The power of productive struggle
Do you think it is possible to keep children working on math non stop during long periods of time without getting distracted? Well, it is. Our campers found out yesterday that, in order to get this teacher's Valentines, they would have to work for it, and work hard (Why would I ever give them gifts without expecting them to work for them, right?). That's the reason why, for Valentine's Day, the campers found out that for math, they would be working on one Escape Room type of activity. The students had to crack the codes of three different levels of activities in order to get the final code that would get them to the gift. You can imagine how motivated they were! It was fantastic to see them using the strategies we have learned all these weeks working on subtractions, and getting frustrated, struggling, discussing, making mistakes, and trying it all over again, not giving up until they could solve the puzzles. It sure was a fun thing to witness. I have to say, I didn't create this activity, but now that I know how it works, I will be introducing more in the future!
In the afternoon, some fantastic mother volunteers came over our camp to work with the campers on three beautiful and really creative Valentine's crafts. Thank you so much to all of you for participating. Take a look at this week's slide show.
Enjoy the winter break!
February 8th, 2019
A week away from our winter break, the campers haven't slowed down their pace. For the past two weeks, these are some of the things we have been working on:
During our math period, the campers have been learning all about subtraction of two digit numbers with and without regrouping, understanding what that means, when they should regroup, and getting to the final answer in a few steps. Subtraction can be tricky, but these explorers have no fear! During our morning math talks, we have been playing around with Mr. Wybourney's Splats (that we call "manchas") that create rich mathematical conversations to build number sense. If you want to take a look at Mr. Wyborney's work, click here.
During Language Arts, we have started writing our how-to piece, in this case, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, in Spanish called "como preparar un sandwich de mantequilla de cacahuete y mermelada", writing and rewriting until the steps are clear. Upon finishing the piece, students will create a flipgrid video showing how to do it, and reading the instructions they wrote.
Also, Esther and I have been working on our reading group rotations where we have the chance of working with 4 small groups during 15 minutes each, do reading comprehensions and response to reading, and "gifting" the kids with new words to practice during the following days. Esther is coming up with very creative ways to fix small grammatical errors, like working with the articles "el", or "la", and the possessive pronouns, like saying "la casa de mi abuela" instead of "mi abuela's casa". Also, during the 100th day of school, our campers spent almost two hours writing words in Spanish with their articles, and I have to say, I had the dictionaries ready just in case they wouldn't get to one hundred, but they didn't need to use them, all of the words came out of their minds! Yep, these kids have a Spanish area in their brains.
And finally, during our Social Studies period, we have started working on our travel journal covers that we will take "around the world" during the weeks after the winter break (more on this to come). Take a look at the pictures to get a glimpse of the work at the camp.
Enjoy the weekend!
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!