Friday, October 28, 2011

Egg Candling, Day 14 of development

Because yesterday was so crazy, we didn't get to candle our eggs.  I made a video today of our little chickies!  You can see him or her wiggling around in there.

We will candle them again on Tuesday, which will be day 18 of development.  There will be a LOT less room in there for them to move around at that point!

The eggs should hatch around day 21.  But, on day 18 of development, we will be putting our eggs on "lock down".   Three days before hatch day, you stop turning the eggs.  We will be taking the egg turner out of the incubator at this time.  You also have to increase the humidity inside the incubator.  This prevents the chick from getting "sticky" and getting stuck to the membrane inside the shell.  In order to keep humidity high (and stable), you cannot open the incubator at all until everyone is out of their shells.  If the humidity drops, even for a tiny period of time, it could be enough to dry out their inner membrane.

On Tuesday, we will be talking about how the chick "pips" inside the shell, how his umbilical cord breaks away, and how it uses his egg tooth to break free!

Isn't our God amazing?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five Little Pumpkins

What a crazy, fun, beautiful fall day!

We had a class full of bats, pirates, zombies, robots, and clone troopers today!  We made homemade ice cream in the morning to have it ready after lunch... decorated sugar cookies... carved pumpkins... and somehow, we managed to tackle school lessons despite the madness!

We played the spelling letter tile game with spelling List 10.  In grammar, we reviewed adverbs.  We learned on Tuesday that adverbs tell "how".  We discussed some examples of "how" adverbs, diagramming some sentences with both adjectives and adverbs in them. 

In reading, we started "Macbeth for Kids".  I think they really liked it!  We are going to be reading it out loud in class and rereading and discussing what that section at home for the week.  Although it is still a bit tricky to understand, I am stopping frequently to explain what is happening in the tale.  On day one, they kids didn't want to stop... I think that's a good sign!

Mr. Dennis explained...

In writing, the kids learned two more terms:  revise and edit.  I know students at this age (or at any age, really) hate to have to go back and rewrite.  They want their first copy to be their last copy.  Ms. Sharon explained that our first copy is never perfect, and that everyone has to proofread, revise, and edit!  The kids split up into groups and edited each other's scary stories.  At home, they will be taking their rough drafts and making a final draft from the edits and revisions.  Sometimes they need a little reminding-- everyone has to rewrite, even famous authors!  (And, as we discussed, it doesn't even matter if you really don't want to!)

We carved pumpkins today!  Believe it or not, we managed to carve all five.  As the only one tough enough to scrape out the insides (and the only one brave enough to touch the stuff!) , I had my work cut out for me!  But, after lots of hard work, we had five little pumpkins, a bunch of seeds to roast, and a pile of pumpkin treat for the goats!

A big thank you to everyone who brought in goodies and helped out with our party!  It was a great day... and our little homeschoolers were able to experience a classroom Halloween party! 

Stay safe and I will see you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spiders and such...

 **Spanish Restaurant Night Will Be Delayed!**

Ms. Joanne isn't feeling well and will be out this week, and we need more time to prepare for our Spanish night. Also, Christmas Tree season will be kicking into gear at Minter's Farm, so we are going to be pushing “pause” on Spanish for a little while. Although it does make us sad to take a break, it will give us the time that we need to work on our poetry project. And, I'm sure we will be seeing Ms. Joanne as we get closer to the holidays... and we will pick right back up with Spanish when things calm back down!

Thursday is our Halloween party! We have pizza, carrots, and drinks covered. Any treats or sides that you would like to bring would be great. We also have goody bags. If you would like to bring something to add to the bags, just bring it in Thursday morning and we'll fill the bags. We will have our festivities from 10:00-12:00. I wanted to plan it around lunchtime, so don't worry if you can't make it.... You know I'll take lots of pictures!

Spelling- We have a super hard list this week! The kids went over each word as we discussed the spellings. They had to choose five words and create a short story. They had a great time making up some very silly stories! This is a tough list, so they will most likely need a lot of repetition this week!

Grammar- The kids delved into the wide world of adverbs today. We have a new definition to memorize: An adverb is a word that describes a verb, and adjective, or another adverb. We learned that adverbs tell us how, when, where, how often, or to what extent. Today, we only discussed adverbs that describe verbs. We also only discussed adverbs that tell us “how”. For instance, “I laugh quietly.” The word quietly describes the verb “laugh”. How do you laugh? Quietly! The students also learned how to add this new information to their diagrams. We can now diagram sentences with adjectives and adverbs! They will be practicing this at home tomorrow.

Handwriting- Excellent job on those border sheets! Our wall is looking beautiful!

We did a Halloween craft today, making spiders from paper plates! We'll use these to decorate for our party on Thursday. Spooooky!

