Saturday, February 22, 2014

This Week At School

-  In SCIENCE my students created commercials on different things that use light (as in scanners for barcodes, automatic doors, cd's, telephones, and solar panels).  I really wish I could post one of them because I think they did a fantastic job (if only they would have spoken up a little more).  They were really creative though (pulling moving whiteboards, making pretend solar panels, having catchy starts, one group wrote Walmart on the board and I was confused all day why someone did it... then I watched their video and it all made sense.  I feel like such an awesome teacher this week and mostly because of this because awesome teachers video their students light commercials.  Next week we are going to watch the commercials, talk about how they could improve, and self grade the projects (and review for a science test).

-  I'm also really excited about how well we are all doing in MATH.  Seriously, 4CP is shining like a star. Everyone is getting their grades pulled up and just doing awesome.  While working on multiplying we are also doing a graphing project for the olympic games (see out bulletin board below).  On Friday's we work on our bar graphs (not in the picture).  Eventually I'll remove their predictions and replace them with bar graphs that we make in Excel in the computer lab.  One day at recess as I was stapling new medals up to our board I heard the class across the hall commenting about how many medals the countries were getting.  It's nice to see our bulletin board getting noticed!

-  We FINALLY started the comic book part of our unit in grade 8 ELA.  I have one class of grade 8's that to be honest isn't normally quiet.  But on Thursday all was quiet as they were finishing up work and flipping through comic books (and graphic novels).  Right now we are in the process of learning about comic books. Basically, I printed off 4 articles that we will read and answer questions on to learn about fonts, writing styles, and pictures then in about a week (or 2) we will get down to actually turning one of our short stories into a comic book.  I REALLY hope they do an awesome job.  I'm excited to switch up those bulletin boards in that class with some exciting comic books.

-  In FRENCH we have finished reading our 5 very basic French books.  Now we are in the process of creating our own books.  I'm excited for this as well.  I rarely have anything French related to showcase on the bulletin board so hopefully their books will turn out awesome.

-  I sadly got cut from the board members visit schedule since I will be teaching French and not ELA while they are here.  I might try to get them back out to my hut though.  The students could read them their French books (either the ones they make or the ones I gave them).

-  Next week is the ski "trip".  Don't get excited... it is a day trip.  6:30am - 6:30pm.  Which means it will be a 5:45am - 7:15pm day for me.  I guess the roads won't be busy on the drive to work!  This means planning for a substitute.  So far they will be doing problem solving, St Patrick's Day art, and heading to the computer lab.

-  My grade 4's were lucky enough to watch Canada's gold medal game in curling (they had been begging for at least a week to watch some curling over the noon hour).  I put it on while they did some math in the morning.  That same day Canada also won gold in woman's hockey.  We weren't watching it because I was reading my students the first couple of pages of an article in grade 8.  I did put on the medal ceremony for them later on.

-  On Thursday I stayed a little later to get some work done and one of my grade 8 students came at the end of the day to get some work he had to get done.  Praise the Lord they do bring stuff home with them occasionally!

It was another really great week in my classes.  I'm REALLY loving my job which is a huge change from before Christmas break when I wasn't sure if I was doing anything great.  So thankful for everything I've been blessed with there and to finally have the opportunity to show someone what I'm able to do in the classroom (other than substitute teach).

It's true

Our Olympic bulletin board (on the right are their predictions for how many medals they thought each country would get  - then broken down further to gold, silver, and bronze).

And because I teach grade 8...

Friday, February 21, 2014

What I Wore

Once again I find myself apologizing for the lack of posts.  
My excuse?
I had friends from out of town (province) in and I wanted to spend tons and tons of time with them.

Anyways, this post was easy enough so this should hold you over until my TWAS tomorrow and hopefully a lesson (or 2) next week.

I had duty yesterday.

When I have duty I wear pants.
I also wore boots outside.

Pleas notice that I got brave and tried colour on top AND bottom!
(originally I had thought my purple pants would be okay because yellow and purple are complimentary colours but it didn't look right... plus bonus: it looks like I'm supporting our football team with this colour combo!)

