This Week At School – Week 1 – Aug 31 to Sept 4
This week at school we started off with a bang! Our students were excited to be back in class and see their friends – as well as meet their teacher. I was excited to meet my new students. We’re all starting to get back into the routine a bit more each day. We have created a class agreement, we are learning about each other and what our needs are as a class and as individual learners, as well as who we are as people.
I am so impressed with the students and their willingness to try new activities that push their thinking to dig deeper in order to help them become critical thinkers. This week, 3 key things we have tried have been:
Social – Critical Thinking and Questioning activity. I introduced the students to what I call a “Q-Focus” where I put up the statement “Imagine a world without Canada” on the board and asked the students to consider this for a few moments. They then shared their ideas with a partner. I asked the students to give me the questions they would have about this statement. I started them off with 3 questions of my own. “Would I have learned to play hockey? Where would I live? What would I eat?” Soon after, the kids started to give some of their own questions. We started looking at how our lives might change. Some very cool questions came out of the discussion. We then added to it on the following day as well.
Science – We introduced the topic of electricity with a visual thinking strategy called a Chalk Talk. A Chalk Talk is a silent conversation in writing that allows students to have an equal opportunity to participate. It is a versatile protocol that can be used for many purposes. In this case, I wanted to see what the students knew about electricity already and what questions they had. Another thing it showed me is that as a class we will focus on developing a Growth Mindset this year to break away from a fixed mindset.
Class expectations – Students were asked to do what is called ideation (or hyperactive brainstorming). They were given 10 minutes to try to come up with 100 ideas in the following categories:
What makes a good learner? (my expectations of myself)
What makes a good classmate? (my expectations of my class)
What makes a good teacher? (my expectations of my teacher)
(We came up with 73 ideas – which is pretty awesome!)
We came up with the following agreement:
What it means to be a part of 5-3 (or a brilliant fox – our class team name):
We, the brilliant foxes, believe we should:
- Be respectful
- Do our best
- Try and not give up
- Take risks and learn from our mistakes
- Be kind and caring
- Have fun
- Help eachother
- Raise our hand to share our ideas
- Be forgiving
- Be happy
- Challenge each other to learn new things
A few other things we are going to be working on in the coming weeks:
- 100 Word Writing Challenges
- Sentence Structure
- Organization for our writing (6+1 Traits of Writing)
- Reading strategies during Read Aloud of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
- Weekly learning reflections that will be coming home
- Free Writes
- Reading Fluency
- Problem solving: Daily in class problems and Bi-Weekly problem with a journal reflection at home (students will have a week to complete this)
- Whole numbers to 1 000 000, place value and estimating sums and differences
- Communication of understanding
- Making sense of our work
- Electricity, Magnetism and Mechanisms that use Electricity
- working on: Hypothesis, Reflections, Procedures and Safety
- Mapping Skills
- Provinces and Capitals of Canada
- Family Histories and asking powerful questions
- Students will be coming home with a list of questions they have come up with to find out more about how they came to Whitecourt and their where their families are from to complete a project called “Who Do You Think You Are?”. We will build on this project throughout the year to come back to it at the end of the year to talk about how Canada(past and present) has helped shape our identity.
- Virtues: We are starting with being gracious and showing gratitude.
Please make sure I have your email address as these letters will be coming home via email starting next week. You can also find them online in a google drive folder I have created for parent communication at bitly.com/5albrecht2015
Have a great long weekend!