Thursday, October 20, 2011

This and That

We have started a new unit in social studies, Native American Cultural Regions. On the left, I've posted one photograph which is also found in our social studies book. Students are quite interested in the historical photographs from our social studies book and others we have seen from the Edward S. Curtis collection. They asked if I would post a link to the Library of Congress American Memory Collection. Quoting from the Library of Congress website:

"The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most significant and controversial representations of traditional American Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from 1907-1930, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the image of Indians in popular culture. Curtis said he wanted to document "the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners." In over 2000 photogravure plates and narrative, Curtis portrayed the traditional customs and lifeways of eighty Indian tribes. The twenty volumes, each with an accompanying portfolio, are organized by tribes and culture areas encompassing the Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau Region, Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Featured here are all of the published photogravure images including over 1500 illustrations bound in the text volumes, along with over 700 portfolio plates."

In math, we have been studying factors, multiples, and number puzzles which can be solved by using the various properties of number. We have learned about prime factorization and have been working on making a display of factor trees for various four digit numbers. An interesting activity for practicing prime factorization is Factorization Forest and students have asked me to post a link to this site as well.

Finally, a free application that you can download and use to study multiplication facts is Timez. For many years I have recommended this site to students who needed extra practice learning their multiplication facts.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A New Student Created Rubric and Upcoming Assessment

Last week students developed their own rubric for scoring a vocabulary "foldable". This week students have developed another rubric, this one is for scoring a new assignment, "Make a Map of the World."

You can access the rubric by clicking on this link, Make a Map of the World. You may print out the pdf file from the Scribd site if you lose the rubric we handed out in class. Remember that for this assignment you chose to add an optional extra credit activity! Good for you!! I'm eager to see what you chose to do for extra credit. Our classroom will look very productive when we put your work on display.

Don't forget to keep studying for the assessment by using the online tools we've discussed in class and which are accessible from this blog. For students without internet access, remember that you can take home your book and journal and practice with an adult. You can also use your vocabulary foldable as a study aid.

You are all working really hard and are engaged in your own learning! Keep up the great effort!!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Social Studies Online Practice

We are nearing completion of our first unit in social studies. We have been studying Chapter 1 in our textbook, Geography of the United States. First we spent some time learning how to read expository text and how to use chapter headings, subheadings, the glossary, index, etc. Students have created a series of annotated maps in their "interactive" student journals and have practiced several geography skills such as determining location with lines of latitude and longitude and identifying physical features of the United States.

As we prepare for our unit test, I want to introduce you to some wonderful free websites students can access to help them review the unit and study for the test.

First, I would like to introduce you to Social Studies Alive! America's Past Internet Tutorial. This is a wonderful website that allows students to virtually take the test for each unit, corrects misunderstandings as they go through the tutorial, and finally allows students to print out their results upon completion. Students have found these activities to be educational and entertaining, often reviewing the information over and over "just for fun"! How great is that? Simply go to the website, enter a name (which is not saved but simply used when printing out results), and press submit. Then students select the chapter they wish to study and enjoy! I generally ask students to print out their results and bring them to school as an indication that they have practiced for the test. If you do not have a printer, students can simply write a sentence telling me what their score is, ask an adult to sign it, and return it to school.

The second useful website is Quizlet. I have prepared vocabulary definitions for all words
students need to understand to master the first social studies unit. Going to Quizlet via this link takes you directly to the words, flashcards, and activities for the geography unit. From this site students can study the words in several ways. They can either read or listen to the definitions of each vocabulary term, they can print out flashcards, they can work on activities such as Scatter and Space Race to practice their words and they can test themselves on the words.