10 June 2013

Maintaining Momentum

With just 13 days left in the school year, and report cards already submitted, it can be a little hard to keep the momentum of learning going in the classroom. To make sure my students continue learning, while having fun as the school year draws to a close, we are working on two major projects.

The first is a follow-up on an activity we did early in the year. I didn't blog about it this year, but you can read about our Book Butterflies here. To finish the year I'm having students use a different poster, but with the same idea. This time it's called a Reading Response Web, and all the features of the book report are linked to the central box with strands of rope. I managed to add lines to my master copy to help the children work neatly, and have had A3 enlargements made from the mini-poster. The A3 size works well, giving adequate space, without being too big to manage in the classroom. It also displays well. This morning I actually chose books I wanted the children to read, as I wanted them to explore at least one different book to those they've been choosing for themselves. I've noticed recently that most students tend to get stuck on one series and stay with it until they're bored. That's OK! I did it myself (and still do sometimes) but I wanted them to explore some other choices as well. My choices were based on reading ability and interests, and I'm very much hoping they will enjoy their books.

Our other fun project is our final Social Studies theme for the year. We're studying Ancient Egypt, with a focus on pyramids and hieroglyphics. I'm taking a couple of approaches to this topic. First I'm using something called "History Pockets" which I've modified to meet limited resources etc. There's lots of colouring and construction involved and a little reading and writing. The photo above shows last year's finished products. All these bits and pieces are stored in a modified manila folder (fold up the bottom 2 inches of a foolscap folder and staple in place to make two pockets to keep all the papers and activities in). I'm also using two books from Reading A-Z. The first is actually a little easy for most of my students, but it was great for beginning to build vocabulary. The second is going to be challenging for all of my students, but I hope that by exploring it together they will learn more. I really enjoy being able to work a topic across both Science/Social Studies and English Language Arts. We also put a little bit of time into learning the Khmer vocabulary for the topic, so hopefully they can share their learning more easily with their families.

Next week is another short week, and we have our annual concert on Wednesday evening, so there will be much excitement. The grade four classes are combining to sing a couple of Colin Buchanan songs from his Egyptian trilogy, which they are really enjoying. More about that later.

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