Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday Fun - 20/2/09

Fun this week:

On Wednesday we had a travelling performance group, "Bushwahzee", visit the school. They worked throughout the school day to coordinate a range of dance moves with our classes. Then, in the evening, families came back to the school to see the performance. This year's theme was "Beach Party" so the kids came dressed up in board shorts and Hawaiian shirts. Some even wore grass skirts! It made for a really enjoyable evening and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun. Things like this are great for bringing the community together, raising morale and building a sense of unity.

I had a mix of good and bad news this week. The good news was that everything is just about ready for us to run with SuperClubsPlus. The bad news is that my state's Department of Education doesn't support student blogging, so it seems unlikely that we will be able to have a class blog in the near future. We will still be able to communicate with families through My Classes, The School Website, and my blog; and we'll be able to explore a safe Web2.0 through kid-friendly SuperClubsPlus. This week I introduced students to SCP and sent home the registration forms. Once I get these back we can get registered and get moving.

Voice Thread Challenge
I tried to implement my newspaper idea using Voice Thread this week, but I kept coming up against obstacles. When I signed up for Voice Thread, it seemed that I could use it free as a teacher, but since then I have been receiving messages to say I need to pay money. I could cancel out of those pop-ups, but then I kept having issues with the running of Voice Thread. It kept jumping to the save/embed page and for some reason our voices weren't recorded. On top of all that, I've been told that my state's Department of Education doesn't like us using anything that publishes student work on third-party websites. So...after all of that, I have decided to use the Smart Board software or maybe PowerPoint to achieve these outcomes instead! If I use PowerPoint, I should still be able to share the final product with families through school websites.

Friends Book
As part of our unit of work on the FRIENDS values, we put together a book about all the people in our grade. Students chose a name out of a hat and thought of three or more positive things about that person. After they decorated the page, we bound them all together and read the book. It's a great resource to get to know the kids better and made for a great team-bonding activity.

This week my maths group was focusing on 10 times tables and place value. I finally got around to setting up a Smart Board Notebook with all the pages I like to use in a Year 4 Maths lesson. I have a timer, hundred chart, place value chart, calculator, piggy bank and coins, number line, website links and other activities to promote Mathematical thinking. I also tried out my webcam/document scanner for a dice activity. Below is a video demonstration of this activity. (My first demo video - feedback is more than welcome!)

One place value game the class particularly enjoyed is called Wipeout. Students typed 21 469 into their calculators. Then they had to 'wipe out' the numbers using subtraction. For example, to wipe out the 4, they have to subtract 400. As students become more familiar with this activity they can play it together in pairs, or even individually.

Williamstown High School Band
On Friday afternoon we had a visit from the Williamstown High School Band (from Victoria) who played a number of great songs and introduced their instruments to us. Our children were enthralled and bobbed along to the music. I always love to watch the way students respond to music - it really adds to the atmosphere and has a positive effect on mood.

Rowan of Rin
We began reading Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda and completed a number of activities related to the book. I will publish these in a separate post over the weekend.

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