AND, as a bonus

3/5 of us are not from around these parts!
All dressed up for a wedding

I had all these items for forever because I was supposed to go to a wedding in November.  Then breakups happened and call me crazy but I didn't go to a wedding for his friends after that (plus I don't think I was invited any longer).  So I finally got around to taking the tags of the dress and putting it to use.
The bag I scrambled for at the mall the weekend before... I didn't know what I was looking for other then I needed something smaller than my brown bag. 
 Then I found this for $5.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This Week At School

-  In ART we finished up our Valentine's Day project (okay, we actually took a science class to do this)
-  We are basically done our SCIENCE unit on light.  The kids are planning commercials to demonstrate the different uses of light in creative ways (solar panels, sensors, and cds are all playing a part)
-  Everyone is still loving multiplying (which makes me feel awesome)
-  We've been watching a lot of the Olympics (I've been putting it on for my grade 4's during lunch).  One day I put it on early and we were watching figure skating.  Those kids, such critics!  They were having none of the girl from China who fell a couple of times.  They really want to watch curling but I haven't let them.  Do they know how entertaining it is?  I've told them I'll put it on when Canada is playing.
-  We have been graphing the Olympics in math and our bulletin board is looking great.  I'll snap a picture of it next week sometime.
-  I love that my grade 4's loved Valentine's Day.  It makes me so happy.  I honestly didn't plan much except that I booked us on the tobaggon run.  Apparently that was all they needed.  We also made envelopes to put our valentines in, moved and cleaned desks, and ate cookies I made for them.  It was a successful morning.
-  Projections for staffing for next year are in.  Let the fun begin!

Paul Klee Valentine's Day art... we missed a step.  Stay tuned for what we did.

So many pink cookies.  I had 2 boxes of strawberry cake mix from the states (because you can't get it here... or at least you used to not be able to) and made my recess helpers and grade 4's cookies.  I thought they did not taste good.  They loved them.  

I let them do whatever they wanted for their Valentine's envelopes... the only criteria was include your name and make it have to do with Valentine's Day.  I'm really impressed.  The girl who did the 2nd photo took the time to sharpen a red pencil crayon and then rub the shavings of colour onto her page with a kleenex!  So creative!

Sidenote:  I kept telling them we were making valentine envelopes for the last few days.  Apparently I say it wrong by saying it "on-ve-lope".  "it's en-ve-lope Miss Penner" so now I can't say envelope or more.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Descriptive Words (Part 2)

You may recall my lesson on Sandwich Making. Well, that did not fill up an entire hour with my lovely 8th graders.

After we calmed down from making sandwiches I told them they were going to be aliens from another planet. Being aliens from another planet they have no idea about the type of things we have on Earth. I told them I was going to give them something and they would have to write out (in a short paragraph) what it looked like.

So I gave them each a Hershey Chocolate Kiss. I told them they weren't allowed to use any of those 3 words "Hershey" or "Chocolate" or "Kiss" in their writing.

A lot of them described it as a volcano.

Then we moved onto "feels like" they were not allowed to unwrap the chocolate yet.

Then at sounds like they dropped it on their desks a few times and then I let them unwrap it and listen to what it sounded like.

Then smells like and finally tastes like.

My room was SO quiet.

After every short paragraph I had a few students share what they had written.

This lesson (part 1 and 2) would go over great with my grade 4's (but I don't teach them ELA) so definitely use it at other grade levels!

Also, just as a heads up. One of my students was out of the room when I passed out the chocolates. When he came back and saw what everyone had he definitely said "Miss Pener can I have a kiss?". It was hilarious and the class made fun of him (it was okay, he could handle it). But if the word spread that my student asked me for a kiss it may have gotten out of hand. I was sure to tell him "yes, you may have a CHOCOLATE kiss"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Powers Out

This isn't a clever title to tell you about one of my lessons in our Light unit (though perhaps it was kind of a lesson).

No, instead I arrived at school Monday morning to a blackout.  The power was out in the town.  Which, honestly, with the amount of stuff that town has gone through this winter that was no big deal.  School as usual (or it was what I assumed when I noticed kids getting off the bus).

