Box Method Multiplication, Hatchet, Forces of Flight & Coding

Happy Wednesday!

Today we learned another method for doing multi-digit multiplication: “The Box Method”.

HOMEWORK: I have asked students to teach a family member how to do 41 x 35 using the box method this evening.

If the student is struggling, please watch this video together, which shows how to use the Box Method to find the correct answer.

Alternatively, you may prefer to watch this video tutorial…

You can use the Box Method for 2-digit by 3-digit multiplication or 3-digit by 3-digit multiplication…just adjusts the box dimensions accordingly.

In Language Arts today, we began our novel study on Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. Exploring this great classic novel we will embrace chances to foster peer dialogue and teach critical thinking and analysis skills and new vocabulary. Even students who have read Hatchet before will experience the novel like never before; as well, we have a grade 8 level Hatchet Challenge resource that students can explore for enrichment.

In term three, students will do their own in-depth literature studies—but before I dare assign this larger project, I will teach every single step in the process to ensure everyone can achieve independent success. With structure, modelling, and lots of examples, students can learn to do amazing things!

In the afternoon in Science, we asked the question: How do planes fly? We learned the plane needs four forces working together to fly. These are the four forces of flight: lift (upward force) thrust (forward push), gravity and drag (air resistance, which is friction caused by air rubbing against a plane). We learned about Bernoulli’s principle that states that as the speed of a gas increases, the pressure it exerts decreases. We also watched several YouTube videos about the four forces of flight.

Then division 4 enjoyed the opportunity to do coding in the library.

Ozobot in action!

Goal-Setting, Salish Sea & Flight

Welcome back, division 4 families!

I hope you enjoyed a restful holiday and are ready for 2023 to be an awesome year! Today we got a fresh start by cleaning our bins and school supplies. It’s so nice to be organized! (Please remember to bring back your school supplies if you didn’t get a chance to yet.)

Next, as a part of Career Education curriculum, we dove into an appropriate “new year” topic: goal-setting. I shared some examples of short term and long term goals and presented the SMART goal framework. In small groups, students brainstormed examples of goals they might like to set for this year. Then students prioritized and listed their top five goals for 2023.

Next, students watched a video (below) that I created to explain the importance of breaking large goals into smaller action steps.

Ms Poirier’s “ACTION STEPS” video.

Later we turned to discussion about our upcoming Salish Sea inquiry (S.S/Science/Art interdisciplinary learning) and the upcoming related field trip with Eagle Wing Tours on Tuesday, February 7th. We brainstormed our prior knowledge about the Salish Sea region and generated our questions about it.

After our afternoon library visit, I introduced the flight unit we will explore in Science this term. As students watched various Salish Sea documentary video clips, they had the challenge to design a Salish Sea-themed paper airplane. The goals of this activity were to (1.) transform and represent their learning about the Salish Sea in words and symbols on their plane, and (2.) create a basic paper airplane to act as a “control” in a series of upcoming test flights with new airplane designs. (A connection is that our novel study this term is “Hatchet”, which opens with a significant flight scene.)

There were many different and interesting plane designs and shapes. Students then brought the planes out for a few test flights. They were asked to observe the approximate duration, distance, path and style of the flight. Later this week we will learn specifics about the principles of aerodynamics and the science of flight and then create more paper airplanes informed by this learning. Then we will test the old versus new planes side by side to see how much we have learned.

Cultural Celebrations!

Hello, division 4 families!

Over the last two days we have been learning in Social Studies about some of the rich traditions of cultural celebrations that happen around the world and locally.

We had two classmates give a wonderful presentation on their experience with the popular Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, (Arabic: “Festival of Breaking Fast”), which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

Today we had Sam (an Oaklands Educator) teach a lesson on Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah), the Jewish eight-day, which is a wintertime “Festival of Lights” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, traditional foods, games, and gifts.

Thank you, Sam!

The students learned about the meaning and practices of the holiday, and played dreidel games and then made their own paper dreidels.

