Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Spanish- In Spanish class today, the kids had a little quiz over their Christmas terms they have been studying at home.  They were nervous, but did a good job!  In addition to their 'daily' songs and review, the class got to play a game using different snowmen.  Ms. Cindy called out different descriptions in Spanish.  The class had to figure out which snowman she was talking about.  They have really come a long way in their comprehension and expression!

The kids had a Christmas luncheon and playtime today.  We ate lots of yummy food, and then the kids ran it all off playing games of tag!  We listened to Christmas music, and just had a good time!

In ag class, we collected money for World Vision.  The class brought in donations so that we can give the gift of farm animals to a family in an impoverished country.  Our class raised $140!  The kids looked at different prices of animals, decided which combination would be the most beneficial for them, and then submitted a vote.  I bet we will have a little more coming in soon.  Then, I will figure out which combination of animals the class will give!  (As a side lesson, we ended up discussing ways to protect yourself during charitable giving.  We talked about the importance of research, as some charities only give a small percentage of your donation towards actual giving!)

Art- In art class, Ms. Nancy taught the class how to draw figures (people) that are in motion. The kids folded a paper in half, and then created a picture of ice skaters.  This class teaches great lessons in following directions!  The kids were told to draw each of their people so that their feet are touching the fold at the bottom.  Later, the class folded their papers inside out, and rubbed them to create a reflection in the ice!  Beautiful job!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis ended the U.S. History class with a test over the Cold War.  These kids did SUCH an amazing job!  They have learned so much that it is amazing.  Mr. Dennis raises the bar, they just keep on reaching it!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celebrating Differences

Health-  Today, we continued our lesson on self-concept and self-esteem.  We began class by reviewing the discussion questions from our Sneetches lesson.  The class talked about cliques, the importance of including others, and ways to develop a positive self-concept.  This lesson lead to many great conversations, which I love!  The class had a lot of great input and suggestions.  I then wrote a name on the board.  The class worked in teams to come up with an animal that starts with each letter.  The teams received points for each animal named, and bonus points for unique animals that no other team wrote down!  There were many very creative animals listed.  We totaled up the points,and discussed uniqueness.  Not only were our answers unique, but each of the different species of animals were beautifully different from each other.  Even when the animals were similar, there were differences between the species.  The class talked about how, even though a clam is different from a scallop, neither is a better or worse animal than the other.  Our activity lead to a great discussion on physical differences, abilities, interests, and more.  Further, the kids talked about how those with disabilities are equally beautiful and precious as everyone else.  To continue the flow of the class discussion, the class will be reading about Stephen Hawking in their at-home assignment.  They will also be working on their own name activity to share with the class.

Spanish- In Spanish, the class played a very fun game!  Santa had lost his hat... and one of the children had it!  A panel of three students had to ask questions (in Spanish) to figure out who had the hat.  This not only helped the ones asking the questions to practice speaking, but also the rest of the class as they translated the questions and came up with responses.  I love the interactive learning that goes on in this class!  Fun!

Art- Ms. Nancy and the kids have been working on multiple Christmas crafts.. and today they began "hanging them" on the trees!  Some students decided to work on individual trees, while others preferred to work on a large collaborative project.  They learned about contrast, as they created bright ornaments of layered colored paper.  They also finished up their angel projects, which turned out great!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis and the class discussed the Soviet take-over of Eastern Europe.  They learned about Stalin, the spread of Communism,  and the "iron curtain".  They read about and discussed The Truman Doctrine, The Marshall Plan, and Stalin's Cominform.  As I listened to the students, I was very impressed by their ability to break down political cartoons from the time period.  They finished up with a review.  There are only two more classes this semester, and this will conclude American History.  We will begin the new year with the beginning of World History!  Don't forget to bring those World History textbooks!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Today's Events...

  • Reviewed science homework, discussing answers
  • Kicked off Ms. Gail's Oceanography focus with popcorn, hot chocolate, and "Planet Earth: Ocean Deep"
  • Began reading the very fun book, Soup and Me
  • Continued lesson on The Cold War
  • Reviewed at-home grammar lessons
  • Lesson focused on diagramming prepositional phrases, indirect objects, and direct objects
  • Completed dictation quiz

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Germ Fight!

