Fun This Week
Maths - Volume
This week I held a Circle-Time Maths session to teach Volume. It went as follows:
Check In: My name is... I think volume in Maths is...
Mixer: Show students the definition for 'volume' using the Mathletics Dictionary. Also look at related terms. Students are each given a box and sort themselves in order from smallest volume to largest volume.
Main Activity: In groups of four, students use informal units to compare the volume of their boxes and to check whether they ordered themselves correctly.
Debrief: Discuss student findings from their measurements. What did they find easy/difficult about this task?
Energiser: Beginning with the largest boxes, students add their box to a 'box sculpture' in the middle of the circle. Try to add all boxes without the tower falling.
Check Out: My name is... and one thing I learnt about volume today is...
My Reflections - This lesson didn't go as well as I would have liked. It was difficult for students to measure the volume of the boxes as the units didn't fit nicely, and they all tried to measure their boxes at once which meant there weren't enough resources. It did lead us to a discussion about the value of having formal units and a systematic way of calculating volume. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I only taught my Maths class once this week, and my relief teachers chose to 'leave volume to [me]', I didn't get to explore the whole length x width x breadth idea with them. I'll have to make some time for that next week. We didn't get to the tower building energiser either due to time constraints. I guess it's just one of those lessons that held a lot of promise, but didn't quite make the cut.
In lab time students had the opportunity to create their own school movies using a bunch of photos and videos that have been captured recently. This week the focus was on using the Movie Maker storyboard to sequence images and add transitions and titles. In our next session I will teach students how to include audio files and alter the length of time their photos are displayed. I was impressed by how quickly students picked up on the skills - some took it even further than I demonstrated. It emphasized two things: how easy Movie Maker is to learn, and how quick digital natives can transfer skills from one program to the next.
Cooperative Reading Groups
Cooperative reading went really well this week. Students are becoming more familiar with the way it works and are focused on the tasks they need to complete. I find it really exciting to see that my students are all working on different tasks and at different paces with minimal assistance from me. I have the enjoyable job of shoulder hovering as they work and giving them tips for how they can stretch their skills further.
Before Tuesday's Group Discussion time I played video snippets from the group I sat in on the week before. This allowed me to give students some more direction in the way these groups should function. I sat in on another group this week and enjoyed hearing students discussing their books and the connections they have with each other, with movies they've seen and also with events in real life.
On Friday we had a special visit from the puppy of one of my students. We made a circle on the floor and Bruno (?) went from person to person to 'say hello'. He was very cute and it was nice to watch students interacting with him. Some of the kids worked out that he was more likely to come to them if they tapped the floor and called his name. Others discovered that he liked having his belly scratched. It was just a short visit, but it's always nice to have an animal in the classroom for students to interact with.
The staff of my school are in the process of defining how we approach student enrichment. Our Enrichment Committee feels that all students have the potential to be gifted and talented in one way or another, and we feel that teachers should work to identify each student's potential and provide opportunities through which students can grow. Part of this involves understanding how students like to be acknowledged for their achievements. We are conducting a survey across the school to gather this information. I created a survey using Tiger Survey and the Year 4 Students completed it in about five minutes during lab time on Friday. (You can see a PDF print version here.) I'm going to get some computers set up for it in Year 3 next week so that students can take their turn at some point during the week. The most popular options in Year 4 were "a class reward - class party/free time etc", and "opportunities to learn about things you're interested in". The least popular was "teacher contacting your parents to let them know what you're good at". Fascinating!