Week in Lab Week Twenty-seven 2011


I feel like I’m getting my blogging groove back, and I feel like writing and sharing about what I’m doing with the students. Maybe it’s the sun coming out, maybe it’s all the writing I did at and after ASCD. Whatever the reason, I’m back, and glad to be here! In celebration, I’ve redone the blog theme

First Grade

I’ve switched to showing them “Between the Lions” and having them do activities that tie-in with the show. The shows are longer, but the quality is pretty impressive.  I’m liking this. Next I may try to create some “Gwain’s World” blending activities for the IWB (the over-booking of Spring Break begins, lol).

Second Grade

We’re at the midpoint of their unit on fossils. It’s an interesting on because it has ties to both biological sciences (dinosaurs, etc.), and earth science (rocks and minerals). We’ve been talking about land changes both fast and slow, lately. The big news is that the class that is Skyping with a class in Kevin Jarrett’s school will have a local reporter visit as we chat next week.

Third Grade

They are doing a unit, Storytelling, that has traditionally been saved for summer school, but since there will be no district summer school, they figured they’d do it now. I’ve been going through elements of stories, THEN on the second day, showing them a “Peep in the Big Wide World” video which we analyze for that element. I think it’s important for kids to learn how to do this analysis with videos because not only can it scaffold doing it with print media, but it also teaches them that you can approach film/video analytically because it too is a story.

Fourth Grade

I’ve been continuing with math concepts with a focus on fractions. The focus was on adding and mixed numbers. I’m not happy with the balance of conceptual vs. procedural. I’ll note that one of the lesser points of Linda Darling Hammond in her John Dewey speech at ASCD said that we need to stop the curricular wars between things like theory and skills, because kids need both. Still, when I see posts like this, I wonder if I could stand to expand my repertoire of procedures being taught. This Teacher Dodgeball game is now “beating out” Genuis boxing at student’s favorite choice activity. You can never go wrong with kids giving them a game where you put a teacher in harms way.

Fifth Grade

One of the things that I try to do is if I hear teachers saying the kids are having trouble with something, and I know there are online resources that will hit the concept in a different way, I offer to cover it during lab time. A couple weeks back, there was a concern about integers. Since we were already on that topic, I’ve gone on to doing coordinate graphing on a Cartesian chart. This week it was simple coordinates, next week, linear equations (yes, ridiculously that is a fifth grade standard). I took the opportunity to eschew the IWB, and used “analog” tools, by having the kids use a dry erase coordinate plane chart I have to plot some points and answer questions. I had them come up in small groups, and they had a blast! Complemented me, and shared it with their teacher.

Sixth Grade

We continued our study of Meso-American cultures, and that’s been fine. What I’m most interested in is getting students to see the connection between the development of agriculture and the growth of civilizations. I’m going to do that tie-in next week.

Image Credit: “27” by Leo Reynolds, on Flickr

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