Monday, 25 April 2011

WEEK 6: "But We're Not Done Yet!"

This past week I brought my Mario Kart research project back into the classroom...this time to a Gr. 4/5 split. My focus continued to be literacy centers and a math activity (in particular, division)--though I must confess, after chatting with teacher Brian McLaren, I was eager to branch out and try new Mario Kart activities.

Alas, the timing and parameters of my project do not allow for larger projects, and when I spoke with the teacher of this class, she was pretty excited with what I had done already and was eager for me to use that material again.  I had to remind myself, these students hadn't seen these activities them they were going to seem new & fresh & least, that's what I hoped!

And so it was!

Literacy Centers
As I've mentioned before, one of my favourite parts with the literacy centers is seeing the student reactions to the centers (for details on the literacy centers themselves, see previous post--in this class the numbers of centers was reduced, we excluded the Peach, Donkey Kong and Mario centers).

 There's usually a 'fun' reaction to their initial unveiling, some excitement around who gets to go to which centre, etc.

While all of the centers were fairly well received, the reading scripts, the interview writing and the descriptive writing were probably the most popular.

 There were two boys in particular in this class who responded with obvious enthusiasm to the writing center (neither are considered 'avid writers') who, upon hearing it would soon be time to change centers, cried "But we're not done yet!" They wanted to keep writing.

These guys also, upon hearing that literacy centers would be continued next period, said: "Awesome!"

This is not something they usually say about literacy.

The math focus this week in this class happened to be division. Since I'd already done other operations (addition, multiplication) I took what I'd done previously and adapted here.

Of course, we ranked the race times for each of the four racing groups, as I have done previously. Students really engage in this activity, it has never failed to get their interest.

Once that was done, we did a few division questions with the Mario & Luigi manipulatives to 'warm up'. I would give a division question, like 15 divided equally into 3 groups, how many in each group? and they would have to show it using the manipulates.

After that, the class broke into partners, and each partner received a Mario themed word problem. They then had to use chart paper, divide it in two,  and on one side a) solve the problem as a long division equation and on the other, b) draw a picture of the solution.

They then presented these to class when they were finished. (And there was a lot of interest in hearing the different Mario Kart word problems, each one starred a different MK characters, such as Boo, Bowser, Luigi, etc).

Next Week: next week is my last class, a Gr. 2 class, and then I start analyzing the data!

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