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You may hear your child use these two terms at home and/or during our upcoming student-led conferences.  The intention of this post is to define them for you...

Learning Goals are curriculum expectations stated in language that students can understand.

Every day, we list our goals for each subject area on the board shown below.  The appropriate mini-posters are inserted into sheet protectors on the board.  Students help to highlight key words using dry erase markers, or they reword the goals in order to make them simpler and more easily understood. (NOTE: The Learning Goal mini-posters we are using on our board were created by another Grade 5/6 teacher in Ontario, named Jennifer Runde:  http://www.rundesroom.com )

 

Success Criteria define what students need to do in order to demonstrate that they have met particular Learning Goals.

Success criteria:

  • are co-authored by teachers and their students
  • ensure that students have input into their learning process
  • ensure that students understand exactly what they need to do to be successful
  • encourage students to move toward becoming independent, self-monitoring learners

This is an example of Success Criteria (click on the image to enlarge it):

We are using Learning Goals and Success Criteria across all subject areas.  Students seem to appreciate the way they take the guesswork out of learning!

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

This year, in accordance with Simcoe County District School Board policy, students in our class will be assigned homework that falls under four categories:

  • Completion: any work assigned during the school day not completed in class;
  • Practice: any work that reinforces skills and concepts taught in class;
  • Preparation: any work that prepares students for upcoming lessons or classes;
  • Extension: any work that explores and refines learning in new contexts or integrates and expands on classroom learning.

Under the category of "practice," students are expected to read at home for at least 20 minutes per day.  Students are asked to complete a log sheet for four nights of reading each week, and have a parent initial the sheet to verify that at least 20 minutes of reading took place.

Also under the category of "practice," students are expected to complete 3-4 sheets of math review homework every other week.  This work is part of our class' small group "Guided Math" program.  The resource for Guided Math is Dr. Marion Small's Leaps and Bounds: Toward Math Understanding for Grades 5/6.  At the beginning of each topic in our regular Grade 5 and 6 math program, students will be asked to complete a diagnostic test assessing how well they remember the math concepts they learned in prior grades.  Guided Math groups, geared at reviewing earlier math concepts, will be created based on the results of each diagnostic test.  Guided Math groups meet with the teacher once a week, during an extra math period.  Students who don't understand how to complete the math homework may bring it back to class and receive additional tutoring during nutrition breaks or recess.  Review, through small group Guided Math and Guided Math homework, will make it easier for each student to build upon his/her knowledge during our regular Grade 5 and 6 math program. 

In addition to the above, at times students will be expected to study at home prior to taking tests.  Unfinished work and occasional home projects may also be assigned as homework throughout the school year.

This is a homework resource for parents, provided by the Simcoe County District School Board:
Bringing School Home:  How can I help my children with their homework?

Click on the link below if your child needs to print an extra copy of the Weekly Reading Log sheet:
SummaryReadingLogHomework

For information about the other elements of our math program, see the math program overview published to this BLOG last school year.

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

Week One is now behind us and we are off to a great start!  We spent much of our first four days reviewing Literacy and Math concepts, getting acquainted and team-building.  We also reviewed school rules, and established classroom rules and routines that will foster comfort and productivity.

COMMUNITY AGREEMENT

The class has created a "Community Agreement" (list of good behaviour principles) using the character traits listed on a Restorative Practices poster that the Simcoe County District School Board provided.  Students then drew from their Community Agreement to create a short list of "The Big Five" rules for classroom behaviour.  When solving conflicts or dealing with habitual or major misbehaviours, we will use the poster to identify:

  • what happened and why
  • how the behaviours of particular students affected others
  • what can be done to make amends
  • what can be learned from the incident(s)
  • which areas of character education may need further reinforcement

If you click on the Community Agreement poster, you can see an enlarged version of it.

Other tools that we use in our classroom to encourage good behaviour are explained in last year's "Open House" BLOG post:
http://blackdeer.edublogs.org/2011/09/23/

COOPERATIVE LEARNING

The following is an example of one of this week's fun (and frustrating) cooperative learning activities.

Students were placed in random groups of four and given 15 minutes to build the tallest freestanding tower possible, using only uncooked spaghetti noodles and miniature marshmallows.

