Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Learning about transition words in writing!
Sewing his puppet costume in art.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Slingin' & Flingin'"

Grammar-  The class has been learning about the different types of verbs.  They can easily recognize action verbs and have helping verbs memorized.  We have diagrammed each of these types.  Today, they learned about "state of being verbs".  Much to their delight, they already have them memorized!  The verbs am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been are state of being verbs, as well as helping verbs.  The class learned to recognize this role that a verb can play.  They also reviewed first, second, and third person, as well as the different verb tenses, as we conjugated the verb "be".

Writing-  In writing class today, Ms. Bev began the class by taking a private look at their journals.  These journals are a way to get the kids into the habit of writing.  Not everyone loves journalling.  It isn't going to be everyone's favorite time of the day.  However, Ms. Bev explained to the class that each of them need to be careful not to "sling and fling".  She explained that, sometimes, we get in a hurry, or we just don't want to do something.  So, we "sling" something onto the paper and "fling" it at the teacher.  This isn't just a lesson for writing class.  This is a great lesson for EVERY class.  For LIFE.  After the chat, Ms. Bev backed up to review last week's lesson on topic sentences (or "power sentences").  The class completed a teacher driven activity power sentences, breaking them apart to see how the writer added the details.  They are working to try to turn information and facts on different topics (last week was on the Civil War) into a cohesive, flowing, paragraph. 

Math-  In math today, the 3A class worked more on multiplication.  They practiced multiplication skip counting songs, as well as a lesson on multiplication and division.  They are working hard on memorizing their multiplication tables.  It is not fun, but once they are committed to memory, it will help them out throughout life!  The 4A class went over and checked their fraction number line activity from yesterday.  They then worked with fraction number lines in the textbook, discussing it as they worked.  Finally, they had their multiplication quiz.  Ms. Jennifer is really challenging them to memorize their multiplication tables!

Science-  The science class observed the results of Tuesday's chromatography experiment.  They talked about the different colors that are found in each dye, and how the filter paper separated them!  They had an activity where they observed the strange properties of "aqua-sand".  Ask them about how it felt and what happened to it when it was taken out of the water!  After the activity and the review of the concepts from chapter 7, the class played a extremely fun review game: Science Trivial Pursuit!  They worked in teams to answer questions from science topics, and gather up all of the pieces of the pie!

Literature- Today, the class kicked off the new book, "Sign of the Beaver".  As they read aloud, I couldn't help but smile when I heard "This book is good already!"  I am absolutely loving the fact that the class enjoys reading, and enjoys studying the literature together as a group.

Social Studies- Today, one of our students brought in a special treat!  He showed the class his collection of Civil War era coins, describing each and explaining their history.  The class was amazed by them!  The class had a big review crossword puzzle, pulling from material they have learned so far.  They were able to use notes, their vocabulary index cards, and their textbook to pull information and complete the page.  It wasn't easy!  At home, they will be completing a test over the material, to be completed by Tuesday.

Agriculture-  In agriculture today, the class checked out their pea plants to see how much they have grown.  I explained to the students that, when we plowed up the summer garden to plant the cool weather plants, some tomatoes were left on the vine.  I showed them that the tomato seeds had planted themselves all over the garden!  A few of them decided that they would try to bring some home and keep them indoors, as an experiment in raising a warm weather crop indoors in the cool weather season!  The class also was also able to feel for the ligament changes in our pregnant doe versus our non-pregnant doe.  I had explained that the ligaments on the doe's back get softer as she gets closer to kidding (as in humans), but it is a different story to be able to feel the difference.  As kidding gets imminent, they will become so soft that they cannot be felt.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Spelling/Vocab - Today, the students were introduced to a new spelling/vocabulary list.  In this list, there are many words that use a "y" to make a short i sound.  We discussed the spelling and meaning of the words in class.

Writing-  In writing class today, Ms. Bev taught the students how to write topic sentences, or "power sentences", in expository writing.  Power sentences tell us who, what, how many, where, and when.  They learned how to take a very bland, boring, BLAH sentence, and make it wonderful!  At home, they will be using this skill to revise and edit their paragraphs on the causes of the Civil War.  This is meant to be a single paragraph... which is important, because they will be doing something with this later on! 

