Class Debate

 

As part of our learning on homophones and homonyms, this week we had a close look at that pesky trio to, two and too.

After using our mini whiteboards for lots of practice, a problem was then presented (supposedly sent from The Official International Bureau for the English Language)…

“TO/TWO/TOO – there are TOO many! You have TO decide which one must go so we only have TWO!”

In small groups, students were asked to decide which word we could do away with and to provide reasons for their decision. This created some lively discussions and students had to think deeply about the meaning and usage of each word. As always, creativity was rewarded and points went to one team who suggested a brand new word for the number two – ‘mog’. Brilliant!

We debated the final result as a whole class and had fun doing so. A particularly convincing example highlighted concern for Shakespeare, as without ‘to’ his famous line would be a little lacking – ‘…be or not be that is the question…’ Not bad for 10 year olds!

I’ve used the debate format only a few times before. After a lesson on measuring length we debated that millimetres were too small and therefore unnecessary. I would love to hear of any interesting debate topics you have used in your classroom to elicit critical thinking and reflection. Please share!

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Pinch Pots

Pinch Pots

This week my students have enjoyed sculpting and painting mini pinch pots for their mums in anticipation of Mothers’ Day.

We used Das air dry clay in both white and terracotta and I allowed for roughly 200 grams of clay per student. The instructions for the pinch pots were very straightforward, we simply rolled the clay into a ball then stuck in our thumb to create a hole. Then, by holding the clay in one hand and turning it constantly, we were able to use our other hand to thin and even out the edges of the pot. Some students were especially creative and turned theirs into heart shapes or their mother’s initial. Others used tools such as wooden skewers and texta lids to make patterns and marks in their designs.

I was able to discuss connections with this project and our new science unit ‘Materials and Their Properties’ by teaching new vocabulary such as ‘malleable’ and ‘pliable’. It’s always nice when topics are interrelated!

After two days of drying (the weather has been cold lately) we were ready to paint. We opted for neon colours as well as some beautiful metallic copper, gold and silver paints.

There were some beautiful results!

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Verbs with Tin Foil

Verbs with Tin Foil

Can you guess each action?

We chose our favourite verb and then made these tin foil sculptures to represent the action.

We’re about to begin our unit on narrative writing – I’m thinking these tin foil on black paper collages would make excellent illustrations for their stories when published into little books…? I’ll keep you posted!

Thank you Mrs T for the pinspiration!

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Push and Pull Creations

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Although they may look like glued together piles of junk, rest assured our students were immensely proud of their Push and Pull Machines. In yet another Scrapheap Challenge, this one at the commencement of our science unit on forces, students’ teamwork skills were put to the test to design a device which incorporated both a push and pull force.

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Magnet Mazes

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Miss M’s Grade 4 class were learning about contact and non-contact forces. As a tuning-in activity, students were given a paperclip, a magnet and a shoebox lid. Their design brief was to create a maze for their paperclip to travel through, guided by the non-contact force of the magnet. Of course, things got pretty creative straight away with water jumps, tunnels, bridges and race tracks incorporated into plans. This exploration phase of the lesson raised many questions for the budding scientists, which they later went on to test (Will the paperclip make it up the slope with a stronger magnet? Will magnetic force work in water?). They only had 20 minutes to complete the task, but they would have happily worked on their designs all day.

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Tadpoles

Tadpoles

The highlight of our life cycles science unit was our mini tadpole pond. Fresh lettuce was brought in each day to keep them well fed (or begged from the canteen when we forgot). We kept them for close observation until they looked ready to escape. At this point we returned them to the very pond from which they were taken.

May the Force be With You

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To celebrate the end of our science unit on forces we performed our own version of the Cantina scene from Star Wars. This ‘deleted scene’ focussed on Luke Skywalker’s quest for the meaning of the force with various aliens providing ‘educational’ suggestions. Of course it was an excellent opportunity for artistic set design and prop making. Check out this paper Chewbacca mask and fully robotic R2D2 (powered by a remote control car). All credit to Mr Jensen, another incredible prac student, and his team of diehard student helpers for the amazing R2!

Grand Magic Circus Show

IMG_1400Grand Magic Circus Show

As a grand finale to a procedural text unit our students were excited to perform a Grand Magic Circus Show! They wrote ‘How to’ texts involving card tricks, acrobatics, juggling skills and more. They then turned these into performance pieces. Our show was complete with clowns, ventriloquists, disappearing acts and, the most daring of all stunts, the sawing a woman in half trick (involving two cardboard boxes and two very small children). We strung up a colourful parachute in the corner of our room for our circus tent and Miss Purcell, prac student extraordinaire, and her team decorated our very own ticket booth. Friends and family were invited to our show to be dazzled and amazed.

Spring Art

Spring Art

With our extremely talented, sculptor-by-trade, prac student, Miss Purcell, our students were inspired by an art table filled with colourful, cellphones, tissue papers, glitters, straws, pipe cleaners, paints and other Scrapheap materials. The base for their spring flowers was a paper plate. As part of our science unit on living things and life cycles students had learnt the parts of a flower – stamen, petals, pistil and sepal, and were asked to incorporate these features into their sculptures.