Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Patterning-Math Stretches

Not too much to say cards have tuckered me out these last few weeks. It seems like the holidays never even happened! But here are some pics of the patterning math stretches we have been doing lately. Enjoy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The writing of report cards...

Today's plan.

Coffee. Lots!

Learning skills and anecdotal records.

Assessments and report card comments.

Planning? Hopefully.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Writing a Recount-Assessing Student Writing (Freebie)

My students and I have been working on writing recounts for awhile now. We first looked at examples of the text form, I modelled it in class, we practiced completing our planning organizers and have finally gotten to the final step of writing independent recounts! Whew. 

As I was marking my student's work in preparation for our first reports (yikes!) I thought that some of you might be interested in how I assess student writing. I am always looking for new ways to assess student work in order to provide feedback that will help my students improve their work. 

The first step in writing our recounts was to complete the graphic organizer that helps us to plan our ideas.

Click on the image above to download your FREEBIE recount plan. I always resize the page onto ledger (14" x 17") when I copy it for my students so they have enough room to write.

This is an example of a complete recount plan. Once the students have complete the plan to their satisfaction then we have a conference to discuss their plan and to ensure they understand the next steps.

During this unit we started working on looking for places to add extra details into our writing as we moved from a plan to written sentences/paragraphs. To help guide my students in this area I highlighted a few places on their plan where I wanted them to add more details. You can see the highlighted areas in the picture above. 

I know it's difficult to read...but keep going! 

I have a closeup further down in the post. 

Here is an example of my student's complete good copy. Once they had written their ideas out in sentences/paragraphs I gave them a highlighter and asked them to go back and highlight the areas where they added the extra details I asked for. 

This way they are able to see where they improved their work, I can see that they understand this skill and I can easily match up their plan and writing when assessing their work. 

The close-up! 
I asked this student to elaborate on their idea of opening presents and playing with them (obviously a recount about the recent winter break!). 

Here is the highlighted good copy. You can see where the student has added details about her own present, her brother and sister's presents and the time frame in which they played with them.
So impressed!

Now, how do I assess?

Last year I started assessing the majority of my student's work using the four achievement categories outlined in the Ontario Curriculum- Knowledge and Understanding (K), Communication (C), Application (A) and Thinking (T). 

I have found that this really enables me to know a lot of information about my student's abilities and provide a wide range of feedback. 

As I mark I keep quick anecdotal records of the areas of strengths and next steps for improvement. This way I have a record of my own feedback and am able to provide individual comments on my upcoming reports. 

As you can see above, I've left some feedback on my student's writing about what I would like them to work on next time. I also record this in my anecdotal records book. Not a great picture but you get the idea.

When I hand this work back to my students I am going to ask them to read carefully through my feedback and to make some goals for Term 2. In order to do this I am going to use the Glow and Grow strategy I learned about last year.

I first posted about it here.

Then the amazing Jen over at Runde's Room took the idea and just ran with it! I love what she came up with

Now that I am teaching Grade 3 (primary students in Ontario) I am going to adapt the strategy a little bit more. 

Here's what I plan to use with my students to have them reflect on their own work of writing a recount. 
And here is a blank one so that you can customize it for your own class/assignment! Click on either image to pick up this FREEBIE.

Well, I'm off to read and relax a little bit. Today was a long day spent marking, preparing for reports and dealing with a two-year old who I think is teething and refuses to nap! I am exhausted and I hear my book calling my name. 

Happy Monday tomorrow. 

P.S.- Like/Love my new Pinterst hover button? Me too! Go here to learn how to get your own. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yep, I'm still here!

Sorry for the long absence but I think I got into the groove of the winter break and couldn't seem to shake it off. My husband and I travelled to Mexico for the 2nd week of the holidays for a fellow teacher's wedding and had a great holiday. It was our first time away together since our honeymoon (5 years ago!) and it was the first time we have been away since our daughter was born. Greatly needed!

Speaking of my daughter it was also her 2nd birthday this week...such a big girl now so party plans and presents dominated the week. She is such a darling and we had a wonderful week of dinners with family members. Next week is my husband's birthday so the fun will just continue!

At school we have jumped full into the swing of things...busy, busy, busy. My sample report cards for Term 1 are due on Monday and then I will be writing the full class set of reports over the next few weeks. In order to be able to do all this I still need to finish teaching some things too. We have lots of stuff on the go and I am really hoping (fingers crossed) to be able to post about it soon. 

To give you a little preview, here's whats happening in Grade 3...

- We are full into our 40 Book Challenge with a lot of my students reading a tonne of books over the holidays. We are starting a media/drama project next week where my students will be creating "movie trailers" for various genres using iMovie on the iPad! They are over the moon with excitement.

- Our last Math strand for this term is patterning, just as soon as we finish up with Geometry. Cramming in all the math we can these days.

- In Science we will be starting to build marble mazes as the culminating task for our dual unit on forces and structures/stability.

There is so much on the go these days it's easy to get a little overwhelmed but I will try my best to be posting as often as possible.

I hope you all had a great holiday, a wonderful New Year and a fabulous start to 2013!
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