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!