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Media Literacy Foldable

11 Dec

The craziness of the winter season is upon us at school! We’re doing all we can to keep our kids and academics on track while they are already focussed on the break. Add in preparing for a Christmas concert (yes, ours is still a Christmas concert) and all the holiday related interruptions and the day can seem excessively long and tiring.  As well, the other day there seemed to be a lot of supply teachers in so either everyone was taking a fun day and we didn’t get the memo or there is a nasty bug going around. Again. Good times. Good, good times.

When we think about it, there is rarely a time when there isn’t some stressor or a three-ring circus kind of day. There is always something. We can’t remember the last time we heard a colleague say they felt caught up and well rested. Maybe because they see the rest of us and know they would be universally despised or because we, as a general group, tend to feel we should always be doing more and focus on what needs to be done.

As always, our goal is to help you lessen your stress and help out where we can. We’ve noticed media literacy is a popular category in our stats so we decided to post our recently created media literacy foldable. We looked at the 5 key concepts of media literacy so we used the media triangle to create our foldable.

We also hope you take some time over the holidays to reflect not on what you need to do but what you have done well. It’s not as easy but would be good for the teaching soul. Happy Holidays!

You can download the file here:

Media Literacy INB brownlee and belanger

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(T)Each Day is a New Adventure

25 Nov

Grade 6 Science: Biodiversity

11 Nov

Okay, so we’re beyond exhausted. One of us is still coming down from the report card marathon and the other from job related travelling (why do conferences have to be so far away and, end right at the start of rush hour traffic?). Our tired brains were trying to think of something we had that might help lighten the tired overload of other teachers. When we were looking around, we realized we hadn’t posted anything science related. After the “huh” moment we went with it and decided to share our Biodiversity Tab Book and our At-Risk Species foldable book. One of us must have been digging the idea of creating books during the planning phase!

Hopefully our tired brains stumbled across a resource that will help you out. Happy biodiversity-ing … wait, that’s not right, happy bio … whatever. Enjoy!

 

The tab book was used with the book “Tree of Life”. During a read aloud, students created jot notes on each kingdom and then used those notes to write a summary for each kingdom. We found sites they could use to find examples from each kingdom and set them up with a QR to find a picture and the classification.

The at-risk species foldable book is based on an OERB lesson on “The Importance of At-Risk” Species. We used their categories for each section of the book. We added in the title, scientific classification, how to help and other important information. If you don’t know how to create a foldable book we have found https://hammermill.com/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/make-a-foldable-book.pdf offers a pdf with step by step directions.

booklet

 

We were so tired we forgot to post the pdfs!

Biodiversity 5 Kingdoms Tab Book brownlee and belanger

at risk foldable book brownlee and belanger

 

Interactive Notebooks in Math (Patterning and Number Sense)

20 Oct

Card and Board Games for English Language Learners

7 Oct

Shameful Secret

Let me just say before I begin my confession, that I have been a teacher for over twenty years.  I have taught multiple grades, self-contained special education classes, and many English Language Learners over the years.  I have even taught teachers which is a unique experience all on its own.  For the most part, I have been pretty successful.  I’ve had commendations from former students, parents and administrators.  I’ve never been fired from a teaching job and I am not afraid to take on a challenge.

Yet, there is one sentence that makes me forget every positive experience that I have ever had in this field.  I hear that sentence and the sweat breaks out all over my body.  My stomach starts to churn.  My eyes begin to dart wildly around hoping to find some form of escape even knowing that there is nowhere to hide.

What is this sentence? (I shudder even writing it.)  It goes something like this…

“Mom, can I get some help with my homework?”

You might not think that the sentence itself is stomach-churning but you have to look at it through my lens.  This sentence is followed by a painfully long time of my repeatedly (and lovingly) attempting to explain how to complete the homework.  Throughout the explanation, there will be eye-rolling, sighing, and the constant statement of “My teacher doesn’t do it like that.”  In all likelihood, tears will finish the episode- either hers’, mine, or both.  (Criers gotta cry.)

