Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rainbow Sheep, Passion Hour and Holiday Cheer!

It is hard to believe we are about the begin our last week before the holiday.  The students have been busy writing their stories for our book "The Rainbow Sheep" which we are planning to self publish.  I will have more information on Friday at our class party.  As you may also know, the boys and girls have been working hard on their "passion hour project."  Passion Hour is a weekly timeslot where the students dedicate themselves to researching about something they are passionate about.  It could be a hobby, a leisure activity they enjoy, or a particular cause.  I have been impressed with the wide range of presentations they will make.  The focus for this activity is how to present an idea or topic, from a visual as well as a verbal perspective.  A large focus will be on communication skills, which is an invaluable skill.  In math this past week, the students have been learning about features of 3D shapes such as edges, vertices, faces and angles.  In literacy, as a result of some updated reading assessments, there have been some new reading groups established and we have reviewed how effective reading groups function.  Finally, we have been really working hard at identifying what successful "living learning journals" (LLVs) look like.  LLVs are a record of students learning and reflections about the Unit of Inquiry.  Our focus in our UOI these past two weeks have been about artifacts, and what they tell us about the past regarding how we live, as well as how discoveries have led to change.  We still have about 2 or 3 weeks of this UOI to continue after the holiday so there is much more coming.  I look forward to seeing you at the holiday party on Friday at 1:45.  We will spend about 20 minutes looking at the exhibits of the children before we enjoy the holiday cheer.  See you then!

P. S.   Be sure to see the new pictures below!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Grade 3 Students Feedbacking to Grade 9 Students

This week, 3P students were helping a grade nine design class by giving them feedback on their learning products they made.  Giving constructive feedback is a learned skill. I hope you enjoyed the attached pictures below:

Thought Provoking

This week we began our new Unit of Inquiry (UOI).  It is an inquiry about history, called Where We Are in Place and Time.  It is designed to have students look at where we are today, through the lense of a research historian.  It will get them to look at how discoveries and exploration has led to the way we live today, from social, technological, and many other perspectives.  This week we had a very interesting event at our school which directly relates to our school, and coincidentally, it relates to our unit of inquiry. It was apparently on the news here in Uzbekistan.  Ask your child about it.  They were v-e-r-y excited.  

Next week we will be sending home a permission form for an upcoming field trip to the State History Museum.

Our new UOI creates many different opportunities for math and language.  For example, a big role in this inquiry will be that of collecting data.  Of course with data comes the need to analyze and manipulate it, to put it into a format which makes sense...such as graphing.  Today in our math groups we already began working with data and graphs.  See the attached pictures below.  Next week, we will use data from the student's BEEP tests in PE to make graphs.  Ask your child about BEEP tests. Being able to interpret and predict what graphs tell us is an important research skill.  

Of course, history research lends itself extremely well to noting, collating, gathering, speculating, analyzing and ultimately recording our thoughts about events, discoveries, inventions, and explorations. Writing our thoughts and notes is a daily activity in their living journals.  This week the students wrote a story as part of a writing assessment. We decided to gather all of the stories and publish an anthology.  It will be very exciting, and we hope to have more information for you soon.

On another note, we are planning to have a Passion Hour Exhibition.  On the day of our holiday party, during the last week before the winter break, parents will be invited into the classroom to see the efforts of their child's research.  Passion hour is a weekly time where the students are able to research and focus on something of their choosing--something that they are passionate about.  There are so many great ideas, I know you will be impressed.   

I hope  you have a wonderful weekend with your families.

Mr Shawn

Friday, November 10, 2017

That's It for HWOO!

Hi Parents;

Well that was fast!  Our second unit of inquiry in the books.  This week the students worked very hard to finish up work related to our unit, including the summative assessment. As part of the assessment process, the students did some self assessments, and group assessments of their learning. It is exciting to see them learn as part of this process.  By thinking about how they performed and learned, they make connections between the tasks they are doing, and new knowledge they are developing.  Their summative task was about managing time, which involved organizing and managing a group of time restricted tasks,  prioritizing important information to decide on the best course of action, collaborating to achieve group objectives, and being able to reflect on what they did well, and where they could have improved.  I am proud of my students by how hard they have worked this week.  The growth in their ability to write their thoughts and ideas has been amazing.

Their living journals for this unit of inquiry, which is where they reflect on the central idea, the approaches to learning and the key concepts of this Unit of Inquiry, will soon be uploaded to their digital portfolios, so please spend some time with them and have them show you their living journal.

Be sure to read the article in school newsletter about our Blue Bot activities which we also wrapped up this week.  It was a wonderful activity which had them programming, measuring, using a stopwatch, and collaborating. In math this week we have been working on time telling, measuring, multiplication and how it connects to addition.  In language this week we have continued our focus on writing to inform, or reports. We played a Kahoots game this week about testing their knowledge about literacy terms and features such as synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, prefixes, suffixes and many others.  Ask your child about Kahoots!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Busy Two Weeks!

We have had a busy two weeks since the break.  We have jumped right back into our Unit of Inquiry, How We Organize Ourselves.  A memorable piece of learning has been developing on our programming, measuring, time keeping, data recording and addition skills, by using the Blue Bots.  The blue bot is a small programmable robot which the students have been using to programming to follow a certain predescribed track.  They have had to achieve success in their groups by collaborating--assigning tasks, and using strategies to be efficient in their programming and data measurement and recording.  One very common observation they made was that the groups which were the most collaborative, had the most success.

This week we visited the Astronomy Institute.  The students gained appreciation for the contribution that scientists from Central Asia made to the measurement of time.  They made connections between the famous Uzbek scientist, Mirzo Ulukbek's giant sun capture or ecliptic inclination tool, (or sextant) and our own sun dial we made at TIS.  The large telescope in the observatory was the highlight of the visit.  They were amazed by the shear power of the sun, and really realize how important it is not to look directly at the sun with devices, even with binoculars.  See the pictures below from of the field trip. 

In language this week they made links to our Blue Bot activity by writing reports about the tasks, and their successes. Writing in cursive, and writing texts with proper beginning, bodies and endings remain a focus.  Utilizing writing conventions such as proper punctuation, upper and lower case letters, tall and short letter size, word and line spacing, as well as spelling are daily occurrences. 

In math this week, we continued with addition and subtraction strategies.  Some 3P students are in my math group, while some are in Mr. Matt's group.  My group came up with "CABS" to help us remember how to add and subtract large numbers.  Ask your child about CABS (if they are in my math group that is...). Today we managed to play some quick addition/subtraction facts.  Next week we will begin our investigation into multiplication.

This week we finally began a dedicated time for "Passion Hour", a time dedicated to researching and becoming a resident expert.  They will present it, in much the same way, but not the pressure, as the Grade 5 exhibition.  Further information will be provided.  

Next week is our last week for How We Organize Ourselves.  It has flown by, to say the least.  The students will demonstrate their knowledge by doing their summative assessment task late next week. 

Finally, I created an account for the students of 3P for Xtra Math.  Personally, I prefer this better than IXL, as it targets the specific needs (weaknesses) of each student individually.  In this way it directs questions to them that will build on their existing knowledge, to gain more proficiency, rather than making them practice something they already know.  While we do some in class, some children can benefit from practicing math skills at home in their spare time.  There log-in information is in the inside cover of their reading record book.  They can run it from or they can download the app.

In the near future I would like to invite parents to come our classroom to talk informally about what learning looks like in my classroom.  More information will be forthcoming. 

I hope you have a restful weekend! 

Enjoy the pictures below.