Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Math Skills Block Individual Response Boards

Every Day Counts® Calendar Math is our fifteen minute Math Skills Block that compliments our daily one hour Math Workshop. The supplemental program, which we love, is designed to be fast paced with the goal of building student math proficiency.  We cover math skills like reading a calendar, looking for geometric patterns, adding sums of money, working with place value, using math tools like the hundreds charts, telling time, finding number patterns, and building fluency with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In addition, we've added components like math analogies and Ten Minute Math to build algebraic concepts.
To enhance this daily routine, we use individual student white boards as response boards. Each student has a white board in their chair pocket, and an EXPO marker and sock eraser in their pencil box. When they come to the carpet for Math Skills Block they bring their tools with them. When we ask a question, students write their answers on their board. Then, one of the teachers says, "Boards up in 5-4-3-2-1."  When the students hear us counting down, they put their cap on their EXPO marker and hold their board up for the teacher to review the answer. The benefits are plentiful. Every student is held accountable to think about and respond to every question, and the teacher gets to see whether the majority of the class is getting the correct answer. In addition, it's common for us to select boards to show to the class and discuss a student response. Sometimes, we select multiple boards to compare solutions.  You'll commonly hear the teachers ask, "What is the most efficient way to get this answer?"  During discussion and sharing, students are not allowed to write on or erase answers from their boards. Their job, during this time, is to listen to their peer's solution.  After the answers are shared, the teacher says, "Erase," and we are on to the next question. The system works well because of student engagement, and we know this will result in student learning.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Our Laptops

Today was an exciting day; We worked on our laptops for the first time. Along with our own laptop we had to assume much responsibility. We learned how to safely retrieve our laptops from the cart, work with a partner to log on, go to the links on the right side of our blog including our Social Studies textbook, and leave a comment on a blog post.  

In the back of our planner, we have a label to remind us of our username and passwords, and the SOLAR Power blog address.  We have access to our electronic Social Studies and Science textbooks in case we want to study at home, and we have many helpful links for extra exploration and practice.

We were responsible and mature technology students today, so our teachers will try to integrate the laptop usage whenever they can. We look forward to a great year. Stay tuned to hear more about our learning adventure.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our SOLAR Power Team

The SOLAR (Shall, O'Leary, Lipsky, and Russell) POWER Team had an amazing first week of school. We reunited with former classmates after a long summer break, met some new and wonderful friends, were motivated by a real life superhero, Omega Man, and settled into our new classroom learning communities. Going through our 3rd grade rituals, routines, and expectations was a major focus of the week, so learning time will be maximized throughout the school year. We are proud to say that our goal to build independent self-directed learners is well underway. Stay tuned to our blog throughout the year to get a glimpse into our learning; We are looking forward to every moment.

Empowering the Future,
Your SOLAR Power Learning Leaders