Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Plant Roots and Word Roots

The students began their day by listening to each others' writing assignments about their Thanksgiving festivities.  They wrote about sweet potatoes, grandparents, cranberry sauce, travel, and all the other things Thanksgiving memories are made of!  We are working a lot on writing in complete sentences.  At home, spend time helping them recognize where one sentence should end and another begin.  They have come a long way in 15 weeks!

In art class, Ms. Bev showed the kids how to make some amazing Christmas ornaments, using fabric scraps!  The mental focus during this one hour class was just amazing.  They worked hard, and it showed!
 Math class was all about measurement today!  We worked with non-standard units of measurement, using paperclips, markers, and counting cubes as measuring tools.  I explained to the class that you can only measure with units that are a consistent size.  You cannot simply say "build a ship that is 94 shoes long!"  The class measured different classroom objects.  Then, each one stretched out onto a large sheet of paper.  We made marks at their feet and head.  Then, they used markers as units of measurement to see how many markers high they each are.  They will be working more with measurement at home over the week.

In Spanish class, the kids showed off their house models, where they cut out different household items and placed them into a box.  They hung lights from the top, made carpet on the floor, and decorated the walls with pictures of tables, chairs, and other furniture.  They labelled each item with its Spanish name.

Science time was pretty action packed!  The class showed off the models of the parts of a plant that they completed at home.  Then, Ms. Caroline and the students discussed the experiment with the two different flowering plants.  One has been watered and in the sun for 3 weeks.  The other was kept in the dark, with no water.  The results were pretty clear.  The students documented the results in their lab books.  As an extra test, we gave the dying plant water and sunlight.  We will check back to see if it is about to bounce back!

The class learned about seeds today, as well as the life cycle of a plant.  Ms. Caroline took the kids to the yard on a seed scavenger hunt!  They found seeds, as well as other plant parts, and brought them inside to discuss their findings.  Finally, they created collages from their treasures. 

In Language Arts class, the students worked a lot with root words and suffixes.  We reviewed the rule that you double the final consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel, such as stop and stopping.  Further, I discussed with the class that this double consonant results in a short vowel sound.  For instance, the extra "p" turns hoping into hopping and turns moped into mopped.  I was really able to tell that this concept has been taught at home in their lessons!  They all worked examples on the board.  They also worked on recognizing the root words and suffixes in words such as jumped, underlining the root words and circling the suffixes.

The class reviewed the spelling list, as well.  In this list, they work with "oi" and "oy".  They seem to have much less difficulty with this concept than the "ou" and "ow" list!  We played a game where the students had to stand up if the word had an "oi" and sit when the word had an "oy".  As I called out the words boil, toy, spoil, and so on, the kids bopped up and down appropriately.

At the very end of class, we squeezed in enough time to head across the street and check out the chicks that were hatching!  We had 35 eggs in the incubator, and they were hatching like crazy!  I was glad they had a chance to see the action!

Picture Day!

Writing and Handwriting-  The kids began their day by sharing their Thanksgiving writing assignments with the class.  As always, I made sure that the positive feedback was off the chart!  In addition to learning to write in complete sentences, capitalize letters, and use good handwriting, I am trying to give the students a positive attitude towards writing.  What better way than lots of compliments and applause from classmates?  For handwriting, we worked on writing a few of the spelling words from this week's list.  This is another difficult list, as it introduces the special sounds "ir" as in "bird", "er" as in "verse", and "ur" as in "nurse".  These all sound exactly the same.  The class learned another song today.  This one was to help them remember these three tricky sounds.

Art- In art class, Ms. Bev brought in the students' homemade finger paint back in to class.  The kids learned about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors with a very hands on lesson!  Although nervous about finger painting at first, they all got into it in the end! 

In history class, Ms. Allison and the class talked about their at home reading over ancient Greece.  They read about minotaurs and the Greek alphabet.  In class, they worked on writing their names using the Greek alphabet.  The kids were really interested in this, and many kept writing other words, as well!  They also learned about Venetian pottery.  As a project, they designed a Venetian vase. 

In math today, the class learned the difference of basic shapes.  They learned about sides and angles as they compared the different shapes.  We also worked on pattern recognition.  As a major brainteaser, the we all worked on a shape Sudoku puzzle together.  It wasn't easy, but they did it!

The class used their Spanish vocabulary as they made their own models of a house!  They cut out household items from magazines and pasted them into boxes, while discussing the Spanish names for each item.  They cut out portas, mesas, camas and all sorts of other things that go inside a casa!