Next week we will be learning about the celebrations of Christmas, Winter Solstice, and Kwanzaa—which means “First Fruits” and is based on ancient African harvest festivals and celebrating family life and unity.

*What other holidays are significant for your family and culture? Let me know if you have some cultural knowledge you would kindly offer our class towards helping students become knowledgeable, culturally aware citizens of our wonderful multicultural world.

Bonsai, Word Study, & Multi-Digit Multiplication

Hello, division 4 families!

Today in Social Studies, we connected to our unit on Japanese Canadian interment with an extension into the world of Bonsai and the related symbolism. We read aloud and discussed a beautiful book called “The Peace Tree of Hiroshima” that told the true story of how Japan gifted America a collection of sacred bonsai trees as a gift for their 200 year anniversary—an acknowledgement of the peace between the countries since WWII. I shared my own journey with making bonsai and we watched videos about the meaning of this art form.

During our Language Arts “word study” lesson today, students wrote creative sentences to express the meaning of their top ten most challenging spelling words.

Today in Math we also began our unit on multi-digit multiplication by reviewing previous grade content and then by giving a look to what grade 4 and 5 math curriculum covers in this area.

A goal for the end of term 2 is that grade 4s will be able to multiply 1-digit by up to 4-digits and grade 5s will be able to multiply up to 3-digits by 3-digits. We will be seeking to strengthen our multiplication facts recall and to solve parts of questions with mental math where possible.

Students will be supported to learn and practice the traditional algorithm (a.k.a. the regrouping method) if they like because many of our Div. 4 students already know and use this method successfully. However, we will diversify our approach and foster number sense by using the distributive property and solving by breaking up numbers, using arrays, using the box/window method (area model) and partial products method—and using lattice multiplication for those who show solid number sense and want to try a cool challenge! I will help students sufficiently explore all methods to empower them to decide which method works best for their learning style.

I encourage all students to spend 5-minutes about 3 or 4 times per week reviewing multiplication facts up to 100 at home. (Tip: Try searching up and watching “Multiplication Facts” song videos on YouTube for fun—or make up your own song!)

Here is a sneak peak at some of the multiplication strategies we will explore…

Distributive Property

“Wild Winter Stories” & Quotation Marks in Dialogue

Hello, division 4 families!

We launched our day with an invitation to try math enrichment questions reviewing using BEDMAS and introducing square root. (This math content shown on the whiteboard is above grade 4/5 and is optional learning.)

Next, we focussed on developing skills to help us write “Wild Winter” adventure stories.

Last week, students created artwork by cutting out photographs of themselves, glueing them to card stock, and illustrating “wild winter” scenes around the photos. Today, students made up and told stories to go with their artworks in small groups.

Then, we reviewed the parts of a story, recalling what we learned through making a “story map” of the “Beaver and the Echo” story a few weeks ago.

Next, I incorporated students’ ideas while modelling how to build a “wild winter” story using the story map template.

Then I modelled how I would flesh out the details of story map into a first draft of a story. I talked through my choices as I made them, especially around use of indents, paragraph breaks, descriptive language, and the correct use of quotation marks.

Students had a focussed lesson today on how to correctly use quotation marks, and we discussed the purpose, some challenges, and some tips of writing dialogue in stories.

As well, I introduced a helpful “Story Proofreading and Editing” checklist I like use with students to teach them more skills and increased independence as writers.

We will continue writing, proofreading, workshopping, and polishing these stories this week.

Please note that students brought home their wonderful “Animal Paragraphs” today!

“I Am” Metaphor Poems

Hello, division 4 families!

We are delighted to share with you these beautiful, well-written “I Am” poems! They are rich with powerful metaphors and imagery. Students illustrated the poems with watercolour self-portraits.

As a teacher, this was one of my favourite activities this term because I felt privileged to see students express the culmination of so much learning in such beautiful, personal ways.

BEDMAS, Armadillos, “I Am” Poems & Self Portraits

Hello, division 4 families!