The 3A class worked practiced multiplication and division today.  Ms. Jennifer used cards of numbers and operation signs to play a review game with the class.  First, they were given two number cards.  Then, Ms. Jennifer would give them an operation to perform.  After their review, the class learned that they could put the skip counting numbers to song.  They learned the 3's today, which were to the tune of Jingle Bells.  They can also sing the 2's to the tune of Jesus Loves me!

4A class today began with an explanation and review of word problems.  We worked through word problems together, step by step.  The students learned that before they can even begin to worry about the answer, they have to look at what is given in the problem, as well as what the problem is asking you to solve.  Afterward, Ms. Jennifer taught a lesson on mixed fraction.  She gave them each a number line, which showed each whole numbers divided into different fractions.   They are working to label the fractions on the number line as part of their mixed fraction (mixed numeral) lesson.

Spanish- Ms. Rose helped the class review the phrases for good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight.  Then, she explained to the class that, in order to say "It is night", you do not say, "It is good night", which is what the class was trying to do!  They learned to break the phrases they have learned down into parts.  In addition, they learned about indefinite and definite articles.  They also learned the seasons, plugging in the weather terms that they covered last week into the corresponding season.  Ms. Rose explained to the class that they will be taking a review test next week, which will cover all of the material that they learned so far except the seasons that they learned today.

Science-  No, it is not science day today!  However, Ms. Gail's science lab for Thursday needed a preparation lab, because it needs to sit overnight.  So, I helped her out by conducting today's pre-science-science-lab!  To illustrate chromatography, as they have been studying at home, the class observed as I broke open pens of various colors.  The dye was mixed into cups of rubbing alcohol.  Strips of filter paper were suspended into the liquid.  The dye began to rise up the filter paper.  By Thursday, we should have some great results to discuss!

Social Studies-In social studies today, Mr. Dennis led the class through a review exercise on the battles of the Civil War 1861-1865.  Next week is the 12th week of class.  For social studies, this will mean it is time for a review test over the material they have learned so far.  For next week, the kids will need to be sure to bring their history notebooks or folders with them, as they will be able to look back through material during the test. 

Art-  Ms. Nancy picked up where she left off with the class' historical puppet project.  It was a big of a 3 ring circus in here, but a well organized one!  There were groups that were completing their paper mache, groups that were still painting the initial white base color, and some that had begun to add color to their projects.  Afterward, Ms. Nancy explained how the class would be making clothing for their puppets that was appropriate for the time period.  The students chose colors of fabric and learned to stitch them together.  This project is really coming along!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Send-Off for the Monkeys!

Grammar- Grammar class began with a review of direct and indirect objects, adjectives, and adverbs.  Everyone seems to be doing a great job of following along with the at home video lessons.  For those who have been absent, please be sure to go back and view past videos and complete the lessons in the workbook.  It will make a difference as we add more and more concepts to the mix!  Next, the class learned about simple and complete subjects and predicates.  They have worked with simple subjects for weeks now, but the idea of a complete subject was new to a lot of the class.  We will be working on this more at home and in class next week!

Writing- After their daily reflection journal entry, Ms. Bev discussed expository writing today.  She brought in many books today on the Civil War, as well as a sign-out sheet.  If anyone would like to "check out" a book for their research paper, they can sign it out with Ms. Bev or myself.  Ms. Bev broke down the steps of writing a research paper.  At home, the class will be researching causes of the civil war.  They can use books or websites to gather their information, but must a) not copy it word for word and b) site their sources!  They will be bringing in five facts in rough draft form on Tuesday.

Math- In the 3A class, Ms. Jennifer taught concepts of division.  They have been working on multiplication and division both in class and at home.  Today, they worked together on a division sheet.  In the 4A class today, Ms. Jennifer taught about greatest common factors and least common denominators.  They worked problems on the board, discussing the process.  They have been working to find equivalent fractions for a while now.  Much of the class is used to topics that are a review from previous years.  This is the first concept that is new for most of them.  As the year progresses (and years progress), they will have more and more new material!  Hopefully, they are able to recognize that everyone is working hard, studying hard, and crunching those brains to learn new things.  Math may come easier to some than for others, but new material can be difficult for everyone!  After their lesson, Ms. Jennifer brought in a math memory/matching game for them to play.