Poetry- We have almost nailed down “The Duel”. Keep practicing at home! We are going to being working on our props next Tuesday... and should be “filming” by the following week!

Reading- We will be starting a new book “Earthshaking Earthquake Mystery” soon. I have ordered them and they are on their way! Until they arrive, we will be reading a book in class that I am very excited about. We will be reading “Macbeth for Kids” from the “Shakespeare Can Be Fun” series. With witches, cauldrons, treason, and turmoil, this is a great unit for us to start right before Halloween!If this is a hit, we may work on another book from the series later on. I have high hopes that they will embrace this introduction to Shakespeare!

Math- Although the kids know how to count by two's, five's, tens, and twenties, very well, we focused on counting by threes and fours. We also worked on counting by different intervals when starting from any number. For example, we counted by two's by starting at 244. We started at 124 and counted up by tens.

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis continued his lesson on timelines today, incorporating math into social studies. The kids learned what a lot of adults haven't figured out.... how to discern which century a date occurs in. They learned a trick, cover up the last two digits in the date, add one, and can now tell you that 1776 was in the 18th century. Hooray!
The kids combined their index cards that they worked on at home and created a big timeline over the history of Ferdinand Magellan. These hands on activities take the information they are discussing and put it to work.... solidifying it in their growing minds!

Art- Today, the kids cut cool and warm colored leaves from pictures in magazines! They added these leaves to their painting from last week. So far this semester, they have really developed a grasp of the color wheel, warm and cool colors, primary and secondary colors, and complimentary colors.

Music- Today, Mrs. Beresford worked with the kids on Jingle Bells. They also played a game using cards with music notes. The kids called out the correct notes and even played them on the keyboards. Each and every one of these kids has been doing such a fabulous job with our piano class. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don't count our chickens before they hatch.

Spanish- Ms. Joanne and the kids are working so hard getting ready for Spanish night! They are preparing to 'wow' you as they transform this place into a kid-run Spanish restaurant! On November 3rd at 6:00, be sure to join us. Come hungry!

Spelling- We reviewed List 9 by doing jumping jacks with each letter! Let's get that blood pumping!

Grammar- Instead of diagramming sentences with only one adjective, we diagrammed sentences where a noun or pronoun is described by two adjectives. It seems that the students are really enjoying the act of breaking apart sentences! Why weren't we all introduced to this concept at such a young age? Maybe it wouldn't have been so difficult!

Reading- Each student took turns reading their book reports to the class. They did such a great job with these! We had a very detailed, super awesome comic strip of the book, a letter to persuade someone to read it, and three papers comparing and contrasting the book with the movie. I am very impressed! We will begin a new book, Earthshaking Earthquakes in a couple weeks. For this week, I am sending home a poem to read. I would love to get the kids thinking past the literal words on the page and think of the lessons that could be applied to their lives!

Math- The class continued their lesson in measurement today, as we used rulers to measure different lengths in inches, feet, and centimeters. They also learned how to convert from inches to feet, as well as centimeters to meters.

Agriculture Education- Our eggs, which are sponsored by Fayette County Farm Bureau, are on Day 6 of development! We learned about the incubator today, and we learned that the eggs have to be turned a few times each day in order for the embryos to develop properly. Believe it or not, broody hens that are setting on their eggs turn each and every one with their beaks! We have an automatic egg turner, which turns the eggs very slowly. They turn back to front four times per day.

Our incubator has been steady at 99.5 degrees... except for this morning. With the drop in temperature outside, the incubator was at 98.6 when I woke up this morning. So, I added a heater to the room where they are located. Now, we are back up to 99! When incubating eggs, it is best to keep the temperature between 99 and 102. However, if it's going to be a little “off”, it is better to be low than high! A low temperature may delay your hatch by a day or two, but a high temperature can have negative effects on the embryo development, causing defects or even death!
We candled the eggs today and saw the blood vessels spreading out, the air sac, the yolk, and even a small dot of an embryo in one of the eggs! We will candle them again next Thursday and should see much more action!

Science-  Today was one of those examples of how learning should be MESSY!  We elaborated on our lesson on ecosystems and learned about the Earth's 6 biomes.  The students read about each biome, discussing their different characteristics.  Then, we made our own biome Earth maps!  We glued different beans, spices, and popcorn to our maps to represent tundra, desert, deciduous forest, grasslands, taiga, and rainforest.  It may have been a little messy, but it was a great hands-on way to learn today's lesson!

Social Studies- Today, Mr. Dennis and the students talked about explorations of Balboa and Magellan. They also learned all about timelines, learning the term “chronological order”. We put events in chronological order using the life of Magellan. We are going to be working on making a huge timeline over the live of Ferdinand Magellan for next week!

