Saturday, 27 December 2014

Natural Resources and Animal Needs

Well, report cards are done; the Christmas concert has been performed and we're in the midst of Christmas holidays now, so here's my next blog post going back a month or two with the content...

Natural Resources

As part of my unit on Our Local Community we also did some work on our natural resources.  As an introduction to this topic, we watched the following video: Natural Resources.  My friend Kathy Stahl and I found a neat  idea  "Eric Carle" book idea for this specific project in this Landforms book.    A different colour of construction paper was selected for each of the natural resources: yellow - sun, light blue - air, grey - animals, green - plants, brown, minerals, black soil and dark blue - water.  We simply changed the topic to natural resources.  Since I have a younger group of students (mostly grade 1) I created  a cloze captions for each of the natural resources.  The students filled in however we use each natural resource and illustrated them.











 Needs of Living Things

 To connect our science unit of Growth and Changes in Animals to Our Local Community, the students each selected  either a wild of domestic animal from our area and created a flip book describing how it meets its needs. The idea came from this link on Basic Needs.  A song is used to introduce the topic. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Plaster Leaves and Fall Fans

Plaster Leaves

For some art classes it works best to work on two projects simultaneously.  I began by getting the students started on leaf rubbings.  Then I took groups of 3 or 4 students and had them do plaster leaves which I found on "That Artist Woman's" blog you can find her detailed instructions at Plaster Leaf Prints.

Once the first group had theirs done, they went back to their leaf rubbings and the next group came to do their plaster leaves.  That Artist Woman explains, it's best to apply a coat of Mod Podge to the plaster before painting the leaves to prevent the acrylic paint from being totally absorbed by the plaster.


Fall Fans

During the second class, we first painted the plaster leaf imprints with acrylic paints.  As they dried, we switched to our leaf rubbings.  They started by drawing lines about 2 centimeters apart (we have rulers that are about that width) across the back of their leaf rubbing sheets.  The score lines helped make even accordion folds. Finally we folded our leaf rubbings into some fine fall fans!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

There are selfies, and then there are selfies.  These ones require the students to know what their back view looks like.  I won't go into great detail as to how to create them as it is well described here at Self Portraits.

I do want to mention that when I did this with my students, we spent a class just practicing.  We had different students be our models (one girl and one boy).  I asked the students to observe the pleats in the girl's Mitz (bonnet), then the girls practiced drawing one.  Similarly, the boys checked out the suspenders.  These two items of clothing are of course what gave our portaits their Hutterite flavour.  They all added background.  I had the older students do a bit more on perspective than the younger ones did.

The most challenging part I found was drawing the hand holding the mirror.  Ironically it turned out to be easiest for the students in grades 1 and 2.  Since their portraits are about the same size as they are in real life, I simply had them hold their pencil as if they were holding a mirror handle and then traced around it.  They added th details such as fingers and knuckles.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

What's in a Name?

Using name activities at the beginning of the school year is a great way to grab young learners' attention, as their names are so closely connected to them.  This year my home
room class consists of students in grades 1 & 2, and I found several math related name activities for the the start of the year. 

Place Value

My students built the first letter of their names with multi-link cubes.  I provided them with strips of 1" grid paper.  They copied their initial using the paper and numbered each square and circled each multiple of 10.  Since most of my students are in grade 1, circling the tens helped them see how many 10s and extra cubes they have.  Following that, they filled out a form which tells the number of tens, ones and the total number of squares needed to make their first initial. I adapted this idea from something I found at: Place Value.


Name Patterns

I gave each student a 5 X 8 grid and instructed them to write their names, one letter per square on the grid. Tracing each letter enabled them to see the patterns that can be found when they write their name in a grid.  Of course, the patterns will change depending on the size of the grid..  


We also created a bar graph to show comparisons on the number of letters in the students' first names.  Students then composed sentences that tell what the data on the graph tells us.  Some times the mentioned things like "Two of the children are Waldners," which is not evident on the graph.  We then had to discuss that whatever information we write down must be seen on the graph.  Next, the grade 2 students composed questions regarding the data on the graph which the grade 1 students had to answer.  

The stars on the graph indicate the 7 components that need to be included on each graph to make it complete.  I have a poster up for the students to refer to whenever they do any graphing activity. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Back to School Again

Another school year is underway and here are several back-to-school activities from this September:

Reach for the Stars

Students wrote one goal for the new school year.  They glued them to their arm tracing to create this colourful bulletin board.  I found this idea on Pinterest at:
 Reach for the Stars

There's Only One You

Another  Pinterest idea from There's only one... 

I nice way to get the students to start thinking about numbers.  Students were instructed to think of various ways that numbers apply to them. They listed the same number as their current age.

Sunflower Glyphs

Students in Grades 1 & 2 created sunflower glyphs.

 Royal Arrival

On our second day back at school, we welcomed  a royal visitor!!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Field Trip 2014

Our June field trip included a combination of history, fun, and citizenship activities.

The Forks

We enjoyed an hour of outdoor play at the history themed playground...

 Splash Dash River Tours

  ...and then embarked upon a historic river tour.

The Splash-Dash River Tour boats hold 11 passengers and the captain of each boat relates the history of the area as he takes his passengers on a tour along the Red River.  I was on the boat with our grades 3 - 5 students and was well pleased with how attentively they listened to the history lesson.


Children's Museum

After a picnic lunch on the Forks grounds, we spent about two hours experiencing neat activities in Th Children's Museum which was conveniently nearby.  Water, construction, climbing... What more could a group of active children ask for?

Siloam Mission

Our final destination before supper was an enlightening tour of Siloam Mission. None of  our students know what it's like to be hungry or homeless, therefore this part of our field trip was a huge eye-opener for them.  Our hope is that this tour will help us all take less for granted and adopt  more of an "attitude of gratitude."














Golden Arches

Finally, we had supper at McDonald's before heading home.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

One Last Story

I've attended numerous ELA related workshops and in services over the years.  Typically I glean at least one useful nugget from each one.  Perhaps a dozen years ago I attended one on the importance of reading reading aloud to students.  Not all children who enter our classroom doors have heard many stories before coming to us.  Therefore it's important for us to immerse them in stories as much as possible.  This presenter suggested that we read "One Last Story" to our students before they leave at the end of the day.  As soon as I got home I started that.  While it doesn't occur on a daily basis, one student or another frequently reminds me to read "one last story" before dismissal.
When I began this tradition, Leroy and Roman were in my classroom and I distinctly remember one of them regularly begging for "one last story".  The day of their graduation in 2012 we began another tradition.  I invited them back to my classroom.  They sat down on little yellow chairs just like they did in by-gone years and when Leroy saw me sitting with a book he grinned, "This is literally 'one last story'," be exclaimed.

 I Knew you Could!

I proceeded to read them, "I Knew you Could!: A Book About all the Stops in your Life." by Craig Dorgman.
In this book, "the determined Little Blue Engine is back, bringing inspiring and enlightening words of wisdom to graduates of all ages as they make the transition from one phase of life to the next."  Thus this delightful story makes an ideal read to graduates.
Bringing them back to the classroom, where their formal education began, and sending them off with a simple, though insightful story in some way brings closure to this phase in their learning and hopefully prepares them for the many life-lessons they are sure to encounter after closing the classroom doors behind them.