Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bottle Babies

Test Prep- Today, we finished reviewing the 4th grade math section.  We worked each and every problem that was missed on the board, which benefited each student!  We talked about how you handle decimal points differently in multiplication problems than addition or subtraction ones.  Although we had already learned this skill, some did not remember... or it just didn't make sense.  I demonstrated the reason for this, with a simple word problem which divided .5 by 10.  Of course, it made sense to the class that a faucet could leak 1/2 a gallon a day for 10 days, and the result would be an answer that is LESS THAN 10.  I transitioned that knowledge to the fact that decimal points in multiplication problems are not simply "brought down".  We reviewed many other math topics, and finally completed the section.  We will begin working on the social studies section, in class.

Agriculture-  Today was a super fun agriculture day!  The class and I walked around Inman, working on video for our music production.  We only have two more scenes to shoot!  In addition, we took a trip to visit the new baby goats, which are playful and full of energy!  We talked about their birth, which a lot of the class had viewed the day they were born, in the online video updates.

The class broke into two groups and rotated between giving the kids their bottle and milking the does.  I explained the use of a "hobble", and why it is so helpful.  I hobble is a simple velcro strap, which puts a little pressure on the tendon at the back of the does' legs.  This pressure does not hurt, but prevents them from kicking.  There's nothing worse than trying to milk a kicky goat!  Everyone was able to get a chance to milk and to spend time with the new babies!
Science-  Today, Ms. Gail began with a review of the students' at home assignments.  They talked about mollusks, their classification, characteristics, and types (gastropod, bivalve, and cephalopod).  Ms. Gail then had the class complete an animal classification exercise.  The students worked in small groups to sort and classify animal figures.  They will all have a big test next week, over material from our biology unit.  At home, they will need to study all of the information in their science folders!

Literature-  After reviewing the students' mythology assignments, Ms. Gail and the class read other hero and nature myths.  Through the stories, they learned about different mythological creatures.  Afterward, the students each drew two noun cards and one adjective card from a box.  At home, they will be combining these words in order to create their own mythological creature!

Social Studies- Today's lesson was on The Great Depression.  The class learned about the vicious circle of failing banks and crashing stock markets, sales falling, and unemployment rising.  They also learned about the Dust Bowl of the early 1930's, and its impact.

We will be leaving for our field trip to Rock Eagle on Monday morning, and will return on Tuesday.  Classes will resume on Thursday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Probability, Politics, and a Sprite Named Puck

 Spelling- Today, we began a new list.  This list is comprised of many words that contain silent letters, especially a silent "t", as in "whistle".  I will be posting another list of lists to online study cards, games, and quizzes to use for this list.  The students can use the aids to help them prepare and assess their knowledge of the spelling and vocabulary words. 

Math- In math class, Ms Jennifer continued her lesson with probability.  The class is working with data collection and compilation.  They are also beginning to introduce the idea of surveying.  At home, they will have to survey 20 people, asking a simple question.  The class will use this information in an activity next week!

Test Prep- Today, the 3B class worked through another section in the social studies portion of the test booklet.  We checked and discussed the answers.  One great lesson that was learned to today is to always read the passage BEFORE trying to answer the questions!  This was such an important lesson, that I made sure to share it with the 4B class.  The 4B class continued to discuss issues with the math portion of the booklet.  We worked many problems on the board, especially with setting up word problems.  I will be posting some links for the kids to work with at home!

Writing- In writing, I read and edited the paragraphs that the kids had completed to this point.  This is such a tough assignment, and I know it is well above their grade level.  However, I know that they will learn more from striving to meet this expectation than they would if I had given them a simpler project!  There were two papers that, as I put it, "nailed" the art of a persuasive essay.   I asked the class if they had ever tried to learn something, or try something new, and needed to watch a video on it first.  Whether it is an instructional DVD, or an example of someone else doing the activity on YouTube, it is helpful to see and hear the correct result.  We can then model our actions and hopefully succeed!  I explained that, by reading the two papers out loud, I am helping them all to hear and take note of the way that the papers clearly expressed points, incorporated research, and used some of the strategies for persuasive writing that we had previously discussed.  Hopefully, it will help the class to get a better understanding of how a research-based paper should "sound"!

Shakespeare- We continued to read through "A Midsummer Night's Dream" today, much to the enjoyment of the class!  They are eating this up!  I had to quiet them down quite a few times, as they were desperate to share their thoughts on what was about to happen... and how the plot of Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena would intertwine with the plot of Quince and the actors.

Social Studies- In social studies, Mr. Dennis taught the class about the Roaring Twenties!  They talked about the roles of Isolationism, the republican presidents, Laissez-Faire, prohibition, and mass media. Further, they discussed the difference in life for those below the poverty line, industrial workers, and farmers.

Art- The kids were thrilled to hear that art class and our Shakespeare lesson has overlapped!  Each student was given a character from "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  They then created stick puppets, using photographs of their own faces!  Later, we will be using these puppets for a fun "wrap-up" of our Shakespeare unit!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just Kidding!

We began our new in-class activity: the reading of the Shakespeare for Kids book "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  For those who have not read these adaptations, I highly recommend them!  The author has simplified many of the plays without stripping them of the wonder and magic of Shakespeare!  As we read through this book, we will be stopping and discussing difficult words and making sure everyone grasps what is happening.  Today, the class learned the phrase "in his prime", as well as the words verbose, fury, irate, and tragedy.  We also discussed the custom of arranging marriages.  This activity will require no at home reading.  We will read and discuss the story in class!

