When you have something exciting to tell the kids, sometimes you have to turn it into a challenge. Enjoy!
Here's a sneak peek of our trip to Science World. It was made with the brand new Apple Clips app for iPhone and iPad! If you have an iOS device, here is the link to show you what it's about. It's a fun app! Enjoy :)
- Mrs. LS
You may have heard your child talking about a new project we're doing at school, Genius Hour. So what is it? And what role do you play as parents in this project? Read on to find out more!
About Genius Hour
Genius Hour gives students an hour each week on Wednesday afternoons to learn about a topic that they are passionate or curious about. Over the past weeks, our class has had to brainstorm their ideas, ask questions about how their project could be made possible, and even write a formal project proposal for me! Each project idea was thought of and designed by the student, [will be] approved by the teacher, and must be based upon each students' own individual or small group research.
Throughout the project, I will be holding student-teacher conferences to challenge students to sequence and build their projects in meaningful ways, and to perhaps to throw a wrench in the plan. Writing a book? Well, you might want to know about what a manuscript is. Trying to make a stop-motion video? Perhaps you need to watch some tutorials on creating cool effects and making it look realistic. No matter the project, I try to find ways to push student thinking in our Genius Hour conferences.
Several students are building projects (Lego worlds or objects, stop-motion animation props, robots, etc.), whereas others are creating theirs digitally (making websites, filming stop-motion animation, learning to code, creating an eBook, etc.). Please discuss your child's topic with them and what they would like to accomplish by the end of the year. Their work will be found in their Google Drive folders once we begin this week. (It's not there yet, but will be soon! You can find their log-in for their account on the front page of their agendas.)
Genius Hour Sharing and Assessment
Students will have an opportunity to share their findings from their topics and central questions at the end of the term. The final presentation to the class will take place in the middle of June. While that might still seem very far away, it's actually time to start considering what we need to accomplish before then!
Please note that this project is oriented on the documentation of the student's progress and their thinking along the way, not the final product! In many cases, students won't actually be able to accomplish their final goals by June, but should be able to document their learning by taking pictures and writing about their findings. This means they will be carrying an iPad around to take pictures during every Genius Hour class. If you're doing any work on the project at home, please take pictures!!! These images can be used for student presentations at the end of the term.
In short, I will be assessing:
Final presentations in June must have a digital component involved so that it can be shared on student blogs. Students are allowed to use any presentation or video software they like to present their learning journey. In class, we will be discussing which presentation tools will most effectively demonstrate their learning and I will guide them to one that will work best for them. Chances are that no matter which tool they end up selecting, there will need to be a lot of photo documentation of their project as possible, so, again, please take lots of photos if they are working on this at home!
Thanks, as always, for all of your support. Our class is so excited about this project and those who have their proposals approved already will be starting on Wednesday. If your child wants to work on their proposal at home this weekend, they can do so by logging into their account on Google Classroom. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.
Each week, the Eduminions practice and learn about math in many different ways. We play games, we do whole-class lessons and small group lessons, we complete challenges, and we practice our math skills on IXL.
IXL is a math application that can be used both here at school and at home. It can be used on a regular desktop computer or laptop and on tablet devices. Below, I will review how it works for the iPad, but this process is generally transferable to all devices. Click here for the iPad app and click here for the Android app (both are free to you - but the school pays for a subscription for your child). To access their website, click here.
One thing to note is that this is a supplementary app for practice. In no way does it replace the in-classroom mathematics experiences such as working with manipulatives (blocks, cubes, etc), playing games, and solving problems. However, it does help reinforce the concepts we cover. The app is “smart” in that it tailors upcoming questions based on the accuracy of the student. If the student is doing well, it will ramp up the difficulty level; if not, it will simplify the skill again.
To start, open the app and have your child log-in:
Next, select the grade level you’d like to work at. Please keep your child’s ability level in mind when making these selections.
After you select the grade level, you will be presented with various options for math strands that they can practice. When you look at a box containing a particular strand, you will have an option to select from various activities for that strand. For example, these are some of the Grade 3 strands and lessons:
When you select your activity, a practice question will be presented. Tap in the answer box and choose for a number keyboard to come up to input your answer. You can also choose to handwrite in your answers and a smart sensor will turn your handwriting into numbers!