They soon discovered that the task was not as easy as it sounded, with spaghetti noodles snapping easily and pliable marshmallows not holding the structures in a very secure manner.

In the end, a few groups were able to build a structure that could support itself, but the greater lessons learned from this exercise were about the challenges of working collaboratively toward a common goal.  During our debrief, one student said, "I think I should have listened more to the members of my group.  I thought I had a great idea, and wouldn't listen to them until my idea didn't work."  Another said, "I knew that triangles were the strongest shape, but no one in my group would let me speak."  One group found that whenever they reached near consensus about a design idea, a lone dissenter would usually opt out and refuse to help.  These are great observations about potential pitfalls that students need to avoid when working in teams to fulfill academic goals.

Here are a few pictures of the spaghetti tower-building activity:

This is the tallest freestanding tower that was created.  It measured 42 cm in height.  Congratulations to David, Eric, Jillian and Pyper!

You can find the instructions for the spaghetti tower activity here:  http://www.schcounselor.com/2009/10/spaghetti-marshmallows-and-cooperation.html

If you haven't already done so, please subscribe to our BLOG updates by e-mail and check out our class' "Live Binders" page.  There are a links to both up there...

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

Apologies for the lengthy period between BLOG posts.  On behalf of the students and myself, I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Taylor for filling in during my medical leave.  I am now back teaching full time.

 

I want to commend all the students in our class on the wonderful job they did with their speeches.  Special congratulations go out to Aidan D and Spencer C, who presented their speeches in the gym.  Spencer, a Grade 5 student in our class, won our school's Junior Speech Competition with her informative piece about the Halifax Harbour Explosion of 1917!  Spencer will now have the opportunity to share her speech in competition outside the school.  (If you would like to learn more about the Halifax explosion, go to http://www.cbc.ca/halifaxexplosion/ )

 

Last year, we introduced Learning Goals and Success Criteria to our students. Learning Goals are curriculum objectives stated in language that students can understand.  Success Criteria define what students need to do in order to demonstrate that they have met particular Learning Goals.

Success Criteria:

  • are co-authored by teachers and their students
  • ensure that students have input into their learning process
  • ensure that students understand exactly what they need to do to be successful
  • encourage students to move toward becoming independent, self-monitoring learners

We are now using Learning Goals and Success Criteria across all subject areas.  Students and teachers seem to appreciate the way in which Success Criteria take the guesswork out of learning!

Click on the thumbnail above to read the Learning Goals and Success Criteria for our Persuasive Writing project...

 

Here are some of the learning experiences in which we will be engaged over the coming weeks:

Grade 5

  • Literacy:  weekly guided reading comprehension and writing strategies sessions
  • Literacy:  Reading reflections (choice of "100 points" activities)
  • Literacy:  Persuasive writing
  • Math:  Number Sense and Numeration (solving problems involving the multiplication and division of multi-digit whole numbers, and involving the addition and subtraction of decimal numbers to hundredths)
  • Science:  Energy Conservation
  • Social Studies:  Early Civilizations
  • Phys. Ed:  Floor Hockey
  • The Arts:  Drama and Visual Arts

Grade 6

  • Literacy:  weekly EQAO reading comprehension and writing strategies sessions
  • Literacy:  Reading reflections (choice of "100 points" activities)
  • Literacy:  Persuasive writing
  • Math: weekly EQAO math strategies sessions
  • Math:  Number Sense and Numeration (solving problems involving the multiplication and division of whole numbers and addition and subtraction of decimal numbers to thousandths)
  • Social Studies:  Canada's Trading Partners
  • Phys. Ed.:  Floor Hockey
  • The Arts:  Drama and Visual Arts

 

Persuasive Writing:  A written work in which a writer presents a case for or against a particular position.

If you have questions or comments about any aspect of our program, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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Live Binders is an organizational tool for the web that allows people to create tabbed lists of links to a variety of resources.  Click on the link below to access some great Grade 5/6 curriculum-related web pages and games. Our BLOG posts are also integrated into our new Live Binders class page, so you can get all the news and info. there, instead of having to visit both sites!

Once you get to our Live Binders page, use the tabs across the top to navigate between curriculum areas, and the sub-tabs below them to access resource pages.

Here's the link (don't forget to bookmark it!):
Mrs. Black's Grade 5/6 class Live Binders page

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