Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fun - 27/3/09

Fun this week:

Maths
After all the difficulties with teaching subtraction with trading last week, I couldn't simply move on and ignore it. It was eating away at me. I had to conquer it. So this week, rather than moving on to multiplication and division, I spent some more time on subtraction. I found some great videos on subtraction with regrouping and played these for the class.

We then used the rhyme "If there's more on the floor, then go next door" to help us solve a range of two digit subtraction questions. This also helped with explaining the more difficult subtractions from 2000 etc. The rhyme can be applied by the first neighbour saying "I'm sorry, I don't have any numbers to spare. Let's try next door" and so on. I think my students really enjoyed the idea of the numbers being characters and fitting into a story!

My new challenge is to help my students to look at the question first before flying into the written solution. Too many were using the written method to find the answer to 50 - 49 which I know they can do mentally!

We also touched a little on multiplication and division (as I didn't want to overlook it completely) by reviewing some one-digit multiplication and creating the "families" for those facts. For example, 5x7=35; 7x5=35; 35 divided by 7=5; 35 divided by 5=7. Again, my students loved this idea of the numbers being in families. I'll have to remember this as I teach them other concepts - they like to bring the numbers to life!

Spiders in Spider Webs
This relates to our Rowan of Rin unit, but we did it in our homeclasses, so I've decided to include it in Friday Fun. We listened again to the passage in chapter 6 of Rowan of Rin where the characters face thick spiderwebs covered in big, black spiders. We used white oil pastels on black paper to create a web background. We then created our own spiders from shiny black paper and stuck them on the background so that they stood on the page with bent legs. We made the web sparkle in some places using some silver glitter paint. They look really fantastic displayed in our classroom.
Jonno and I were chatting about how great they were and that chatting lead to more ideas and so we decided it would be good to teach the kids how to write a description about spiders and spider webs and then attach their writing under their artwork on the display. We brainstormed some good adjectives and then students created sentences using these words. I suggested that they try some alliteration and rhyme but use no more than three adjectives per sentence. The writing that resulted was really fantastic. One of my students then suggested that we type up these descriptions in our lab lesson rather than handwriting the final copy. Brilliant idea - and a brilliant opportunity to teach some simple word processing tips - changing the page orientation, selecting all text, changing font etc. This lesson was also great for teaching the correct use of commas.

As part of our Integrated Inquiry this term, we want our students to learn how to communicate effectively with others through a variety of forms. In groups, students selected a type of communication: phone calls, email, letters, postcards, cards, face-to-face, blogs, SuperClubsPlus webpages. In these groups they needed to consider the purpose for this communication (including advantages and disadvantages), the conventions and tips to effective communication with this form. They then needed to decide on the best way to present this information clearly to their peers - all while cooperating with others in their group.
Students had most of Friday to work on this, but still need a little more time to fine tune their presentations. They have been working very well together and have been learning a lot both about and through communication.

Description
Both literacy classes did some descriptive writing this week using some ideas we obtained through PD last week. I found this picture of a soldier with a kitten. Students began with the sentence "[Name] is a soldier." They then wrote a description of his clothes, his face and the kitten in his arms. After this, students wrote a flashback to tell the story of how the kitten came to be in the soldier's possession. Linking the flashback to the description was pretty tricky for most students and didn't come naturally. This is something for us to work on in future lessons.

Earth Hour
On Friday our school turned off all electrical power between 11am and 12pm in recognition of Earth Hour. We tried to continue with lessons as much as possible. In Year 4 students wrote in their reflective journals and moved to spaces in the room with greater natural light.

Walk-through of Cross Country
Our Cross Country carnival is two weeks away so on Wednesday we walked the course that students will run - just to make sure they know where they will be going. The next day some of the students were complaining about how their muscles were sore from walking the track. Looks like we have some training to do before the big day!

Rowan of Rin
For information about what we learnt in our unit of work on Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda, click here.