Sunday, November 25, 2012

After Thanksgiving Break . . .

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. I know I look forward to it since it gives me an opportunity to take walks in the woods behind my house with my kids, do a little yard work, and drink my coffee without hurrying out the door. During this break, our family has rekindled our love for puzzles. So the last few days, we have had a new puzzle out on our dining room table and as the day goes on, we stop every once in a while to add to the picture. I forgot just how relaxing doing a puzzle can be. As I was working on the puzzle, I realized just how gratifying it is to accomplish something as small as a puzzle especially when it is collaboratively worked on. I think it is time for our class to take a break from taking things apart and begin working on putting things together. If anyone has some old puzzles they would like to donate to the classroom, I am going to dedicate a table (the one used for taking things apart) to putting together puzzles. I think the collaborative spirit behind putting together a puzzle will do wonders for our classroom community by getting kids to work together in a capacity other than school work.

Before Thanksgiving break, you may have heard students participated in a group project in which they had to purchase a Thanksgiving meal under a budget. Students rolled dice to determine the number of people they needed to purchase food for (people ranged from 8 to 14). Then they randomly chose an amount for their budget (budgets were between $50 to $90). We used ads from various grocery stores to help determine prices which they added into a spreadsheet. Students had to stay under budget while fulfilling the requirements I set for them (at least one meat, one vegetable, two side dishes, bread, and desert). While the task wasn't too difficult for students to accomplish, they soon learned considering servings and how much of an item to purchase was something new to consider. This helped them with their multiplication knowledge. Also, the group aspect proved difficult for some students since some students were concerned more about their own needs before the group.

Here is a list of the things we'll be doing this next week:

  • We will explore new ideas for exploration in order to get kids to begin expanding their ideas of what to explore. 
  • In math, we will continue exploring multiplication by beginning 2 by 1 place multiplication. Please help your child with continued memorization of their multiplication and division facts.
  • In social studies, we will continue with the explorers by finishing up with Christopher Columbus.
  • In science, we will continue studying weather. We will also begin discussing weather data collection for some research Dr. Brian Helmuth is asking us to collect.
  • In writing, we are going to finish our Cynthia Rylant inspired pieces.
  • In reading, we are going to start moving towards individual group literature studies and discussing elements of literature (i.e., setting, character, time).
Thanks for much for your support.
Scott Johnson

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am posting a video that I put together of our election themed Lock In. Hope you enjoy! Scott