Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guineas, Day 2!

Today was our last "guinea day"!  I started class by telling them all that I had just received an early morning phone call from my neighbor... informing me that she had a yard full of poultry!  It seems that my guineas, as well as two turkeys, had "flown the coop" and were running amok in her yard!  The class and I talked about how guineas are harder to contain than chickens.  We also discussed how great they are at eliminating all sorts of bugs!  The kids found it especially funny that one of the guineas seemed to have found himself in the church's playground... and was stuck!  What a morning!

I taught the class different ways that the long "e" sound can be spelled.  In "guinea", the "ea" makes the sound.  We talked about different words that use this special sound.  We then talked about the "ey" in turkey, as well as other words that used "ie", and "y".  
After the phonics lesson, we hit the yard!  The class played a game, where they had to be guineas, and have a relay race to "find the bugs" (aka multilink cubes).  Each team had a different color "bug" to find and return to their team.  We then played a quick game of tag before returning to the classroom for snack and a story.

To me, flexibility is an important teaching asset.  I had planned to read the story, "Guinea Fowl and Rabbit Get Justice", which I did read to one class.  However, my story of the runaway guineas prompted a number of raised hands in the other class, all wanting to discuss times where they had gotten "lost" in a store, park, or other location.  I switched gears, talking to the kids about safety measures for when you are lost.  I quickly grabbed the book, "It Takes a Village" by Jane Cowen-Fletcher.  Although this book had nothing to do with guineas, it was set in an African village, which is where guinea fowl originated.  The story is about a girl who is asked to watch her younger brother, and loses track of him in the village's market place.  The class and I discussed differences between the close knit culture of the small village, where most people knew each other, and our cities and towns.  It was a great unplanned lesson!
The children took turns reading their writing assignments.  I am working to create motivation through positive peer interaction.  Hopefully, the kids will take the time to work on their writing assignments during the week, and enjoy sharing them with their friends!  I heard some wonderful tales today!  They wrote their own folktales for how the guinea fowl got her spots.  Some were painted by fairies, some were splashed by a cow's milk, some took the spots of a baby fawn, and some had raspberry juice splattered on their wings, which when washed away, took the guinea's grey feather color with it!   am so very impressed!

Because our last craft was so structured, today's allowed for the students to have more creative control.  They had to follow directions carefully to cut a door for a barn without cutting it off!  Then, they really had to pay attention not to glue the door closed when affixing it to the background paper.  But, beyond that... they were able to decorate, design, and fill their barn with any animals that their hearts desired! 
Next week, we will begin our mini-lesson on turkeys! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guinea Workshop, Day 1

Today was the first day of our new workshop: Turkeys and Guineas!  The class began with a lesson on guineas.  They learned what they are, and why farms have them around.  Yes, you can eat them.  Yes, you can eat their eggs.  But, they are excellent bug catchers, and amazing alarm systems for your farm!

Each time a new animals is introduced, the class is given an Observation Sheet.  They are learning how to observe and document what they see, hear, feel, and smell.  We talked about the noises that guineas make, and their body features. 

Next, the class learned about folktales.  Guinea fowl are native to Africa, so we read an African folktale, "How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots."  We discussed some of the vocabulary in the story, and the children took home a worksheet that parents can use at home, if desired.

For our craft, the children made their own guineas out of pine cones!  They had to scavenge the yard looking for the perfect sticks for the neck, head, and beak.  I glued them together, and the children covered their pine cone guineas in black tape.  Their guineas were shiny black, just like the one in the beginning of the story!  After the bodies were covered, the class used acrylic paint to make their guineas come to life.  They did an amazing job with such a complex project!  These will dry at the school house, and go home with the kids next week.

If feels great to be back with my awesome little group of kids!  Hooray for Farm Fusion!

Clean Up!