July 28

Holiday adventures

 

animated_welcome_catWe are back to start another exciting and very busy term three.

Once we had organised our new learning teams we shared our holiday activities. Ellen gave us a challenge, could we write about our holidays without actually telling us where we went? Sort of like giving clues and hints!

 

We had a go and as we have been working on descriptive language we tried to use some exciting adjectives in our writing. See if you can work out where we went and what we did.

How did you go? Some found it challenging to not write the destination. Sadly some art didn’t make the deadline so we have to imagine what their work might have looked like.

Which clues did you find tricky?

What hints gave the information you needed?

What other adventures did you get up to on our break?

July 27

New term, new teams, new way.

Term Three begins

We’re back to begin a new term. Now usually Ellen decides on who works in which learning teams. This time however decisions are made differently. 4598947_orig

In the final week of term two we independently rated ourselves on our social/group skills. Then as team members had worked together for the last five weeks they had a pretty good idea if they agreed or disagreed with certain decisions. Of course evidence is always necessary to support claims. So it was great to see teams checking team logs, diaries and reading logs for organisational proof or recalling incidents such as “Hey, you support team mates…remember when I was at Multi Lit and I came in late? You told me what I had to do, so I didn’t get the work wrong. Then sometimes you remind …… of her responsibilities…”. With ratings of always, sometimes or never. This reflection gave individuals and teams lots of data.

What do we want?

Before we could negotiate new teams we needed to touch base with what we believed made a successful team. I was impressed with the brainstorm of criteria given with so many building further onto suggested ideas.

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How great was that list! I was blown away with the seriousness and quality of behaviours they expected, their work in teams has certainly supported positive thinking and collaboration. A few children commented that there were criteria on our list that their personal skills checklist highlighted they needed to work on. Which was a perfect lead into the way in which teams would be created.

Negotiating partners

Their job was to approach someone who they knew had super skills in areas they needed work in and to come to some agreement into supporting each other e.g..  ..”I’ll help you get better organised if you support me with being focussed”…  “Hey yeah, and I see you’re good at sharing air time so that would help me and I’m also good at building ideas so what if I support you too?”

Once they had reached an agreement and had a partner they could buddy up with another agreeable couple to make a team.

The next step was to remember the art of negotiating and to be proactive in approaching members. We have become good at asking politely, but what if the answer isn’t what you want to hear. How do you turn someone down respectfully? How do you react when the answer is no? That took some discussing and modelling.

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Our checklist became a valuable negotiating tool. So it was important that we had our record books to use in negotiating our new teams. Sadly a small group left their books home, but that meant they were already a team and had to negotiate how they would work together.

Time to be proactive and find a suitable partner..over to you.

I was particularly impressed with the way they conducted their negotiations. They were serious in the way they checked their own skills and offered support to potential team mates. I liked the way they quietly sat down and discussed possible strategies. So that they would not forget their agreements they recorded their offers of support in their team books, so we could refer to them when establishing goals for this term and when we give feedback later.

Once they had organised a team and chosen a table to work at the students set about writing rules for their teams. Again I was impressed at how many teams used their skills to work on as a basis for setting their team rules, combining support with a combined team effort.  As the year has gone on we have become very good at including What we want, Why we want it and How we will do it, to our rules and foci. See if you agree.

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I do like the way they have worked together, thought together and are acting as a team together. Bravo children.

Now one other thing we also focus on is… It’s one thing to say you will do things and another thing to put it into practice. We’ll start to focus on the Habits of Mind for this. Stay tuned….

How do feel about your new team?

How did you feel negotiating a partner?

What can you do so that you will remember your agreements?

How will you know you are keeping your agreements?

Did you get the team you thought you’d be in? Why? Why not?

July 26

In Term Two we were “Heating up!”

Science in term two was based on the chemistry of heating things up and how objects and material changed with heat.

We had some starter discussions on how livings things might keep warm.Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.33.58 PM

This got us thinking of how we could keep warm, if we were very cold.

