Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday, 9/19/17

Today was spelling test day.  I explained that our goal here is to master our material, not to simply grade it and move on.  The emphasis should not be on the grade, but we should use this to study the missed words so we can improve! 

The class is working on memorizing the poem, “Afternoon on a Hill”.  We will have a couple more weeks to work on this poem before we record a recitation video!

In writing/literature class, Ms. Hilary taught the class about inference.  They used text evidence to infer what is going on in a story.  When children are young, stories spell out all of the facts.  However, it is important for them to learn to use their prior knowledge to help them infer things about the story that are not writing in black and white.  To help them understand the concept, Ms. Hilary used the song “In Summer” from Frozen… which was just a perfect example to get the kids thinking!  Because we know what happens to frozen things in summer, but Olaf doesn’t, we have knowledge that he does not.  In the movie, Kristof asks, “Should we tell him?”.  Because of our prior knowledge, we are able to infer what he means.

In history, the students are working on their interactive notebooks.  They started their section on Christopher Columbus, and continued to work on their compasses. 

In art, Ms. Nancy taught the class different watercolor techniques.  First, they used salt.  This technique creates little dots as the salt soaks up the paint.  They worked on dry brushing techniques, dabbing with the paper towel, painting on wet color, and other methods for painting different looks with watercolors.

During agriculture time, the kids got to hear all about our new steer and how we will be feeding him out to process.  They will get to see the growth over the next few months.  I explained how that steer decided to lift the gate off of the hinges early this morning, letting out the donkey, horse, and himself!  I spent time before class started wrangling animals…. Not fun! 

Although we meant to talk about dairy goats, we ended up learning a little about duck embryology instead.  Why?  Because I have duck eggs in the incubator, and I needed to candle them to see which ones are developing and which ones need to be thrown out!  Although some lessons are planned out, my agriculture class has to ebb and flow with the happenings of the farm!  Out of the 12 eggs that we candled, 10 of them had growing embryos inside.  We saw one that was not fertilized and another that was rotten!  The kid were able to see the difference between them, and how to spot the issues.  We'll check back on the duck eggs next week!

I’ll start sending home notecards on Thursday.  Notecards are simply a way for me to communicate with parents each day about assignments, behavior, or just to say it was a great day!  Everyone will get a notecard… no matter what!  I am a firm believer in communication, and sometimes teachers will wait until there is a big problem before they communicate with others.  For us homeschoolers, we are still learning how to learn in a group!  I feel that this skill is just as important as the content of the lessons, if not more so!  Parents cannot help their children improve if they aren’t connected to the classroom, so the blog and notecards helps bridge that gap.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday, 9/14/17

Before class, I caught the kids up on how we prepared for Hurricane Irma here on the farm!  We moved ducks, rabbits, and silkies into crates indoors, locked up the goats, horse, donkey, and dogs, and cooped up each and every chicken!  It was a wild weekend, but all of the animals came through safe and sound!

We went over our spelling words for list 2 today.  We discussed some tricky spellings, and learned some tricks about marking accents for accented syllables.  For example, the word content can be pronounced two different ways and have two different meanings, depending on how it is accented!  

Today, the Happy Horses continued their lesson in forming plural nouns.  They did a great job with their “s” or “es” lesson at home!  They learned when to change a y to an i and when to just add an s.  We also talked about those tricky “f” and “fe” words… and irregulars!  The kids will continue to practice these skills at home, and we will review their work next week.

The Girly Goats made corrections to their at-home assignments on forming plurals.  We reviewed common and proper nouns, and got an arm work-out!  As I read a story, the students had to raise one arm for each common noun they heard and two arms for each proper noun.  It looked a bit like an aerobics class!  Afterward, the class began a new lesson on proofreading marks.  They will be learning how to mark (and read) proofreading marks in grammar class, and hopefully will get the hang of the idea of having to rewrite papers!  

Today, Ms. Hilary talked all about brainstorming!   The students chose a topic: “planning a trip” or “leaving in a hurry”.  They used a graphic organizer to jot down ideas that came to mind.   

Both classes will be reading BFG in literature class.  The students are keeping a reading log to help them as they read through the book.   

Ms. Hilary taught the class about the explorers of the new world.  They learned that these sailors believed that the world was flat- which some kids found to be hilarious!  The thought that grown men could be scared of sea monsters, falling off the earth, etc was a shock!  Last week, the students began learning map-reading skills.  They continued this lesson today, as they began designing their own compass rose.  We will work more on these next week!

