What are we up to you ask?The learning never ends in Room 124. We are building catapults, writing poetry, and rolling dice while we learn about probability.
Below you can see that students are working in partners or trios to design and build a catapult that must launch a marshmallow over a ‘wall’. They’ve put their thinking caps on and are busy gluing, sticking, and testing their designs. Good luck! (Thanks to Mrs. Bernardo for the pictures).
I’ve been blown away by the level of creative thinking by many students in our poetry unit so far. The vocabulary and ‘thinking outside the box’ is outstanding. We will be sure to share with you several of our poems. The students LOVE to share their poems with the class and are eager to keep writing…even into lunch hour! Woah. You can see us below writing a poem in a small group based on a regular, every day object that Mrs. Sullivan gave to us. Some of the objects included scissors, an orange cone, and a clipboard.
We were off to the races today playing a Horse Race game involving rolling a pair of dice and moving our ‘horse’ one space if the dice showed our horse’s number. If we were horse #5, then whenever someone threw a 5, we were allowed to move forward one space. Whomever crossed the finish line first was the winner. Some of us thought our horses were ‘cursed’ or that it was unlucky for some strange reason. Tomorrow we will discuss why certain horses were winning more than others. I have a feeling math has something to do with it!
Probability is all around us! On Friday, we discussed the common game Rock, Paper, Scissors and how it is linked with math. What are the chances your partner will throw a ROCK? What are the chances your partner will throw PAPER? What about SCISSORS?
After pairs of students played 20 rounds of the game and recorded each of the outcomes as a fraction, we analyzed the results. What did the results say about our partner? There was some interesting sharing of information. For example, one student used “Rock” 18/20 times and admitted this was because he thought he had a better chance of winning if he used it.
We looked at the different ways you could win and discovered you actually had an EQUAL CHANCE of winning if you used ANY of the ‘symbols’ in the game. However, if you know your partner typically uses one type of symbol over the others, perhaps your chances of winning increase because you can use that against him or her.
Rock–paper covers it
Paper–scissors cut it
Scissors–rock crushes it
When you play Rock, Paper, Scissors, do you use the symbols randomly or do you typically use one or two symbols more than another? Does it depend on who you’re playing with?
Parents–if you’re interested, here is an interesting article from the BBC about the psychology behind the game
Launching a unit in poetry means that we need to immerse ourselves in poems of course! Lots and lots of poems–not only written by famous poets like Shel Silverstein, T.S. Eliot, Naomi Shihab Nye, Dennis Lee, and Sheree Fitch, but also poems written by my past students.
So, what is poetry anyway? Some might say poetry is powerful words and that poems are hiding everywhere. Others may say poetry helps us tell a story, express our feelings, helps us heal.
Poems can be silly, nonsensical, sad, joyful, sorrowful, bright, confusing, thought-provoking, simple, complex, and so much more.
Our focus in this unit is on writing non-rhyming poems (free-verse poetry) and really learning how to use language to bring life to our thoughts and look at the world in different ways. I really love for students to learn to write free-verse poems because there are no rules and it gives permission to the students to think outside the box rather than conform to a certain structure. It really allows them to think freely and not have to worry about rhyming words so much.
Check us out immersing ourselves in reading some great poems with our friends on Tuesday.
What is probability, anyways? We brainstormed together on Monday and came up with a whole array of vocabulary and ways in which we use probability in our every day lives.
Here are some of our ideas:
equal chance (50/50)
weather forecast (What’s the chance it will rain today?)
gambling/playing the lottery
Can you think of more ideas where we see or use probability in our lives?
Probability is the chance of something happening. We’ve learned about what are events that are certain (100% chance they will happen) and events that are impossible (no chance it will happen) and events that fall in between (likely, unlikely, equal chance).
For instance, what’s the chance you will eat dinner tonight? What’s the chance that you will be in grade 4 next year? What’s the chance it will snow tomorrow? What’s the chance Mrs. Sullivan will come to school tomorrow with blue hair? (hmmm….)
We looked at a number line and shared ideas of where different events would fall on the number line.
We love playing the game of SKUNK because we get to apply the game of chance and have fun at the same time! What? Math can be fun?
Have a look at us working hard today with spinners!
It feels super-duper great to be back in the classroom with all my friends and the staff. I thank you for all your well wishes and kind thoughts and prayers. My students have been on my mind since day 1 and seeing their smiling faces on Monday (yesterday) felt nothing short of wonderful.
It is very difficult to be away from my class so I thank God that I am well enough to return and do what I love best…teach! When I am away from the class as a teacher, I am also missing being a student. I learn so much from my students each and every year…this year is no different. My classroom is my second home and it’s good to be home.
Earth Day was last Saturday April 22 and even though we weren’t at school that day, I hope you all were enjoying the outdoors and even thinking about the Earth and how precious this planet really is.
What are some of the ways you are helping to take care of the Earth?
I know for myself, I make every effort to bring reusable bags when shopping. I also avoid using the thin plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. When I pack my lunch for work, I use Tupperware instead of lots of plastic baggies. Some people like to plant trees as a way of giving back to Mother Nature. There are so many things we can do to help keep the Earth healthy.
I watched a film called A Plastic Ocean (on Netflix) which really was eye-opening revealing just how devastating the plastic pieces in the ocean really are. As a certified SCUBA diver, I can say first hand that the amount of plastic (and other trash) in the oceans is beyond disturbing.
Last Friday, students were delighted to welcome guest author/illustrator, Andrea Beck. Check out her website here.
She not only read to us but taught us about the writing process and how she illustrates her books. Students asked her all sorts of questions such as “Where do you get your inspiration?” and “What was your first published book?”
who’s got a question?
this is a storyboard
the book writing process
Andrea even shared with us that she just found out her book “Good Morning Canada” was chosen to be given to all first grade students across Canada! What an honour!
Andrea has written books that have even been made into TV shows. Her famous characters include Pierre, Buttercup the cow and of course Elliot the moose.
She showed us how simple shapes are used to help us achieve success at creating our own character. She sketched a picture of Elliot the moose and walked us through the fact that she starts with circles. Afterall, everyone can draw circles, she reminded us.
Andrea reminded us writers of something very important:
…it can be the simplest memories like digging on a beach or baking cakes as a kid that can become stories