Science-  In order to demonstrate mixtures and solutions, Ms. Gail lead the class through a cupcake recipe!  They each had a job to do.  Some cracked the eggs, some measured out ingredients, some were in charge of mixing.  They reviewed the different types of solutions and completed a worksheet in small groups.  Ms. Gail commented that they were really doing a wonderful job with the worksheet and concepts, showing me that it was pulled from a 5th-7th grade curriculum.  Great job, kids!  The class decorated their October Owl Cupcakes and ate one after lunch!

Literature- The class finished "Summer of the Monkeys" today!  They completed the book and discussed the book's theme.  They will be taking a review test over the book at home.  The students then created their own monkey projects, in celebration of a job well done!  They used construction paper for the background and the leaves on the trees, and made monkeys out of peanuts.  Like the bridge activity after finishing "The Bridge to Terabithia", this gave them a great hands-on activity as they reflected on the recently finished book.

Social Studies-  Social Studies class began with a short skit.  The setting was a parlor of a hotel in Montgomery, Alabama in March of 1861.  It illustrated the conflict between the North and the South, through characters Mary Chestnut, Clara Jansen, Varina Davis, Anne Scott, and Charles Lewis Scott.  After the skit, the class took the information learned from their at home reading, "The Human Face of War" and completed questions in small groups. 

Agriculture-  We began our unit on goats today.  Over the next few weeks, the class is going to take a close look at the origins of domesticated goats, myths and misconceptions about them, definitions pertaining to goats, goat anatomy, breeds, uses, breeding, kidding, raising, diseases and treatments, and all sorts of other topics about goats!  The class will be putting together a packet of the information that they learn, and will be doing some research at home using great online sources.  Today, we learned some basic terms: buck (not "billy goat"!), doe, wether, kid, yearling, and buckling.  The class gave some great misconceptions that people have about goats.  Often, in stories, male goats play grumpy, gruff characters.  Actually, male goats are incredibly affectionate (most of the time they are more affectionate than does!), but unfortunately, they are very stinky! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Owls, Objects, and Ozymandius

Spelling-  Today, the class was introduced to the new spelling/vocabulary list.  This week, I provided the definitions for the class.  There are a lot of words on this list from our grammar class.  We will be learning about each of these throughout the week.  At the end of the list, I typed some helpful spelling rules for the list.  The words "propeller" and "admittance" are examples of the rule that we double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel if (1) the word has only one syllable or is accented on the last syllable AND (2) the word ends in a single consonant preceded by a vowel.  The word "offering" shows that you do NOT double the final consonant if (1) the last syllable is not accented OR (2) the word does not end in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel.

Handwriting-  The students are slowly but surely working their way through the cursive alphabet.  Today, we focused on the letter "R".  For many, the lowercase R is a letter that can end up a little sloppy.  We worked on creating good habits or correcting any habits that aren't resulting in clean neat R's.

Writing-  Today, Ms. Bev began her writing class!  She taught the class the hour purposes for writing: Narration, Description, Exposition, and Persuasion.  Ms. Bev used the book "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen to demonstrate narrative and descriptive writing.  The class also learned about "reflections".  In an effort to make writing a routine, and to practice "reflections", the class will be keeping a journal.  They will begin by reading a daily devotional and writing a reflection in their journal.  These are not edited or corrected, but instead work to make the class comfortable with writing.

Math-  In the 3A math class today, Ms. Jennifer helped the students did a multiplication review.  They worked on a multiplication array, as well as repeated addition.  In the 4A class, they continued their lesson on adding and subtracting fractions.

Grammar-  After correcting our at-home assignment and reviewing direct objects, the students learned about indirect objects.  I explained that our grammar class is rolling down a mountain like a snowball.  It starts out small-- with knowledge about nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc.  As we "roll" along, we learn more and more material, but the foundation knowledge must be there for the snowball to grow!  We will continue to review early concepts and parts of speech along the way.  However, if a child is having difficulty with topics from early in the school year, be sure to work on mastering these as soon as possible so that the "grammar snowball" can grow!

