Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Spelling- We played four corners with our spelling words today. There's nothing like running around to get that brain working!

Grammar- Today, we learned about “state of being verbs”. They include: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been. These words can also act as helping verbs, but they can act alone to show the subject's state of being. For instance, “He is.” We discussed how even very simple sentences can be complete ones!
Math- We continued our lesson on multiplication and division. We also played a card and dice game where the students had to recognize numbers that are equally divisible by the number they rolled on the dice.  Although they all need to memorize their tables, they are getting a very good understanding of the relationship between division and multiplication, and the “why” of it all. Keep listening to multiplication music, doing flashcards, and anything it takes to get them put to memory!

We had a festive day of candy making, decorating, singing, dancing, and a whole lot of playing around! After an awesome first semester, we had a much deserved partial school day. I am so proud of how each and every one of these children has grown and blossomed since August... and I am excited to see how much more we will grow and learn by the time May rolls around!

Have a safe and happy Christmas! See you on January 3rd!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paying It Forward.

Spelling- We went over list 16 today, which ended up turning into a great grammar lesson on synonyms, homonyms, and antonyms! There are some tricky words on this list (influence, certificate), but although the words are longer in length, the kids are doing a great job applying the rules they know to spell them correctly! All of the work we have done is really adding up!

Poetry- I am completely impressed by the kids' quick memorization of the poem “My Shadow”! Everyone has the first stanza down pat... and some have much more! We will be making another awesome video with this after we have it completely in our memories. They are already super excited! ("Hooray!" for positive motivation!)

Grammar- We had a tough lesson today in grammar. After playing an exciting review game where we wrote parts of speech on index cards and took turns swapping out cards to form silly sentences, we moved on to something new. We have already mastered picking out the subjects, verbs, and the adjectives and adverbs that describe them. Now, we learned that the noun that is the subject is actually called the “simple subject”. For instance, in the sentence “Hot chocolate warms cold children.”, the word “chocolate” is the simple subject. However, if you use all of the words that describe the subject, such as “hot chocolate”, then we call this the “complete subject”. When diagramming, the complete subject is the simple subject, as well as everything “hanging off” of it! Also, we learned that everything in that describes the verb and the direct object is called the “complete predicate”. In our previously mentioned sentence, the complete predicate would be “warms cold children”. When diagramming, everything to the right side of the line dividing subject from verb is the complete predicate. This was a tough concept for them, and we will be working on it much more!

Reading- I loved the letters that the children wrote from Lady's Macbeth's doctor to Macbeth! They are showing such an understanding of the book! Today, we finished the entire book. It was hilarious to see the kids' reactions as the witches' predictions ended up coming to be! We did have a very interesting conversation today. Macbeth was told by the witches that “None of woman born can harm Macbeth”. As the story unfolds, we learn that Macduff was not technically “born” of woman as he was from his mother's womb “untimely torn”. This led to a wonderful discussion on Cesarean sections and the reasons why a baby might need to be taken prematurely via c-section in Macbeth's day. Excellent!

Math- We were introduced to the concept of division today. Using multilink cubes, we took a large group and divided it into smaller equal groups. Then, we wrote the division problems that we created on the board. We learned how 20 divided by 4 is 5, and 20 divided by 5 is 4. We then connected the fact that 4 x 5 = 20. I love the way that multiplication and division are discussed together. It makes so much sense! As we continue to delve into these concepts, it would be very helpful to be drilling multiplication tables at home!

Social Studies- Today, the kids learned more about colonial occupations. They took the occupation of their choice and began their big projects! We took cereal boxes and covered them with paper. These will be used to display all of our information. We will be working at home and typing up all of the information that we want to add to our box. Print it out, cut it out, and paste it to the back side of the box. The front will have the name of our occupation and a picture (printed or self-drawn)! The kids are so excited about this creative way to show what they are learning!

Writing- We turned in our “Pay It Forward” papers today! Great job! I am sending them to Ms. Sharon and we will be revising and editing our rough drafts. I am so pleased that everyone is getting the hang of the brainstorming/rough draft/final copy process! We will get back to these with fresh eyes after the break!

Art- The class worked with clay today (on a secret project...Shhhh!).  It didn't dry completely, but we hope to have it by Thursday.  If not, I'll meet up with you sometime before Christmas!

