Saturday, April 14, 2012

TAGGED By A Doodle Bug

Kim at Grade One Doodle Bugs has tagged moi. I have been tagged a few times already, so I've decided to answer the questions she has composed but not tag anyone in return (sorry Flams).

Kim's Questions:

The questions are...
1.What's your favourite kind of apple red or green?
I grew up with three apple orchards surrounding our house. Third generation, grandfather created, apple varieties. My most favourite is Lowland Raspberry (a species from Russia originally). It's mostly pink with a little green.
2. Tell of a time when you knew you were truely appreciated.
My cousins dad died after a long battle with brain cancer when we were teenagers. My mom and I went to Winnipeg to spend a week with the family. Ann (my age) and Am (a year older) are two of my dearest besties and I helped with whatever they needed me for. Sometimes this meant making a cup of tea. Sometimes it meant just listening to them when they needed to talk. To this day, they tell me how much that week meant to them.
3. What's the tallest your hair has been? (What can I say, I loved the 80's).
Hmmmm...Maybe six inches in the front when the BIG BACK-COMBED bangs were in. I used to blow dry my hair upside down, back comb it like crazy and then spray it for added volume.
4. If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be?
Veronica Lodge. 
5. What picture book makes you cry every time?
"Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch
6. If you were granted one wish for your classroom, what would it be?
MORE SQUARE FOOTAGE. I'd wish my room was twice its size. I could have areas for everything...sooooo cool.
7. Finish this statement: "If money grew on trees..."
it wouldn't be worth anything. It would be too easily accessed.
8. Favourite colour of jelly bean?
9. If you won the lottery, would you hire an assistant or retire?
Never thought of hiring an assistant-YUPPERS that is what I would do. For the first few years anyway...until the wealth idea sunk in.
10. If you were a colour, what would it be?
100% blue

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Any Thoughts on DIORAMAS Much Appreciated...

I love this time of the year. I feel like the kids are surpassing my expectations, rich learning can be seen everywhere and routines are old hat. This time of year also makes me sad. Kids will be going on to their next class in just a few short months. {sniffle} It's always at this time of the school year that I wish I could stay with the same kids for two years in a row. I think that it's called "looping" (?) and if that is the correct term, sign me up. I think. Errrr...on second thought...

My grade 2/3 class is finishing up an Animal Research Project that I purchased (only $3.50!) from Kimberley Gillow's tpt store:
(100% recommend btw)

This resource is laid out in a fun, easy to follow format that gets the kids "feet wet" for researching. Habitat, appearance, babies, predators, food, interesting facts are headings that the kids have to find information for. Our school librarian (who absolutely ROCKS) found up all the books the kids needed after they each picked a topic of their own. Dodo birds to giraffes to Mario (which I kiboshed)...and everything in between. After showing them how to look up information and how to make a list of important facts for each heading, kids practiced paragraph writing using the Stoplight Paragraph method. We've been working on paragraph writing all year, but this method seems to have really stuck for them:
(free download from tpt)

After writing rough copies or drafts, peer editing and revising took place. For the published copy, kids are making a PowerPoint presentation, including transitions, background colour, images and even sound. They were a little frustrated at first, but have persevered and are LOVING it. My little Mario hopeful even made a turtle pp so that he could then make a Mario one in his "free time."

My final step is making a diorama. Okay-here is the question: Are dioramas passe? I think my kids (especially the kinesthetic ones) would excel at this part of the project. I am thinking that they can use half size (I'll cut) pop flats for the base. Materials from home, supply cupboard, etc can be used for the ground (kids would have to make it authentic to their animal). Salt dough animals, small extras can be made. Vegetation can be picked from home or made from construction paper, foam, etc. **I would add labels to our dioramas.

Personally, I think it would be a fantastic culminating activity. Kids would have to use their learning/knowledge to construct an authentic model for their animal. 

If all goes well, we will have an showcase in our classroom and invite other classes to come and see our wildlife exhibition...including PowerPoints :)

So, too much or inquiry based learning? Diorama or overkill?
ps We've been doing lots of other stuff, too...just in case you're wondering...we work on our projects 2 times a week so that the kids don't become sick of them.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

April Currently

I am linking up with Farley for her April these!

Okay-so I laughed so hard at Farley's Super Power that I nearly choked. Seriously. On my Sunday-night meatloaf. Then I thought and thought and thought about what my Super Power could be. This one took a loooong time. So long, in fact, that I had to get a drink, go to the little girls room, and have a snack. This all tired me out. BAZINGA! What if my basic instinctual needs didn't have to be met? Ergo "Id Ignorer!" This way, I could actually get through the day without needing anything. Just imagine the time it would save. No lunch to worry about, have that second cup of coffee without bladder aches, stay up all night without being tired the next day...the list goes on and on.
Yup, it would be awesome!