I can't believe that this much time has gone by already! We have a great class this year and the school and classroom are slowly settling into a routine. We have had so many activities already that I will just have to pick one and begin.
You may wonder why I place so much emphasis on our Daily Physical Activity time at the beginning of the day. Especially with the glorious weather we have been having, it has been the time for students to stretch their legs and settle their minds before beginning school work, time to connect with us and their friends (lots of walking and talking going on) and there is actually quite a bit of running happening as well. Take a look at September's graph and be prepared to be impressed. Three of our students have joined the cross country team and are eager to hit the trail on Wednesday October 10th over at Sunshine Hills Elementary.
The annual Terry Fox run was held on Sept 25th. All of our students took part. It was a time for every one to reflect on the courage that Terry showed and to join with the entire school to support a cause.
Mrs. Bradley (our school counsellor) taught us about how powerful our thoughts are. She showed us how negative (red) thoughts can be pushed away by positive (green thoughts). We have been practising every since and it really works! Notice our new chairs? Every student has the choice of a regular chair, exercise ball or squishy cushion. The balls help to keep students in "The Zone."
Draw Squad is an online drawing program which was started by Mark Kistler many years ago and is still an all time favourite. We began the program last year and this our class has picked it up very quickly. Student's learn many art terms such as foreshortening, how to shade, and perspective and are able to work at their own pace this year by using individual computers. We end with a "walkabout" where students admire others drawings.
The backbone of our program is the use of Direct Instruction (DI) programs. Direct Instruction programs explicitly teach skills using lecture, demonstration and question answer sessions rather than requiring students to "figure out" what you want them to know. We use SRA Direct Instruction materials to teach spelling, reading decoding and comprehension, novel studies and math skills. Using placement tests, students are placed into groups at their learning level. Groups have no more than four students and many have less. Instruction is fast paced and students learn to stay tuned in to the teacher. Check out the Curriculum Page for more information.
IXL.com math is the latest addition to our classroom tools. It is a web-based program which corresponds to the BC math learning outcomes for each grade. Students each have their own log-in and individually work on a variety of problems for each math strand. This week we worked on place value and writing and naming numbers. I was amazed at the level of focus and commitment students displayed. Look at this week's report. Ask your student to show you the program at home!