Science- The children checked out their experiment from last week on the needs of plants.  One rose plant was placed in the dark, while one was placed in a sunny window.  There wasn't a lot of change, but they documented what they saw.  Ms. Caroline will be posting pictures during the break so the children can continue to make observations.  The class discussed the parts of a plant, learning about their roles.  They will be reading more on plants, as well as watching some great videos at home!

Language Arts- In grammar class, the students have been learning a lot about nouns, both common and proper.  Today, they moved on to learning about pronouns.  In order to keep the definitions set in their memories, we started a set of grammar cards for each child.  They will be using these cards to study their grammar terms and lists.  We talked more about the spelling list, and went over the different sounds that all sound like "er".  They worked in their spelling and language books.  We also read aloud in our Stepping Stones books.  The students had no idea that the readers actually use the concepts and words from the spelling lists.  Those curriculum writers and geniuses! Continue to study the spelling and phonics rules at home, and we will back it all up in class!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stayin' Alive

The class began the day by reading their writing assignments to their friends.  It turns out that each one of them would choose to be an animal from the cat family!  We had a kitten, a momma cat, a cheetah, and a lion.  Meow! 

This week's spelling list is a difficult one.  They are using the "ou" as in "out" and the "ow" as in "owl" sounds.  Also, they are learning that "ow" can make a long o sound, as in "bowl".  To help them with these sounds, I made up a song.  They had a good time singing it!  I hope it helps them remember!  They practiced their handwriting by writing some of the spelling words, carefully and correctly, on their page.  I try to point out how their handwriting and creative writing has improved as we progress through the year.  It's so easy to see, and gives them a visual representation of their learning!

Art- Ms. Bev had her work cut out for her today!  She and the kids used measuring cups and spoons to follow a recipe for homemade finger paint.  They learned the abbreviations Tbs, tsp, and C.  The kids were able to mix their own concoction, and even cooked it on the stove!  They added food coloring and Ms. Bev will let them paint with it next week!

History-  In Ms. Allison's class, the students have been reading about the first librarian, Ashurbanipal.  He sent scribes out all over Assyria to collect all of the tablets that they could find.  Ashurbanipal's scribes also documented traditional stories that the Assyrians passed down, orally.  These stories had never been written down until this point!  He created the first library, in Ninevah.  The class discussed the story.  Then, they created their own library book!

Math- In math class, we reviewed addition and subtraction strategies.  After noticing that many of the children were counting up for 10+ and 9+ problems, I specifically worked on mental math for these.  By the end of class, they had stopped over thinking problems such as 10 + 6, and simply exclaiming, "16!!"  For the 9+ problems, I explained that it is always a tens group (a "teen") plus one less than the other number.  For instance, 9 + 4 is just a 10 plus one less than 4, so 10+3, or 13.  It took some practice, but they had also let go over the counting-up strategy for adding 9 to a number!   The class then played an addition game.  Each child chose a card with an addition problem.  The person with the highest sum collected the cards from each player.  Try this one at home!

Spanish-  Ms. Rose reviewed all of the material that was covered so far.  They took turns writing numbers on the board as Ms. Rose called them out in Spanish.  They also took turns drawing items and representations of the seasons on the white board, as well.  Next week, the class will be learning about things inside a house.  Each child should bring in a shoe box, as they will be making a doll house in class!

Science-  In science class, Ms. Caroline taught the class from chapter 3 of their textbook.  The students learned about the needs of plants. They also learned about how plants make food.  As an experiment, the class has two identical plants.  One plant will be kept near a window and watered.  The other will be kept in the dark closet.  The kids will get to see the difference in the two plants next week, documenting their findings in their lab books.

Language Arts-  Today, we learned about root words and suffixes, and that usually, a word is broken into syllables at the suffix.  For instance, in the word "screaming", the syllables would be split between "scream" and "ing".  We worked a lot on "ou" as in "out", "ow" as in "owl", and "ow" as in "bowl".  There was a whole lot of singing as we worked our way through the spelling list!  The class also learned that the words in a title begin with capital letters.  The exceptions are those unimportant words, such as "in", "the", "a", etc.  They did talk about how the first word of a title is always capitalized, whether it is a little unimportant word or not!  Each student was given a cartoon picture.  It was a boy standing in the bathroom, reacting to a dolphin in his bathtub!  The kids had to come up with a title, using the capitalization rules that we learned.  Then, they wrote complete sentences about the picture.