were to observe and interact with the kids, watching how they play, what they are able to do developmentally etc.  Both of my students I am "lensing"were engaged in the activity and participated with the kids.  They were two of the most involved students and they shone!   The second activity was where our Psych class planned, organized and put on a  party for our special education students.  Again, my students participated in a big way!   They did their assigned jobs and were fully engaged in the class.  Today we debriefed the party activity in class and students were fully engaged in the class discussion.  It is obvious to me that the practical, hands on, real life stuff is what certain students relate to best. 

 Post courtesy of Dana Kocsis

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Meeting of the Math Minds

A number of middle school math teachers in the Different Lens group have been meeting this year to discuss and develop ideas. In one meeting we met and went over some ideas for an Algebra unit and how to make it more interesting. We found several youtube songs online and thought of ways to incorporate them into the unit. We also have some smartboard "who wants to be a millionaire" and jeopardy style games. Here are a couple of quick activities we also covered that I filmed. Great to work with Pam, Shona, Travis and Nick! (Unfortunately Jessa was unable to be there on this particular day)

The videos include:

1. A hook activity involving a poem about monsters. In the end kids have to draw out monsters with one eye or three eyes to help them visualize how many of each monster was at dinner. Literacy and Math in action together... like some sort of academic superhero.

2. Some word problems to make algebra more "real life" because some people comment that you won't often use algebra in real life situations.  We thought you could start each algebra unit day with some sort of collaborative problem. Kids could come in and act like math-investigators.

3.  The last one is a problem involving cubes/manipulatives where students have to use their curiosity and some good ole' fashioned arithmetic and problem solving skills to find answers. They also build on prior knowledge. Helps hook them into algebra.

We also looked at some cool websites for virtual manipulatives. Lots of fun and good ideas.

Post courtesy of Jeff Fitton

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Let Me Move Please!

Students sorting French vocabulary at desks and on carpet
It should come as no surprise that students need to move on a continual basis. I need to remind myself of this often as it is easy to become lazy and issue tasks that are pencil/paper based. However, I have been trying to be more cognizant of this fact on a regular basis this year and am attempting to set up tasks that allow for movement and socialization within them. One type of task that I find myself using over and over includes sorting and matching word or sentence strips. I have been using these a lot with my kids in various subject areas in order to review content. Sometimes I provided the words or sentences and sometimes the kids make them up. The words may be French vocabulary, names of provinces and capitals or science terms. Kids are asked to sometimes match terms, speed sort them or work with a partner collaboratively to complete a task.

Playing a matching game
Working collaboratively to complete a task

Post courtesy of Heather Rose