Writing- Today, Ms. Sharon taught the kids about a book's setting, characters, plot, the conflict (or problem), and the solution. For some strange reason, the kids all decided to sing each of the words, each time anyone said them. “plot...Plot... PLOT!” Hey, they may actually remember those terms now! She then read to them scary Halloween stories to illustrate these parts. They loved it!

One of the things we have been working on in class is learning how to learn in a group. The students are all learning when to be funny, when to be serious, when to play, when to listen, and how to transition from one lesson to another without throwing a party in between! These are things that do not come easily for young children, and I keep reminding them that this is one of the lessons that we get to learn from learning together as a class! Talk to your kids at home about how to recognize when it's okay to “turn on” the fun and how to know when it is time to “turn it off”. Also, reminders on how to quickly move from one thing to the next will only help us in class! I am so thrilled that our beautifully fun-loving children are able to learn these valuable lessons in a loving environment that does not squash their spirits!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Halloween Party October 27th! I will have goody bags for the students. Please bring in a “treat” to share with each bag. We will spend from 10:00-12:00 learning pumpkin etching, roasting pumpkin seeds, showing off our costumes, and eating lunch! I will provide pizza and salad/carrot sticks for lunch.

As part of our agricultural education, we will be hatching chicken eggs! I drove out to Garry Farm on Friday to pick up three dozen fertile eggs. I had to be very careful with our precious cargo. They rode in the front seat, in a booster seat, with their seat belt on! The kids have been learning in Science about fertilization and Life Cycles. Now, we will actually experience this cycle for ourselves!

The fertile eggs were put into the incubator Friday night. It takes roughly 21 days for the fertile eggs to develop full grown embryos. However, I have often had chicks begin hatching on day 20. Therefore, we are hopefully going to get to see some of our chicks hatch out of their shells on Thursday, November 3rd. In the meantime, we will be candling the eggs a few times along the way to track the embryonic development. Our first candling will be on Thursday, which will be day 6 of development. I will send home information Thursday on the process!

Spanish- We worked on our menus today for Spanish Night! After a review of the words we already know, Ms. Joanne helped us learn all of the words that we needed to know to create the menus. Spanish night will be November 3rd at 6:00 here at the schoolhouse.

Grammar- The adjective lessons continue! We already learned that adjectives can tell what kind, which one, how many, and whose. Adjectives also can be articles: a, an, & the! The students learned that these articles work as adjectives, and that you use “an” before a noun that begins with a vowel. In addition to this, we learned to add adjectives to our simple sentence diagrams.

Spelling- We discussed the spellings of each word in List 9, made up sentences using each one, and played “popcorn” with them! Repetition, repetition, repetition!

Poetry- The kids are doing such a good job memorizing “The Duel”! We are going to try to have the entire poem down by November 10th, so we can get started making our “movie”!

Math- Today, we did a review of line segments. We discussed horizontal, vertical, and oblique line segments. Also, we measured different things, using both inches/feet and the metric system. Because Teaching Textbooks will be using inches/feet on Friday, we went over the conversions and used rulers. However, we also used centimeters and meters to measure, as well. The students were able to convert meters to centimeters and even compare the two, for instance, they had to tell me if 230cm is less than, greater than, or equal to 2m 40cm. They did a fabulous job!

Social Studies- The students continued their lesson on the Columbian Exchange. Be sure to bring all of your handouts with you each day, as we refer back to them often!

Art- Ms. Nancy continued teaching about warm and cool colors today. The students worked on their projects from two weeks ago, painting “warm” or “cool” scenes.

Music- Once again, our fabulous children have wowed us with their awesome practicing!  Most can play "Be Still and Know" with both hands!  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Picture Perfect!

The kids did a great job for picture day today!  We took shots in front of the old McLucas Store, next door to the school house.  What a perfect backdrop for our little class! 

Spelling- We did a review game for Spelling List 8 today. Although the kids initially believed this to be an easier list than last week, they are having a pretty hard time with these words. You may need some extra repetition before you end this week's list.

Grammar- We have been learning about possessive nouns as adjectives that tell “whose”. Today, we continued our lesson on plural possessive form, including irregular nouns. For instance, one child's sneakers were clean but the other children's sneakers were dirty. The red shirt's buttons were plastic, but the green shirts' buttons were metal. We also did a review of when to add “s” or “es” to form plural forms.

Reading- The kids had a great day today discussing “The Indian in the Cupboard”. The class was split. Some thought the ending was sad and some did not. We spent time talking about why they interpreted it that way. They each were given their very own plastic cowboy and Indian. Using these, they took acting out memorable scenes from the book! Also, we made white bead belts, like the one Little Bear gave to his wife in the book. For next week, the students will be working on book reports for the book. We will share them on Thursday, which will be the end of our “Indian in the Cupboard” lessons!

