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Monday, 10 April 2017

A VERY Busy Week Back After Spring Break!

After our Spring Break, the students were introduced to our 'No Excuses' set of expectations for independent work.  These are a set of "rules" for writing that we have discussed and practised since the first day of Grade Two.  With only one term left in this school year, there are No Excuses for not putting these into effect!

As we move into work that focuses on really thinking about what we read at a higher level, the stories we are using to practise these new skills on, are those written by a beloved Canadian author, Robert Munsch.
For the story of "Smelly Socks" the students made a text to self connection,  which means that they thought of something in their own life (self) that related to the story (text).  In this story, Tina wants a new pair of socks.  The students had no difficulty with relating to a time when they wanted something and the ease or difficulty that the faced in getting the item.

The students have learned about using adjectives to help the reader 'see' the story in their mind.  After reading Mr. Munsch's story of "Mmmmmm, Cookies!" the students wrote their own description of their favourite cookie.  A couple of examples are included below.

Which one of these two examples demonstrates a great effort and a willingness to try and create sentences following our 'No Excuses' criteria?
The students laughed and laughed as Aaron's Hair ran away and landed in silly places on other people.  This time the students wrote the problem on one comb and the solution on the other that they added onto Aaron's unruly hair.
Thanks for Amy Lemons for sharing so many great ideas about bringing learning alive using books by Robert Munsch.
On Wednesday afternoon, the students at the school got their first opportunity to visit another classroom and participate in Junior Options.  The activity in my classroom was based on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Using the materials above, the students were given the challenge to make a contraption that would launch the little plastic man and propel him through the air, the furthest distance from the starting line.  Here's some of the building projects that the students tried and modified:

It was lovely to 'see' their brains spinning with ideas!
All week long we have been looking at some strategies for adding (and subtracting) large numbers.  We focused on using manipulatives, like those above.
The next set of photos show the students working in pairs to try another strategy, which is using an open number line.  There will be a set of pages coming home tomorrow which tell a bit more about why we explore strategies BEFORE the algorithm used in North America is introduced.  If you are interested in learning a bit more about the theories behind this different way to ensure students are successful, I am more than willing to show you as a parent the 'whats' and 'whys' of our math world in Grade Two.  In the end, we all still want our students to be successful and this was has proven to be better at having students understand what the question means and how to arrive at an answer that makes sense.

Here's an example of how we worked through some of the equations as we were talking as a class.  Bet you can figure it out! Hint: I used more than one colour to demonstrate which part I was talking about!

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