Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fraction Fruit Drinks

I have been horribly remiss in keeping up with my poor little blog lately - put it down to reports, end of term frenzy, piles of unending administration stuff...

...but no more!

I am now on holiday for two long blissful weeks and can share some fun projects that we have been doing over the past couple of weeks in school.

Our topic this term was Rainforests and we had an amazing International Primary Curriculum unit that we used. I absolutely loved it - and am thrilled that we'll be adopting the IPC officially next year. I've already been scoping out all the awesome units that are available and thinking about what to do!!

One of the fun projects we had to do this term was have the students create their own fruit drink recipe using rainforest products. We tied it into our Math lessons and had them create Fraction Fruit Drinks!!

First we assembled all our products:

mango, pineapple, papaya, bananas, oranges, vanilla yoghurt, pineapple juice, papaya juice, cinnamon and ginger - plus bowls and measuring cups. Oh, and a blender and jugs!

The kids were given instructions: They had to have 1/2 cup of vanilla yoghurt, 1 cup of liquid and 2 cups of fruit in their recipe. The fruit had to be divided into 1 cup of quarters and 1 cup of thirds.

They were able to decide what amounts they wanted to have of each fruit and we practiced some addition of fractions before we started so they all knew exactly what to do.

e.g. They could choose 1/4 cup of mango, 2/4 cup pineapple, 1/4 cup of papaya for one of their cups. Or they could choose 2/4 and 2/4 or 1/4 and 3/4 etc. 

They could only use each fruit once but didn't have to use all of them if they didn't want to. Everyone had to have the yoghurt and the liquid though. :)

Once each team of four students had designed their drink they measured it out.

Then we blended. They added their yoghurt, liquid and any spices during the blending process.

As each drink was blended I scurried down to the staffroom and poured the drink into a labeled jug. The kids couldn't see which drink went into each jug. :)

When all the recipes were concocted we did a blind taste test of each drink and rated them according to what we thought. The choices were Excellent, Okay and Disgusting. (There were a few Disgustings, I'm sorry to say :) but for the most part the kids liked their concoctions)

With the voting concluded we tallied our results and then I told my class which mystery drink was their group's.

As you can see, Drink B or Gold Swirling Passion was our winner! 

One of my students was absolutely outraged that she had voted her "very own drink" as being Disgusting - which just proves that our blind taste test worked. :)

We graphed our results and the winning drink was served to the parents at our Rainforest Cafe at the end of term. 

Of course the parents had to do a little work too - they had to guess the ingredients and the proportions of the mystery drink. Sadly, no-one got it all right but my generous kiddies awarded their parents with housemarks anyway. :)

This was such a fun project and I think it helped my class see a practical application to Math.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Rainforest Expo

We're starting to wind down our Rainforest unit now and are getting ready for our parent open house - a Rainforest Cafe - next week. This week we brought in a whole pile of rainforest products for a "taste, touch and smell" expo.

With displays of spices - allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg - food stuffs like chocolate and minty gum, tangerine slices, pau d'arco tea and ginger tea as well as banana plants and allspice branches, my room smelled divine all day! Add a few coffee beans and it was the place to be in the afternoon. I'm seriously considering hanging some cinnamon sticks around the room permanently!

Pau d'arco tea

The best rainforest product of all!

The kids touched and smelled and tasted - and wrote notes and drew pictures. Some of them drank four cups of ginger tea but no-one wanted seconds of the pau d'arco. (Can't blame them - it's pretty disgusting! I only had it because my husband, for some weird reason, really likes it!)

The gold and diamond display was quite popular - I retrieved my diamond ring twice from a little girl's finger - and all of us loved the orchids that another teacher leant us for the morning.

A most successful morning - we're looking forward to our Cafe for the parents. :)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Bookshelf of Fame!

And we have one student on the Bookshelf of Fame!! Whee! Woot, woot!! CELEBRATE!

This week the first student in my class read her 25th book, achieved a full rainbow of ribbons on her bookmark and card and we celebrated in style!

We gathered on the carpet and had a formal presentation of her 25-book ribbon, Rainbow present (notepad, pencils and colorful "love to read" bracelets) and a fancy certificate to take home to mom and dad.
Then I showed the class her NEW bookmark and card - with the special Bookshelf of Fame award book printed on it - (they all oohed and aahed with excitement :) ) and we all marched to the bulletin board to watch the official signing of the Bookshelf!

New Book Ribbon with award on it :)

New bulletin board card to start collecting another rainbow.

And THEN, just to make it more fun, the student got to hand out little cups of rainbow skittles so that the whole class could celebrate with her. :) That was definitely a hit.

And what happened next? There was a FLURRY of reading activity - and excited chatting about how close the next person was, discussion about what books everyone was reading, counting of AR quizzes and books in reading logs... it was awesome.

I can't wait for the next ceremony!!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Spring Giveaway

FlapJack is hosting an awesome Spring giveaway to celebrate 10,000 Pinterest followers. Pretty cool!
There are a LOT of fantastic resources and they're all organized neatly into categories.

If you're looking for some fun Spring-themed resources head over and ENTER HERE!!

