Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tuesday, 12/6/16

After months of drought, the rain has definitely been falling!  We have spent the last 3 class days indoors... and enjoyed it!  The students play board games and chess during lunchtime and when they have free time at the end of the day.  No cabin fever for us!

The next couple weeks are going to be a little hectic!  After spelling review and phonics, the Chicken Group began work on their video for their Where the Sidewalk Ends poetry recitation project.  They will hopefully finish this up on Thursday, and then both classes will be working on memorizing My Shadow.

The Guinea Group reviewed their spelling lists and began their study of MacBeth.  This is rich in new vocabulary and flowery language, so we are taking this in baby steps.  Although this is Shakespeare for Kids, it's not completely watered down!  We read through the first three pages together, discussing the setting, the characters as they are introduced, and any confusing word use.  The students will be rereading this at home, as well as writing a short summary of what we have read. 

The class reviewed vocabulary list 7, and discussed the lesson in the book.  They also worked on mastery during handwriting.  For those in the cursive book, capital letters seem to be tricky to memorize.  Mr. Jim will be focusing on this until the students improve.

The class was very excited to be able to continue their homemade review games in history class.  They will be wrapping up this unit, as well as Chapter 18 before Christmas break.

In grammar, the Cow Group completed the preparations for their upcoming Conjunction video!  They will be recording on Thursday and putting it all together next week!  The Horse group continued to learn about the four types of sentences, and how to diagram them.  Today's lesson was on locating the subject of a question.  They learned how to flip the words around in a question so that the subject and verb(s) are more easily found.  Then, they diagrammed questions, commands (which have an understood 'you' as the subject), and statements.  They will be working more on this at home tomorrow in order to help it "stick"!

The students took turns reading aloud in their favorite books today.  The kids like this so much that Mr. Jim has to set a timer to make sure everyone gets a turn!  Both classes will be working on writing dialogue by creating conversations between themselves and a visitor from another country or even another planet.  The students will be working on writing their dialogue at home tomorrow, and then will be able to share their writing with the class.

After math independent study time, the reviewed all of the land biomes that they have been studying for the last few weeks.  Then, we discussed marine and freshwater environments and ways to protect them.  These students are so very excited about their biome dioramas!  We had a diorama brainstorming session, and came up with many ideas that they can use at home.  We will bring all of the projects to class on Tuesday of next week, creating a full blown zoo!

As the semester comes to a close, I have been reflecting on just how awesome this little group of children has been to teach!  They have been a JOY!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday, 11/29/16

Rain!  Today was the first day of rain we've had since school started.  This meant that the kids enjoyed some time playing board games during lunch, which was super fun!

We have three weeks until Christmas break, so instead of a play-by-play of today's activities, I am going to hit on the many projects that are going on now or are coming up soon.

The Guinea Group finished their projects on William Blake.  They will be moving on to a study of Shakespeare on Thursday.  The class will be reading the version of MacBeth by Shakespeare for Kids, which I have already ordered.  Parents, you can either borrow this copy and return it or purchase it for $7.

The Cow Group is finishing up Where the Sidewalk Ends.  We will working on a poetry recitation video, and will be recording the audio for this on Thursday, 12/8!

 The class has finished up Unit 3 in history, and they are working in groups to create their own review board games!  They worked so hard on these today, and Mr. Jim and I were extremely impressed!  Once the kids finish their games, they will present them to the other group, who will get to play as a review.  They don't realize it, but they are learning through both the creation AND the playing of the games!

 The Cow Group is working on a re-make of the School House Rock video, "Conjunction Junction"!  We will be working on this in class over the next couple weeks, and the kids will be learning their lines at home.

In science, the students are almost finished with the Biomes Unit!  As "zoo planners", they have been working hard to learn about each biome.  Today, they were given a single biome to focus on for their final project.  Each of them will be making a shoe-box diorama of their biome, as a zoo habitat.  These boxes will all come together to create different habitats in our class "zoo"!  As a celebration, we will be watching the movie "Zootopia" on Thursday, 12/15!  Pickup on this day will be 3:45.