Math-  The 4B math class has been working with data collection.  They are looking at different methods of recording and documenting data, including bar graphs, tally charts, and line plots.  Ms. Jennifer taught about median and mode, which they will be using in an upcoming project.  They 

Test Prep-  Today, the 3rd graders and I worked through and discussed the remainder of the math sections.  We talked about each issue that arose.  Multiplication is still a tricky spot!  We then were able to move on to the first section of social studies.  Here, the kids had difficulty with the location of the Prime Meridian.  We stopped and discussed latitude, longitude, the equator, and the Prime Meridian.  I helped the 4th graders work through issues in the math sections today.  Surprisingly, area and perimeter caused them a lot of issues.  We worked through many examples on the board.  Then, we discussed volume.  Another concept that caused problems was the conversion of units of measurement.  Because of this, the class will be working with online games to strengthen these skills.

Science-  Today, Ms. Gail discussed insects with the class.  They reviewed their at home assignments, and then talked about complete and partial metamorphosis.  Finally, they learned about body structures that different insects have.  The kids created their own insects using different treats!  Afterward, they took turns explaining the different body parts that were represented on their creations.

Literature-  Ms Gail continued the kids' lesson on Greek mythology.  They listened attentively to stories about Cupid, Apollo, and many others.  For the end of school, the students will be writing their own nature or hero myth. 

Social Studies- We continued learning about the big industrial and economic boom of the 1920's.  Today included lessons in stocks and the stock market, assembly lines and their impact on goods and wages, and the different presidents of the era.  The class answered comprehension question on the material, and will be working on a crossword puzzle for next week's class.

Agriculture- There was big news on the farm today!  Not only did Greta have two little doelings yesterday, she had a Sable!  You never know exactly what lessons you will end up teaching when animals are involved!  The class had a genetics lesson.  They learned about dominant and recessive genes.  I explained that Saanens are a white dairy breed.  However, purebred Saanens can carry a recessive gene resulting in kids that are dark!  If a kid receives this gene from both parents (which the class learned are called "dams" and "sires" in the goat world), then they are born dark, and are called Sables!  I am absolutely thrilled to have our first Sable born... which I obviously have to keep!

After checking out the goats, we walked down to Minter's Farm to film scenes for our big ag video production.  Only a couple more days of shooting, and it will be finished!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Charts, Clocks, and Capitals

Spelling-  Today's spelling list was made up of some new words, and some repeated ones.  I explained to the kids that, although many of them can spell certain words for a spelling quiz, they spell the same words wrong often when it is used in other subjects!  We had a discussion about how the things we learn are not supposed to stand alone, but to be integrated into other areas.

Writing-  In writing class, we had a review of alphabetizing by the 4th and even the 5th letter.  We also talked about what to do if a word runs out of letters before there is a difference!  The students worked through a dictionary exercise.  Then, they were all given slips of paper with words written on them.  They did not have to alphabetize the ones they were given; they had to combine together to alphabetize the entire list! As they worked in other subjects, I read and edited what they have written so far on their persuasive writing papers.  They will continue to work on these at home.

Math-  In math class, the 3B class discussed the adding and subtracting of time, which can really be tricky!  For instance, 45 minutes after a 10 till 3 can be a lot to compute!  Ms. Jennifer taught them about military time, as well.  They used handmade clocks, as well as their workbooks, to solve problems.  The 4B math class worked with different charts and graphs today.  They created different charts, and then graphed the results.

Grammar-  Today was the last "regular" lesson in our grammar books!  They class had a review of punctuation rules.  We reviewed commas, quotation marks, semicolons, and apostrophes.  They had to remember what we have learned about direct quotations, introductory elements, compound sentences, and much more!

Geography- The kids worked in small groups to complete maps and match states with capitals.  They are studying hard, and we are almost finished adding all 50 states! On the last day of class, we will have a geography bee... with prizes!

Social Studies-  The class went over their big test over World War I.  There were lots of very pleased students!  I was very impressed with all of the excellent grades!  Mr. Dennis and the class discussed the answers, as well as talked about the material over the next era in American History, the economic boom of the 1920's.

Art- In art class, Ms. Nancy had the children working with negative space, as they created cityscapes!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


This isn't a complete run-down, but here's a glimpse!

 Grammar-  In grammar, the kids did a review over conjunctions, compound subjects, and compound predicates. They diagrammed a few different examples, which we discussed together on the board.  They will continue this review at home, before next week's class.

Literature-  The class did an amazing job on their tests over The Secret Garden!  Almost everyone made A's!

Ms. Gail began a new unit today on Greek mythology.  The kids were thrilled!  The class listened to some stories of different Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus. 

Science-  Today, the class presented their fact sheets on different animals.  Each child was given a different animal to research, so their classmates were very interested to hear all sorts of new amazing facts!  They then discussed invertebrates, arthropods, and began the new lesson on echinoderms.  Kids just love learning about all things that crawl, squirm, and scurry!

Social Studies-  Mr. Dennis reviewed with the class their answers from the at home assignment on World War I.  I wouldn't admit it to them, but they honestly have a far better grasp on the causes of the war than I ever did!  Maybe I should have had Mr. Dennis as a teacher!

Agriculture- In three words:  WE MADE BUTTER!