FlapJack Educational Resources

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bright Ideas: Keepsake Writing Book

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop - a great place to find a TON of fabulous ideas for the classroom!

Writing, Writing, Writing!

Starting in September, with the very first piece of descriptive writing that my new little 3rd-graders complete, I save up to 5 pieces of writing a term and store them safely in a tray behind my desk. I don't tell my students I am doing this.

What to Save?

I try to vary the pieces - we always have a descriptive piece, a letter or diary entry, a narrative, one or two poems, a compare and contrast, an opinion, maybe a report of some kind - the possibilities are endless. Just save whatever you want to during the year. Last year I let everyone choose their favorite blog post and we printed a copy of that in color for the Writing Book - they loved that!

Very first piece of writing
a poem

Christmas story
first attempt at paragraphing
diary entry from a Roman soldier

Showcasing the Writing!

At the end of the year I make a whole pile of stapled construction paper booklets, use a computer class to get the kids to design a cover for My Writing Book and then pass out all their samples to glue in - in order.


They LOVE it! By now they've completely forgotten what they wrote about back in September and they love comparing their first piece of writing with the last piece. Their comments (usually rather scathing) are very funny!

Once everyone has glued their book together we spend a whole morning passing the Writing Books around and reading everyone's work. It's a great end-of-year activity.

I always get feedback from parents about the Writing Book - it's a great Grade 3 keepsake. :)

Now, make sure you visit Sara at The Colorful Apple to find another Bright Idea - this one is about Anecdotal Notes for Reader's Workshop!!

(You can visit Sara's blog post HERE as well :) )

Alternatively, check out all the links below for more fabulous ideas for your classroom. They're divided into lower grades and upper grades for your convenience (but I always like to visit both sections since some ideas can always be adjusted :)

Have fun hopping! :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Awesome Art Ideas

Yesterday half of our year group was at a PE event and we were left with just 24 students overall. Obviously we couldn't get a lot of work done so we took advantage of our small numbers and went to visit the island-wide Primary Art Show.

It was a beautiful day so we walked through town, stopped to play in a park for ten minutes or so and then continued on to the gallery.

I have to say I was very impressed with all the art samples! And I took photos of quite a few projects that I thought we might be able to adapt at some point in the year. :)

These were made by Grade 1 students - kind of pretty!

I liked these cardboard fish and owls - it would make
some fun polygon practice.
3-D art was very popular. Both the fish
and the rocks pop out in this piece.

Handprint Sunflowers! So pretty!!

And this was one of our favorite pieces! My
co-teacher and I immediately thought of
a way to adapt this art for our rainforest

And finally, here's some art from my own kiddies - they finished their papier mache snakes this week and put the googly eyes on them. I walked in yesterday to find a "snake party" going on in the classroom!! Most of the girls went for pastel colored snakes this year. :)

It was a nice, quiet day and much enjoyed by all. Back to normal today - the lull before the Sports Day storm of excitement tomorrow!! :)

Monday, 3 March 2014

Rainbow Reading Revisited

Earlier in the year I blogged about a new reading incentive scheme I was trying out in the classroom and I thought I'd revisit it since it has been successful beyond what I expected!

Our Book Ribbons have filled up and are overflowing; 

Beginning of incentive program

More and more books being read!
Some ribbons are overflowing with books!

one student is within 2 books of being the first person to get on the Bookshelf of Fame (can't wait for the award ceremony!! I think I'll make a real production out of it and get some enthusiasm going!!); the bulletin board cards look prettier by the day as they collect more and more colors; 

At the beginning

One more color to go!!!! Woot!

My kiddies are READING!! And no-one (and I mean NO-ONE has lost a bookmark!!)

So... since this has been so awesome - and since someone recently asked me if I had made it available for purchase - I packaged it all together as a product. Just a note that it is not editable - but student names can easily be filled in by hand in a pretty marker and it will look just as nice. :)

Happy Monday, all! :)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Joy of Reports

Not that they're due immediately or anything  - in fact I have until the 20th of this month - but I thought that for once I would be ahead of the game and get them done early. So today I sit staring at piles of assessments and work samples and notes that I've made all term.... and nothing, so far, has been written.

It's almost a guaranteed equation:

thought of reports = procrastination

My procrastination today has been to think about reports and all the discussions that result at this time of the year in the staff room. :)

It fascinates me that everyone has their own way of writing the things:

Some people write by comment: all the social comments get done first, then all the topic comments, then all the language, then all the Maths...;

Some of us write each report in its entirety before moving on to the next child;

Some teachers start with the "easiest" reports and save the challenging ones for last; others do the opposite :)

Some of us edit furiously, determined to have perfect writing for the head to peruse; others figure they'll get corrections no matter what so why bother proof-reading.

Some teachers leave reports to the last minute and then work to a deadline staying up until 3 in the morning to finish; some discipline themselves to do a couple every day and finish 2 days before the deadline so they can proof-read carefully.

Myself, I do each report in turn in its entirety and start with the most challenging; I try to space them out over a week or so and usually finish the last one the night before the due date; I'm obsessive about proof-reading and HATE it if I make ANY mistakes at all!  :)

The only thing we ALL seem to do, no matter what year group we teach, is complain about having to do them! :)

What's your approach to report writing?