Music- We learned a new song today! “Go Tell It On The Mountain".  The kids also learned another part to "Be Still and Know"!  This was our last class for the semester... so practice, practice, practice and we will see you back in January!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

Spelling- The kids did an absolutely awesome job with their stories using this week's spelling word list! We really enjoyed listening to each one, and spelling the words from the list.

Grammar- We continued our lesson on direct objects today, diagramming sentences with multiple adjectives and adverbs in them, as well. When diagramming, remind them to look for the verb first. Then, ask “who” or “what” is doing the verb. Then, see if there is a direct object that receives the action. I am constantly impressed by how much knowledge these kids are soaking in during their grammar lessons!

Reading- We read to page 57 in our Macbeth books today. We have been discussing how Shakespeare uses the setting to create a mood... for instance, when it is a sad time, it is usually rainy or the sky is dark. The students are picking up on so much vocabulary lately through both spelling and reading class. Today we discussed words like “dismay”, “intervene”, and “attire”.

We did a secret craft today! I don't want to spoil anything, but just know that we pulled out the glitter and glue sticks and worked hard on a special project!

Math- What a rockin' math class today! Teacher and the Rockbots had us up and out of our chairs as we listened to songs about the multiplication tables! The kids literally couldn't stay in their seats! Afterward, we had a lesson on arrays, and how to use multiplication (multiplying the number of columns by the number of rows) to figure out how many items are in an array.

Science- We are learning about our Earth's crust and how it is made up of plates. The kids read about the plates, earthquakes, and volcanoes today. We'll be doing some great online activities with this information!

Social Studies- The students have been learning a lot about the colonies. Now, they have been introduced to a big project that they will be working on over the next few weeks! They will be covering cereal boxes with paper. This box will be used as their display of a colonial occupation: silversmith, blacksmith, apothecary, etc. The front of the box should have an image that reflects the occupation that they selected. They will be doing research on the occupation and using this box to show what they have learned! The back of the box will include a detailed description of the occupation. There will need to be at least 3 images on the box. They can use more sides of the box, too! Be creative. Neatness counts! Use the internet. Check out We will be working on choosing our occupations for homework, covering our boxes in class next week, and we will pick back up on them after the break!

Writing- We were very impressed with the thank you letters that the kids wrote! Even though the names and gifts were sometimes silly, the letters were serious and seemed heartfelt! In writing today, we learned how to address an envelope. This Christmas, maybe they can get some practice with this!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our First Art Show Ever!

 We had an amazing time at the art show on Sunday! Our kids did a fabulous job playing and singing “Be Still and Know” for the congregation. I love watching their confidence grow and grow! We had a great turnout for the art show... lots of new faces coming in to check out our little school! Unfortunately, Ms. Nancy broke her arm the night before and was unable to attend. We all missed her very much and hope she gets well very very soon!

Spelling- This week's spelling list is chock full of proper nouns (watch those capital letters) and all about Christmas! We went over the spellings of each words. Then, we chose at least 5 words to create a hidden picture. The kids drew a Christmas scene and had to pick out the spelling words hidden all around!

Grammar- We learned a brand new concept today. Direct objects. They learned that direct objects are nouns that receive the action from the verb. We even learned to diagram direct objects today!

Reading- We continued reading “Macbeth for Kids” today... and the kids wouldn't let me stop! They are absolutely loving this. We read through the death of Banquo. At this rate, we should be finished with the book before Christmas break!

Math- We began our multiplication lesson today. We will be sticking with a multiplication/division unit for quite a while. Today was mostly a review... We used goldfish to make 3 groups of 4 and then 4 groups of 3, noting that they each equaled 12. We used the goldfish to illustrate many multiplication problems. Although we will be working through concepts in class, work at home on multiplication tables and skip counting. Counting by 4's can get tricky for them. Repetition is the key!

Social Studies- Today, the kids learned about the geography of the colonies. They have been getting a lot of practice lately with charts and graphs. Today, they filled in a chart to compare and contrast the geography of the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies.

Art- Ms. Nancy had a doctor's appointment for her injury, so I was the fill-in today!  I found an awesome activity for making huge, intricate snowflakes.  I wasn't sure if we could pull it off... but wanted to give it a try!  Not only did we pull it off, we made the most gorgeous snowflakes ever!  These will be beautiful in the kids' homes all winter long! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Here Comes The Sun

It was one of those days that just came together!  After a early morning of frost, the sun came out and warmed us up, the kids were on target and ready to learn, and the lessons went as planned!

