Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, Day Forty-one

Today we did not get a lot accomplished. We did not have school Monday because of professional development and then the election was Tuesday. This is a short week that is really messed up.
In language arts we did a few pages in the workbook. We will begin a new theme, but I am gonna ease into that because of the short week. This will throw everything off.

We did not have our 4th grade math today, because of visitors and others. We just couldn't keep up, so it was better that we just cancel this class and move on with our day. The students are ahead of the regular classroom so it will not hurt them. We will get things done tomorrow.

Time also did not allow me to work with my little guy. We will continue tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, Day Thirty-eight

In 3rd grade we did more language arts pages in the students workbook to go along with the theme wrap up. I have created their phonics quiz that they will complete tomorrow. I don't think they'll have too much trouble with it. I did not add a bonus section on this one since it is 25 questions. I am hoping we can finish this and still have time to do the contraction game. I think this would be a great benefit to them.

In 4th grade math we did a lot. We had our lesson on multiplying 3 factors and choosing the right operation. Then students had to go to the computer and complete two assignments from their email. During the multiplication of 3 factors I also touched on PEMDAS because they have that coming. After that we did our post test. I gave them the same test we had as a pretest. This time they liked the test. Then we did our unit quiz. We did all of this because tomorrow is Halloween and they will not have time to much of anything. The school has activites planned and it is going to be hard to get anything done.

I worked with my little guy today. We used just the flashcards. He has become very dependent upon the dots on the numbers. It's ok if he counts the dots when they are not there, but when he can't tell my the number without seeing the dots I'm not sure we are making progress. But I know that we have made progress from were we began. Even though my time is up according to my collaboration plan, I will continue to work with him because I want him to be successful. My ST has noticed that lately he wants to be successful. He works real hard on his hand writing and tries to make sure that he gets everything we ask done. Maybe this is his turn around year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, Day Thirty-seven

I just realized how long this unit is in 4th grade math. Today the students worked with the facts of 11 and 12. Their assignment consisted of them getting an email from me and completing an assignment. They had to finish a multiplication table (11 and 12 products were missing) but as I told them at this point they have done the whole table already. The 11's offered some strategies to introduce. One is when you multiply by a single digit number you just write that number twice. The other is the drop in strategy when using 2 digit numbers. It is really a great tool. All you do is separate the number you are multiplying like 11 x 45, would look like 4 5. Then add the numbers together and drop that sum in the middle 495 and that is your product. It works with any 2 digit number. You may have to carry with certain numbers such as 59. It would be 5 9. Then the sum is 14, so you drop in the 4 and carry the 1. So the product is 649. And it works with some division such as 253/11. You can see that the sum of the first and the last digit equal the middle digit so the quotient is 23. The students caught on to this real well. They had to use the multiplication table they had completed to solve multiplication and division equation with a factor of 12, then the drop-in strategy for equations with a factor of 11.

In 3rd grade we finished up some workbook pages that will help them in their upcoming exam. We will be having a final phonics exam in this class that will include about 25 of the 48 words they have learned. I am only looking to see that they have understood the pattern, so I am only pulling a few words from the list. I still intend to make a contraction game like we did the long i sound. They need a lot of practice with contractions and this would be very helpful to them.

Again time did not allow to work with my little guy. I have made flashcards with numbers on them to see what he can identify just by seeing them. Hopefully tomorrow we can do that. He has come a long way. I do expect that he will be retained but it would be the best for him, to get that extra time to learn.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, Day Thirty-six

Today I discovered that we are actually ahead of the regular classrooms in both of my classes. So we spent the 4th grade math period catching up their workbook. Since this is the unit that goes in my portfolio, we have not done much in their workbooks so this was good. This also tested their skills of what they have already been presented with. All of these strategies will be helpful at some point in their future education. We have only two lessons left then we will do a post test, then a unit quiz. They are doing so well with the strategies, I think they'll do well with the test also.

3rd grade language arts was the same story, we are ahead of the class. So we spent today basically studying for the theme wrap up. In this the students will be tested over all the words and phonic patterns they have learned. I am still concerned with their knowledge of contractions. I wonder if I could make a game of them. If I based in on the same principle they used in the long i game it might work. I may do that. That might be the little extra they need.

I did not have time to work with my little guy today. He is doing very well. We need to concentrate on the sounds of letter more now. He can tell me words that start with the letters. He will see 'a' on the flashcard and say ''. But I don't think he really remembers the sounds. Even though our time is up we will continue to push forward.

Monday, Day Thirty-Five

Today in 3rd grade language arts we completed our chapter quiz. The students did pretty well with this. We go over everything so that they all have the opportunity to score 100. But if they do not pay attention then it shows in their scores. Today they were only partially paying attention. Although the scores were high, there was only one 100. After this we will have a theme wrap up. This will close out their lessons on traditions.