There was a forewarning even before homework came along.  My child might have been about three years old.  We were playing together and she said, “Mom, pretend you are a teacher.”  I innocently responded with, “I actually am a teacher.”  She stopped what she was doing and looked me up and down doubtfully.  She must have seen the look of fear on my face because she gently said, “Pretend you are a real teacher.”

I do try to console myself.  There is a long held belief that the shoemaker’s kids go without shoes, and so on for other professions….but seriously, a teacher’s kid who can’t get help with her homework??  Shameful.  Luckily, she has another parent.  Maybe, next time, he can pretend to be a real teacher.

Sometimes, it is better to stick with kids who don’t know you outside of school.  Even better, my students are often new to the country.  They don’t have long-held expectations for me.  They are generally just happy to see me when I show up.  Part of that happiness might stem from the fact that I play games with them to develop both conversational and early literacy skills.

Open Response and Math

23 Sep

Over the summer, one of us read way too many math focussed books and not enough fiction.  Then, not content with just reading the books, she often decided that she had to make some organizers to go with the math text.  As Dr. Marian Small is a math guru, she decided to start with her work. Turns out Dr. Small has way more books than anticipated! Anyway, long and boring story cut short, Dr. Marian Small’s Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction was a (relatively) more interesting read and offered some great ideas for math instruction. These included:

  • Turning around a question
  • Asking for similarities and differences
  • Asking for a number sentence
  • Replacing a number with a blank
  • Changing the question

Turning around a question, has the teacher give the answer while the students create the problem or number sentence. Asking for similarities and differences, allows students to discuss how items or concepts are alike or different (pretty self-explanatory concept really!). In asking for a number sentence, students are asked to create sentences that include certain words and numbers.

Now that we are back to school, the studious one of us is regretting her poor judgement in frittering away her time on thoughtful tasks. Her sister very nicely sorted out a stack of mysteries for her to read but did she complete that pile? Noooo. Well, her loss is your gain. If you are interested, below are organizers that will help you use these concepts in your classroom.

Now, go! Find a good mystery to read before it’s too late.

 

Download the file here: Open Math Questions Student Response BLM Brownlee and Belanger

Inquiry Process – Thick and Thin Questions

8 Aug

This year we are excited to partner up with another class to strengthen our inquiry skills. Inquiry is integral in our curriculum yet it seems like our students struggle with key components. We always worry that maybe we take away the scaffolding a little too quickly – such as the time we realized our students didn’t really get that Google was search engine instead of a website. That’s a whole other discussion! Anyway, we ended up reading the book IQ: A Practical Guide to Inquiry-Based Learning – based on a Facebook recommendation, of course

Image result for IQ inquiry book

Yea FB friends, as it is an excellent source of ideas and we are looking forward to trying many of the activities!!

While we recognize the inquiry process isn’t really a linear procedure we decided to segment it into smaller steps as our class will be responsible for supporting the younger students. Our hope is that breaking it down into “steps” will make them more mindful of their own part in the process. (Can you tell we’ve been talking about metacognition too?).

We want to start with a look at our focus and then move into a discussion on thin and thick questions (this will also tie in nicely with Language Arts). To help out we want them to keep the definition and examples of thick and thin questions in their notebooks. We have seen sandwiches, burgers and mustaches all used as a visual for thick and thin but we ended up using the mustache example. Would have been perfect for last year’s mustache theme – too bad we’re using superheroes this year Going to admit we’re still trying to think of a way to make a superhero visual on this one!

 

 

We tend to have ones already completed for students who may have some fine motor concerns

We think we will also discuss how to use a Q-Chart at the same time. We have found thin questions are popular because they are quick and easy. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have them more comfortable with creating thick questions and recognizing not every question has a “right” answer.

For anyone looking for a thick and thin questions template, you can use the one here. A small Q-chart is also in the document.

Reading and Inquiry INB Thick and Thin Questions BLM Brownlee and Belanger