(For the devices where these options don't come up and you just get a regular old iPad keyboard, I'm trying to find a fix. Stay tuned!)
You can also use the pen tools on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to annotate and draw to solve the problem.
Please note that all of the questions practiced through IXL are recorded for my records. I can see how many problems students attempt, their accuracy, and how long they spend on IXL each week.
As I mentioned earlier, this is great supplemental practice at home that saves you from searching for math worksheets online. I also encourage the use of manipulatives (counting beans, money, candies, cereal, blocks) or a 100s chart to assist students as they complete questions at home.
I hope this little breakdown helped to provide more understanding around IXL. If you have a device at home that your child can work on, please don’t hesitate to get them started on this, even for just a few minutes a night. We just started working on simple multiplication and every bit of practice makes a BIG difference!
Hi parents of Division 6,
The EduMinions are blogging! Yay! Here are some tips to read and comment on your child's blog as the year progresses:
1) First, head to our Kidblog account. You can bookmark this page as it is the main space your child will be posting to for the remainder of the school year.
2) For easy navigation to your child's work, click on their name on the right side of the screen. Find the blog post of theirs you'd like to read and click on the title to open it.
3) Read their post and leave a comment for them! You don't need to be logged in to comment. Write your name in the box above the comment post so they know who you are.
Keep in mind that Mrs. LS has to approve comments before they can be viewed by anyone else, including the students. This is to protect our kids and to teach internet safety in a controlled environment!
4) If you're curious about work in a specific subject, check out the Categories column on the main page to find our posts in that particular area:
5) Check back to your child's blog throughout the school year!
If you have any questions, as always, please contact Mrs. LS. Happy commenting :)
Many of you have been asking about the weekly spelling routines and what to expect. Typically, students will copy down their personalized spelling list for the week on Mondays and have a spelling test on Fridays. On short weeks, like this week, the test will change to a Thursday instead. During these first three to four weeks of spelling practice, I am getting kids used to the routines of spelling as well as how to practice both at home and school. Therefore, you shouldn't panic about this week's test at all - we're all getting used to a new school year still!
We use an iPad app called SpellingCity to deliver our lists and tests each week, which is part of why I've asked for earbuds/headphones to be sent to school for your child. This program allows me to personalize your child's spelling list to a challenge level that suits them and it also creates activities and spelling games based around those words.
For the record, I do not put a lot of emphasis on the tests but rather, on the continual practice and use of spelling words (or words with similar spelling patterns) in student writing. I also encourage you to practice general spelling skills with your children at home through games like Bananagrams, Scrabble, or Boggle. Regular playing of word games and writing practice at home can increase spelling competency in written work at school.
How To Access SpellingCity at Home
For those of you who would like to access the activities available for your child's spelling words on SpellingCity.com, read on!
The SpellingCity app is available for both iOS and Android devices. You can also access the web portal by clicking here.
The rest of this post will detail step-by-step instructions of how to navigate the web portal, as well as let you know about usernames and passwords. (See Step 1 to figure out your child's username and password if using a tablet device)
Step 1: Sign In
Step 2: Choose Your List
Use the drop-down menu on your child's assigned lists. The current week's list will always be the highest number available. Their lists can and will change according to their abilities as the year progresses. This will be assessed by both Mrs. LS and your child in a 1-1 interview every month or two.
Step 3: See How They're Doing
If you are wondering what your child's progress is in the area of spelling, click on "My Records" in the top menu on the page. There will you be able to see which activities your child has completed, how much time they've spent on them, and even which words they are struggling with!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding the use of the SpellingCity web portal or application for iOS or Android.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find some time to check out SpellingCity at home with your child soon!
-Mrs. LS :)
It's been a pretty fabulous couple of weeks so far in Division 6. We are having fun getting to know one another and getting our daily and weekly routines set up for the year.
We have begun diving into the Daily 5 literacy program, which promotes student self-regulation of literacy activity choice. I work with each student to determine their reading, writing, and spelling levels for personalized literacy activities, how to pick "good-fit" books for themselves, and strategies to use to improve in areas of literacy.
For some of these activities, we will be using technology to get the students thinking about their literacy progress. Students will be recording their reading on an iPad app and listening to the playback to listen for areas of strength and areas for improvement. I like to compare this to athletes watching game-film; when you step out of the moment of performance, you are more likely to identify where you can make changes to improve.
