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Monday, January 28, 2013

Solar Sleepover!

Action is a big part of the PYP inquiry cycle. In a nutshell it is my biggest goal when teaching a unit of inquiry. I am so pleased with my students for the enthusiasm they have had to demonstrate their learning with others. This is Action!

One of my students asked me if we could have a sleepover at school so we could look at the night sky. I dismissed her request at first but after thinking about it at home later that night, I realized this too was action. I didn’t want to thwart her enthusiasm so I decided to turn her idea into a reality.

After much planning and collaborating with parent volunteers, Nilde and the administration we got the go ahead. And what an amazing time we had!

We started the afternoon off with a follow up activity to the phases of the moon lessons we had had in the weeks prior to the big event.  We used Oreo cookies to demonstrate the different phases of the moon and to label our diagram on a plate. The kids were very eager to eat their cookies one they had finished their diagram. I think next time I will glue the Oreo’s to the plate and give each child two cookies to eat.  I would love to have displayed them before they ended up in bellies.

Kyle enjoying some delicious cake that Amish's mum brought us.

Check out that Crescent moon. Well done Thomas!

Looks like Daniel is ready to eat them all up.

Next we headed to the cafeteria and made Moon Rocks. The recipe for this activity comes from Teacher Created Resources Planets for Primary Aged Students.  As a tie-in to the lessons on writing and following instructions that we have been working on, I gave each group of four children an instruction sheet to follow. Here is the link if you want to get a copy.

Here are the directions for making your own Moon Rocks
To make the dough, mix together these ingredients:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry tea leaves (new or used but I have only ever used new)
  • silver glitter
  • waxed paper
Mix the flour, salt and water together. Add tea leaves and knead until the dough is smooth and pliable. Add more mater if the dough is too dry or more flour if too sticky. Add a few sprinkles of silver glitter and have each students mold a small potion of dough into their moon rock. 
Dry rocks on wax paper for several days (they do take 4 to 5 days to really dry).

*The recipe makes enough dough for 4 to 5 good sized rocks. 

Measuring the ingredients

The kids worked very cooperatively and all made successful moon rocks. Thanks to the parent helpers who were there to help with the measuring and pouring, etc. Your help was incredible!

Following the directions

"This is fun!" - Shivani

Thank you to all our Parent Helpers!!!

Final Product. 

Before we settled down to watch a movie, we played a game of Solar System Jeopardy against the parents. This gave the kids a chance to show off how much they have learnt during the past few weeks. To their surprise the parents did  a great job and almost won.  Many of the kids said that the game was their favorite part of the sleepover.

After saying good night to some of the parents we got into our PJ’s and watched the movie WALL-E. No matter how many times I see this movie I am laughing and crying by the end. It has such a wonderful message about preserving our resources and respecting our planet.

After the movie it was lights out. What a fun time the kids had gigging and talking. I’m not so sure the parent helpers and Nilde enjoyed that part of the night as much as they did.

Amish is ready for the movie.
Ellie and Shivani with their cuddle bears.
Cool pillow Aditya!
Sebas ready to go to sleep. Or not. 
Shahana andAkane waiting patiently as always. 
The kids were up bright and early and helped to tidy everything up. After a yummy breakfast of fresh warm bread, yogurt, cheese and orange juice we were all ready to go home. What a fantastic time we all had!                     

Breakfast Spread.

Which flavor do I want??

1, 2, 3...Sleepover!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teaching Time and having a little fun

It has bee such a long time since I have blogged. I wish I could say I have a good excuse, but other than being completely overwhelmed with my personal and professional life, I have nothing.
So back to it!

We have been working on multiplication and division and have had some fabulous lessons that I will share with you in the coming weeks. We have moved on this week to time. For most third graders telling time is quite simple but with the disappearance of Analog clocks I want to make sure they have a solid understanding. I don’t want them to end up like my sister (Senior in High School) who can’t read an Analog clock because according to her “there are only digital clocks in all the classrooms and I have my cell phone the rest of the time”.

I was sick yesterday so Nilde (my teaching partner) did a review of the clock with them and gave them some homework to practice. I was looking for something a little fun to do, because looking at clock after clock on a worksheet can get a bit boring, when I stumbled upon this cute idea on pinterest. I believe this activity was for a much younger class but I adjusted it to work for my kids and they had a great time.

In English we are working on writing a set of instructions. I referenced the instructions lesson and wrote a set for the kids to follow for the activity.

Here is what we did:

I gave each student one clock face, one strip of brown construction paper and one list of class names. 

Then I gave them the following instructions:

Part 1
1. Cut out the clock face
2. Draw a specific time on the clock face with hour and minute hand
3. Glue the clock face to the brown srtip of paper
4. Come see Ms. Pam with your clock

Part 2
5. Glue the class names into your Maths Journal on the left side of the next blank page
6. Now have fun and ask each member of class "What time is it?" Once they show you their watch write down the time next to their names in the Journal.

The whole class enjoyed the activity and it gave me a great opportunity to see who really can tell time and further more, who can draw the hands on the clock accurately. 

Because we are learning about am/pm and military time I then asked each student to write the time as if it was afternoon. This proved to be a bit more challenging for some but was good practice.  When reflecting on the lesson several kids realized that they hadn't asked the person if it was am or pm and that they needed that information to write the correct time.