Feb 27, 2011

Dance, Dance, Dance the Day Away

Several weeks ago my students completed their dance unit. I've been promising for weeks to post the video I took of them dancing so they could see what the routines look like. The students worked together to choreograph the routines. I hope you enjoy the dancing. It was actually PJ Day. Sorry for the bad filming and lack of music. 
video
My camera stopped by accident. Here's the rest of the video. 
video


Feb 22, 2011

Kasha's Adventure with Stanley

Kasha was so excited to have Stanley come and visit, she had to take his picture twice on her bus. One is of her bus driver and the other is Bella and Lindsey. Stanley got to eat a Reese Piece cup, he thought it tasted GREAT! Kasha's Grandma wanted to have her picture take with him. Stanley was dancing on her knees. Kasha and her brother, Tegan also had their picture take. Stanley was excited to meet her brother. Tegan gave Stanley a huge hug and he flatten out more than he already was.
Stanley jumped up onto a box and onto the pool noodle. He was afraid of heights but was brave enough to stand on one foot.
Kasha and Stanley had a busy weekend. They were invited to Tyson and Camron's birthday parties. At Tyson's party, Stanley got to watch the kids Tye Dye. He saw Kasha unwrap the elastics and saw Kasha's shirt she called, Fireworks. It was cool!
At Camron's party, they got to play a game where you grabbed a toy and if you didn't get one you had to sit out. It's kind of like Musical Chairs. They got to drink fruit punch and chocolate cake.
Kasha's favourite part was going to the two birthday parties with Flat Stanley.

Kasha's Aventure with Stanley on PhotoPeach

Feb 17, 2011

Cuisenaire Rods

After being away from school for the last 3 and a half days I went back to work. It was so nice to see the kids. I got cards and hugs as they entered the classroom. It was a lovely welcome first thing in the morning. 
I don't know if any of you use Cuisenaire Rods as a manipulative but I do. I love them and can't say enough good things about this tool to help kids understand number. A friend gave me a great website that can be used on your Smartboard or as a center. I've added the link to the Math Playground site so you can check it out. 
I like this tool because students can't count each individual block instead they need to compare them to each other in order to figure out which color represents what number. I find myself doing the same thing. The students do a lot of playing with the blocks and come to understand and put numbers to the colors. The rods are a fantastic tool to help build relationships between numbers and see addition and subtraction comparisons. Here are a couple pictures of what students have done. The rods can be used to measure with, do multiplication, division and fractions. They can be used in all grade levels as well.


Here's a video of a student explaining his solution to a problem with the rods. 
video
I will post more in the coming days as the students work with them. 
Have a Great Long Weekend and a Happy Family Day


Feb 16, 2011

Hello Boys and Girls

Hello 2B! I trust everything is going well. I left Mrs. Carol some things for you to do on the blog today. I am really excited about the choices you will make. 
I would like you to write a blog post about something that interests you. On the post you will need to have: 
  1. A title
  2. 2 or 3 sentences about your topic.
  3. Use some of the tools we talked about last week B, I & U
  4. Font size no bigger than 4 points.
  5. A different looking font that can be read.  
Have fun and remember I will get to approve them. 
Ms. Brown

Happy Birthday!!

I wanted to take this time to wish my little brother a Happy Birthday. He's not so little anymore but he is still younger than me and it's a great opportunity to tease him :-). It's been a tough year for him and his family. I know things will get better. Remember that I love you very much and wish you a great life.
Happy Birthday Baby Brother (It's taken 35 years and I'm finally okay with you being my brother instead of a sister, family joke)
Sorry Shane, it's the ONLY picture I have of you. But I love it. 
Happy Birthday!!!

