Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Currently


Sorry for the delay!  Back in late October, we studied the election process.  We did a whole bunch of 'Election Task Cards'.  We were able to combine learning facts about our government with everyday writing, reading, and language arts skills.  I completely forgot to take pictures of the packet (oops!).  Some of the activities included finding the main idea of short passages, using conjunctions to combine sentences, correct the errors in sentences, compare and contrast the candidates, etc....  Of course, everything was all election/government related.  I LOVE when I can integrate subjects!  Sneaking those social studies facts into our regular literacy block!

After we spent some time on our packets, we moved on to the learning about the Electoral College.  I found this idea on Pinterest.  We had a Coke and Pepsi election!  First, we read the book Grace for President.   (Side note- as I just went to enter pictures, I discovered that I deleted them!  Uggh!  I meant to delete the Matter pictures.  I fail!  Sorry!)  Then we learned about the Electoral College.  Which states have how many, why we use it, how many votes are needed to win, etc....    Then, each student was assigned 2 states.  Their vote counted for their assigned state's electoral votes.  In other words, lucky California!  And sorry if you drew Wyoming, Alaska, etc...!  The kids then took a top secret taste test and voted for their favorite.  The figured out their 'top secret drinks' were Coke and Pepsi.  (VERY small amounts, I must add!)   After they chose their favorite, they plugged their vote into an interactive electoral college map. 

And the winner was............... PEPSI!!!  I was very surprised! 

We also did a 'blind' election earlier in our unit.  I compiled a list of facts about each candidate found in one of the Scholastic News issues.  I left the candidates name off of them, and the kids had to vote for either Candidate A or B.  They chose A.  A was..... our current president, Barack Obama!

We also learned about campaigning and propaganda.  We watched some vintage campaign videos (Vote for Ike!), and looked at past campaign posters.  After that, they had to develop their own campaign posters.  The turned out really good!  Then I put them into a 3-D bulletin board. 

I used T-pins to make the bulletin board three dimensional.  Another Pinterest idea!
And, since this was in the hallway, I wanted to make sure it wasn't damaged....

Sorry again for the lack of pictures!  I can't believe I did that.  *sigh*

Keep checking back for more posts!

Status of the Class

We are officially half way through the second quarter!  I can't believe how fast November flew by!
I have at least 4-5 different classroom 'events' that I need to blog about.  Keep checking back- my goal is to do at LEAST one by Sunday!  If only I could blog while driving- I'd have everything up-to-date all the time!

I do want to address a few issues in our classroom.
The biggest issue by far is missing work!  I have never had as many missing assignments as I currently do.  PLEASE check your child's agenda daily- I make note of missing assignments.  The only exception to that is if they are missing their Reading Log.
Currently, we have:
41 missing assignments in Math
22 missing assignments in Language Arts
63 missing assignments in Reading (most are reading logs)
4 missing assignments in Social Studies
16 missing assignments in Science

I would say roughly 20% of that is make-up work that I never received.  I just don't understand the other 80%.  Except in extremely rare cases, the kids work on all of their assignments in class.  So I know they have part of it done!  Yet they never turn in the partial assignments.  A partial assignment is better than no assignment!!!

So, I am BEGGING- please, please, please help me by checking your child's agenda for notes and making sure the work gets turned in!  Out of 135 grades (5 grades x 27 kiddos), only 5 are F's with no missing assignments.  And they are all in the 67-69 range which means they are so close!  That is pretty typical compared to previous years for me.  The problem I am currently having is the fact that I have a number of students who are failing due to missing work.  Which is why I am asking for your help!

Another thing regarding progress reports/grades- Per the Rowan-Salisbury School System's policy, grades are weighted.  55% is classwork, 10% is homework, and 35% are assessments/projects.  This means that a bad test can pretty much kill their grade.  Right now, I have only given 1 test in reading, 1 in math, and 2 in science.  I hate that 35% of their grade is based on ONE test.  As a solution, I am going to work in more quizzes.   I'm hoping this will take the pressure off of the cumulative unit tests, and it will also be a more accurate reflection of their ability.

Coming up:
Math- fractions, fractions, and more fractions!
Science- the transfer of heat