Sunday, 27 January 2013

Winter Wonderland Art

Well the last two weeks have been busy at our school with 4 days of skiing. We lucked out and had beautiful weather with around -2 degrees Celsius all days :) It feels like we didn't do much school work over these 2 weeks. During the first week skiing was Wednesday and Thursday so on Friday my kiddos were EXHAUSTED. I decided that we would watch Maniac Magee since we just finished the novel. It isn't the best quality but hey it filled the time while my class recouped from skiing.
During the second week we went on Wednesday and Friday so they were not as tired and we could get some work done. We completed a winter art project (inspired by this Pinterest link) that had to be done over 3 days because of waiting for paint to dry. Biggest lesson my class learned....patience ! 
As I did my example I took pictures so you can see the steps.  
Step 1: Paint the snow at the bottom of the page. I told my class that about 1/3 of the page should be the snow base.

Somewhere in the top part of the page paint a white circlish (new made-up word) shape. We used plastic plates for the paint and students had 2 colours only (white and blue). To the white add a SMALL amount of blue paint. Paint around the white circlish shape with the new paint colour. It is okay (preferable even) to overlap the paint to help with blending and not making it look like stripes around the middle circle. Then continue this with gradually adding blue paint to make it darker as you move outward from the white circlish shape. Let dry

Step 3: Using black paint only, paint shilouttes of things you would see outside during winter. Let dry. 

Ok this is where my students struggled with patience. They wanted to do the final stage and set he finished product.

 Step 4: Add snow if wanted. I used a Q-tip here but some of my students used a paintbrush. It is up to you. Let dry and then display.

My school only had a lighter blue paint so it was hard to make it dark. I would love to have done this with a navy blue paint but that is life. I think they still turned out okay and the bulletin board is eye-catching in the hallway. 

Here are some examples that my Gr4/5s did.

Have fun painting with your class and if you need an idea for paint containers in your classroom check out my previous post on reusing Lunchable containers for paint ! 

Since this project was inspired by Pinterest I thought I would leave a link to my Winter Pinterest Board ! I would love for you to follow any of my boards. If you have a great Pinterest board dedicated to art I would LOVE it if you could leave a link in the comments so I can follow it also. I am obsessed with Pinterest and finding new art ideas :)


Sunday, 6 January 2013

No Bones About It, Science is Fun!

Well it is the last day of Christmas break for me and I cannot wait to go back to school. Is it weird that over the holidays I was missing my kiddos and wondering what they were doing? I am sure I have said it already this year but I love my class. They are fantastic and interesting!!! Of course they are not without their problems (no class is perfect after all) but they are so open to trying anything and they are respectful and encouraging to each other. Perhaps this is a rare thing these days as I have not had a class like this in a few years. Anyways I digress with their greatness...
Back to what I was going to start to write. We will be continuing with our study of the human body so I was looking up new books about bones, to bring into the classroom. There are so many to choose from so why is my classroom library lacking in this area....hmmmm Well I did some shopping this morning and this is what I ordered (All books about bones/human body except the Madonna box set. It was too good of a deal to pass up and my students love her books.).

We are having such a fun time learning about the human body and sometimes I let my class continue working on Science way longer than we should. I would teach Science all day long to them if I could. They didn't want to move on from the nervous system and the brain and now they don't want to move on from the bones. Here are some picture from what we have been doing in class.

Here are a couple of pictures of bones that I had on display for my class. The human bones are from the high school. I am told they are real but I am not too sure.  My class enjoyed looking at the long bones (see below for our in depth look at long bones) and identifying the spongy bone and the canals that run through the bones.

These are only some of the bones. I left the rest in the box so the table wouldn't get too cluttered. My class wants to assemble the entire skeleton so I think I will set up stations around the classroom and one can be assembling the skeleton.

Along with the human bones are some animal bones as well. There are 2 small animal skulls in the second picture and 2 moose bones (brought in by a student) in the third picture. Can you spot them?
 Before we looked at the skeleton we read some facts about the bones in our text book and then had an in-depth look at certain bone types. Here is the anchor chart for the long bone. Students made a to scale model of one of their long bones from card stock and then we labeled and coloured it to match as we filled out the anchor chart.
They had fun making a bone that was the same length as theirs and then they compared bone lengths. It was great to see that when we looked at the real skeleton that they remembered aspects of the long bone from this lesson.

Here is the anchor chart from our lesson on keeping bones healthy. I divided my class into four groups (5 students each group) by putting the names of the minerals (Calcium, Vitamin C, Phosphorus, and Vitamin D)
in a can and students had to pull one out and find their partners.
There task was to research on the computer how their mineral helped their bones and what foods they could find the mineral in. Then they had to go through magazines and find the foods to glue on the anchor chart. One person from each group was to present their information to the class.
Next we are moving on to look at muscles and how the bones move. Exciting stuff happening in my classroom!!!!

If you have studied the human body in your classroom I would love to hear about what you have done. I am always looking for new activities to do with my class.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Total Participation in Your Classroom

First of all I would like to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. 2012 was a fabulous year and I can only hope that 2013 will be as great!
I thought I would start the new year off by sharing with you my favourite professional resource that I discovered in 2012. Total Participation Techniques has transformed my teaching and allowed all my students to be more involved in lessons.
Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

My administrator brought the book to the school at the end of August and he showed it to me. I asked to borrow it and by the time I was done the second chapter I had ordered a copy for myself.If you are anything like myself you will write all over your books to make notes. Well since it wasn't my book I had to use sticky notes and then would transfer the notes to my book when I got it in the mail. There was a lot of recopying to do :)

The book has many (37 to be exact) practical techniques to involve your students in every lesson. They encourage you to have a kit in/at each child's desk with materials ready for total participation. I am still working on this but have many materials ready in the classroom for students to use. 

I recently purchased individual whiteboards from Really Good Stuff so that students would have their own and we could stop using the flimsy laminated paper we had before. My students were very excited about having their own whiteboard.

Other great resources for students to have are Yes/No cards, multiple choice cards with A,B,C,D choices, and number cards.

The techniques allow students to mingle with peers while discussing/figuring out concepts taught. This relies on having students work with partners a lot. You can put students with partners in many ways such as desk partners, grade partners, or number partners. One of the best (and used the most in my classroom) techniques for putting students in partners is the use of an appointment card. The book goes into great detail on this partnering technique and I immediately fell in love with the practicality and ease of this technique.

Basically, students setup appointments ahead of time and when you need them to work with a partner you have them pull out their laminated appointment card and say "I want you to work with your 2pm appointment." My students always ask if they can meet with their appointment partners and are disappointed when they choice partners in a different manner. Click on the picture of the appointment cards for a ready-to-go template.

Tip: If you have an odd number of students make sure they make an appointment where there will be 3 of them in a group.

Trust me when I say that this is the professional resource to have in EVERY classroom. I have only gone into details about one of the techniques so there are 36 more for you to explore.


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