Thursday, September 22, 2016

Making Choices Is Part of Learning

During social studies students are in charge of their own learning. Armed with notebooks, construction paper, and glue sticks they were asked to create a flat map in a collaborative group. Students had to work together to determine important features that go on a map, using the web as a tool. They decided as a class of a list of items that had to be on their map such as the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs location. They discussed latitude, longitude, Primer Meridian, Equator, compass rose, seven continents, 5 oceans, and the tropic of Capricorn and Cancer. When one student asked me where these things were on a map my answer was simply, “Google It.” Each group has a group Googler. What I loved the most is that they are changing the directions and taking risks! Ask your child what he or she is working on. We talked about how students should not be afraid to share what they know as we can all learn from them! I am excited to see how their maps come out! We will be working on this for a few social studies periods.

Our math lesson was on modeling addition and subtraction of decimals. Addition and subtraction of decimals and whole numbers use the same approach. Decimals and whole numbers are broken apart using place value and properties of addition and subtraction. The commutative property of addition applies to decimals and whole numbers. The commutative property does not hold for subtraction of decimals and whole numbers. Students discovered how to add and subtract decimals in tenths and hundredth using models.  During math today we had a lesson on adding decimals. Research says that some students align digits on the right rather than aligning the decimal points when adding decimals. This practice reflects a lack of conceptual understanding. In this lesson, students will estimate before adding decimals, then use the estimate to check if the result is reasonable. Holding a lined piece of paper horizontally will help with understanding this concept visually.

During writing we are working on the Best Part of Us project! You are welcome to join us for a presentation on October 31 at 8:30! I love how each student is working on his or her slide on a group project in Google! This is the beauty of Google tools! We can all be on one document at the same time! Students are coming up with clever titles and learning to not put last names on slides, which is a digital citizenship skill. Several families joined us last night at our first Google training. I hope some others join me on October 24 at 7:30 in our classroom!

I let the students know I would be out a few times each week in October and the expectations for our classroom still stand! One of the weeks I will be out a few days for the annual fall MassCUE conference! I hope to bring some of our agents next fall, as we have been presenting something every year! To learn more about this conference visit:

Go Pats!

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