Week/Month/Season in Lab


As my readers have no doubt noticed, I have not been putting up Week in Lab posts. Although I’m not hitting the cutting edge so much this month, I am still working in the lab with the kiddos. My outside time for writing has been taken up with my campaign for union office, and the myriad problems our state budget is bringing up (cuts, cuts, and cuts). I’ve also taken over the presidency of my local CUE affiliate. We live in interesting times. Enough politics and policy, let’s look at the lab.

Math, Math, Math!

I switched things up, and have started doing more mathematics, and less language arts in some of the grade levels. I’ve been relying on BrainPop (for intro), and Cyberchase and PBS Kids (for activities). I saw a Diigo comment when I went to PBS Kids saying that he saw a lot of teachers just having students go to the site, without having a specific activity. I do let kids do that as part of choice time, but the commenter had a point. There is a lot of great activities for specific lessons on a skill or concept. How to do this? PBS Teachers, will let you search for activities (online and off) and filter them for different grade levels. I’ve tried to pick concepts that are best suited to online, like geometry (transformations, plane shapes, coordinates, arrays for division/multiplication, early addition and subtraction, and probability). I haven’t found great long division resources, but if you have ideas, shoot them my way.

Reaching out

My Skype relationship with Kevin Jarrett’s school is on hiatus due to scheduling issues on both ends, but I did get students in one of Larry Ferlazzo’s classes to interact with my students about culture. Fifth graders have a unit on cultural heritage. We have a very diverse schools, with Hmong and Mien students,  Mexican and Mexican American students, African American and Native Americans, and a handful of white students. The white students usually have a hard time identifying what their culture is, but some of our refugee families in trying to put the past behind them, don’t talk about their history with children (there are a variety of reasons from language barriers within the family to PTSD-type issues). Also, although the kids all play together, they don’t explicitly share their culture or history. This unit is a good chance to talk about these things, so everyone can learn. I hoped to have Larry’s students, who are older, help provide some of the missing information. They did a good job of this. My kids were really excited to have outsiders commenting on our blog.

New Resources

In addition to the search facility on PBS Teachers, via my old employer Instructify, I’ve discovered History for Music Lovers, on YouTube. Evenmoreso than with BrainPop and other video resources, this is suitable as an intro to a subject, but I found the Civilization video a great help in introducing the concept of a civilization.

So that’s the quickie overview. I’m likely to stay busy into May, so your patience with this dear readers, is appreciated!

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