In 4th grade math we had yet another strategy, using an array. I told the students that I can tell the way they are so into technology I see some of them working in the computer field. I have a degree in computers and we use a lot of arrays. Although the array used in the computer field are not like the ones we used today, the basic understanding of arrays will help them with that. We used blocks to form the concept. This gave them a visual to go along with the written form. After our lesson they had to go to the computer to complete an assignment about arrays. They all did well on that assignment. They are getting very good at running the computer. I am glad of that, because I don't want them behind other students in this field either.

My little guy surprised me today. I gave him a sheet that had just the numbers on it (no points). He could tell me what all the numbers were every time. I am wondering if it is because they were in order. I am going to make flash cards with the number on one side and the number with points on the other side. My two weeks have passed for this collaboration. Although he is doing better, he did not do as well as I hoped. We will continue with the lessons because I feel that he improves with each time we do it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, Day Thirty-four

Today was a good day. In 3rd grade language arts we had our phonics quiz. The students did very well with that. I always give them a bonus section and seems to be helping a lot. This section forces them to think about the phonic patterns we have studied. I also had the students go to an interactive web site to work on some contractions. They are not doing well in retaining the concept of the contraction. This web site gave them a contraction and they had to choose the correct words that formed the contraction. Scores were not very high on this lesson, I expected much better but the students all seemed distracted today. On a better note, one of the students in this class that struggles with social interaction and hated my card game, asked if we could play. Unfortunately we did not have time and I truly regret that since he wanted to play so badly.

In 4th grade math we solved multiplication and division equations using a number line. This was a fun lesson. It gave the students yet another strategy to solve these equations. That is why I like this unit, it is full of strategies to help the students. Technical difficulties got me again in this lesson. I had typed up the pages needed in the lesson including the worksheet for assessment in a Word 2007 format. The problem is that it is not compatible with 2003, so nothing could read it. So we simply took out a piece of paper and did it by hand. The students did very well with it. Since I couldn't print what I wanted I tried to find something online for the students to work with but that didn't happen. Division was more difficult for them on the number line, but they understood it enough to complete the worksheet. They wanted to just solve the equation which was only worth 1/3 of the points, the major part of the points came from showing the work on the number line. I am proud of them, they did well.

I had never thought about the styles of teaching affecting a student so much. In our reading we studied the helicopter, drill sergeant, and consultant teacher. I knew that the drill sergeant teacher was a tough teacher and students learned but it was almost like forced learning and I often wondered how much was retained. I had never heard of the helicopter, but I have seen it. Teachers that feel that students cannot complete a task themselves, will hover and do the thinking, processing and answering for them. The student only has to copy the answers from a note or write exactly what the teacher says. I want to be the teacher that causes the student to think on their own, come up with their own answers and if they are not correct we can discuss why. The consultant teacher fits me better. My 3rd grade class has a student like "Ben" in our reading. He expects us to do everything for him. He is such a bright boy but hates to write. Orally he can tell me the most perfect answers in language arts or math, but writing it down causes turmoil. We give him every strategy we can think of, but he just truly hates writing. I have been thinking that maybe he could learn to type his answers into a document, but he hates the process of finding the right keys also. We will continue to work with him, but I plan to pull back on the things that I know he could do on his own. It will not benefit him in future classes if I do everything that he is capable of doing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, Day Thirty-three

Today was my second observation and Murphy's law was in full swing. Today students were given a strategy of using a multiplication table to solve multiplication and division equations. I had saved a multiplication table on the computer so that we could use the Smart Board to trace the path. Well my picture showed up just fine but I could not get the tools to work at all. So we just went to pencil and paper. It all worked out. The multiplication was not at all a problem. As I have said they have been studying the times table all year, so they knew most of the answers; I just had to get them to trace the path. But then they saw they could also solve division with the table and that was surprising to them. They are really seeing that multiplication and division are inverse operations. Students had to go to the computer to complete an assignment I had made for them and sent in their email. They had to use the highlight function to solve equations using the multiplication table. Some of them got a hold of the table and changed the table dimensions, which created some problem. But they did well with it. One student did not get finished and had to save the document to finish it later. This was a good exercise for them. Anything I can get them doing on the computer I think might give them some type advantage in future classes.

Language arts went well today. Students asked to play our long i game. A couple of them were not too enthusised about it but they still participated. I still thing this is a good thing for all of them. They are learning more about the long i sound and socialization skills. They are doing very well with this spelling pattern. I have enjoyed their enthusiam about the game also.

My little guy is doing very well also. I am thinking I should really remove the points on the numbers. He is becoming very dependent on them. I have a sheet were he writes each number everytime he is assessed. He must tell me what the number is first. He will create the dots on the number first on the ones he is not sure of. His alphabet is doing well also. He still has trouble with the g, h, and q. He tells me that his parents are using the flashcards and numbers I sent home. I believe that they are helping because he is doing very well.

During my observations we had several interruptions other than the Smart Board mishap. One student had just arrived at school because of a doctor's appointment, so we had a parent in the classroom talking with the ST. We had 3 of the 3rd graders that needed assistance, we had various teachers in and out to talk to the ST. Just a lot of distractions. I was very proud of my kids, they stayed focused and understood what was taught and completed the lesson. This is a really good group of kids.