Spanish-  Ms. Rose reviewed the pattern that Spanish numbers follow in class today.  They worked together to take logical steps through each set of ten.  Afterward, the class worked on a review of previously learned terms using their workbook.  They answered written questions, in Spanish, using the terms they have studied so far in class.

After lunch, I called in the students for a heart to heart.  I had to praise them on their amazing job of meeting expectations of behavior in class.  A while back, we raised the bar on respect for classmates and responsibility in academics.  All of the students agree that everything has been "rainbows and ponies and marshmallow clouds" ever since!  For the class to recognize the benefits of such an atmosphere is self-motivating.  Everything just works more smoothly and is a whole lot more fun if each student steps up to the challenge!  After patting them on the back for a job well done, I gave them a challenge.  I explained to them that this level of respect, maturity, and responsibility should stretch beyond these walls.  I discussed with them that this behavior is the same as they should be displaying at home, with parents and siblings.  So often, students show a different (not so great) side at home.  I challenged each of them to think of one area that they need to improve the most.  It could be the way they treat a sibling.  It could be showing disrespect to a parent.  It could be a bad attitude toward schoolwork.  Each student chose their own goal, which they wrote onto paper.  I explained that a goal is more likely to be successful if they write it down!  This is a personal challenge.  It will not be discussed in class.  However, I will discuss their challenge again next week and prompt them to think, and write, about their progress.

Social Studies-The class learned about the Gettysburg Address today.  They read the speech and answered reading comprehension questions.  Mr. Dennis has been working with the children on highlighting the key concepts in a passage.  They are really catching on!  Finally, they worked on a Gettysburg Address crossword puzzle.  There are so many great new vocabulary words in this two minute speech!

Art- Ms. Nancy had a planned absence today, and I was able to fill in!  In grammar class, we are studying the poem, Ozymandius.  In art, we took the words from the poem that described the statue, writing each on the board.  We wrote words that were used to describe the "shattered visage", the pedestal, and the "trunkless legs".  After dissecting the poem, the students created the statue from clay.  These mini-statues will be displayed in our poem recitation videos!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Spelling-  I am so proud of these kids for the studying they have done!  We had a brief review today of vocabulary, and they rocked this list!  Classes such as science, literature, social studies, and grammar are really benefiting from these weekly interdisciplinary lists.  Keep up the good work!

Handwriting- Today's handwriting lesson was a much needed one, because it involved a infrequently used letter: Q.  The class practiced making uppercase and lowercase cursive q's.  Even those who already knew how to write the letter had frequent tail problems.  The lowercase q wants to become a g!  Please work on this at home if your child needs the practice!

Grammar- Before our new lesson, I wanted to be sure that each student had a good grasp of the material that we have learned so far in grammar class.  Each of them diagrammed sentences which incorporated adjectives, adverbs (describing verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs), and helping verbs.  This class builds upon previous lessons, so it is important that no one falls behind!  After we discussed the answers to each problem, we reviewed the list of helping verbs, as well as the definitions of a sentence (a group of words that expressed a complete thought) and a verb (a word that shows an action, shows a state of being, links two words together, or helps another verb).  Each student needs to be working at home to memorize the lists and definitions that we learn in class.  We need that knowledge to move on to more difficult material! 

After our review, the class learned about direct objects.  They also learned to diagram sentences involving direct objects.  They also learned about Subject Pronouns (I, he, she, we, they) and Object Pronouns (me, him, her, us, them).  They are listed in Lesson 24 of their workbook. 

Math- The 3A class took a test today.  The 4A class continued their lesson on fractions.  They worked through the "tree" method for finding common factors in the numerator and denominator.  Ms. Jennifer will have a video posted for tomorrow that will break down the process for both parents and students.  Afterward, the class played a game with fractions.  They each drew a card that showed a fraction.  As a team, they had to find card from their stack that illustrated the fraction.  Once the student and his or her team found the match, he or she had to turn the card over to find an action verb... and had to do the action (hop on one foot, walk sideways, etc) across the grass to Ms. Jennifer!   Both classes are still working on their multiplication tables.  They are quizzed, individually, on the next multiplication table on their chart.  Once they master it, they check it off and move on to the next one.  It is not a race against each other.  It is a personal challenge!

