Making Progress…Road Blocks Have Been Lifted!

Oh Wow! I can not believe that we are seven days away from December!! Where did the last few weeks go?? In my last post I was talking about all of the different road blocks that I had or was about to be facing.  Even though the last few weeks had been busy with finishing assessments for report cards, getting portfolios together, and getting prepared for student led conferences my students and I still had time to create posts for our classroom blog and complete some digital citizenship lessons created by common sense media I do apologize that there has been a bit of a gap since my last post, but that does not mean I have not been busy working on my major project.  During this last three weeks I felt that the road blocks were slowly beginning to disappear one by one.  I was happy that we were able to accomplish more than what I originally thought we would ever be able to complete.   Now the road is clear, but it is a bit curvy and it has a few hills that we will need to continue to climb.  I know the journey will continue to be exciting and I am looking forward to see my student`s progress.

curvy road

 Photo Credit: VespaTS via Compfight cc

Major Project Update:

Over the last few weeks we were able to complete some of the lessons created by common sense media.   I did a lot of modeling for The A-B-C Searching lesson plan.  As a class we talked about the alphabet and why it might be easier to find things online using the alphabet.  In Daily 5 my students have been learning a lot about alphabetical order and how it is easier to find the word you are looking for when it is in order.  I also introduced students to dictionaries as so many of my students never heard of a dictionary before.  They were surprised to see how thick a dictionary is!  I thought back to my childhood and remembered using dictionaries and thesauruses in the classroom.  Now you do not need to have a hard copy of those documents, but people can access them online.  I also showed my students that dictionaries can be found online.  Then we looked at the Enchanting Learning website and the NASA picture dictionary that were suggested in the lesson plan.  I like that there are good websites that students can explore on safely!  We had a good conversation about searching online and staying safe!  All of the my students were very excited when I showed them the two websites because they are very fascinated about science.  We explored the two websites as a class on the Smartboard so we could have group discussions and the reading level on the websites is at a frustration level for some of the students in my classroom.  After we were finished searching my students enjoyed making a class picture dictionary.  This lesson not only taught my students searching skills, but the lesson covered ELA outcomes as well.  Down below I posted all of the English Language Arts outcomes that I able to cover while  we worked on this less.  I was excited that I was able to cover ELA outcomes while teaching my students important skills that they need to have growing up in a digital world.  It is vital that teachers teach students concepts and lessons that are geared to towards student learning in the 21st century.

ELA Outcome: CR2.2

View and explain (with support from the text) the key literal and inferential ideas (messages), important details, and how elements (such as colour, layout, medium, and special fonts) enhance meaning in grade-appropriate visual and multimedia texts.

  • Obtain information from different media (e.g., multimedia clips, websites, video clips, magazine photographs).

ELA Outcome: CR2.3

Listen and retell (with support from the text) the key literal and inferential ideas (messages) and important details heard in small- and large-group activities, and follow oral directions and demonstrations.

  • Listen to and follow independently a series of related directions or instructions related to class activities.

ELA Outcome: CR2.4

Read and demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate literary and informational texts read silently and orally by relating and retelling key events and ideas in sequence with specific details and discussing how, why, and what if questions.

  • Read and retell the key ideas and elements (including main idea, supporting details, diagrams, headings, table of contents, glossary) of informational texts including First Nations and Métis resources.

ELA Outcome: CC2.2

Use a variety of ways to represent understanding and to communicate ideas, procedures, stories, and feelings in a clear manner with essential details.

