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Friday brought the first off-campus experience for this year's Hoggatteers. We loaded the buses shortly after 8:30, bound for Bluff Dwellers Cave in Noel, Missouri. Students were very well behaved on the bus ride, remaining quiet and staying seated.
Once we arrived, everyone was extremely excited to get started. We had a short wait for our turn in the Browning Museum. The wait gave us the opportunity to spot all kinds of wildlife and evidence of wildlife on the property. Walking sticks, glow worms, frogs, lizards, snake skins, crinoid fossils, butterflies, ants, and chipmunks were among our findings.
After our museum visit, we also had some time to wait for our tour of the cave. Hoggatteers enjoyed their time in the outdoors.
After the tour, our group was more than a little bit hungry. We marched ourselves down the steep, rocky steps to find our lunches and drinks waiting for us. The other three classes were already finishing, and we had just a short time to swallow our food before loading the buses for our return trip.
Watch for more photos from our trip in the next few days.
We saw some visitors in our classroom yesterday. Miss Wilson and Mr. Trueblood, our newest teachers in the fifth grade, came to our room to observe classroom management. Afterward, they stuck around to interact with students.
What did they see?
As we progress through multiplication and prepare for working more complicated, multi-digit problems, we continue to test multiplication fluency. Our students are pressed to work 100 one-digit multiplication problems in 5 minutes. We wish for them to overlearn the facts in preparation of other Math applications that will also require the skill.
CADENCE is the first student to successfully complete all 100 problems in 5 minutes, proving her mastery three times to earn the title of Multiplication Master. A couple of others are right on her heals.
Our class still has a deficient average as a whole, but most members made improvements, last week, with some of those being significant gains. I'm not one who continues to push students at the beginning of the year until we move past the skill; instead, I like to move steadily throughout the year. I believe in doing so, the momentum continues and the skill sticks much more effectively. Parents who choose to help at home are certainly encouraged to do so.
We have finally formed the 2018 Cecil Floyd Math League,
and four Hoggatteers made the team!
We want to congratulate RAHAF, CHRISTIAN, CADENCE, AND JORDAN.
This year's qualifying contest will be held at
Joplin's Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, on January 20.
Reading is thinking. Reading is about making meaning.
Sometimes educations tends to compartmentalize or departmentalize learning. For years we have followed a model that moves through periods of time where one subject is taught in isolation from others.
That system is not necessarily the most effective.
In The Writing on the Classroom Wall, Steve Wyborney touches on an idea in reading instruction that teachers would do well to consider - that reading does not always manifest itself during reading class. Reading shouldn't stop with the school bell.
When we read, we are doing so much more than just recognizing letter sounds.
...[Y]ou are the one interacting with the words and ideas, referencing them to your personal context and paradigms, and comparing them with many other factors. You are building layers of agreement (or disagreement), sensing possibilities, wondering what this might look like in your classroom...You are visualizing, interpreting, contemplating, and conducting myriad other acts associated with the wonder of reading.
We have to recognize that there is more going on with reading than phonics and fluency. As such, it might just take a while before some of those skills kick in. We've all been there - at a time when we suddenly understand that joke, or we suddenly figure out how to work that equation, or we suddenly remember that dream. Wyborney ably explains:
Sometimes the power of reading is found in between these moments, when the student simply says, "hmmm..." and her eyes drift away from the text in deep thought about the ideas that are churning. Sometimes the power of reading is found the next day, or the next week, or even years later when she actually sees "two roads diverge" and wonders a little more deeply about the choices each one might lead to.
Now there's a connection that means something! It's not just words on the page of a teacher's book.
I have long realized that combining skills is a more efficient method of disseminating information. That's not to say that we sacrifice quality for quantity in our instruction; it is to say that when I can make connections between standards and problem solving, reading and science, history and math, it means something more to my students. When they can see the meaningful connections, they pay better attention and they retain the information better.
I remember a particular lesson that Mike Brady of The Brady Bunch taught his oldest son Greg just before Greg bought a lemon of a car:
Caveat emptor: buyer beware.
Something with a label of "research-based" may not be what it appears to be. Advertisers (and producers of educational material) like to play with words.
Research-based. What exactly does that mean? We might assume it means that this product has been tested and proven to be effective.
But might it mean that someone read the research about certain needs in education and then produced their product to address that need? It's based on research.
Don't fall for it, my fellow teacher (or administrator)! Research the product before buying something that doesn't meet your needs.
Every Monday, Hoggatteers set goals. As the teacher, I don't monitor those goals closely, but I want them to think, first thing in the week, about constant improvement.
Every Friday, we do a couple of things. First, I ask each students to write down the name of one of his/ her peers whom they see as a good citizen. I'm trying to get them to think of others - to recognize positive qualities in the people around them.
Next, I pull out my set of little buttons and ask students to acknowledge their peers for respect, responsibility, compassion, fairness, imagination, tolerance, cooperation, and honesty. I love the way Hoggatteers support each other.
Too often we go through life in our own "bubbles", not paying attention to our surroundings and not stopping to recognize goodness in others. These are just some of the ways I try to slow down my kids to make them see the trees for the forest.
Students have learned how to find the theme of a reading passage. At first, I was guiding them through passages and helping them put their phrases together for the response sheet that I developed, but on Wednesday, they were on their own. They put some effort into it and are certainly steps ahead of where they were when we began the instruction.
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