Great Graphs!

Each month I like to do an interactive whole class graph (realistically, it ends up being more like every season but I'm trying to get better at that).  On Monday, I post a question on the bulletin board and we have a brief discussion of the choices.  Students make their choice when they have a free moment.

At the end of the week, we talk about our observations.  Students work in groups to write down what they see and what they think. We start off with what we see right off the bat - most popular, least popular, etc.  Then we discuss some higher level thinking questions like making comparisons and inferences.  For example, why do you think lemonade was the most popular drink?  Why did no one vote for iced tea?  Do you think this graph would turn out the same in the winter time?  for a grade 8 class?  Finally, we post some of the sticky notes on the board.

Here are examples of some our graphs.

Summertime Drinks

Favourite Place for Dinner

Christmas Traditions

Estimation Station

Each week I place items to estimate in a jar.  Kids love when they are edible but I have also used math manipulatives or school supplies to be more cost effective.  In the past, I have asked for donations to our estimation station in the class newsletter as well.  

We have 2 jars - one jar is the reference point and I usually put 5 or 10 items in it, depending on the size of the item.  This jar is labelled - Open! Count Me!  The other jar is for estimating.  We have a mini lesson at the beginning of the year on how to use the counting jar to help us make good estimates.  This is reinforced throughout the year when I usually ask 2 or 3 students to share the justification behind their estimation before we count.  

The items go in the jars on Monday and we count the estimation jar on Friday.  Students can estimate any time they have finished their work or lunch.  We choose an efficient way to count the objects, usually by 2s or 5s, in order to practise our skip counting as well.  We all chant the number while a teacher helper or myself transfers the items to a sandwich bag.  We employ the Chicken Little rule - if you don't help count, you don't help eat! 

Once we find the actual amount, we make a number line to compare the closest numbers.  

If it's a candy week, the winner gets to take home the bag after giving a candy to each student.  

The paper we use for recording our estimates is available in my TPT shop:

Classroom Tour

Here is a little peek into my room on the first day of school:

Desks are arranged in groups of 4 or 6.  I know lots of people love tables but I still like my old school desks with all their stuff at hand and hidden away! They can get messy but bribery helps - the desk fairy will randomly leave you a Hershey kiss if you have a clean desk from time to time.

We are starting a social studies and science unit on Africa so I set out some books to get students interested and asking questions.

We will post questions we have on stickys and put them on the Wonder Wall.  

Front board in the room - Our words of the week for our spelling focus.

Class Meeting Area

Behind the shelf in the meeting area is the book nook.

Back of the room - shelves upon shelves!  Most of the bins hold books.  Closer to the sink area are our classroom supplies and math manipulatives.

These labels are from Khrys Bosland.

The sink and back counter.  The upper cabinets are for my resources.  The lower cabinets are for students.  The drawer has mainly art supplies and the bottom cabinets contain various items that they may use to create or publish information found from the wonder wall.  The black box on the counter is our charging stations for the iPads.  Notebooks are waiting patiently to go in student desks! 

Teacher zone!  The little desk stores all the resources and items that I use daily or weekly.  The chair just spins around to our conference/small group table.  I love the set up!  

More storage cabinets to the left of the teacher table.  I get the top, the students have their book boxes and station materials in the bottom ones.  On the front, we have our alphabet which also works as our word wall.  Alphabet is by The Bubbly Blonde (I bought both the black and the white set to make the vowels stand out).  Word families and blends will go up later, as we learn them.  

Writing table to the right of the teacher table.  I will post more pictures on a post about our stations.

Hope you enjoyed the classroom tour!  Thanks for visiting!

Back to School!

Welcome back to school!

My new kiddos and I have had a great start to our year!  Here's what we did on the first day of school.

We began by introducing ourselves and did a little get-to-know-you activity on the Smartboard.  Students just tap on a balloon and answer the question.  We shouted out "That's Me!" if we had the same answer (a little energizer activity from Tribes).

We also had a Classmate Scavenger Hunt.  Most of my students are English language learners so our scavenger hunt was very visual.  We reviewed the sight word "like" and we practised asking questions (Do you like...?) before milling about the room.  It was also a good way to get them writing their names again after the summer.

Then I read First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.

We discussed how we were feeling the night before school and the morning before school.  Apparently I was the only one who was nervous or they are just not admitting it yet...

This led us to brainstorm some ways that we could make sure that no one felt scared or nervous coming to school.  Here is what we came up for our class agreement:

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