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Saturday, 22 October 2016

It's all about those bats.....

Every Elk Island Catholic teacher in Grades One to Six is required to show evidence of each child's learning to the parents before the Fall and Spring three way conferences. Gathering evidence of academic accomplishment (knowledge, skills and competencies) is a continual process.  This year I have chosen to challenge myself to use the on line application called Fresh Grade.  My goal is to post a sample of student engagement once a week  This is not the only way that I am bringing assessment alive to you.  I consider this blog as your opportunity to 'see' your child's life in the classroom, to hear how the lessons are bringing the curriculum alive and offer suggestions for you to talk about what is happening in school with your child.  As well, I am sending every 7 to 10 days, a blue folder which is full of samples of your child's work, in truth, the evidence of their learning.  Some pieces demonstrate a review of concepts that were introduced last year.  Others will include your child's own self assessment or teacher feedback.

The Alberta Assessment Consortium says:
Self-reflection is fundamental to developing intrinsic motivation for learning, supports life long learning, and is itself a learning tool (sometimes called metacognition).  

Research shows that feedback has the greatest impact on learning when it is not graded but consists of specific verbal or written feedback.  

I want to share this information now because there will not be a binder of student work coming home in early November.  The evidence has been coming home throughout the two months we have been working on Grade 2 outcomes and will continue throughout the school year.  Please take the time to look at these pieces and read the feedback.  Your child will appreciate your questions and queries on what they are learning during their school day.

This week we focused on bats....the creatures of the night!
We had four full days of reviewing our prior knowledge (schema) of using films, non fiction and fiction text as well as sources on the internet to add to our knowledge and then each student wrote their own 'book' of facts about bats.
Here are some photos of the students sitting in EEKK position (elbow to elbow, knee to knee) as they read non fiction books and shared what they learned.
Earlier in the week, we had wondered if baby bats (called pups) had fur when they were born.
One girl was over the moon when she found a photo that showed that bats are hairless when born.  She was really using her own skills to solve this problem!

We revisited the concept of fact families.  This is a concept that the majority of the students still need practise in.  Most of the students do not yet see the connection between the numbers.  I know this because as they were writing out the four equations (two addition and two subtraction) they were putting down their pencils and counting their fingers to find the solution.  That is exactly the opposite of what this concept is meant to assist them to understand.
Fact families are meant to show that when I know 2 + 6 = 8, then I will know that 8 - 6 = 2
The numbers are related.  They work together.  I don't need to find the answer, because it is there in the family of numbers.
We'll be working on this again next week.
On Friday afternoon, we had an in-school field trip, which means that the presenter comes to us.
The field trip focused on bringing the Inuit culture alive, which is part of our Social Studies program.
The presenter brought her snowy owl, Tundra, with her and discussed
the reason that the Inuit people built Inukshuk.
Thank you to the four parents who generously gave of their time to run the stations within the classroom.
It was a challenge to move the tables to a space that allowed for the four stations but somehow we managed to make ti work!
The students learned about the animals, the language and the Shaman at these stations.
The fourth station was a hand-on experience, in which the children were able to carve their own soapstone inukshuk.

They had reason to be very proud of their hard work!

If you would like to volunteer, we will be having another in school field trip focusing on the science unit of Liquids on Friday, November 4th and four more adults will be needed on that day, presumably in the afternoon again.  Let me know through the agenda or e-mail if you can help out.

Mark your calendars now to avoid double booking, or conflicts with hockey games.  Our three way conferences will be in the evenings of Tuesday, November 8th and Wednesday, November 9th.  Student, teacher and parents will be meeting together to discuss the first part of this school year and set goals for the next few months.  I look forward to seeing you all then.


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