Saturday, March 5, 2011

always just too many things...

I just don't have time to blog as much as I would like to do so.  I am going to try to do a few short blogs to catch up once again.
In the classroom, we have moved onto Ancient Greece.  Last year I did Mesopotamia and India and our teacher-librarian, Alanna, did Egypt (I was working with the Grade Sixes so missed Egypt-one reason I enjoyed it this year).  We did a bit on Greece due to the Olympics, but because so many of the class got hooked into reading with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I felt I had to do Greece.  Now my doing Greece seems to be mainly finding links and resources (with Alanna's assistance) and giving guidelines  and then away they go. They love projects and really are becoming good researchers.

The time line is short, presentations to be done March 17.  Needless to say the clay is disappearing out of the stockroom and they are learning all about Greek architecture from the ground up. It's bringing me back to my days university days studying Greek drama and remembering later how my Greek trip was interrupted by the government being overthrown.

  I am also  hoping that they will also do some interesting incorporation of technology in their presentations.  I have to say the speed of our computers can be frustrating for all.  Good thing they have better technology at home!

We finished up our Egyptian lit circles and we are moving on to just regular ones.  There is nothing my kids like doing more than talking about books.  We have had some great discussions and I have had surprises about what they enjoyed most. 

Math has been interesting.  Just thinking about it, gives me a headache.  Rotating figures really seemed too much for my brain or demonstration powers yesterday so it ended up with students just teaching each other.  I swear some of my students are much better at this than I.  That seemed to go amazingly well.

Other issues this week were having a student who seemed to be being left out of the mix.  This inspired me to finally use an amazing new book,The Junkyard Wonders, a true story, by author/illustrator, Patricia Palacco.  This is just an amazing book about the class that Palacco herself was in, a special class for students with physical and learning problems, who ended up doing amazing things.  The kids loved it.  It was a difficult read as I found myself trying not to cry in parts.  

The one thing that kind of bothers me is that despite all the talk around formative assessment, my students have been subjected to the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)  (try negotiating half writing and half not) and now the local high school is making them do the Canadian Achievement Test for placement purposes I guess.   I ended up having the whole class do some of the FSA (just not submitting) and trying to use this for my own assessments, but I can tell you the process is flawed.   Also if a student has been in Canada for two years, full mastery of English reading and writing usually isn't possible!  I have to tell you though some of my students writing was brilliant! 

Not a short blog!!!

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