Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Enjoy some rest and relaxation. I look forward to seeing your cheerful, happy faces when we return in January!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Intrenational Day 2012!

Better late than never right? International Day was so fantastic this year. Bright and early, the kids were all dressed up and pumped up for the parade. The kids waved flags, sang songs and cheered their country on while parading in front of the parents and flashing camera lights. We were ushered into the covered court for the assembly to begin. It was a fun filled event full of music and dancing. I was so surprised that 5 of my students were in performances and I didn't even know it. What a bunch of "risk-takers" I have in my class.

After the assembly we went back to class to wait for our turn to go out to the booths. We turned on the Smartboard, searched for some world maps on the internet and did some work on world geography. The kids did really well with their map skills. By the time we were finished, we were ready to go visit the booths. The parents did such a wonderful job of setting everything up and organizing fun food and events to teach the kids about different countries. There were so many highlights including the ice block bath, the origami sumo wrestlers, and the election for king of the jungle! Thank you so much parents for organizing such a wonderful event!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Come to C.C. Cafe

Here is some persuasive writing by Emma to encourage you to come to our Business Fair. The C.C. Cafe is just one of the eight student businesses you can visit. Lovely work Emma!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Business Plan: Advertising Elements

Only five more days until our IST Grade 3 Business Fair! Can you believe it? I have to admit that I am a little nervous, but everything will be fine, right? I created this  document for the kids to create and include in their booth. It shows the thinking behind the advertising and branding the students created for their businesses. Fellow teachers, feel free to use it.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Mabiniti Training Center

Last Wednesday, we went on a field trip to visit the Mabinti Center with Ms. McKillip's class. Mabinit is a training centre for women recovering from fistula surgery. Fistula is an injury that occurs during child-birth. The center takes women in and trains them in sewing, beading and screen printing and then, when the women graduate, Mabinti gives them a starter kit for them to go an start a business of their own in their home village. Click here to learn more information about the center.

Katia and the Mabinti women (and one man- the screen printing teacher) were so welcoming. The students arrived and first sat in the shade of a tree and learned about the center. Katia prepared us for the visit by assigning stations and the kids were off to learn and explore.
My class began with the screen printing. Ms. Katia explained that the center chose screen printing because there is not a lot of supply available in Dar. It is a relatively easy, but "new" art for local crafters. She talked about the materials needed and the process. She even showed us some samples and some new items they are creating for the local holiday markets in Dar over the next few weeks.

Then the kids got to scoop, spread, press and pull the paint through the screens to create an image of their own. They got to choose from a few prints and it was definitely the highlight of the field-trip for many students.

Next we went to the beading station and watched the women make Binti Dolls. The kids were fascinated by the time and effort it takes to complete one doll. The teacher, Helena can make one in an hour and about 5 a day! Imagine the commitment the women must show and the challenge they must face learning to make these tiny dolls.

Next we visited the production room. This is where the goods produced for the shop are made. All of the women training have to graduate to be hired in the production shop. It was nice to see the smiling faces working away on the sewing machines making bags from recycled plastic banners. Cody gave me a bag last year from Mabinti and I did not even know where it came from until months after I received it. 
Then the students got to sit down with a business woman and ask her questions about starting a business. Since they are starting their own businesses now, the questions they asked were so thoughtful, considerate and applicable to their learning.
Lastly, the class got to go inside and learn about the Mabinti business plan from one of their staff members. The kids learned all about business plans, supply and demand, production cost, overhead and profit. The students were so well behaved and asked such great questions. I was impressed. It was one of the best field-trips I have ever been on and I send my gratitude and thanks to everyone at Mabinti.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Writer's Celebration!

This past Monday we had our Writer's Celebration. This was an idea that my fellow team member, Lara, brought to us from Grade 2. She did it last year and it was such a success that we wanted to do it in Grade 3. We were all for it!

About two weeks before the big day, students looked in their writing journals and chose a piece that they wanted to revise, edit and publish. We discussed how it had to be a piece that they really liked because they were going to be working on it for two straight weeks. Once the piece was chosen, they copied it, double spaced, onto a sheet of paper so that it would be easy to make changes to. Then I assigned writing partners and together, we worked through may mini-lessons on various steps of the revising, editing and publishing process. Lara provided us with a list of lessons from a Lucy Calkins resource she had and I added a few mini-lessons of my own from our Write Source materials.

These mini-lessons included:
  • revising the ending
  • writing an interesting lead
  • rereading to make sure your story makes sense
  • including dialogue in your story
  • adding similes
  • adding interesting words
  • omitting extraneous details
  • adding transition words
  • using the 5 senses to make the story come alive
  • editing for capitals, organization, punctuation and spelling (we like to call it "Call the C.O.P.S.")
  • publishing in a polished format
  • adding a full page illustration
It was a wonderful morning and it was so nice to see so many family members listening and learning about the writing process from their child. We even had the vice-principal and the librarian in to visit and see all of the progress. The kids did such a great job!