Feb 14, 2011

Flowers Always Brighten My Day

Here are the beautiful flowers my husband sent to me on Valentine's Day. 
I thought he'd forgotten. Couldn't come at a better time. 
Thank you
Love
April

Feb 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Dear Students,
I am sorry to miss Valentine's Day. My back has not gotten any better since I went home on Friday. Your Penguin Valentine Buckets turned out so well. I LOVE THEM!!! I'm very proud of your hard work.  Have a great time skating tomorrow afternoon. I will be thinking about you all having a lot of fun. 
Have a wonderful day. 
Ms. Brown

All of the Penguins

I got an opportunity to put up the penguins on Thursday night. It's a good thing because my back went out on Friday. The reports will follow as the students finish them. I love how you can see all of the different sizes and shapes of the penguins. 
I wish the streamer wasn't in the way but it was the Valentine Dance the next night.
The Teepee's are an added bonus. Left over display. 

Feb 12, 2011

Valentine Bucket Idea

I wanted to thank Mr. and Mrs. Panych for cleaning and donating the paint buckets. I came up with a terrific idea for Valentine's Day. Here is what the kids created on Friday. Unfortunately I was not there to see them completed. I went home with back spasms and my teaching assistant, Mrs. LaValley finished the craft with the students. The idea comes from Pack o Fun ('06 or '07).  It is quite easy to recreate just by looking at the model I am showing. If you don't have buckets you could always use a black paper bag (Michael's sell them).

Feb 9, 2011

Looking forward to the Valentine Craft on Friday.

I can't wait to have the kids make their Valentine Buckets this year. I had a parent donate used black paint cans. They will look fabulous with our craft on them. Keep coming back to see the finished product.

Carter & Flat Stanley

Carter showed Stanley a great fun filled snow weekend. Carter took Stanley to visit his Grandma. Stanley got to go snowmobiling with Carter and his family. He even got his own skidoo. It was Carter's remote control skidoo. Carter took Stanley on his very own snowmobile. His family goes snowmobiling all the time. His mom often stays home and makes delicious things for supper.
Stanley also got his picture taken with Marley, she kept looking at him as if he would be a taste treat for dinner. Hmmm!!! Chopper, Carter's dog,  liked having his picture taken. He enjoyed looking at the camera.
Carter says his favourite part about Stanley's visit was taking him snowmobiling.
Carter & Flat Stanley on PhotoPeach


More Life Size Penguins

Here are the last of the Life Size Penguins. One more is to come but she is away. When she returns I'll post her picture. 







Feb 7, 2011

Finished Penguins

We finished our Life Size penguins today. They are incredible. The kids cut out the penguins and then I took a picture of them with their penguin. You can see from the photos how big penguins actually are. My heart is bursting with pride on all the student's hard work. Not all the students are shown because they were not quite finished.










I love how different all of the penguins look and all the different sizes they come in. 

Feb 6, 2011

Mystery Bags

I've had quite a few requests for information about my Mystery Bag activity. I use Mystery Bags differently than what people might think to use them as. I place an amount of blocks (usually Unifex Cubes) inside of them. You can use a paper bag or Ziploc bag. This year my mom (THANK YOU!) volunteered to make me bags out of fabric. 
I used paper bags for a number of years. 

Let's say I wanted to help the students build an understanding of the number 36 (which is the number I use at the beginning of the year). I would put 36 blocks in each bag. Every student would receive a bag. I would use 2 colors of blocks and place them in fives. I put them in 5's because I am trying to get them out of counting by one's. Counting by one's is not mathematical thinking. 
The kids estimate how many blocks are in their bag, why they think this. From here they pull out he the blocks and combine the blocks together to come up with the amount. I watch to see what behaviours I'm seeing. Are they counting in chunks? Singles? How do they arrange the blocks? Do they make tens? And many more. 
In their math journals I have them represent the different ways to show their number. Some answers might include:
30 + 7
30 + 7 = 37
10 + 10 + 10 + 7 = 37 
thirty seven
a picture
37 = 7 + 30
40 - 3 = 37
Various other ways as well
There are a lot of different ways to use this activity to help build number sense. I will put the same number in everyone's bag for awhile. I also put the different number sequences. Here's a picture of what this looks like. 