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After a short discussion on heat sources, areas that produce warmth or heat, we began looking for these sources of heat in our classroom. I added some extra ones for comparisons.

In our search we needed to decide on a heat rating was the object warm, hot or very hot. We shared our investigations and recordings to see if our team mates agreed or disagreed.

We learned that heat (thermal energy) can be classified according to its form and there are three to know and understand.

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Our next challenge was to put some understandings into action. We really enjoyed our investigation using metal spoons. In teams we used a metal spoon to heat up at our choice of six different heat sources. Areas to be accessed included – urn/kettle, cups of hot water, hair dryer, candle, white board/other electrical objects, carpet, body heat, hot water bottle. We shared roles for heating and timing and to make our investigations fair, we used a stop watch to time the duration at exactly two minutes. That way we could compare the different types of heat. Warnings were given as science investigations can be somewhat dangerous, particularly given we were using a flame, metal can get very hot!

This investigation gave us lots to think about how heat might travel or transfer into or up objects. When could that be a good thing? Who would need this to happen? Why? When do we not want heat to transfer quickly or at all? Do we know of any situation where they have seen this?

We also challenged ourselves to decide what type of heat source it was chemical, kinetic or electrical.

Recording our observations gave us a chance to sharpen our science line drawing skills.

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During this activity a few of our classmates did get too excited and forgot the warnings, burning themselves on very hot metal spoons. It seemed appropriate that we look at warning signs and posters checking to see what essential information we may need to include if we were to warn people of, very hot sand, hot cup of tea or a hot frying pan. Working with a partner we used our negotiating skills to plan and display our thinking.

We got a chance to explain the message behind our posters before we placed them on display.

Our final investigation made us think carefully about variables. We wanted to know what would affect the heat of a spoon in a cup of hot water.

I thought we showed critical scientific thinking as we suggested that these things would affect the temperature :-

  • type of material spoon was made out of
  • the time the spoon was left in the water
  • the temperature of the water
  • the temperature of the spoon
  • the size of the spoon

Teams worked together to plan our investigation.

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Essentially we needed this information. We were able to use a wooden, plastic and metal spoon to compare results.

Unfortunately Ellen was so busy making sure we didn’t have any injuries this time, so she wasn’t able to visually record our work.

However it was interesting when we completed our work to find that most of our predictions were accurate. One team took a very long time to complete their plan and by that time the hot water had cooled down quite a bit. Time did play an important role in the hotness of the spoons, however so did the material that the spoon was made of.

This gave us lots to think about when using objects near heat. Many students could see connections to tools used in their families kitchens. Wooden spoons are very useful when stirring hot food. Perhaps plastic tools could be used too. Some discussed how they have metal tools but handles are wooden, that made sense given our new understandings.

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Our last opportunity to put our new learning into action was to identify heat sources in a picture. It was amazing how many were in one little scene from a family’s kitchen and outdoor area.

 

What did you enjoy most about the Heating up unit?

What questions do you still have about heat?

How have you used your new knowledge on heat lately?

How did you go locating all the heat sources?

 

June 9

We are Super Readers in Room 14. Watch us zoom!

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This year we have been working really hard on developing and improving our reading strategies so that we become stronger and more confident readers of literature.

We all know the 10 most important steps to become an excellent reader.

1 Read, 2 Read, 3 Read, Read, Read

Read, Read, Read, Read, 10 Read

In fact we all know the old poem really well

Read, read, read.

The more you read, 

The more you know,

The more you know ,

The more you grow.

So read, read, read.

Traditional Poem

This poem makes a lot of sense because as you read, you learn more vocab so then you can read more interesting books, which means you learn even more vocab, and then you can read more interesting books, which means you can…and so on. Of course on the way there are other things to focus on too.

Reading isn’t just saying words. Readers need to comprehend the text to understand what they are reading. They need to read accurately. Reading should be smooth and Fluent. Readers should also grow their word knowledge.

We worked out what we thought good readers do and we strive to achieve these strategies

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Good readers have an inner conversation.