ARMADILLO DAY: Today our reading comprehension activities centred on the topic of armadillos and students made some charming pencil sketches as a bonus activity. You may want to ask your child, “What did you learn today about armadillos?”

QUIZZES: This week, students wrapped up the Rounding unit in math, and they brought home their quizzes to share with their families. (See the answer key below.)

REPORT CARD REFLECTIONS: The students were involved in our end-of-term self-reflection process this week. They had a chance to preview and meet with me about their report cards, and they wrote reflection pieces that will be included with the reports. It’s important to me that students understand they are partners in their learning and assessment of their progress. Report cards are not about a “grade”—they are a chance to be specific about where good progress is happening and where to focus more support and effort. I am very proud of our students for all they have learned this term.

SPELLING: Division 4 students helped build our spelling word study list today. Please below…

MATH ENRICHMENT: I invite all students who enjoy math to try “Math Challenge” sheets and explore our special collection of math games and books. Every math lesson is differentiated and personalized for students to cover (a.) any necessary review content from earlier grades, (b.) grade 4 and grade 5 curriculum targeted as needed, as well as (c.) higher order thinking provocations and math learning extensions. As well, this week in our “Sneak Peek at Middle School Math” activities, we centred learning on how to use exponents and follow the order of operations (BEDMAS). See the image below for a sample of the question types and see the videos below for a review of this advanced content.

“I AM” POEMS & SELF PORTRAITS: We are so excited to have finished and posted the students’ beautiful and profound metaphorical “I am” poems. I will post close up photos tomorrow. You will be enchanted and inspired—these works are truly creative and deeply meaningful!

Animal Paragraphs

Hello, division 4 families!

I’m so pleased to share with you the wonderful finished “Animal Paragraphs”, presented with illustrations in beautiful watercolour. The students have received many compliments from folks in our school on their work and we are so proud!

As described in a previous blog post, this project involved students in researching, brainstorming, writing multiple drafts, and editing with educator support. To support their growth as writers, students were given a list of assignment criteria and several full-in-the-blank frameworks to use or adapt, and they considered numerous good examples of animal paragraphs. Students self-assessed their own work against the criteria to help create writing goals for the future.

Bonus: We had fun last week getting comfortable to watch the big soccer game together! Our kindergarten buddies joined us too. Great effort, Canada!

Hummingbirds & French

Last week, students enjoyed a read-aloud of the story “Flight of the Hummingbird” that features illustrations by Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Then we watched this video illustrating the story. They also explored the science of hummingbirds and made beautiful hummingbird watercolour paintings.

In French, we have also begun learning basic French greetings and learning to count to 20. Here is a video that can help with pronunciation. Students have also been taught to use Google Translate.

Figurative Language Letters & the History of Internment in BC

Hello, division 4 families!

Today each student wrote and brought home a “Subtraction Unit Quiz”—I am so proud of how hard everyone has worked to achieve so much growth in this area! Great job!

We also continued our rich learning in the area of figurative language today. We reviewed some more examples of simile and metaphor, and then students gave themselves a self-quiz to check their own understanding.

Next, I shared with students this example of a letter written to include examples of simile and metaphor.

Then, I modelled how I would personally prepare to write an appreciative “figurative language” letter to my own mother by starting with a brainstorm of her qualities and traits.

In the next step, I talked through and modelled my own creative process of how I would turn each of those qualities and traits into similes and metaphors. After that, I presented this challenge to students…

Get ready to feel charmed and moved by the poetic and personal letters students wrote and shared. (Before posting, I asked each student if they wanted to consent to sharing their letter. Some other letters are still being finished.)

In the afternoon in Social Studies, we began our unit of study on the history of Japanese internment in British Columbia. The students connected to their prior knowledge around WW2 and the events at Pearl Harbour through dialogue. Then we viewed and discussed the following videos. Key themes we discussed included discrimination and human rights violations, which we connected back to recent unit on residential schools.

We also made local connections, discussing the history and then the wartime vandalism of the Japanese Tea House in Esquimalt. We watched and discussed this video…