  • Combine illustrations and written text (e.g., captions, labels) to express ideas, feelings, and information.

boy drawing

 Photo Credit: Anz-i via Compfight cc

Another lesson I worked on with my students from the commons sense website was called My Creative Work.  During this lesson I showed my students some different paintings that had no names on the pieces and then some of art work that had artists names signed on the corners of the piece.  I asked my students- why do you think artists sign their name on their work?  We also discussed why many artists give their art work a title and a name.  I worked through the warm-up part of the commons sense lesson, but I did not have my students complete the self-portrait of themselves since they already completed a self-portrait in October.  (You can check out my student`s self portraits on our classroom blog!) Sometime I would like to try using picassohead with my students as it is a free online tool that students can use to draw.  I think my students would have a lot of fun.  Later in the year they could create a new avatar for their individual blog.  Since my students were learning about Remembrance Day I had my students complete a Remembrance Day poster instead.  My students brainstormed ideas for their poster and then we reviewed our criteria for when we create representations in the classroom.  We call it the ABCDE`s of representing!

Area (use the whole area of the paper)

Big (make your drawing big enough so it can be easily seen)

Colourful (make the poster colourful)

Details (add lots of exciting details to your work)

Extreme Neatness (make sure you take your time so your drawing is extremely neat)


Before my students started to work on their poster I discussed adding in a title for their piece, writing their name in the corner of their piece, and adding in the date as well. (Part of the `teach 2` portion of the commons sense lessons).  As a class we brainstormed possible ideas for a title for their Remembrance Day poster as well.  My students were eager to get started on their poster.  I encourage you to check out all of my students Remembrance Day posters that are posted on their individual blogs.  Check out our classroom blog to find the links for all my seventeen secret agent students.  They would love it if you were able to leave a comment on their work!  After my students were finished they shared their posters with everyone in the classroom.  Finally we completed some of the wrap-up questions that were suggested in the lesson.  The only problem that we ran into for this lesson was I forgot to have my students write their secret agent numbers on their poster instead of their name so it could be posted on their blog page.  It did open up again the conversation on why I like keeping my students names off of the blog and use their secret agent numbers instead.  To save time I wrote their secret agent numbers on a small piece of index card to cover of their name so we could upload a picture of their work on their blog.  I was very proud of all of my students and how much pride they took in creating their poster.  Many students also created a blog post about Remembrance Day on their blog as well! Once again this lesson covered many grade two outcomes from the Saskatchewan Curriculum.

ELA Outcome: CC2.2

Use a variety of ways to represent understanding and to communicate ideas, procedures, stories, and feelings in a clear manner with essential details.

  • Combine illustrations and written text (e.g., captions, labels) to express ideas, feelings, and information.
  • Design a visual representation (e.g., a picture, puppetry, a chart, a model, physical movement, a concrete graph, a pictographic, a demonstration, an advertisement for a toy) to demonstrate understanding.

ELA Outcome: CC2.4

Write stories, poems, friendly letters, reports, and observations using appropriate and relevant details in clear and complete sentences and paragraphs of at least six sentences.

  • Write groups of clear sentences that develop a central idea.

Arts Education Outcome: CP2.7

Create visual art works that draw on observations and express ideas about own communities.

  • Identify sources of inspiration and describe decisions made in creating own art works.

Arts Education Outcome: CP2.8

Create art works using a variety of visual art concepts (e.g., secondary colours), forms (e.g., collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, mobile, traditional art), and media (e.g., paper, found objects, paint, crayons).

  • Demonstrate co-ordination and skills in using simple visual art tools and materials.

Arts Education Outcome: CH2.1

Identify key features of arts and cultural traditions in own community.

  • View and listen to the work of artists.

Common sense media has been a life saver for me so far this semester!!  So many teachers I have talked to commented on not knowing where to begin to teach digital citizenship and other important 21st Century skills that students need to know.  Now that I have used many lessons from this resource I will be highly recommending it to colleagues and other educators.  I like that the lessons have a very good flow, filled with good questions, includes assessment pages that you could use, and provides resources to go along with each lesson.  I think this website would help teachers feel more comfortable teaching 21st Century skills and is a good starting point to begin teaching students how to be good digital citizens. 

Check back later this week!  I am going to step out of my comfort zone and do a screen cast about my major digital project!

teacher watching student on the computer

Photo Credit: schoolux via Compfight cc


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