Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Story of a Guinea Keet

Language Arts- Today, the class began by reviewing the "ou" sound, as in "country", "ire" are in "fire" and "air" as in "hair".  These are words from the kids' at home lessons on the recent phonics chart, and we went over different words that contain these special sounds.  The English language is very tricky.  Some students gave words such as "care" for the "air" sound.  This just takes study and practice!  When the kids circle the special sounds in their lessons, it helps them to internalize these differences.  The class also reviewed key sounds found in this week's spelling list.  There are some tricky ones to discuss, including the silent "b" in "comb" and "climb", and the long "i" sound in "child", "wild", "mild", etc.  The only way to learn these oddities of the English language is to practice and discuss!  The work that the children are doing in their Letters & Sounds workbook, and correlating at home lessons, provide an excellent foundation!

We discussed the last type of sentence in our grammar lesson today: exclamations.  The students had to listen to different sentences, telling whether it was a statement, command, question, or exclamation. Then, they had to hold up a card showing the correct punctuation.  They will use these cards to help practice at home.

Writing- After reading last week's writing assignments to the class, the kids wrote a story about a monkey in a zoo.  They used their their phonics lessons, handwriting, capital letters, punctuation, and their imaginations.  It amazes me how far they have come with their in class writing since the beginning of the year!

Art-  These kids worked so hard for many weeks, and now have completely finished their amazing hand-print roosters!  I absolutely love this project!

History-  In history class, Ms. Allison helped the students to create the catacombs of Rome.  They went into the catacombs and, like the Christians long ago, created symbolic art.  The class talked about the way that Christians could find out if someone else was a Christians, without letting the Romans identify them.  When meeting on the street, the Christian would draw an arc in the sand.  If the stranger drew another arc, forming the symbol of the fish, then the Christian knew he was in good company: that the stranger was a Christian and not a Roman.

Math- Last week, the kids counted forward and backwards by different intervals.  Actually, we jumped forward or backwards as we counted.  They began class with a review of the order of numbers, by working through problems in their Extra Practice booklet.  Then, we began a new lesson.  They learned about the very hungry alligator (the less than or greater than sign), which loves to "chomp" the larger number!  We worked through some numbers on the board, as well as in the textbook.  They remembered to always draw the symbol with the open end gobbling up the largest number!

Agriculture- A couple weeks ago, one lonely guinea hatched from an entire setting of eggs.  It was too early in the season, and many of the eggs were not fertile.  So, we were left with only one.  It is not easy to keep a guinea indoors as it grows feathers, and it is not ideal to raise a single guinea in an outdoor brooder.  It is also very hard to introduce a single bird into the flock when it is grown.  We had quite a problem!  Fortunately, one of our hens went broody, and we allowed her to set on a golf ball.  Last week, late at night, I crept into the coop and put the one week old guinea underneath the black copper maran hen.  I taught the class that, as long as it is late at night, you can sometimes convince a broody hen that she hatched out a chick.  We were very lucky and this hen adopted the week old guinea keet!  I took the class over to see the momma and baby.  The kids and I moved the guinea and its new mommy to their own special area, safe from the goats and from other chickens.  We talked about how animals, and people, sometimes adopt their babies.  At home, they will be incorporating our momma hen into their writing assignment.

Science-  The class began by showing off the diagrams that they created of their homes. They discussed which parts of the house help to meet their basic needs. Ms. Caroline focused their attention on water.  Ms. Caroline cut a carrot... and then asked the students why water did not fall out.  Then, she explained that the water is held in each cell.  The class also compared the size of a raisin to the size of a grape.  After some measurement and calculation, it was decided that the grape was somewhere in the neighborhood of 65% larger than the raisin.  So, grapes must be comprised of a lot of water!  It can be very hard for young children to grasp percentages and amounts.  First, Ms. Caroline used the example of how many dimes are in a dollar.  She used this analogy to explain that if our bodies were a dollar, and made up of 10 dimes, 7 of those dimes would be water!  Ms. Caroline took the class outside to help them get a better grasp on this percentage.  They traced their classmates, and then divided their bodies into 10 parts.  Then, they colored in 7 of these parts, showing how much water is in our bodies!

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