Luckily we are just nearing the end of our unit on Light (how fitting) so we had a bunch of flashlights.  Unluckily for us our room is in the middle of the school so none of our windows got great light from outside (just from the hallways... which were dark).  We gathered as many light sources as we could and I grabbed 3 kids to take to the library to collect books.  I figured there wasn't much we could do in a dark classroom so I would get one of them to shine a flashlight at a book while I read it.  Then they could lay around and enjoy the morning until the power came on.

While we were in the library the power came on!  Needless to say some of my students were not happy (I come up with the best ideas spur of the moment!).  Luckily for them we got about halfway through O Canada and the power was out again.

After their cheers died down we gathered our light sources that we had already put away and headed to the carpet at the back of the room.  On the announcements we had learned that Canada had 2 gold medals, 2 silver, and 1 bronze and we are doing a little Olympics themed unit in math so I took the opportunity to have them do some quick mental math.  I told them golds would be worth 3 points, silver medals 2 points, and bronze 1 point.  So we did some quick multiplying and figured out we had 11 points.  With this unit we are doing some graphs (pictographs and bar graphs).  In the hallway we are working on a pictograph for a medal count 1 medal on our board represents 2 medals won in the games.  So I asked them how many medals we would need to put up.  I was surprised they could grasp the ideas of halves (or at least some of them could).

Since we had already gathered the picture books I started reading the first one to them.  They laid around, each with a little battery operated tea light candle near them listening.  My EA took some photos.. I'm sure they look darling (I won't be posting any photos ever of my students so you just have to use your imaginations).

Of course the power came back on halfway through the first book so I finished it and then had them return back to their desks for a 3 times table pre test!  Let the fun begin!

It was an exciting morning in grade 4.

This isn't the first time the power has gone out on me.  I've had it happen while I was subbing (it was the end of the day though and my students were mostly all gone).  Has the power ever gone out on you while teaching/subbing?  What did you do?

