Reminder: Next Wednesday you are invited to come to the classroom as the students will lead you through a conference. They will show you what they have been learning and what their goals are. There will be no school this day. You should have received an e-mail from the school with instructions on how to sign up. The students have been busy planning how they will lead you through their 40 minutes in the classroom. It is very different for each child and is largely interactive. I am certain you will enjoy every minute!
Our Week in Review:
A big part of the school week, since the beginning of the school year, has been reflecting on our learning. The students start each day by reflecting on what they learnt the day before, what they will be focusing on for the day ahead and how they are going in achieving their goals. They write in their portfolios daily and have dedicated time to ensure they are documenting their individual learning journey. I regularly read these blog posts and use them as away to track their progress in writing as well as how they are generally feeling about school in general. I was excited this week to read a post that was reflecting on the new “student directed” approach that we have been taking this year.
We have begun our new unit. The students will be inquiring into:
Our body systems are affected by our choices.
- the different body systems (form)
- how body systems work (function)
- the affect our choices have on our body systems (causation)
This week the students spent time making connections to the central idea and lines of inquiry (provided above) and brainstormed ways that they would inquire into the unit. They have begun to prepare for the 20 day challenge. They have identified an area of their life that they would like to work on and improve. Some examples are:
On Friday many of the students went to the sports area and did their “pretests” where they were checking what their current skill level is.
They will now create a plan for their 15 day challenge which will see them train daily for the next 15 days. While training they will collect data then analyze their results. They will need to research about what body system was effected and explain what happened. We will then invite you into the class in about four weeks for a presentation on their results. Please can you encourage your students to doing their training program every afternoon after school! We have talked a lot about the need for being committed and taking responsibility.
As we continue through the unit the students are identifying the skills that they will need in order to undertake their project work. They have started to take extra responsibility for their learning by requesting workshops that help them improve on different skills that they are concerned they are lacking (an example is writing open ended interview questions, creating data tables to record information…). These workshops are offered by myself and Ms Huong but also Ms Nicole and Ms Sara when they are pushing in to our classroom. The workshops allow for the students to have a more individualised program where their specific needs are being met. This coming week we are also having Ms Conroy in the library lead a workshop for us on reading for information in non fiction texts.
What has been an exciting part of the week has been to see the number of students who are will ing to be risk takers and offer their own workshops! They are reflecting on their improvement and choosing to help their peers. The benefits of this are endless for both themselves and their peers! For themselves the student workshop leaders have to have a deeper understanding of the concept they are “teaching” in order to present it to their peers clearly and be able to answer questions. For the workshop participants they are able to have concepts reinforced from a peer who is able to present it in a different way and is what could be seen by some, a less intimidating environment.
Reading: Non Fiction –> students have been focusing on locating resources that will provide them with information on their chosen body system.
Writing: Aside from their integrated project focus the students are continuing with their writers workshop / narrative focus.
As we are finishing off multiplication focusing more on division and fractions the students are having fun with exploring the different strategies that they have learned. Taking the focus away from traditional algorithms has enabled all of the students to be both challenged and motivated. I am happy to report that so far 80% of the students in class have achieved automatic recall of their times tables and the other 20% are working extremely hard to reach their goals too! Please help by encouraging them to practice from home each night! And let me know if you would like me to resend some resources to help with this!
This week the ES Art exhibition opened and it is well worth a look!!! 4A students didn’t disappoint with excellent work on display!