Health/Ag - Before my scheduled lesson for the day, I decided to take this time to talk to the class about germs!  It is the time of year that colds and flu spread like wildfire, and I hope to reduce our risk of infection here at the schoolhouse.  Last year, we had to actually cancel class for a week because so many of the kids were sick!  This year, I am going to get a jump on keeping kids healthy!  The class learned about viruses and bacterial infections.  They also learned a very important fact: illnesses have incubation periods!  Even though the person next to you may be fine now, they could actually be carrying a virus that has not shown symptoms yet.  We then talked about proper handwashing techniques.  They were also reminded to keep their hands out of their mouths, use hand sanitizer periodically, and just to give friends some personal space.  Now that they know about carriers and incubation periods, hopefully they will take handwashing and being germ-conscious a little more seriously!  Our goal is to have NO illnesses for Christmas!

After our germ talk, we dove into our lesson on mental and emotional health.  At the beginning of the year, the class learned that there are many factors to being healthy.  Today, we focused on having a healthy self-concept and a positive self-esteem.  They learned the meaning of these terms, and we talked about influences on our self-concept. I have taught this lesson many, many times, but always in a public school setting.  Teaching it to our homeschool group was quite different... and eye-opening.  I know that our children are blessed to be in a loving environment, and that they are learning and thriving.  However, today was a reminder that they are allowed to thrive in this way, to blossom and to develop their own unique talents and interests, without fighting or struggling against a flurry of negativity.  It is possible to sprout through tough soil, grow against the biting wind, or bloom in the bitter frost.  Many do.  However, today I am especially thankful for the soft, tilled soil of respect and sweet sunshine of peer support that is present as these little people learn their way.

As a follow-up, I read Dr. Suess's "The Sneetches" to the class.  This is a story about uniqueness, acceptance, respect, and self-esteem.  We briefly discussed the lessons found in the story, but the class will be working on making the connections at home in their journals.

Spanish-  After their review songs, some of the students showed Ms. Cindy their hard work as they recited their poem, in Spanish!  The rest of the class will recite theirs next week.  Afterward, she introduced them to a new song and game.  This involved Spanish names for articles of winter clothing (scarves, hats, coats, etc).  The class discussed the terms, listened to the song, and then divided into teams.  Each team sent a member to the front of the class, where they had to listen to the song while putting on articles of winter clothes!  They had to listen closely in order to pick up the right article of clothing.  It was an excellent way to practice, use tactile learning, and apply their knowledge!

Art-  In art class, Ms. Nancy had each student work on decorating a card to send to our troops overseas.  Then, the class worked on creating Christmas tree decorations! Some of the students are working on individual tree projects, while some wanted to combine their efforts to create one large class tree! 

In social studies, Mr. Dennis began the next unit: The Cold War.  They discussed a timeline of events, carrying them from 1940 through the present.  They learned about Proxy Wars, the Arms Race, and the Space Race, and demonstrated their knowledge through a review crossword.  The kids will be working very hard to learn vocabulary terms, understand the timeline, and grasp the causes of the events!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gobble Gobble!

We are off next week for Thanksgiving break, so today's agriculture/health lesson was all about turkeys!   The kids learned different characteristics of male and female turkeys, including the caruncles, snood, wattle, and beard.  We talked about how male turkeys strut and fan... and then we were lucky enough to see our tom put on a show for us!  The kids had a great time studying the physical and behavioral traits of the turkeys.  They heard the different calls (males gobble and females cluck).  In addition, they all helped with our morning farm chores!

We incorporated a health lesson by discussing food safety.  Thanksgiving has a high rate of food poisoning cases.  They will be checking the homework site for websites with more information on how to stay safe during holiday feasts!

In Spanish class, the kids discussed their Thanksgiving meals, using the terms that they wrote on notecards for the at-home assignment.  They reviewed previous material through song and games.  Using their "fortune tellers" and mini-books from last week, they went over terms and phrases.  Each student will be working on memorizing a short Spanish poem for when we return after the break. The class finished up with a BINGO review game.  I love the low stress and interactive environment that Ms. Cindy creates!

In art class, the kids are beginning a series of Christmas crafts.  You won't get a lot of details about them, though!  :)

Today was the Jeopardy review game in social studies!  The teams chose categories and point values, answering in the form of a question.  They had a great review!  The kids took home their test, which will be an open note / open book test.  These are to be returned on Thursday.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Surf's Up!

  • Continued the book, "Stepping on the Cracks"
  • Learned about the structure of waves & the different types
    •  Created a wave bottle
  •  Discussed and demonstrated the relationship between waves and air
  • Learned about the effects of WWII
  • Discussed the alliances that were formed
  • Reviewed direct and indirect objects
  • Discussed the difference between pour, poor, and pore