Saturday, February 08, 2014

This Week At School

-  Was a full week!... for reals we haven't had to work a full 5 days for a very long time (no snow days this week)
-  In MATH we are full steam ahead with multiplication and can you believe it.. I've had multiple kids come up and tell me they are liking math.  I'm flabbergasted.  The student that I was really worried about not getting it is getting it amazingly and my students on another program who have been working adding and subtracting up until now are also doing a slower multiplication program.  We are all multiplying and it feels great!
-  We are double timing it in ART class.  Working on Valentine's Day art projects (which I feel like I botched the instructions on.... hopefully they still turn out okay) and a movement piece for later on (we started the movement piece weeks ago, then had a bunch of snow days and a pipeline explosion so it is just on hold until after Valentine's Day).  Stay tuned for instructions on both of our projects!
-  Friday's are Olympic day in math class.  Yesterday I showed them a chart of the medal counts from the Winter Olympics four years ago and based on that we predicted what we thought the medal counts would be for this year (For Canada, USA, Germany, Russia, and China - they picked the countries... okay I made them pick Canada, USA, and Russia).  We are working on creating a pictograph on our outside bulletin board for the medal count and in the classroom we will work on bar graphs for the medal counts (which will eventually turn into a computer lesson to create the graph in Excel).  Stay tuned for a picture of our bulletin board!
-  Speaking of COMPUTER CLASS, we are finally doing more than just All The Right Type and free time!  This week we worked on using word art in Word to create name tags for our desks (I made them remove their old ones because some had multiplication charts on them).  
-  In SCIENCE we watched for a shadow for at least a week to appear on a certain tree in the school yard.  But alas, it has been cloudy (naturally, the sun would come out after we did the lesson inside rather than outside).  In case you are ever having a very gloomy week and want to teach your students about shadows I found a great website to hep teach kids about shadow lengths!  First we predicted what we thought shadows looked like throughout the day and then we went through the website.  Afterwards they had a worksheet to do to show where a shadow would come from a tree at different times... some got it, some didn't take their time and all the shadow lengths looked the same, some drew their shadows coming from random places.  I think we will go back and look at it next again next science class.  For the record, it got sunny the day after the lesson and my students have been OBSESSED with checking its shadow and counting how many steps long it is at different times.
-  In FRENCH we are doing I Love To Read Month.  We went through one really easy book and then we went through a book about a groups favourite games.  I've told my class to try to remember what it was like when they were learning to read English. What did they do to try to figure out what was going on in the story?  So we've been looking at pictures and recognizing words that they've already learned.  I must admit they have a much better memory than I originally thought!  I also introduced the word "Nous" this week which refers to a group of people.  I even stuck up a new poster on the wall that I thought showed this best. Since we were talking about Nous I figured may as well tell them about Je, Tu, Il, Elle, Vous, Ils, and Elles as well.  They already knew about Je and a little about Tu, Il, and Elle.  Every day 1 we head to the library to do an online program to just reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.  They are pretty into it which is great (and one less day I have to plan something for!)
-  Haven't had much ELA this week since my lovely grade 8's are doing a DARE program.  On Friday when I supervised they watched a couple of videos and one talked a little about plagiarism... so happy for this since some of my students are definitely plagiarizing on their blogs and apparently me telling them they could get in serious trouble later on if they make that a habit isn't enough for them to stop.  Hopefully they get it now.  
-  I've been having trouble with getting my 8's to hand stuff in.  This week I'm trying something new... we've been writing short stories and I should definitely have more handed in than what I currently do so anyone who hasn't handed in their first story we did (on an inanimate object) by Monday gets to spend their next day 5 (so Thursday) lunch hour in the computer room working on getting it done.  Next week it will be anyone who hasn't handed in story #2 and posted an article review.  The following week their third story.  It pushed at least one of my students to get their work handed in sooner.  Not sure what to do in grade 4 with this.  I only send homework in math and only when they don't do well on their hand in question... I definitely have some that need the extra practice and I'm worried about report card time...

Apparently it has been a busy week!

Here are some lovely photos of our week at school....

We watched some Olympic snowboarding on Thursday in French class because I was missing half my class (for the record we started out watching about Festival du Voyegeur).  It was just the qualifiers but one guy fell... the response in the classroom was shock and then someone said "well, at least he made it to the Olympics" we also watched parts of the opening ceremonies on Friday at different times.  My grade 4's watched it at lunch.

Pop Art Snowflakes ours didn't turn out as well as the originals on the site.

Our Valentine's art

The beginnings of our movement pieces... I am well aware they look like nothing special right now

I got to school REALLY early yesterday morning to take some of these pictures, get old stuff off bulletin boards and get grades into my computer.

Friday, February 07, 2014

What I Wore

Don't worry... I wore a 2nd boot this day!

I love, love, LOVE this dress.
And no; love is not to strong of a word to use when it comes to this super cute in summer, fall, AND winter dress (I haven't owned it through a spring yet).

I had to do some quick mending of the dress this morning (there is a tie in the back that somehow broke off one side... it isn't super important but I figured I would fix it then instead of leaving it and forgetting about it).
The cardigan is orange.. I debated between orange, pink, and blue before deciding that even though orange looked a little fallish that it was the best option.
Confession: the cardigan was only $5 at Target!

The boots?
You may recall this post where I stated I didn't care for any of my boots.  Well that was actually a lie because I have a pair of black ones I don't mind.  These ones are new though.  I've wanted brown boots for at least a year and I finally got some!  I'm a happy girl.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Descriptive Words (Part 1)

Here is a lesson that I did with my grade 8's to help improve their use of descriptive words (or just coming up with other words to use).

I started off the class by telling them we were going to make sandwiches (they were jam and butter because I didn't want to be the person to bring peanut butter into the school even though there are no allergies in my grade 8 classes). I showed them the bread and the containers I had put the butter and jam into. Then I asked for a volunteer that wanted a sandwich.

The volunteer went to the back of the room, faced the wall, and told me exactly how to make the sandwich. Whatever they told me I did.