When I’m reading my brain is switched on and ticking over

We know that a good reader uses lots of strategies before they read.

They activate their prior knowledge things they may already know about or have experienced.

Make predictions about what might be going on in the book.

Ask questions

While they are reading, good readers are switched on, they are..

Check the text is making sense, and they understand what’s going on.

They keep making predictions and check if they’re right or not.

Work out tricky / challenging words.

Make connections with ideas and experiences in the text.

After reading

Check how they went. Revaluate their predictions.

Can summarise the text.

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We have our own super hero and we are flying through our goals. Some of us want to move into higher Reading Recovery box levels and some of us want to fly through our percentage goals in Accelerated reading.

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Some of us are even tripling their percentage score. Wow, what reading dynamos we have here. Either way, we know it will take lots of hard work and effort to become good at anything, especially Reading.

Now where is a good place for you to settle down and read?

Fluency progress

We have been checking how our fluency is going. After our spelling partner tests on Friday mornings we do a fluency test. We have been reading to our team mates for one minute and then counting how many words we have read. We negotiate to take turns to be a reader or a listener. Then we record our scores on a chart. 

We have noticed our scores are changing and we discussed reasons for this. Some have noticed the scores rising each week. These people thought they were practicing lots and that helped. Some noticed the scores were rising and then they were falling, only to begin rising again. Our thoughts were that once we moved levels the vocabulary may become more challenging and as they got used to it they read faster. Clearly fluency improves with practise.

Visualising 

Authors use the most amazing words to write their fabulous stories and when they do we create pictures in our minds eye. This is called visualising and it is a useful strategy to use when you are reading as it helps you to understand what is going on.

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I was reading children’s classic, The BFG by Roald Dahl, a wonderful author who uses the English language in such a creative way that he even invents his own language! We have had such fun listening to the exciting adventures of poor Sophie and The BFG as they have to deal with those rotsome filthy giants. We even get to find out what goes on in the royal household.

During an art lesson we had a go at our visualising what we thought these characters would look like, after we had finished the last chapter.

Look at our portraits of swishwiffling whoppsy characters from the BFG

Now we are all very excited because we know that a new motion picture will be released very soon. It will be interesting to see what the creators of that film thought the characters look like. Wonder if we thought the same?

Our preservice teacher Senija helped with our narrative writing skills. She wanted us to write about a dream. In an art lesson we created dream jars to go with our published narrative.

Sweet Dreams

P.S. As of the last Friday of term two we congratulate the readers  for their hard efforts.  Check out the movement of their Super Heroes IMG_0599

So many got to beyond, way to go, you are awesome.

Something to comment on.

How do you think you are going with your reading?

How do you know your reading is improving?

Which strategy are you focusing on ? Why?

Which books or authors do you particularly like to read?

Who reads in your household? What do they read?

May 31

The Power of Yet

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We are so fortunate to have a talented Musician as our performing arts specialist teacher. Diana Busolin shares her music and performing arts skills with us each Tuesday. Last term Diana taught the children a wonderful song which was written by a DECD music teacher.

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Changing your mindset and realising all things are possible has been a real focus for us here at Grange. Diana had been sharing with the children how elastic the brain can be, so the song  “The Power of Yet” by Kristie Fudge was perfect. It has a real strong message …  don’t give up trying and have a go!

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Brains are indeed muscles and they need to work. When we take a risk and have a go, we stretch our neural pathways. Sometimes we start new ones and other times we make older ones stronger. Things have to be hard, if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be exercising would we. What would be the point of doing easy stuff all the time?

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Well they took the message literally and had a go. They needed to work collaboratively together to learn the song and finally perform it. Imagine all the new pathways guys.

They were so proud of their efforts I was invited to come and see them. I was impressed.  I had my flip camera with me to capture their skills. Take a look. Tell us what you think.

Watch it here   The Power of Yet

What did you enjoy about that performance?

Was there a challenging part? How did you manage to sort it out?

Which part do you prefer to play?

What is your favourite part of Music?

Do you play a musical instrument? What do you play?