Literature Circles in the Class

We had a great start to our next round of Literature Circles. Each of the student groups has their own books this time. We have also made each group far more independent where they are leading their own groups and the Discussion Directors did a great job leading each of their own groups through discussing each of the completed roles. Here are some videos and pictures of the Literature groups in action!


African Folktales Update

Well, it is certainly great to be back. It was a great holiday and it was so nice to be able to spend time with my children. These years are so precious and it was nice to be able to sit back and have fun with my little Liam and my growing Siena. I hope your holidays were full of fun and joy as you celebrated the birth of our Lord.

I wanted to just let you know about what was happening in Language Arts. We have continued with our exploration of Literature Circles. Literature Circles are a great way to involve students in discussing and thinking about books in ways that are truly participatory with higher level thinking. However, they do involve a lot of modelling so that they are effective. As part of our exploration, we have so far looked at 3 of the five roles we will be doing. Students have done the Discussion Director Role, the Illustrator role and we are now on the Dictionary Dude role. To help us with these roles, we have been looking African Folktales. These short stories are great to quickly get into each of the roles. Plus, they are a lot of fun to read as students learn about storytelling and the role storytelling has in our culture and the culture of other countries.

Today we looked at the story, “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears?” As part of our discussion, we talked about how some cultures or groups often used stories as a way to explain the natural things they saw around them. So in this case, this story was a way for the African cultures to explain, in a funny way, why mosquitoes buzz in our ears. Now, I don’t know if that is actually what they thought for real, a long time ago. But . . .

Anyway. We then watched a great video of the same story, which I thought I would share with you here. I also included some other videos where cultures have tried to explain the reason for other things they wondered about.

Hey class! Did you like the videos? Let me know by adding a comment!!! Do you think people really believed these stories?

Mea Culpa

It’s been a busy week and thus the blog posts have been few and far between. My apologies and I will try to be more regular with my posts.

First of all, there is no spelling list or memory verse for this week due to the shortened week. We will continue with the spelling and memory verse next week as per usual. After this next spelling list, we will be going back to review past spelling words and start doing more work with them in sentence form.

speech1You may have noticed that your child brought home a poem in their planner (or pocket as the case may be). It is that time of year again and we are preparing for the Speech Meet which is held annually in Abbotsford. This is a big event for us and we always do very well. However, this year is a little different for us as we have a winter break between now and the day of the Speech Meet, which will be held on March 5. As we want to get our entries in before we leave, we will be choosing the students who will be going on February 10th. Participation is optional and if your child did not bring home a poem or memory verse that may mean they did not want to do it. Please ask your child if they selected a verse or poem to practice. Poems or memory verses must be memorized. We are also working on adding expression and proper standing postures to the recitations with students standing nice and straight with no hands in their pockets and their eyes on the audience. Adding expression is always hard for students but we are looking for students who can recite with confidence using a proper volume and with excitement in their voices. On February 10th, we will hear all the students from our class who chose to do a recitation and I will pick students from there. We are allowed to send 1 poem reader and 1 memory verse reader from the Grade 2 and 1 poem reader and 1 memory verse reader from the Grade 3’s in my class. If you have any questions or you need another copy of the poem please let me know!

Science has been a frantic, “let’s finish it up” time with students trying to get all their projects and papers done and in order before the deadline. Looking at the budgets from each class, all students were able to complete their projects on time and within budget. Luckily the storekeeper was very kind and gave some great deals towards the end of the projects. Projects will be going home tomorrow, but you can see them right now by watching the video below!

Our next science unit will be on States of Matter where students will be taking a close look at the properties of air, water, and gas.

In Language Arts, we have been continuing with our Daily 3 reading program. It has really been great to be able to work with small groups of students at the same time. As I work with the students in these small groups listening to them reading and working on certain aspects of their reading and comprehension skills, the other students are focused on sharing reading with a partner, reading on their own or reading along with a Cd. It has been a great program. For our writing, we have moved into organization of stories with a focus at this point on story beginnings. We have talked about how a story beginning needs to draw in readers and make them want to keep reading. One of the students today said that it is like writing the first part of a story and putting a “to be continued” at the end of it. It makes the reader interested in how the story is going to resolve itself. We took some common events from throughout the year, and drew a picture of ourselves doing that ordinary, everyday activity. However, the students added something interesting into the pictures to make it more exciting. Now, they are working on taking the picture and crafting it into a story beginning. At the same time, we have also talked about how we need to make our first sentence interesting as well, which is always a hard thing for students to do. We talked about how they can use beginnings like “One day . . . “, “It was a warm and bright . . . “, use conversations to start a story or use a book to find a beginning that you can adapt and use in your own story. We have already been getting some very interesting story beginnings. From there, we will work on the middles of stories and endings. I also told the students that I had a crazy idea for putting all those story beginning, middles and endings together into one story but I would tell them later. I will give you a clue though:

20081230-The Great Paper Caper

Speaking of Oliver Jeffers, if you haven’t read any of his children’s books, I highly recommend them. They are lots of fun and the illustrations are beautiful! They have also made one of his books into an animated video, which you can see a preview of right here:

I have placed some new links on the side. You should see a link to the Reading A-Z site where students can read books online and have them read to them as well! I have also put a link to a neat site where students can make regular maps and treasure maps to play with and print out. The last link is to a neat free program where students can make cool mindmaps of anything they want. It is free but annoying pop ups to buy to program come up every once and awhile.

Spelling for the Week, Memory Verse and Math Problems!

A little late on these but here they are.

The Spelling List!