As a result, I'm asking for parents to send a pair of earbuds or headphones to school with their child. An attached microphone is preferred but not required (note: earbuds with small mics, such as Apple headphones, are also better for storage purposes). If you are unable to provide headphones, please send $2 with your child and I will pick some sets up at the dollar store.
Please let me know if you have any questions - I would be happy to answer them!
Well, it's official - you're stuck with me now until the end of the year. Our goodbyes to Ms. Ledlin last week were tearful, but proud. We all wish her sincere congratulations and luck as she continues her studies at UBC and becomes a fully certified teacher!
I have some photo albums to share with you from the last few weeks and am looking forward to capturing more images over these last exciting weeks of school before summer. Scroll through below to check out images from the Surrey Children's Festival, Inquiry Fair, Ms. Ledlin's goodbye gathering, and more!
Surrey International Children's Festival
Inquiry Fair 2015
Ms. Ledlin's Goodbye Gathering
Thanks for reading/viewing!
I would like to extend a warm welcome to another student in our classroom, Matthew! Please make sure you say hello to him and his family if you see them around the school. We are so excited to have them here at West Langley!
Division 5 has been busy this month with everything from our continued skating field trips, to Genius Hour, to learning with Ms. Ledlin (our student teacher), and much, much more! As the school year is creeping to a close, Ms. Olson would like to let you know more about the project and our presentation times.
About Genius Hour
Genius Hour gives students an hour each week on Thursday afternoons to learn about a topic that they are passionate or curious about. Each project idea was thought of and designed by the student, approved by the teacher, and must be based upon their individual research. Please note that this project is oriented on the documentation of the student's progress, not the final product! In many cases, students won't actually be able to accomplish their final goals by June, but should be able to document their learning along the way.
Several students are building projects (creating board games, stop-motion animation props, robots, etc.), whereas others are creating theirs digitally (making websites, filming stop-motion animation, learning to code, etc.). Please discuss the next steps of this project with your child and what they would like to accomplish by the end of the year. Their work so far can be found in their Google Drive folders.
Genius Hour Sharing Events
Students will have 2 opportunities to present their findings from their topics and central questions this year. The first will be at the end of May at the Inquiry Fair and the second will be the final presentation to the class in the middle of June. While that might still seem very far away, it's actually time to start considering what we need to accomplish before then!
Final presentations in June must have a digital component involved so that it can be shared on student blogs. Students are allowed to use any presentation or video software they like to present their learning journey. In class, we will be discussing which presentation tools will most effectively demonstrate their learning and I will guide them to one that will work best for them. Chances are that no matter which tool they end up selecting, there will need to be a lot of photo documentation of their project as possible, so please take lots of photos if they are working on this at home!
See the photos below to see some EduMinions learning magic (in no particular order at all; we have been very behind with our sharing!)
Hello Parents of Division 5,
Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope that you had an opportunity to spend some quality time with your families! I enjoyed my first week off, finishing up some Masters assignments and attending the CUE Conference in California. The second week brought me the flu, which definitely wasn't as fun, but at least I didn't have to miss any work! :)
1) Our skating field trips continue tomorrow and we will be leaving by 8:45 AM for the rink. The remaining dates are:
Please send your child with the following items on those dates:
Parent drivers, here is the complete schedule for you to view. Please let me know ASAP if your schedule changes and you are unable to drive! Thanks in advance for this.
2) Ms. Ledlin, our student teacher will be joining us full-time after the break until June 5th. She will gradually assume more teaching duties over that time under the supervision of myself, Mrs. Nichols, and Mr. Oliver. We are very excited to have her learn along with us this term - please welcome her if you have a chance!
3) I would also like to welcome a new family to our classroom, the Schroeders. The students are very excited to have their daughter, Robyn, in the world of the EduMinions - be sure to say hello to them if you see them, too!
4) Just a note that class and team photos are on TUESDAY, March 31.
I think that's all we have to cover for the week for now. I'm sure there will be more but we will let you know as we know. :) You can also check our class calendar for more information about school and class events, too. As always, be sure to fire me an email if you have any questions or concerns before tomorrow.
Ms. Olson - blogging about the amazing lives and adventures of the EduMinions.