Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hatching a Plan

Ag/Health-  Over the weekend, June (one of our Saanen does) had two beautiful kids, a doeling and a buckling!  As spring quickly approaches, and babies are born on the farm, I wanted to give a little overview on mammals and their pregnancies.  The kids learned about the uterus, uteran lining, amniotic sac, umbilical cord, and placenta.  If all goes well, we should have baby Netherland Dwarf bunnies (called "kits") born in the upcoming weeks.  In addition, we are setting eggs in the incubator!  To kick off the hatch, I began a new lesson, "Hatching a Plan".  On the farm, as in life, you must plan ahead.  The kids began our lesson by learning decision-making strategies.  We talked about consequences, both positive and negative, and how we must weigh them all out in order to make a healthy decision.  Further, I explained that we must consider our values as we weigh our options.  After we make a decision, we must always evaluate the choice that we made.  The class discussed why this is so important.  They also worked in small groups to go through the written process with a hypothetical problem, which they came up with themselves.  We will go over these in class next week.

Spanish-  After reviewing their at-home assignments, the class was given a new project.  They will be working in groups to come up with their own skit, taking place in a Mexican restaurant!  The kids were all very excited about this, and enthusiastically began working on the names of their restaurants, the storyline, the menus, and the props!  This will be a long-term class project, so keep up the excitement!

Art-  Ms. Nancy had planned to be out today, so I was able to be the art teacher!  Instead of teaching a lesson that I was familiar with, I went out on a limb, asking myself, "What do I want to learn?"  It wasn't hard for me to come up with an answer: needle felting.  I have seen amazing needle felting projects online, and have wanted to give it a try.  Today, the class and I learned together as we created a simple needle felting project. It wasn't easy, but some of the kids REALLY got the hang of it quickly!  It was one of those projects that we didn't want to stop working on!

Social Studies-  In social studies class, we continued to talk about the Vietnam War.  After a reading activity and discussion, the class gathered around to watch part of the episode "The Vietnam War" of the CNN series, "The Cold War".  Poster projects will be due next week!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Squid Dissection Day!

Today was a make up day for last week's science and literature classes.  Instead of independent study time, Ms. Gail began at 9:00.  So, they covered a lot of material!  The kids did an amazing job on their "Island of the Blue Dolphins" brochure project!  They were so creative... and professional!  The class began reading the new novel, "The Giver", by Lois Lowry.  They will be working through this novel over the next few weeks. 

After much discussion and review of their oceanography assignments, Ms Gail taught the class about the anatomy of a squid.  The kids familiarized themselves with the different parts of the squid... and then the dissection began!  I was a little worried that we may have some weak stomachs today, but everyone did just fine!  I listened as they excitedly showed their friends how they determined their squid's gender, removed the "pen" and the ink bladder, and even found squid eggs!  I absolutely love that they were able to experience a dissection in a group environment.  I think it really does help to foster an excitement for learning, and motivate the students to jump into activities that they might not otherwise want to participate in!

In social studies, the tension is growing between the USSR and the US in their Cold War lessons!  The class is learned about the U2 incident and the Paris Summit of 1960.  They will be reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis in their at home lessons, which they will review and discuss next week.  Also, the kids are working on a Cold War poster project which is due on February 20th.

 During our grammar class, the kids learned that not one but THREE students made perfect or very near perfect score on their last dictation quiz!  Each of them were able to choose from the prize box.  It was the highest number of prize winners EVER!  The class took their next dictation quiz, as well as a test over recent grammar material.  Afterward, they learned when to use 'who' and 'whom'.  I will be posting an online game to help them retain today's lesson!