Well it is now week six since I have been back in the classroom. A lot has happened and as a class we have progressed quite a ways!
One of the things that we have tried was the kids creating their own schedules. It just happened at sort of the perfect time when other than math, they were working on projects to finish in each subject area. I was struggling to effectively teach the math lessons because of the levels of the students. While racking my brain for an idea, I thought why don’t I teach math in smaller groups while the rest of the class gets on with work.
What I didn’t want though was the students coming to pester me for what to do next. So if they had a plan for their day then they could just get on with work. So I created a template for the day that they would fill out for themselves in the morning. The top of the page had a list of the items that they needed to completed. Below you can see an example of what a student did on her sheet.
I also wanted the students to be responsible for their learning. In order to do this I make a section in their daily plan for them to place a short comment about what they had done during their time and where I could find it.
One of the things I found is that I was able to have shorter, quicker math lessons with the students which were more targeted and allowed them to get to work practicing their math skills. This was good but I was finding that the students was that I was still having trouble teaching math lessons and hitting everyone’s levels as they needed.
This got me thinking and I decided to try recording myself teaching the math lessons. This would allow each student to access the lesson when they were ready not when I was. This also freed me up to help more students when they needed my assistance. So I created a document that allows them to access the links to the recordings and gives them the problems that are do from their problem set packets. They can also find the recordings on their class website.
What this has allowed me to do is allow the students to work through the math lessons as fast as they want. I still set an expectation for what lesson they should have completed by what day, but they can work through those lessons at their own pace.
We have had to put this on hold for a bit since we have now gotten to a point where we are working on lessons that don’t lend themselves to this practice, but I hope to be back working this way again before the end of school.
I have enjoyed making the math lessons for the kids but I have also realized that I say “so” way too often! The kids even point it out to me now!
We also had a wonderful opportunity to work with a Grade 2 classroom to learn about reading Signposts. The Grade 2 students learned about the Contrasts and Contradictions signpost and then taught my kids how to look for them in a piece of reading. The Grade 2 students were excited to teach the Grade 4 students. This week it will be our turn we hope!
In Reading we are also reading any book that they want from the book room. At first I think they thought that this would mean that they could just read and that would be it, but ha ha ha they don’t know me that well yet! Anyway they are creating Booksnaps of their book. A Booksnap is like a social media post for your book. The image below is the Booksnap from a student’s book about the setting of her book.
Our current unit of inquiry is in the PYP Theme of Sharing the Planet
We have tons of interesting experiences within this unit which you can see some of on the class website link.