Spelling N 6

Here is the link to the Spelling City for this week. Remember, if you bring in your certificate with 100% on it, you can get an extra mark on your spelling this week!!!

We have been working on our Math Problems of the Day and today we have three to display!!! M.M, D.W and N.G all did a Math Problem using the website. Here are their results and how they worked out the problem.

D.W came up with the solution this problem: A telephone company charges 50 cents for the first 3 minutes of a phone call and 10 cents for every minute after. A 4 minute phone call will cost 60 cents. How much will a 15 minute call cost?

N.G. came up with the solution to this problem:

A soccer game is 75 minutes long. If the game starts at 11:25, at what time does it finish?

Our memory verse for this week comes from Psalm 37:1-2:

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

Have a great week!

Starlight, Starbright, First Star I see Tonight . . .

Tomorrow is the last day of school for this week. Today was a busy day. Students are continuing to write amazing paragraphs with ly words, becauses and who/which to add interest to their writing. In social, today students worked on “grid maps” to reinforce that concept. We have also finished up multiplying by 10’s and 100’s. We have completed the times tables now and will be having a times tables test later on next week. Students can be practicing their times tables up to the ten times tables. We will soon be multiplying multiple digits which can always be a little confusing to students as it not only takes a knowledge of the times tables but also a little organization to make sure the numbers all line up properly.

As you can see, I have added a massive graphic to the side which gives an interesting, yet, humourous look at our atmosphere and the space beyond. A little tongue in cheek, but lots of fun.

In math today, we also did a problem of the day. Later on in April, students will be participating in an International Math Contest hosted by a group called Mathmatica. To prepare, we take one problem from past tests and work on them as a class. One student gets to display their solution using Today’s problem was a tricky one. You can see it in the solution presented by one of the students in our class, D.B.

Amazing Day

Lot’s happening today. We started our home reading program today with an introduction and explanations. The students had lots of questions of course, so we spent some time dealing with that.

One thing I would like to mention out of those discussions is when the students need to start reading chapter books. Up to 70 books, students may read any kind of literature including chapter books. After 70 books though, students must be read chapter books. A couple of the students asked about comic books and magazines. I said yes to those as long as they are actually reading the material. However, I will also leave that to your discretion as to whether you, as a parent, will allow those materials to count.

As mentioned before, you can print off more reading log pages from the website here, either from the earlier post or from the widget on the side.

Today we also completed our next experiment for science. I took some video of the event. Though the students were a little loud, the experiment went well and got some good information from the experiement to help us with our understanding of building principles. I will be posting more details and some of the videos soon to share with you.

Tomorrow is a special day in Math. We are going to be getting a little mucky. Please remember to have your child bring an old shirt to school.

Friday is Fall Colour Day. Students will be allowed to wear casual pants and shirts with fall colours.

PicLits Fun!

We had some fun today with a new website. The site is called PicLits. It is a neat site where you can add descriptive words and phrases to a picture. You can see the example below.
PicLit from
See the full PicLit at

It’s great for Language Arts. We did a couple as a class and suggested that they may want to add some to our blog. However, they will only be able to add a link not the actual picture. Anyway, I thought I would try a step by step to do this:

  1. Go to PicLits.
  2. Sign in. Students can use the same user name and password as the one I gave them for Animoto.
  3. Students create their picture with words.
  4. When you are done, click on the word save.
  5. Then click on the button for “blog or share” which is on the right hand side of the picture under the save.
  6. Highlight and copy the link in the first box by clicking the mouse and dragging it over the words in the box. Make sure you have them all! When it is all highlighted, click on the right mouse button and choose save or go to the top of the screen and click “Edit” -> “copy”.
  7. Go to our class blog.
  8. On the most recent post, click on the “Post a Comment”
  9. Type in your message like normal than “paste” in the link by right clicking with your mouse and choosing paste or got to the top of your screen, click on “Edit”->”Paste”.
  10. Click submit and wait for me to approve it
  11. And You’re done!

Have fun making your piclits! I will look at any of the ones done and maybe paste them into a post so we can all see them!

Mondays are Cool (If You’re On Mars)!

Well, we were back at it this week with lots of exciting things happening. Today we started looking at converting our outlines into paragraphs and the students were very excited to see the difference between what they started with and the paragraph we ended up with. The second paragraph was much more interesting with more details and interesting words being used. We also talked a great deal about how scientists developed their Mars Rover using the same ideas and procedures as we did when we looked at Oobleck. The students were amazed to discover that they had been doing the very same things that scientists did when they went to build the Mars rover. We watched some cool videos on the Mars Rover development and what happened when it went to Mars. We did a lot of talking about all the thinks scientists had to consider without even really knowing what the surface of Mars was like. Here is one of the videos that we watched.

Here is the spelling listspelling-l-32 for this week:

Reminder: Class pictures tomorrow! Please have your children come dressed in full dress uniforms!!!!

A Milestone and Some Reminders!

It was a busy day today and the students got quite a bit done. We are just about done working on our outlines and will be getting ready to turn them back into stories. The student have really picked up the idea of writing outlines and should be able to make an easy transition to writing paragraphs from those outlines.

In Art, we are working on creating pictures out of horizontal lines, diagonal lines and vertical lines. While it may seem that it would be hard to do an interesting piece of art out of just lines, I think the art will be amazing.

We reached a milestone the other day! We have gone past 2,000 visitors on our blog! We were all very excited and we are now trying to reach 3,000 by the end of the year.

Just a reminder! Students have their spelling test and memory verse tomorrow. Please help the students prepare for those!

Here is a game for you to try that looks like fun.

3D MazePlay Now!
Prepare a plastic bag near you before playing this game…