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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


 Today, the class was able to celebrate their awesome job during our Fear Factor game!  I brought in pretzels, cheese & crackers, gingerbread men, apples & caramel dip, and a fruit "pizza".  The kids enjoyed some free time snacking, listening to music, and playing with friends.  It was a much deserved celebration... They ate Brussell sprouts and eggplant for goodness sake! 

Spanish-  Ms. Cindy began class with review songs before moving on to their bilingual children's book assignment.  She took a look at some of the books that the children brought it.  One of them brought the Spanish version of the book, "The Giving Tree".  Ms. Cindy read this to the class, who were enthralled.  Such a wonderful book!  After the book activity, Ms. Cindy used folded paper "fortune tellers" to practice Spanish phrases.  The kids each made their own "fortune tellers"... which I had not made since I was in elementary school!  They had a great time asking each other to choose a picture, choose a number, and then answer a Spanish question.  What a great way to reinforce their skills!  They also created a Spanish booklet about things to be thankful for.  They will go over more of these in class next week.

In art class, Ms. Nancy has been teaching about dimensions and perspective.  Today, the class worked on creating a 3 dimensional space with simple squares.  They are learning great techniques that they will no doubt incorporate into art projects from this point on!  Ms. Nancy taught me these lessons when I was their age, and I remember them to this day, and use them!  I am thrilled that my children, ALL of "my" children, get to have the same art experience that I did as a child!

In social studies class, Mr. Dennis taught about Japan and WWII.  They learned about Kamikazes, and the atomic bomb.  The class is finishing up their unit on WWII next week.  On Tuesday, they will be competing in a review game of Jeopardy.  On Thursday, they will be turning in a take home test, and finishing up the unit.  When we come back from Thanksgiving break, the class will begin learning about the Cold War.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our Day: A Quick List!

  • Very productive independent study time :)
  • Began our new literature book, "Stepping on the Cracks"
    • (This is another work of historical fiction that ties along with our social studies unit on WWII)
  • Reviewed last week's science lesson on ocean currents and their affect on the weather
  • Learned about how the moon and sun cause our ocean's tides
    • They learned about Spring Tides and Neap Tides, which necessitated the acting out of the sun/moon/Earth relationship!
  • Reviewed Tuesday's material on WWII
  • Learned more about the Holocaust  
  • Learned that the class will be competing in a Jeopardy game over WWII facts next week!
  • Completed our dictation exercise, as well as a bonus question on prepositional phrases
  • Reviewed the writing assignments for the week
  • Began writing a persuasive paper, which will be continued next week in class.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just Not Fair

Farming isn't always pretty.  I am a firm believer that the hard lessons learned on a farm are wonderful teaching tools for children.  As a society, we have become so detached from the daily ups and downs, harsh realities, and tough decisions that agriculturally based living provides.  On a farm, you simply cannot deny that life is not always fair.  Children who have farming roots know this to be true, and have witnessed just how unfair things can be.  Predators, disease, bitter cold, or scorching heat can destroy a farmer's hard work.  There is no room for pouting, or temper tantrums, or entitlement.

Today, I shared some sad stories from our weekend.  We had a pitiful hatch rate, difficult news about one of our animals, and the death of our 'runt' goat kid.  I explained that sometimes, everything seems to go wrong.  Sometimes, you wonder why on Earth you are doing any of it at all.  Sometimes, you want to give up.  But, then farm friends come out of the woodwork and offer encouraging words.  These gloomy times happen to anyone who raises animals, or crops.  As a matter of fact, the class and I discussed that gloomy times happen to ANY of us.  When everything seems to go wrong, we cannot curl up and cry forever.  We have to stand up, dust ourselves off, make any changes that we think may help, learn from our situation, and keep on truckin'.  We ended our discussion with a more light-hearted talk about bunnies.  Although we tried for baby bunnies before Christmas, I am not sure if our two are expecting.  We talked about the quick gestation of rabbits.  I also talked to the class about different types of rabbits.  Angora rabbits have very long fur.  I showed the class pictures, which caused much needed laughter after our previous discussion!  I decided to keep the positive energy flowing by allowing the class to create their own comic strips, incorporating a funnier topic of the day!

The class voted on the posters that they worked on a few weeks ago.  We will be taking that poster and using it to create a class project!

In Spanish class, the students were excited to show Ms. Cindy their hard work from their at-home assignments.  They enthusiastically showed off their Spanish books from the library, as well as their self-made crossword puzzles.  After singing their Spanish review songs and playing some review games, Ms. Cindy had each child come up and share what they learned from their Spanish story activity.  Then, the class exchanged crossword puzzles and set out to complete them.  We were all very impressed with their enthusiasm and self-motivated learning this week!

Ms. Nancy continued her lesson in the formation of block letters and 3D writing.  This is a lesson that I remember from MY elementary school art class!  I loved learning the trick for 3D writing, and our class here did as well! 

Mr. Dennis had a planned absence today, so I led the class through their at-home reading assignment on the Holocaust.  The students worked on a reading comprehension exercise to check their retention of the material.  Afterward, we discussed the answers, making corrections where needed.  Mr. Dennis will pick up here on Thursday!