Science- What a day!  In science today, Ms. Gail taught a "Bubbleology" lesson.  The class moved, in teams, from table to table.  At each table, there was a bowl of solution.  They had to try to blow bubbles on the table with each solution.  They had to measure the diameter of each bubble and document the largest diameter.  In the end, they compared the measurements to figure out which solution was the best for bubbles!  After the activity, the class discussed solutions, tension, and air pressure.  Using balloons, different balls, and a funnel, Ms. Gail demonstrated recently discussed science concepts. 

Literature- Ms. Gail began class by going over the comprehension questions for the week.  Then, they continued in "Summer of the Monkeys", reading chapters 13 and 14.  We have been flying through this book!  The class seems to be really enjoying it, and doing a fabulous job with the reading comprehension and vocabulary!  Our next book will be The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth Speare.  I will have them for $6.99 for anyone who needs one.

Social Studies- Today, the class learned about the Emancipation Proclamation.  They are doing a great job at absorbing a great deal of information!  As discussed before the year began, this is an advanced class.  The students are doing a great job at meeting expectations.  Next week, we will be learning about the Gettysburg Address.

Agriculture- Today was an eclectic agriculture day!  There was a lot going on, and a lot to learn.  First, we checked out our carrot seeds.  The 3rd/4th grade class planted their seeds a little later than the 1st grade class.  The 1st grade class's seeds have sprouted!  Hopefully, this class will have sprouted carrot seeds by next week.  The peas that were planted by the class a couple weeks ago have really taken off in the garden!  The kids took what they learned at home about winter vegetables in Georgia and applied it to the garden in front of them.  They saw the cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, and broccoli growing strong.  They learned about zones, and how different seeds need to be planted a different times depending on the weather in the region.

The kids then listened as I explained a problem that has been going on for a few weeks.  Now that it is fall, the days are getting shorter.  Because of this, the chickens are laying less eggs.  This is a natural cycle for chickens.  They need a certain amount of daylight hours in order to lay eggs at their peak.  I asked the class why this is the case, and they nailed it!  Chickens don't need to lay eggs and make baby chicks in the winter... it is too cold for them!  Because we have not yet finished incubating eggs for the year, we actually need our lavender orpingtons to lay eggs for us so that we can have more orpingtons in the spring!  Plus, we spend a lot of money every week on chicken feed, and need enough eggs to recoup our cost.  So, I wired up the chicken coops to a light that is set on a timer.  The light goes on at 4:00am, giving the chickens a longer "day".  Next week, I will explain why the light is set to go on in the morning instead of at dusk.  The chickens need a gradual darkening period in order to roost properly.  Also, if the light goes out suddenly, chickens will often panic, smothering each other.  We checked for eggs and saw that the hens laid almost double the eggs that they laid yesterday!  It is definitely working.

Our drama presentation will most likely be Friday, December 14th at 6:30.  Location TBA!

As we visited the animals, the class noticed some "action" with our goat, June.  The class knows that June is expecting babies soon, and I explained that what they were seeing was most likely her mucous plug!  I explained that all mammals give birth to live young, and that the mucous plug is a little plug that "holds the baby in".  I told the kids that I would definitely keep them posted if anything exciting happens over the weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beach Time!

Spelling-  The class received a new spelling list today: List 9.  This means we are 1/4 through the school year already!  Where does the time go?  This list had a high number of vocabulary words that were previously unknown, so we defined them together.  The students will be working on studying the definitions, as well as the spelling of each word, at home this week.  In grammar today, we talked about conjugation.  Although it was briefly mentioned back in the first few weeks of grammar class, the students mainly remembered it because it was on their weekly spelling/vocabulary list.  That tells me the lists are accomplishing what I hopes they would: retention!