It started off as "take the bread and put the jam and butter on it" so I took the loaf of bread (still in the bag) and put the containers of butter and jam on top of it.

Then it progressed to "take the knife and put it in the container of jam" since they didn't tell me to take the lid off the jam I stabbed the lid of the container with the knife until it broke. The kids loved it.

Eventually we got the containers opened and it turned to "take the jam and spread it all over one piece of bread" so I would take the jam and spread it on every side and edge of one piece of bread.

By this point we had probably made at least 5 sandwiches and they were catching on (after each person had told me how to make their sandwich they turned around to see what it made).

They had a lot of fun and keep asking me if we can make sandwiches again.

Luckily for them, I've volunteered my grade 8 classroom for the board members to come to observe and participate in. I think we will have the board members choose a student to be their "chef" and then they can take turns facing the back of the room. Hopefully something memorable happens (in a good sort of way) so that they remember me when they are thinking about jobs for next year.

I used this lesson in a grade 8 classroom but it would definitely work at a variety of age levels.  I could see my grade 4's loving it (too bad I don't teach them ELA) and I have a friend who did something very similar to describe how the scientific process works.

Part 2 of this lesson is coming up next week.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

This Week At School

... wait we had school this week?

Confession:  My students were only at school 2 days this week!  The reason?  Friday was a professional development day and on Monday and Tuesday the area was recuperating from a little (big) natural gas emergency leaving the school without heat.  Since we were only at school 2 days this week I hardly have anything to say!.. And if you know me you know this is a lie.  I always have a lot to say!

- On Monday and Tuesday I was supposed to be at a math professional development and have a substitute come in.  BUT Monday was a snow day so I stayed home and just went on Tuesday (yes, I went to PD even though my school was closed)
-  We started multiplying (again) and shocker, my students are actually enjoying it!  Yay!  No one has panicked over it or had a heart attack about it yet.
-  It had probably been about 2 weeks since we had done any science.  So I used a health class to remind us that we do in fact study science and we are doing a light unit.  We did a reflection experiment.  The kids love the experiments because we turn out all the lights in the room and they get to play with flashlights.  I sent them home with homework:  to check out their shadows at different times (morning, noon, and afternoon) hopefully one of them remembers!
-  In ELA we talked about responding to articles with our own opinions.  I used an article on dress codes as an example.  Then handed out articles either on Justin Bieber and his recent arrest or the Seal Hunt.  Now, they have to write a blog post as their response and then respond to another blog post about their topic.  Hopefully they get them done soon... My grade 8 assessments are due at the end of the month!
-  In French we are working on introducing a friend to the class.  They are actually doing quite well with it.  Everyone forgets my STUPID rule (you don't pronounce the S, T, P, or D at the end of French words... usually).
-  We also started a French program online.  I'm the first person in the school to actually use the program with the students.  Someone give me a pat on the back, gold star, and $100!
-  On Thursday I had my hair kind of curly.  My grade 4's thought nothing of it.  The grade 8's though asked if it was my natural hair to which I responded it was... and every other day they had seen me I was wearing a wig.  They thought it was funny and yes, I know they meant to ask if my hair was naturally curly (it isn't) since I normally have my hair straight (which I do with the help of a flat iron)... my natural hair is somewhere in between the 2.
-  I'm going to take a break from our regular health curriculum to talk about inclusion.  I have one small group of students that only like working with each other.  It isn't a huge problem but if I pair them up with someone other than someone from their group they would rather choose to work alone.  There is also a clear leader in the group and if the leader decides they don't want to do something the others don't either (thankfully the leader is a good student and the things they choose not to do are things like decorating cookies or eating ice cream).  If anyone has any great ideas on how to bring this up with my students let me know!  I'll just be happy if those in that tight group start including others in their things or make their own decisions.

I don't have many pictures from the week (okay, I only have one) but come on... we were only there 2 days! My grade 8's wrote stories from an inanimate objects point of view and here is a little excerpt from one of their stories.  Can you guess what this student's inanimate object was?
Looks like this student is admitting the class is stinky!

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