Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 Reading Response Journal Gallery

I love reading what kids have to share about their reading!  Every week, students have to turn in their journals.  Five students each day, so I don't end up with 29 all at once to get back to them!  Recently, I went to an amazing conference with Mary Ehrenworth...so great!  She inspired me to add creativity to our Reading Response Journals.  I showed my students some examples.  They searched for ideas and we brainstormed them.  Here is the awesome-ness that was found-

Problem and Solutions
Character Descriptions...Look closely...he made new words from each of the two descriptive words.
Pictures and descriptions of bad guys or memorable characters
Coded post it notes
A story map
She made a symbol for combining the parts of the book.
This guy drew a picture and then bottom sketches are symbols he made up that would represent each of the characters.
Comparing two books in a series
Comparing two books with similar ideas.
Then we had a gallery showing and shared our work with our friends.
So fun and it put more life and energy into writing about reading!

Happy Wednesday,

Monday, April 14, 2014

 Expert Groups...from Science/Social Studies to Math

Originally this post started out a State Testing Bashing Rant...however, I "Pollyanna'd" it and am, instead going to share the good that came out of preparing for the test.

To trying and at least get some practice with the stuff we haven't learned yet, we have been using expert groups.  They are not my own creation, it is a modified version of something from GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design).  I have never used expert groups with math before.  Usually a small group studies something then shares out.  For example, during science we are studying birds.  Groups worked together to learn about different bird habitats, then shared with rest of class.
I thought why couldn't something like this happen with math.

Here is what we have been doing-
Friday-Students are chosen to be expert group leaders.  (Before Monday I figure out what I want them to do.)
Monday-we have a "working lunch meeting."  I go over the three or four concepts I want the class to work on.  They choose the one they feel most comfortable teaching. 
Monday-Share their lesson with two groups of studnets
Tuesday-Share their lesson with two groups of students.

Then we repeat the process with new groups on Wednesday and Thursday. 
So far we have gone through the process twice. 
Round 1-Three Expert Groups
Shapes with lines/no lines of symmetry
Names of different polygons
 Balanced equations-apparently the class photographer missed this group:-)

Round 2-Four Expert Groups
Exploring 3-D shapes
3 dimensional shape organizer
Different kinds of lines
Different kinds of angles

I am amazed at how well it has been going.  I don't think it is something I could keep up with all year long, but it has been far more smooth than I thought it would be and everyone is learning something better than if I tried to do giant whole class lessons about all these different topics.

Happy Monday,