Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fear Factor

Instead of moving on the adverb phrases, I spent today driving home the adjective phrase lesson from Tuesday.  We worked together, as a class, to locate prepositions in sentences, find the objects of the prepositions, and find the prepositional phrases.  Then, the class ignored those phrases while we diagrammed the rest of the sentence.  Finally, they diagrammed the prepositional phrases that described a noun by telling "which one, what kind, how many, or whose".  We will jump back in with adverb phrases in January.

In math today, both classes continued to work through lessons on their current topic.  The 4A class used what they have learned about the different types of triangles, while the 3A class worked with multiplication and division.
Writing-  Each of the students worked on their individual writing assignments.  Ms. Bev rotates throughout the room, helping each child with his or her needs.  I don't think anyone is at the same spot, but they are all doing an amazing job and have come a long way in understanding how to construct an informative paragraph!

Literature-  In literature today, Ms. Gale and the class reviewed last week's comprehension questions.  Then, they finished reading the book, "Mr. Tucket".  This book was an absolute HIT!  The kids loved it.  There are more Mr. Tucket books, so keep on reading!  After completing the book, the class enjoyed a holiday activity!  They made gumdrops using droplets of water and dry Jello mix.  Then, they created doughnut snowmen! 

Science-  The holiday fun continued, as the kids used ice to turn milk, sugar, and vanilla into ice cream!  The kids worked very hard to shake up their ice cream bags.  It took lots of arm muscles, but they enjoyed their sweet reward!

Today was the last day of class before Christmas break.  Instead of a party or presents, the kids collected money so that we could donate farm animals to a family in an underdeveloped country.  We assumed that we could raise $100.  I gave the class a list of the animals and prices.  At home, they each wrote paragraphs explaining which animals they would like to donate, and why.  They used all of the information they have learned so far in agriculture class to back up their selections.  Today, the kids were able to read their paragraphs to the class.  When it was time to take a vote, I gave them the big news.  We raised twice as much as we had hoped to!  Instead of voting, they were told that we could give EACH of the animals!  In all, we donated a goat, 10 ducks, 2 chickens, and 2 rabbits.  And, I didn't hear, "Why don't we get anything?" or "Why don't we get a party?" one single time.

 Today was the day of our winter garden version of Fear Factor!  The class was divided into two groups : boys vs. girls.  Each vegetable dish was given a different point value.  Each team member could earn the points by trying (chewing and swallowing) a bite.  If each team member tried a dish, then the team earned double!  As I concocted this nefarious plan, I figured that an entire team might earn double points for just a few items.  I mean, what is the chance that any amount of peer pressure could cause a multiple 8-10 year olds to try brussel sprouts and bok choy cabbage?  Well, this is obviously a very competitive (and very brave) group of kids!  Last week, one of the kids said to me, "You know what my biggest fear is?  Cauliflower!  But, I'm going to TRY IT!"  As the game began, I was a little nervous.  I just KNEW someone was going to throw up (which would, of course, lose points for your team!).  Fortunately, I think adrenaline kicked in and the kids got into it!

When it was all said and done, there was only one item that didn't earn extra points: one of the brussel sprout dishes.  The game included: raw carrots, sweet cooked carrots, savory cooked carrots, brussel sprouts with cranberries & feta cheese, savory roasted brussel sprouts, roasted garlic cauliflower, raw cauliflower, raw broccoli, steamed broccoli, bok choy cabbage, raw snap peas, raw spinach, spanakopita, kale chips, chocolate/kale/avocado shake, different lettuces, and spaghetti squash.  I was ecstatic to hear, on many occasions, "Hey!  This isn't so bad!" 

In order for parents to get a sneak peek at what their kids like, or what they will tolerate, I had them list the vegetables in categories:  I Like It / It's Not So Bad / I Don't Like It.  In my own house, I now know I can serve raw cauliflower!  They may not love it, but they will eat it!  Success!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Busy Hands

Working on a top secret project!  Shhhhh...

Ms. Nancy, teaching how to make construction paper wreaths.

Diagram of our classroom, with labels in Spanish!

Spanish Project

Spanish Project  (That's me behind the counter!)

Spanish Project

Merry Christmas!

Our Next Art Class Will Be in 2013!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Gift of Giving

Grammar-  Today, the class had a review of prepositions, objects of prepositions, and prepositional phrases.

Math-  The 4A math class continued to work with angles, parallel lines, and perpendicular lines.  Geometry seems like a big hit with this group of kids!  They are flying through and enjoying themselves!  The 3A class continued in their multiplication and division unit.  Each class will be working toward moving along the multiplication table track with an at-home timed quiz!

Writing-  Right now, each student is in a different place with writing.  Ms. Bev is working with them, individually, to improve each of their papers.  Some of working on dinosaur research, some are working on insect papers, and others have moved on to a "free choice" paragraph.  Each of these are working through the same process, using the same outlined writing guide.  They have been making leaps and bounds as they have learned to choose a main idea, come up with subtopics, and back them up with supporting details.  They are also coming a long with in their sentence structure, narrowing down to a focused topic, and using transitional phrases to allow their thoughts to flow.  Ms. Bev and I are proud of each of them for the hard work and patience they are demonstrating!

Literature-  Ms. Gail and the class discussed the answers to the comprehension questions for the first 10 chapters of "Mr. Tucket".  There were a lot of at home questions this week, and the class really did a great job rising up and tackling such a huge assignment!  They read the next few chapters in the book.  I really love that they are learning to enjoy books that they may not have chosen for themselves to read.  Sometimes, kids can get very picky about their reading materials... deciding they simply cannot read something that isn't in their narrow concept of acceptable reading.  This class is hopefully helping them to broaden their interests, or at least learn to enjoy books that they didn't chose for themselves.

Science- Today was the day of the big midterm test!  The room was completely silent.  Nothing could be heard except the whirring of little brains and the flying of pencils over paper.  This was a closed book, closed note test over the entire semester of Chemistry.  This was not easy... and these children rose to the challenge, and then some!  The average grade on this test was 94! 

Social Studies- The class has been learning about territorial growth and the expansion of the United States.  They have read and watched videos about the Louisiana Purchase, Texas Annexation, Mexican Cession, the Gadsden Purchase, and others.  Today, they took what they have learned and applied it to a map exercise.  They used an outline map of the U.S. to create a visual record of territorial growth.  They created a legend for the map, completed a chart of the various purchases and expansions, and expressed how the map illustrates the idea of Manifest Destiny.

Agriculture- Today, we collected money for our Christmas charity project with World Vision.  The students were given a list of animals and prices from World Vision.  They each came up with their own selection and the reasons behind it.  They thought through animal reproduction, sustainability, and took into consideration the product that each animal supplies its owner with.  At home, they will be writing persuasive paragraphs making their argument for the animals that they chose.  On Tuesday, we will read the paragraphs and take a silent vote!