Monday, May 27, 2013

Math Strategies: Here's What We're Thinking...

Today we discussed some strategies we can use when adding or subtracting.  We used 8+9 as an example and recorded our strategies in thought bubbles to show what we might be thinking while we figured out that problem.  Next, we labeled each strategy with a name.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Field Trip: Alyssa's Ark Small Animal Rescue

As a part of our goal to help animals this year, we took a field trip to visit and volunteer at a real rescue organization.  Alyssa at Alyssa's Ark Small Animal Rescue in Brandon, MB graciously hosted us on Friday, May 3rd.

 Before we went, we decided that we'd like to make some treats for the animals kind of like our Oak Lake Kindergarten friends made dog biscuits for homeless dogs at the humane society.  Since Alyssa had a lot of rabbits, we researched recipes for rabbit treats on the internet and then sent our ideas to Alyssa to see if the rabbits would like the ingredients.  Next, we planned a grocery list and then took a trip to the local co-op to buy groceries.  When it was time to make treats, we took turns reading, measuring, mixing and scooping the treats. 

Our field trip went very well.  We got to meet the animals, ask questions about them and learn a bit about their rescue stories.  Our class split into two groups and both groups got turns to make toys for the animals, feed the animals and even pet some of the animals!  We were really lucky to have a partnership with Alyssa and we learned a lot from our visit to her rescue!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Recycle for Good Garage Sale: Animal Adoption

As I explained in a previous post, the grade 1s held their Recycle for Good Garage Sale on April 18th & 19th.  Their goal was to raise funds to help people in Africa (through World Vision) and to help animals (through the World Wildlife Fund Symbolic Adoption Program).  The idea came from Lilly, a student who was watching television one night and saw a commercial that showed some people in Africa need help getting clean water and fresh food.  Our class had discussed the idea of a garage sale earlier this school year, when we were brainstorming ways of fundraising for symbolically adopting animals.  We decided that our garage sale could benefit both people and animals!  When the Grade 1s decide to do something, they do it right....they raised $464 to help others! 

 Earlier this week, students suggested animals we may want to help from the WWF's symbolic adoption website.  Then students voted for the animals they would most like to adopt. Today, we were on a Skype video call with our partner class, Mrs. Caldwell's Kindergarten at Oak Lake Community School.  Students were sharing how well the garage sale went and one of the Grade 1s asked the Kindergartens if they would like to vote to help us choose the animals to adopt.  Here's our voting:

After we finished our call with the Kindergartens, we officially adopted 1 meerkat and 1 orangutan.  We can't wait for our adoption kit to arrive!

Microsoft Virtual University: Building Educator Capacity for 21st Century Teaching & Learning

Tonight's Virtual University with Tracy Immel (Imagine Education) focused on effective professional development for educators. 

Key Points
  • The most effective teacher PD includes active learning such as action research, working with a coach/mentor & actually practicing skills
  • Educators are expected to adapt/customize learning for students.  Similarly, teachers need customized professional development opportunities that address their needs!
  • "Informal" PD is important too.   I find some of my best ideas, growth and development come from informal conversations with colleagues, my social media networks & other informal channels
  • Some schools are are offering competency based courses.  Students select from a wide variety of learning resources, set their own pace and take (and retake) assessments when they are ready.  Effective PD for teachers follows this model: set competency standards for teachers and let them choose resources and pace that helps them improve!
  • Microsoft Certified Educator designation will be coming soon: a competency-based assessment for educators

Microsoft Digital Literacy Course
Microsoft Teaching with Technology Curriculum
Partners in Learning Network