Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blustery Day

Today was a abnormally warm, very windy day: perfect tornado weather.  Tornado warnings are popping up all of the area.  To prepare, the class had a tornado drill!  We calmy and carefully walked into the back bathroom (no windows), where we knelt against the wall.  The tornado siren can be heard very clearly in this building, so if it goes off... we will be ready!

Spelling & Handwriting-  This week's spelling list was full of words ending with the sounds "ink", "ank", "unk", and "ing".  To practice these, the students came up with rhyming words for each sound.  Then, each of them came up with their own poem, using the words from one of the sound lists!  It was a fun way to practice spelling, handwriting, and writing, in one swoop!

Art-  In art class today, Ms. Bev pulled out the homemade paper from last week's project.  The class used the homemade paper, as well as construction paper, scrapbooking paper, ribbon, and buttons, to create special Valentines!

History-  Ms. Allison began today's history class by talking about the Roman culture.  At home, the class read about Romans, Hannibal, and his elephants.  Because Romans wore money as jewelry, the class created their own penny jewelry.   My Allison then taught the class the meaning of "trade".  Each student was given a Roman sign.  The Romans were each given some money to spend at Carthage.  Our little shop at Carthage had trinkets for trade.  (The gumballs were just for show!)  Although the Romans were happy as little clams, Hannibal was not!  Hannibal was upset at the Romans for taking all of the good trinkets... and he attacked the Romans!  They discussed the role of elephants in Hannibal's army.  Ms. Allison used the demonstration to help the class remember all that they learned at home.  To top it all off, they made elephant ear pastries!

Math-  In math today, I used multilink cubes to represent two digit numbers.  We then added and subtracted single digit numbers, which did not result in regrouping.  We practiced with this concept until everyone was comfortable looking to the ones group to see if the number being subtracted could be taken only from the ones group.  They were easily adding and subtracting these numbers, mentally.  We will be building upon this concept with online videos, as we begin to regroup!

Today, after a few minor social speed bumps, I decided to take some time and talk to the class about respecting others and being kind.  So often, children are simply excited or happy, but they act in ways that do not take the feelings of others into consideration.  Today, this involved a couple instances of keeping hands to ourselves, an instance of closing the door to keep someone out, and one unintentionally rude remark to a teacher.  None of these cases involved malicious intent.  Sometimes, kids just get caught up in the excitement or fun... and do not think of others.  I cannot help but use every opportunity for a life lesson!  The class and I discussed what it means to be a good friend, what it means to be kind, and how important it is to respect others.  The class then worked on a short writing assignment, where they could write about what it means to be kind, or to respect others.  It was a great way to take the emotions of the morning and vent them onto paper.  Writing can be therapy.  Writing can help us to express our feelings, and to internalize a lesson, applying it to our lives.  The class really took this seriously, and did a wonderful job!  This class that we have is not just to learn science, history, or grammar.  It is a class that teaches how to learn in a group of peers! 

Students jump into action, showing kindness when the contents of a classmate's bookbag spilled onto the floor!

Science-  The first thing that the class did in science class was show off their amazing butterfly models!  They were creative, detailed, and well thought out!  Next, everyone shared their writing assignment on the life cycle of a frog.  Ms. Caroline taught the class more about cycles today:  life cycles and the water cycle.  At home, they will be finishing up chapter 10.  Beginning next week, the class will continue with biology, outside of the textbook.  Ms. Carline will be beginning her lessons on Georgia ecology!  Oh, and our caterpillars are starting to prepare for forming their chrysalises! 

After our science lesson, we took some time to review what we learned in math class.  The concept of adding and subtracting 10 from a two digit number ( 25-10 = 15 ) and subtracting a single digit from a two digit number, without regrouping (25-2= 23) is much easier than it seems for children.  I wanted to touch on this again before they complete their at home assignments.

We began our grammar lesson on common and proper nouns, as well as the abbreviations for the months of the year, when the weather reports started to show bad storms heading our way.  I contacted parents and we cut the day a little short.  We missed out on an alphabetical order review, but that is way less important than getting families home safe and sound before the storm!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pajama Day!

Today was an awesome day!  Thanks to some amazing parents, we had a pajama day... complete with breakfast for lunch!  The kids absolutely loved wearing their pj's... and so did the teachers!

Spanish Activity
The kids have all mastered alphabetical order by first letter!

Future Butterflies!

Spelling List Jump 'n Jacks

Making Paper for Truly Homemade Valentines!

Squeezing the water from the pulp.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Spelling- We began the day with a discussion of "ight" and "ite" both making the same sound.  The class reviewed their spelling list, orally.  Then, they created sentences with a few "igh" words, individually.  We worked on "ite" words later on in the day, finishing up with a review of the entire list.

Writing-  The class read their papers about their Christmas break.  They really enjoyed sharing their traditions, the dinners they had, and the presents they received!  I made sure to point out how well each of them did with capital letters and punctuation.  They have definitely made some major improvements in their writing!

Art-  In art class, Ms. Bev began a new, multi-staged project.  Today, they worked on background skyskapes, using paint.  They will be adding more to their projects next week.

History- Ms. Allison talked with the children about the Nazca people of Peru.  They created massive drawings that could only be viewed from the air.  Although the Nazca scraped their drawings into the Earth, our class created their stick figure drawing with flour!  They may have gotten a bit in their hair, but I bet they won't remember the lesson on Nazca!

Math-  In math class, the kids were given different groups of objects.  They had to say which group had "more" and which had "less".  Then, we worked on trying to find out how many more one group had than the other.  We used multilinked cubes to demonstrate every problem.  As they became more comfortable with the terminology (For example, "how many fewer red cubes are there than blue cubes?"), I began writing the number value of each group on the board.  This was so they could make mental connections between what they were calculating with manipulatives and the subtraction problems that it represents.  They really did a great job with this lesson.  It is a tough concept!  Continue to work on memorizing addition and subtraction facts up to 10.  It will help so much, not just now, but always!

Spanish-  Ms. Rose reviewed with the class their Spanish seasons, weather, and numbers today.  They discussed the weather that we have been having, as well as their favorite seasons.  They also worked on creating cards for their terms.

Science-  We are going to be raising caterpillars until they emerge from their chrysalises.  Ms. Caroline discussed the life cycle of the butterfly with the children.  Kids love butterflies!  Their little caterpillars are just larvae right now.  They are super tiny!  I can't wait to see how much they have grown when the kids come back next week! 

Language Arts-  We really learned a lot today!  The students learned how to put words into alphabetical order, which was a new concept for them!  We began by working through short lists of words, together.  These were very simple, and each word began with either an a, b, c, d, or e.  After they became comfortable with the process, they alphabetized some lists on their own.  As their skills grew stronger, I spaced out the words.  We had words that started with letters all through the alphabet, with gaps in between.  I was so pleased that it was a brand new concept for them, and they all nailed it!

We practiced adding suffixes that begin with vowels to words that end with a consonant after a vowel.   For instance, we changed "hop" into "hopping", "step" into "stepping", and so on.  They definitely remembered to double that final consonant.  We then practiced words that end with an silent "e", such as "hope" into "hoping".  Again, they did a great job of remembering to drop that "e". 

After the suffix lesson, we reviewed our grammar definitions for verbs and nouns.  The class pointed out nouns and verbs in many different sentences, acting out each verb!  Then, I gave each student a comic strip about a superhero dog!  The comic strip was chock full of action verbs, which we discussed.  Then, the kids colored the strips and fed them through a little "theater", making it like a little movie screen.

Keep practicing those grammar cards at home!  Committing as much to memory when they are young is so valuable!