Handwriting- Today, the class worked on the cursive letter P.  Because this letter is an easy one, we took it a step further.  Often, in handwriting, we write on lines that have a dotted line in the center.  However, students this age use wide ruled notebook paper for everything else.  So, we applied our lessons to regular notebook paper.  The students had questions.  "How far down to your tails drop?" "What happens when you need to write on the next line?  Should they overlap?"  I don't ever remember being specifically taught how to transfer handwriting lessons to regular notebook paper.  Hopefully, this will help with neatness in both cursive and manuscript writing!

Grammar-  After our two days of at-home review, today's grammar class was packed with new information.  So far this year, we have talked a lot about action verbs.  Today, we looked at another part of our verb definition.  The class learned about helping verbs.  First Language Lessons uses chants to help memorize lists.  The class learned a chant for the list of helping verbs.  They will be adding this list to their grammar cards so that they can practice it at home.  This memorization makes recognizing these words so much easier!  After focusing on helping verbs, we reviewed first person, second person, and third person.  We used our new knowledge of helping verbs and our review to conjugate different verbs.  The children learned how verbs have different forms, and can tell past, present, and future tense.  It was a lot to absorb, but it built upon information learned in previous grammar lessons. 

Math- Ms. Jennifer taught the 3A class how to solve two step word problems today.  They worked through Textbook p 62-63 and workbook pp 59-61.  The 4A
 class learned about equivalent fractions today.  They multiplied to come up with equivalent fractions, finally dividing them down into their simplest form. 

Writing- Today, the students were each able to show off their hard work!  They have been writing and rewriting their beach papers for weeks and weeks.  Today, the class pulled out a snack and listened respectfully to their classmates' papers.  They even had sunglasses and a beach towel to give it that extra "umph"!

Spanish- In Spanish class, Ms. Rose is really working with the class on the writing of Spanish words, not just the speaking of them.  Today's main lesson was on numbers up to 60.  She explained that once you know the basic numbers, it isn't hard to combine those words to count high!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis began today's class by correcting and discussing the chart that the students completed at home titled, "North Against South".  The class then used their reading on the topic to answer multiple choice questions (Handout- A Nation At War Part 1). 

Art-  Ms. Nancy began class today by reading the book, "The Dot", by Peter H. Reynolds.  Some of the class is still working on their paper mache heads, but others have completed that step.  For those that are waiting, Ms. Nancy had them create their own dot project!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Carrots, Cursive, and Capital

During spelling today, we realized that the Homework Hideout password, using one spelling word per week, really helped everyone study!  We brainstormed how to use this study trick with some of the other harder words on our list.  I'm not sure if it will work, but I am going to try to have a series of randomly selected password questions each week.  It's worth a shot!

Handwriting- In handwriting today, we had a lesson that virtually everyone needed to work on.  When connecting lowercase m's and n's, sometimes students get lost.  I explained that each of these begins with a "ramp", which doesn't count towards the "humps".  At the end of each letter, there has to be a tail... and the next letter must "ramp up".  We worked through some problems with connecting m's and n's.  It's something they really have to think about! 

Grammar- In grammar today, the students learned about adverbs that tell "to what extent".  Up until now, we have discussed adverbs that describe verbs.  Today, we discussed adverbs that describe adjectives and other adverbs.  Some common "to what extent" adverbs are:  too, very, really, quite, so, extremely, rather, and slightly.  They also learned how to diagram these adverbs.

Science- Today, Ms. Gail taught the students about different types of mixtures and what makes something mix or not. They discussed homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures; that if two things are "like" each other, they will mix more readily with each other. The class also combined six different substances. They also completed a soap lab to see that soap can break down oil.

Literature- In literature today, Ms. Gail discussed the comprehension questions for chapters 9-12.  Then, the class began chapter 13.  It was a very funny chapter, and the kids were laughing out loud!

Social Studies- Today, Mr. Dennis lead the class in a coloring activity, "The Civil War: A Nation Divided".  They learned the vocabulary term capital.  The kids had to label the states and territories on a map.  They had to color the free Union states, slave succession states, border states, western territories which supported the Union, and western territories which supported the Confederacy, in different colors. 