Spelling- Combining spelling with snack, we played "Pretzel Race".  The class was divided into two tables.  Each table raced to spell a spelling word using letter tiles.  The first table to spell it correctly got a pretzel.  Yes, it only takes a pretzel at a time to get the kids excited!  Pretzel by pretzel we made our way through the spelling list!

 Grammar- Today was a review in proper nouns with more than one word (such as George Washington Carver or Mickey Mouse).  We also reviewed helping verbs, and diagrammed sentences that combine both of these concepts.

Reading-  We read on in Macbeth today, and boy, are these kids hooked!  After the evil "deed" was done, King Duncan's two sons learned of the treachery.  They planned in secret to flee the land, for their protection.  After our reading, the kids wrote letters from the perspective of either son.  They were written to anyone of their choosing, and described the reason for their hasty departure!

Math-  We drilled some more mental subtraction today, using two different card and dice games.  The kids had to flip their cards over all at the same time, yelling out the answer to their subtraction problem off the tops of their heads.  They are pros at this!  We also reviewed long subtraction, which they will be working on in their next Teaching Textbooks lesson.  Beginning next week, we will start many many weeks of multiplication and division lessons!

Science-  What kid doesn't love learning about the solar system?  We learned about the moon/earth/sun relationship, as well as the other planets that make up our solar system.  There was much debate over that pesky little Pluto, and we discussed the reasons that it has been kicked out of the planet club and is now considered a dwarf planet.  After our lesson, we each chose cards that named a planet or the sun.  Each student wrote interesting facts on the back of their card, and then using acrylic paints, painting a Styrofoam model.  We will put all of the planets together to make a model of our solar system!

Social Studies-  Mr. Dennis continued his lessons on the Dutch settlers and their influence.  The kids have been working on their oral reading skills, reading comprehension, and reading graphs.  I am really impressed with the ease and confidence with which they are reading out loud! 

Writing-  After the kids shared their Thanksgiving interviews with the class, Ms. Sharon discussed the importance of writing thank you notes.  The students learned that even if they receive a gift that they may not like, it is good etiquette to not only graciously accept, but in some cases you even should write a thank you note!  Ms. Sharon helped them to understand the parts that make up the notes.  Then, she had each of them write a person on one card and a gift on another.  The students mixed the cards and drew from the stacks.  At home, they will be making (serious) thank you notes for the gifts they "received". 

The class will be hosting the children's moment this Sunday, December 4th, at Inman United Methodist Church.  Afterward, we will have an art show at the school house!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back to Class!

 Spelling- We went through Spelling List 14, picking each word apart and discussing their spelling. There are some tough words in this list, particularly sundae, righteous, necessary, and advantage. Study up and we will play a game with them on Thursday!

Handwriting- Everyone remembered to bring their border sheets today! Excellent job on these,and what a perfect Scripture to write! “Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done.” Galations 6:4

Poetry- We are beginning a new poem, “The Shadow”, which we read out loud today. I am still working on video editing on “The Duel”, and my brain is in overdrive thinking of our next creative outlet in poetry!

Reading- After our long holiday, we are back into Macbeth! We have now read to page 29, where the evil deed is done. We left Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, hands red with blood. Needless to say, the kids find Shakespeare to be anything but boring! We will review these pages at home and continue on Thursday to see who is knock, knock, knocking at the south gate!

Grammar- We have already learned the definition of a verb: A verb is a word that does an action, shows a state of being, links to words together, and helps another verb. We already know about verbs that do an action. We will talk about state of being verbs and verbs that link words together later on. For today, we discussed helping verbs. We will be memorizing the list of helping verbs, with the help of a little chant and clapping! Practice at home... it will make it easier to pick out helping verbs when you see them! In addition to learning about helping verbs, we discussed present, past, and future tenses. These were new terms for the kids, in respect to verbs. We'll be working with this more on Thursday!

Math- In correlation with our Teaching Textbooks lesson, we worked more with telling time using “past” or “after” and “till” or “to”. The students are getting better and better at knowing when to use which term!

Social Studies- Today, Mr. Dennis lead the kids through a lesson on the Dutch Colonies. They learned about the Dutch West India Company and the New Netherlands. They also learned how New York got its name! We will be working at home on a lesson that delves deeper into the Dutch Heritage of New York.