Math- We continued our lesson on fractions today. They are really getting the hang of the concepts. We even added simple fractions and began learning about equivalent fractions.

Science- Our science topic for the week is “Ecosystems”. We learned about biotic and abiotic factors in ecosystems. We also talked about animal populations, playing a game where the students had to

Writing & Social Studies- We combined writing and social studies today, as we wrote our letters to U.S. soldiers.  The Bert Show is collecting letters to our troops to be sent overseas and received on read on Thanksgiving Day.  Their goal is to collect 40,000 letters, a letter for each of our men and women who will not be home for the holiday.  Our class did our part, writing a letter (or two) each.  I encourage anyone reading this to also participate... and the kids can even do more at home!  Info can be found here-

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Uno taco con carne y queso, por favor!"

Spelling- Today, we discussed List 8. It seems that everyone agrees... “Comprehend” is the hardest word on this list! We used our letter tiles to create each word, going over the special sounds and rules that apply.

Grammar- Until last week, we had not introduced any brand new concepts in grammar. The kids seemed to believe that they had this grammar thing totally under control. “This is stuff we learned last year!”, they would tell me. We drilled nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verbs. For some, the concept of a “subject” of a sentence was new. Our very basic sentence diagramming was a new trick to learn. But, it wasn't until today that we kicked it up a notch and these kids realized they had a lot to learn! Adjectives, a part of speech that they thought was mastered, took a very interesting turn!

We have learned that adjectives describe nouns and pronouns by telling us "what kind", "which one", "how many",  and "whose".  Today, we learned what that "whose" part means.  They all know that "boy" is a noun.  But, they learned that a magical apostrophe can change the noun "boy" into the ADJECTIVE "boy's"!  In the sentence "Where are the cat's pajamas?", cat's is the adjective.  That apostrophe changes everything!  We also learned that plural nouns ending in "s" only need the apostrophe to turn them into adjectives, not an apostrophe and s.  For example, in the sentence "The kittens' bowl is empty.", the bowl belongs to more than one kitten.  Yes, those kiddos of ours had to put their thinking caps on today!

Handwriting-  We did a quick review of capital B and P, discussing their similarity.  We also read this week's Bible verse and talked about its meaning.  I can't wait to fill up our wall with even more border sheets next week!

Math- As lessons at home are dealing with some less complicated math lessons, we are looking ahead in class to fractions (which we will be getting to at home on Friday).  Today, we had a very length lesson on fractions, wholes, how to simplify fractions, and even some addition and subtraction!  Honestly, they probably don't even realize they did so much.  When you give kids hands on manipulatives, give them a circle, and ask them to hold up two fifths of it.... magic happens!  They compared different fraction manipulatives, such as the circle cut into 6 pieces and the one only cut into 3, and were able to see right in front of them why 1/3 = 2/6.  We broke free from the "pizza" or "cake" circle shaped analogies that so often go with fractions and used interlocking blocks in a line.  This was a great way to show them that 1/5 of 10 was 2, etc.  Focus, fun, and learning... That's the goal!

Spanish- Today was our field trip to La Hacienta!  Ms. Joanne helped the kids as they ordered their lunch in Spanish.  We had a great time and used what we have learned in class.  The students have such great retention... she keeps Ms. Joanne on her toes!  I am so thankful that we were able to enjoy lunch together!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis is teaching the kids about Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  They read through explanations of the holidays, and also read through a skit about them.  We are learning about our veterans so that we can all write letters to a veteran on Thursday.  The letters will be collected, and Ms. Sharon and Mr. Dennis are sending them to a radio station.  The station will send our letters to veterans to read this Thanksgiving! 

Art-  Ms. Nancy had a planned vacation today, so I was able to be her substitute!  I had the students do a Fall painting, using masking tape to block off the negative areas where the paint would not be.  It took a while for them to get their heads around how to paint a picture "backwards" (paint the background only), but once they did, they ran with it!  We had a great time making our trees and leaves.  After our tape was placed, we used stencil sponge brushes to apply warm colors of paint, creating our Fall sunsets.  We are waiting for them to dry before we remove the tape, but I think they are going to be gorgeous!

 Music-  Mrs. Beresford continues to be so impressed by our wonderful little piano players! Wonder job practicing each day!   Today, she gave them each a copy of Christmas music to work on for fun.  Keep up the practice with Mary Had a Little Lamb and Hot Cross Buns with both Hands.  Also, work on Be Still and Know with both hands.  Can't wait to see the progress next week.  Each week has been so impressive!