Agriculture-  At home, the students have been learning how to grow carrots.  Today, we began class by reading the book "Tops and Bottoms".  In the book, a bear and a hare make a deal.  The hare tricks the bear into agreeing to let him use the bear's land to farm.  The bear doesn't have to do any work at all, and gets to share in the harvest.  The hare cunningly asks the bear which he wants, "tops or bottoms".  At first, the bear chooses "tops".  So, hare plants carrots, beets, and so on.  When harvest rolls around, you can imagine bear's response.  This continues with bear choosing "bottoms" and hare planting celery, lettuce, and broccoli.  As a class, we discussed the different types of vegetables.  With carrots, we eat the roots.  We are attempting to grow carrots in containers this year.  We planted them first in trays.  When they sprout, we will thin them and transplant them into deeper containers.  I explained to the class that this is an experiment for me!  I hope it works!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Martes, Mental Math, & Paper-Mâché

Spelling-  I introduced a new spelling list today.  The class worked in groups to look up the definitions.  Within each group, they used their social studies text, chemistry text, and dictionaries to define a few of the terms.  We discussed the spelling of some of the words, including the rule, "i before e, except after c".

Grammar- I began grammar class today with a reminder: It is OUR responsibility to focus our brains!  It is not difficult to tell when minds are wandering.  I have been working with the class on eye contact, putting pencils down and not doodling during instruction, and listening skills.  In grammar, we build upon previous lessons.  If students are not listening and do not learn the concepts, they will be very lost later on!  Today, the class learned about adverbs that tell "where" and "how often".  They worked on diagramming sentences that involved these types of adverbs.

Handwriting- We focused today on the letter M.  Those who are new to cursive learned that, although the uppercase M is pretty simple, the "ramp up" on the lowercase M can look like an extra hump!  Even some of those who already know cursive needed a little help connecting the M's and

Math- The 3A class played a review game today.  In pairs, the class started with a number, and then used math expression cards to add to, subtract from, multiply, or divide the number.  With each correct answer, the students could take a step across the room.  They loved the game, and used mental math skills!

After the 4A class took turns showing Ms. Jennifer their mastery of the 3's and 4's multiplication tables, she taught them mental math strategies for multiplication.  Actually, I heard from multiple students about how "awesome" it is to be able to multiply big numbers in their head after math class today! Afterward, they played the same game as the 3A class, however, the 4A class incorporated negative numbers into the game.

Writing-  The students came to class today armed with knowledge about conclusion paragraphs!  They each watched the videos that were posted, but more than that... they paid attention!  We discussed conclusion paragraphs, transition words and phrases, and the rule that you don't tell the audience what you are going to say, or what you said... Just SAY IT!  They wrote their conclusion paragraphs in class today and will be getting them back on Thursday.  Adding them to their final drafts will be the very last step to this big project!  I know it took a while, but I wanted to get the students used to the process of writing, editing, and rewriting.  Also,

Spanish-  Ms. Rose reviewed the phrases and terms that the class has learned so far in class this year.  It is important to keep reviewing previous material as they learn new terms, so they are not forgotten!  The class will be given a phrase per week to practice and to use in their normal life.  This week, the phrase is "bienvenidos", or "welcome".  To practice with the Spanish days of the week, the class made flash cards and used them to play a game using their workbooks.  They can play the game at home with parents or siblings!

Social Studies-  The class had to really use their brains today!  Using the textbook reading that they completed at home, they answered the review question sheet, "Civil War Begins".   Mr. Dennis then taught the class about Abraham Lincoln and his early life. They also discussed the Lincoln-Douglass Debates and the 1860 election. This was followed by the succession of southern states. Finally, they studied the attack on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War. As a cloze activity, the kids, the class worked together to plug in the keywords and vocabulary that they have learned in a "Vocabulary and Study Guide" worksheet.  Honestly, this material is not easy!  The class is doing an awesome job in Mr. Dennis' class.  Keep up the good work and keep studying hard! 

Art- Today, the kids continued working on their paper mache history projects.  The molds of the heads are almost complete!