A blog dedicated to pursue my passion for writing. Stories of teaching and anything else that fills my head.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The First Month Back

School started in September and since then I feel like I have been sprinting a marathon. I guess that is why teachers have 2 months off. I did feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

This year I teach grade 4 again in a small growing-town north of Toronto, Ontario. My school just started the full-day kindergarten program which means we have 200 little people registered out of 870 students in a K-8 school. I have 24 delightful students who seem eager to come to school each day. This is my 3rd year teaching grade 4, so start up was more smooth and I love that I can reuse lessons.

Did you know that in a group of 24, there is often always 2 people who share the same birthday. This year 2 students share January 22 birthdays.

Every year I start with reading, "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds. I love what the message in this book and often students can connect with the story or character. I took part in Dot Day around September 15ish and we sang this song.

 Then we made Dot art. We used the ColAR app on the iPads which kids love. And painted outside
on the tarmac.
This was a Pinterest find, and I haven't quite learned how to put the Pin button on my pictures. Basically you use 1 part cornstarch with 1 part water, then add food colouring. So simple.
When it dries it looks like sidewalk chalk.

Each week my class completes team challenges. I love the marshmallow challenge. Here is our tallest structure this year. I realized afterwards I forgot to give them string, but the students still managed. Each group of 4 received 20 spaghetti sticks, 1 marshmallow and an arm's length of masking tape and string (if you remember). Then they have to build a freestanding tower, I used the CN Tower as an example, and place their marshmallow on top.
Team challenges help my class problem solve, make decisions and promotes team work. Afterwards, we reflect on the challenge. I create an anchor chart to remind students how to be effective group members with Do's and Do Not's.

Lastly, I work closely with my grade team and this year we are having more emphasis on outdoor education which links into our first science unit, habitats. We got to go a conservation center close by to study wetland, pond and forest habitats. Kids love field trips!

Each month we are walking to a park close by that has 3 different habitats for us to study- a creek, forest and field. We hope to be able to encourage students to care for their environment and realize the impact they have on the animals. 

Behind our school there is construction. Houses are popping up like crazy here. This wee snake happen to cross our paths outside of our portables. Luckily no students were around on this PD day. My grade partners swooped him up and tried to find another home for him. We thought this would be a great teachable moment for our classes. I  got the heebie jeebies and couldn't  get myself to touch the snake, from afar it was cute with its little tongue and 2 beady eyes. I envisioned it to grow like Voldemort's snake in Harry Potter, or not.

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