Art- What is it about buttons that is so magical? Open a box of old buttons and even adults can't help but dig in! Today, the kids learned to sew... creating their own Christmas ornaments. They attached buttons, sequins and shapes using only stitching. No glue allowed! For this project, it was amazing to witness all of the class in quiet focus. It really was something that they each enjoyed!

Music- Mrs. Beresford has invited the class to perform in the recital that she hosts for all of her students. It isn't until March, but she is already preparing our kids as they work on their pieces. She is especially working on playing with a constant rhythm, and in unison. They are doing so very well!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday was a big day!  In addition to the normal classes, we enjoyed a Thanksgiving lunch and recorded our poem recitation.   I will be doing some video editing and posting the finished video soon!

I love the fact that our class is so comfortable with each other that we could go around the table in prayer, each choosing to thank God for something special to them.  It is an amazing thing to have this positive, supportive environment for our children to grow.  What did I thank God for?  For each one of these kids and for the awesome ability to teach them in our little school twice a week.

On Friday, we headed out on a field trip to Dogwood Assisted Living.  There, we showed them our handwriting border sheets that we work on each week.  These sheets each have a Bible verse, written in their very best handwriting.  They work very hard coloring the borders.  The students gave their sheets to the residents.  Then, they took turns playing "Be Still and Know" on the piano while the others sang.  The residents really enjoyed seeing them! Afterward, we hit the playground, some lunch, and ended the day at YoTops for some frozen yogurt.  Yum!

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and we'll see you on Tuesday the 29th!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chick-Fil-A Calendar Fundraiser!

Our class is selling Chick-Fil-A calendars to help us with field trips and science supplies!  If you would like a calendar, contact a class parent or me at 

I'll also have a pick-up time in the Fayetteville Publix (southside) parking lot on Friday at 6:00 & Sunday at 1:00!  Just look for my van with the program logo on the side.  Stop by and grab a calendar or two!

They are $6 each, no tax.  Please help us earn all we can so that we can add great educational opportunities for the school!  

All calendars must be purchased before Tuesday, 11/29.  Thank you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Spelling- We discussed the spelling of each word in list 13. We noticed that a lot of the words in this list have something in common... an “e” at the end that does not make the vowel long! We decided that these were “The E's That Don't Do Anything”!

Grammar- Today was a huge review day. We went over the definitions of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. We reviewed each type and drilled our diagramming skills. It's awesome to watch as things they thought would be “so hard” weeks ago are now simple! I love it when they skip ahead in the book, see something that looks very complicated, only to see that they can master it easily when they get there, learning along the way!

Handwriting- This is our last border sheet before we deliver them to Assisted Living on Friday! They are doing such a good job on these. Keep taking your time and doing your best... We will continue to come up with worthwhile destinations for our beautiful work!

We will meet at 9:45 at Dogwood Assisted Living in Fayetteville. The residents have devotional at 10:00. We will be playing and singing “Be Still and Know” for them and giving them our border sheets. I know we will be putting smiles on many faces on Friday!

Writing- The kids did a fabulous job with their creative writing stories! Sometimes, the best writing prompt is actually a picture!

Agricultural Education- For Thursday, we are going to be making Thank You cards for The Farm Bureau and Garry Farm for all of their support and help with our egg project! Let's say Thank You and also show them what we have learned through their generosity!

Math- Today, we practiced telling time. As usual, we took what we already know and bumped it up a notch! These kids really exercised those brains today as they learned when to use “till” and when to use “past” in telling time. “Half past” and “o'clock” are easy... but when to use “20 till” or “17 past” can get very tricky! I gave them a trick... when using the words “till” and “past” to tell time, you will not use a number higher than 29! Work on this at home... Practice, practice, practice!

Poetry- We have almost finished up our backdrop for our video! The chimney place is all set, the clock is complete, the plate is almost decorated, and the gingham dog and calico cat costumes are in progress! We'll have it all finished up for our grand production on Thursday.

Social Studies- Today, the kids read about Jamestown and Roanoke, and did a reading comprehension exercise. They also discussed and did a crossword puzzle using the economics terms they learned.

Art- We finished up our Paper-maché projects today! The acrylic paint totally transformed our creatures into awesome works of art! We also learned about positive and negative images. Ms. Nancy taught us about the images that are created as we cut away. It's a little tricky to get our minds around, but we did a great job!

Music- We really worked hard on playing Be Still and Know together as a group. The class learned about rhythm, and how music must follow the beat. Mrs. Beresford used a metronome beat to help illustrate the importance of synchronization. We have some bright kiddos!