The kids reviewed what they had learned about the scientific method, and talked evn more about volcanoes today.  They learned about the lava flow, the magma chamber, and more.  To help them remember what they discussed, the class worked on a construction paper volcano project which opens to reveal the inner workings of the volcano.  These kids ate this lesson UP!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thursday, 9/7/17

Today, we began with a quick review of the tougher spelling words in each of the students’ lists.  The kids had a “hot potato” style review, where we tossed my little stuffed aardvark around the room to each student.  Although we sometimes focus on writing the words, today we focused on verbally spelling the words.  We will continue to work on List 1 and have an assessment on Tuesday.

We cracked open the handwriting books today, discussing cursive writing.  Although some students are mastering cursive, others are just learning this skill.  We will be working independently through the book, and I will use their writing in each class to help guide their progress in both cursive and print.  On Tuesday, I noticed that a few students were creating their d’s and p’s by starting at the bottom and working their way up.  This may work for now, but it slows down the flow of writing.  We have all had classes where we needed to frantically take notes.  Even with the rise of technology, writing with ease will be an important skill!  

Speaking of skills, today’s writing lesson taught an important one!  The class discussed how to pull out the keywords from a paragraph, and then use those keywords to write the ideas in their own words.  Ms. Hilary worked through an example about butterflies.  The class picked out the important keywords.  Then, the paragraph was erased!  They had to recall the information and use their creativity to make the paragraph their own.

I absolutely loved today’s history lesson.  The class talked about maps, cardinal directions, and using a map key.  After working through a map activity, Ms. Hilary explained how a person's rights are given to them by God, not by the government.  A country’s job is not to own people, but to help them.  The students learned more on this topic in 45 minutes than some children are taught in 12 years of education!

Science began this afternoon!  We will have science each Thursday, and Ms. Smith will be teaching these eager minds!  Their introduction lesson was all about the scientific method.  To step them through the process, they had a geology mini-lesson!  They learned about geologist, volcanologists, lava, magma, data collection, and more.  After their lesson, the students mixed up some good ol’ Georgia red clay and a little water, and created their own volcano!   The class will continue their scientific method lesson at home, and continue to volcanoes next Thursday!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

First Day of Class!

Today was the first day of our school year at Inman Hybrid, and boy was it a great one!  The weather was perfect, the students were smiling…I couldn’t ask for a better class!

We began the day with an overview, rules, and introductions.  With only 10 students, it didn’t take long for everyone to feel right at home!  The students broke into their spelling groups and looked over list 1.  We will be using the say/spell/say method in class, so they took turn spelling the words out loud while each student wrote them on their whiteboards.  They will be working through the lists at home, reviewing together on Thursdays, and we will have spelling tests each Tuesday.  

After spelling, Ms. Hilary joined us for language arts groups.  Ms. Hilary had a fun-filled writing class while I kicked off the grammar year.  IN writing, the kids learned that you can express a lot with your words... through pages and pages of a story, or sometimes people can tell a whole story with a little hashtag!  Hopefully they will not only improve their writing this year, but actually enjoy it!

We're starting off nice and simple in grammar, but they will soon be ramping up!  Both classes talked about nouns today, and the kids learned that in addition to people, places, and things, ideas can be nouns, too!  It can be a little tricky, so we walked through many examples: fear, happiness, freedom, etc.  After our noun lesson, the class came up with their own nouns for a Person, Place, Thing, and Idea relay race!

The kids will begin literature and vocabulary lessons next week.  I think it’s best to work up to full speed, as no child (or adult!) can learn when he or she is overwhelmed!  

After lunch, the class all gathered together for an introduction to their year of American history followed by a farm tour.  The animals were all very excited for the kids to be back!

In art with Ms. Nancy, the class used chalk pastel techniques to make eye-popping representations of this summer's eclipse! 

I will try to describe each day here on the blog, although some days will consist of “A Day in Pictures”.  I use this as a way for parents, grandparents, family members, and friends to stay connected with what the students are learning.  This allows the learning to come full circle with discussions all week long!  Feel free to share this link with anyone who has an interest in your child’s education.  That way, they can ask them questions related to the activities, lessons, and projects that they see here!