Saturday, April 1, 2017

Being Inspired

I'm continually amazed at the growth and creativity of the students in 4L! This week was a particularly inspiring one as we created our own businesses, division strategies, and poems. We are never short on ideas and we delight in the chance to be inspired by one another. 

This week in Unit, we wrapped up our study of How We Express Ourselves. Our central idea was: Expression of self is influenced by culture and religion. 

After collecting and collating all of our research, we spent time reflecting on our big takeaways or enduring understandings from this unit. We used the Generate-Sort-Connect-Elaborate routine for this. We generated our learning and then connected it to one or more line of inquiry or to the central idea. As we elaborated on our thinking, fruitful conversation flowed freely based on our independent inquiries/discoveries. 

Our final generate-sort-connect-elaborate work with enduring understandings

Once all of our sticky notes were posted and we wrapped up our group discussion, we reflected on what major themes kept coming up throughout the unit that would leave a lasting impression on us.  They were:

  • No matter what religion people believe in, most people believe in some kind of higher being (though they may call it different things)
  • People tend to believe in religion to answer life's 'big questions'
  • Many people's behaviour is related to their belief in some kind of afterlife 
  • Religion is not about science but faith (this word came up a lot in our interviews/visits)

We then began our study of Unit 5, How We Organize Ourselves. We learned that we'd have a class sale. We began by brainstorming businesses we knew. As we shared our thinking, they were put into two columns on the board. We then spent time considering the difference between the two columns. Here's what we discovered:

Student generated responses to types of businesses and how they differ

We then did a Think-Pair-Share of what goods and services we might be able to offer to sell to our classmates. We came up with these awesome ideas:

 Then it was time to get planning! We spent time chatting with friends to decide what each of us would like to do, and then we got down to production! 

Our goods and services included:
  • math times table tutoring
  • Scratch tutoring
  • fun photo booth session
  • games
  • clay sculptures
  • rubberband jewelry
  • advertising
  • pillows
  • plush animals and clothes
*A special thanks to our friend, Antanas, for creating our currency which we call 'Antanas Euros'! 

We continued to work together in our own time and then had one more work day to finish production in class. We all made progress and some of our ideas even grew and changed over the week. 

As part of our transdisciplinary learning this week, we worked in Art with Ms.Dayana to create a logo for a business. We spent time brainstorming the importance of our audience, business name, significance of different colours and effectiveness of different fonts. 

In math this week, we continued with our division number talks. We are slowly growing comfortable with various strategies, and we even added three new strategies to our toolbox this week thanks to Domantas, Aleksandras and Nora! 

Domantas discovered the 'Partial Quotient' method

Working mentally or with whiteboards on a division number talk

Aleksandras discovered the 'Halving and halving' strategy while Nora elaborated on a 'chunking' strategy similar to partial sums to include visuals 

Aside from practicing division, we also began to investigate what could be done with remainders in number stories. We discovered there were 3 options: 

  • Ignore it (if what remained could not be split or used)
  • Report the remainder as a decimal (often in money) or fraction (when it was something like food that could be split equally)
  • Round up (when the remainder still needed to be accounted for, like people needing a seat at a table)

In language arts this week, we continued with booktalks. We regularly share our own books with our classmates in Lithuaninan, Russian and English. Some of us have so many books on our 'Someday Lists' that we're reading 2-3 books per week by now! 

In writing, we continued our study of poetry. We focused on crafting our poetry and how revision looks different than when we were working with narrative writing. We realised that one big part of revising poetry is the need to read it aloud again and again to see how it 'feels' as we make changes. We started up our peer conferences again. 

Domantas and Antanas read poems aloud for feedback

Nora offers Migle feedback on her poem

Krista seeks feedback from Benas about how to improve a poem she hopes to publish

We also added some tools to our writing toolkits. 

We explored some of the pitfalls of rhyme in poetry:
  • rhyme can result in nonsense words that render a poem meaningless
  • rhyme might take over other elements like imagery or metaphors, thus making the poem more shallow
  • filler words that water down our poems such as 'oh'and 'so'

We then looked at 'cutting the fat' from our poems. We thought about all the little, boring/unnecessary words or long descriptions that might be made more concise and tried cleaning out some clutter.

Finally, we searched for the heart or essence of poems we considered publishing. Once we found the heart, we looked at the rest of the poem and cut anything that didn't add to the heart. 

We also continue to seek inspiration and guidance from famous poets, as well as peer poets. Our shared poems this week were:

'Body Art' by Marilyn Singer

From "Knock at a Star" poetry anthology by Dorthi Charles

'To the Moon' by Percy Bysshe Shelley

as well as poems by our fr

Some of us even took our poetry outside! Benas found a bit of chalk and decided the courtyard ground was the perfect place to try out some free verse! 

We had the pleasure of a peaceful spring morning at the park this week! We did some singing, spring cleaning, dancing, tree climbing, music making, tagging and stick gathering!

We had a great surprise on Wednesday when Ms.Marie (one of our former 2nd grade teachers from VIS) came for a visit during our lunch recess! It was awesome to get some Ms.Marie time!

Finally, we had the pleasure of celebrating our friend, Steven's, birthday this week. We wish him a happy 10th year ahead! 

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