Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dough, Dough and More Dough!

It has been an exciting past two days at Janney Elementary School! Ms. Miller was absent yesterday due to the weather, so I had to teach the class all day by myself. We had a two hour delay, which only left a Readers Workshop, Writers Workshop and math lesson. This is the second math lesson I have taught the class and it continuing our multiplication lesson from the day before. We did Multiplication Math Stories with arrays and because of the limited time, we didn't rush, but the students weren't given time to complete their daily math journal page. I asked Ms. Miller to review with the students today to make sure they understood what we went over yesterday and they knew everything! I was nervous nobody would raise their hand, but they knew it! We reviewed arrays, what the multiplication number model would look like and how to draw an array. The students did a great job! I am so proud of them and proud of myself for teaching it correctly!

Today we did a science lesson to prepare for tomorrow's Social Studies/Science lesson. We will be covering the North American Landscape, so to make it more hands on, today we made Salt Dough. The recipe is as follows:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Food coloring (optional)

The classroom is set up with six tables, each with four students, as shown below:

I supplied the students each with a bowl, a spoon and all the ingredients needed to make the salt dough. We made six colors of salt dough: blue, green, red, yellow, orange and purple.

Surprisingly, it wasn't too messy and the lesson was finished in about 30 minutes. Tomorrow each table will get a map of North America pasted on a piece of carboard and will have to build the North American landscape out of the various colors. As a class we will design a color coded legend for six different landforms and then the students will use the colors to build onto the map. This will give them a visual representation of the North American landscape, including; water, hills, mountains, islands, volcanos, etc. I will take some photographs of those and post them up here soon. 

I have begun grading homework that I have recieved from the students. I asked them to design maps of their bedrooms. I think some of them forgot that a map is supposed to be a birds eye view, so I think I will have to review that with the students. 

Other than that, I am feeling much more comfortable teaching lessons. Ms. Miller has been a great resource for information and is constantly helping me out with whatever I need. The students are active participants and seem to really enjoy the lessons I have been doing with them. It has been a great week thus far. Snow and all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day?

It snowed for the first time this year and all the students were more than excited to bundle up and run outside to play. Ms. Miller was gone for the second half of the day, so I jumped right in with a read aloud and math lesson. I taught the beginning stages of multiplication. We discussed equal grouping using relevant life examples, such as markers in a box, buns in a hot dog package, etc. I asked the students to use their math manipulatives to show a representation of the equal groupings from various problems. They had no trouble and could easily figure out the total number of items in their head. The students followed up with their Everyday Math journals. Some continued to use manipulatives, but most found it fairly simple.

The weather is getting worse tonight and the kids all expressed excitment at the thought of no school tomorrow. Some students said it doesn't matter, they really enjoy school. That was nice to hear. Doesn't make it feel like you are going to work for nothing. 

I am in the middle of planning a science/social studies lesson for Friday morning. The students will be given a map of North America pasted onto a piece of cardboard and eventually they will build landforms on it. On Thursday, I am going to have the students make their own salt dough using flour, salt, water and food coloring. I made them a How To to relate to relate to their Writers Workshop unit and will have them use it to complete their salt dough. On Friday we will use the salt dough to build various landforms on the map to represent mountains, plains, hills, etc. We will then be able to discuss landforms and where they are on the North American continent. Different colors of dough will represent different landforms and we from there we will be able to build a map key.

The students are very excited for science and so am I! Hoping for snow school tomorrow! The students told me to wear my pajamas inside out and backward if I want to be out of school. We'll see.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The World Around Us

Today was my first lesson at Janney Elementary School. The lesson was to teach the second grade how to read maps. We began the lesson by reading a "How-To" book about maps. This was relevant because it relates to their current Writers Workshop project which is writing a How-To. We then discussed types of maps and their uses. I made a bulletin board that showed a map of the world and the students were asked what it was representing. All of them knew it was a map of the world. We created a word bank as a class of the different continents and oceans and then applied these to the board. I had the students come up to the bulletin board and label them. We also labeled Washington, DC and the directions on the compass rose.

For homework the students were asked to make a map of their room using the cardinal directions. After they draw their own map, they have to write five sentences about the objects in their room. Example: My bed is WEST of my bookshelf. The students seemed very eager to share their thoughts and travel experiences. I noticed their knowledge of continents was right on point, but they have trouble deciphering between cities and countries. Most of them have traveled abroad, but couldn't really tell me which continent they traveled to.

Ms. Miller discussed the lesson with me after school and said I did great job. She said the students were excited, but certain students tried to test me by acting out. She said I should try and implement some kind of reward system for the students that are behaving.  I think I will try to use the current credit system that Ms. Miller uses for Millertown. 

Our next lesson will be about various landforms and where they can be found in the world. We will be making our own physical maps out of salt dough.