Each student had a bag with a number in it. 
I put a number in half the bags and a different number in the other half. I have the students find someone who has a different number. They then compare the two numbers and find the difference between the two. When they compare the two numbers, students are building ideas towards adding to subtract and other significant strategies.
I use Mystery Bags all year to help my students build number, explain, represent and compare numbers. Kids build number and take them apart.
This student has shown how flexible he can be in his thinking.
 I will add more ideas for Mystery Bags in the coming days and weeks. If you have any questions please ask.

What's the Mystery in Mystery Bags?

Stay tuned...

Feb 5, 2011

New Name

I've been doing some browsing this morning and I am considering changing the name of my blog. There are some really great blog names out there and I want one of them. I'm just not that creative. If anyone has a better, catchier name I am taking submissions. Please post your ideas in the comment section. Any ideas would be helpful and appreciated.

Feb 4, 2011

WOW!!!! Painting the Penguins

The heading says it all. Hope you like the photos. My students have done an amazing job on their penguins. I'm blown away by what they did. We will cut them out on Monday. Come back to see the end result.


Feb 3, 2011

Family Literacy Day

I know I'm a week late with getting these pictures posted. Each year I have the students bring in blankets and their favourite books to read. The kids enjoy building forts and I get to watch them problem solve in a different way.

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More About Our Investigation

I think when you look at what the students produced you will be very surprised. I know I am and so proud of their hard work. We took our tracer that we made yesterday and traced it onto a piece of thicker paper so we could paint our penguins tomorrow in Art. Ms. Brown has to be away from class tomorrow afternoon but she just had to do art in the morning. She is getting excited to put the penguins up on the bulletin board. 


Here are some photos of them tracing their life size penguins. 





Hope you enjoyed them!!!


Penguin Investigation Beginnings

It's 5:30 in the am and I'm bursting at the seams to get this blog post started. Since the beginning of January my students have been working on a Penguin Unit. We started it with this book. 
It's such an interesting story about one penguin that arrives everyday for a total of 365 penguins for the year. I'm not going to give away the details or the ending. I use this book to engage my students in problem solving and learning about a very interesting animal, the Penguin.

 After reading the first couple of pages we do several different math problems. The fun starts in science when we start to discover that there are more than just one kind of penguin.
Look at the level of engagement and perseverance 
 We generated quite a list. In fact we found more than 17 kinds of penguins. We found 19 or 20. Great discussion about why the books say only 17 and we found more. To work on ordering our data I had the student order the data. The ideas they came up with were incredible: From alphabetical to tallest to shortest and vise versa. I'll post pictures of this work soon. By the way, this problem took them three days to work on. They showed many different ways of how they could organize and order the penguin heights.



We are in the process of writing about our penguins in writer's workshop and working on various Hot and Cold experiments. Here's an experiment from Deanna Jump (Love her blogs and lessons, see side bar for her blogs). Penguins have this amazing ability to survive in the coldest place on Earth. How do they stay warm and protected? 
Penguins have some fabulous numbers for grade two's to use. We started to build the height of the penguins with any materials. The students chose Unifix cubes, Cuisenaire Rods, rulers, etc. What they soon discovered was that 60 Unifix cubes is not the same as 60 cm. Well, again we have another task and problem to work with. They created a measuring tool (very beginning stages, they get better) and then found other objects to compare it with. 

They learned you need less objects when they are longer and more when the objects are smaller. 
From here the kids used 10 by 10 grids or blank hundreds charts and made a measuring tool they would then use to create their penguin to actual height. I was blown away by what they did. Here are some photos to show you. 




 Sorry for all the pictures but it's amazing to see what they are capable of doing once you set them free. I know they are not perfect looking but their heights sure are and that was the intent of the activity. 
Check after school to see what else we do with these life size penguins. 
More to come....