Chess club will begin this Thursday!  Anyone who would like to play can come as early as 8:30.  We will have multiple boards set up!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thursday, 11/16/16

Today was another dry day here on the farm!  Although this drought has been absolutely awful, it has meant that the kids have been able to spend a lot of free time outdoors, which is nice!

Mr. Jim and I learned that most of the kids have a strong interest in chess!  After the break, we will start a completely optional chess club on Thursday mornings beginning as early as 8:30.  I will need one parent stay and hang out each Thursday morning while Mr. Jim helps the students with chess.  If you are interested in staying, or being on a rotation to stay, please let me know!  I should be there to relieve you by 9:10.

The chicken group began a new phonics chart today.  They have learned a lot about suffixes so far, but today they learned about prefixes.  The class practices marking special sounds, vowels, and blends before learning "a-" asleep and "al-" in also.  They had a spelling review game, as well.  In vocabulary, they worked through list 6 together.  They are really mastering these vocabulary words, which is just awesome!

The Guinea group also had a spelling review game.  These words are pretty tough,and they did an excellent job!  The class is finishing up their William Blake poem project, and it will most likely be completed on Tuesday.  They also worked through vocabulary list 6 as a group. 

In history, the students had read about stone castles in medieval England.  Today, they discussed the different parts of castles.  They incorporated different parts into their own castle diagrams.  They really enjoyed creating their own!

In grammar, the horse group spent the day reviewing linking verbs, helping verbs, direct objects, predicate nominatives, and predicate adjectives.  They have been working on diagramming each other these different parts of speech, but it can get tricky!  We are going to continue to review these concepts for a little while longer, and will be moving on when we return from break.  

The cow group had a quick review of the different parts of speech that they have learned so far.  Then, we began working on our Conjunction Junction video project.  These kiddos talked me into a remake of the old Schoolhouse Rock classic... and how could I say no!  They worked through their scripts and are so excited about putting it all together!

After math independent study, we had Show and a Tell and a quick Thanksgiving craft.  It was a great day!  

See you all after Thanksgiving break!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thursday, 11/10/16

The Chicken Group played a new spelling review game today: Mud on a Pig!  As I called out a word, they wrote it on their personal whiteboards.  If they spelled it correctly, they could put a chocolate Cheerio (aka mud) on their pig illustration.  They loved it!  It was very obvious which students have been completing all of their at-home spelling lessons, and which ones were not.  I tested my theory and found that this was, in fact, the case.  The only way to learn words that cannot simply be sound out is through practice.  By skipping the say/spell/say or writing of the words, these students are struggling and not mastering the list.  It was a big difference from the prior weeks when the same students were fully completing their lessons!  Hopefully my pep-talk will help them to get back on track.

After spelling, the class reviewed phonics charts 10 and 11. They then learned three new sounds: "ie" in brownie, "ey" in key, and "ey" in obey.  They worked on marking the special sounds and vowels in different words.  The kids also made possessive forms of words by adding 's.  Finally, the students took turns reading in their Treasure Chest books.  In vocabulary, they discussed the answers to the review crossword that they completed at home.  Mr. Jim led the class through a review of the words on this list.

The Guinea Group also played the Mud on a Pig game today.  By the end of the game they had some very muddy pigs!  After spelling, the students continued to learn about William Blake.  We read the poem, The Lamb" and discussed its similarities to "Tiger, Tiger".  Then, the students shared their own animals poems, written in a similar format.  They did an absolutely awesome job with these!  They began working on backgrounds for a little project with these poems.  In vocabulary, the class went over their at-home assignment, verbally reviewing the words on this list.  

In history class, the students were split into two teams for a history review.  Each team is made up of students with different jobs.  Review games like this really help the kids to get used to working in a group and accepting when they don't get their way!  As always, we help the students to deal with frustrations and disappointments in a calm and respectful way.  It takes practice, and they are all doing a great job!

In grammar class, the Cow Group reviewed all of the parts of speech that they have learned so far.  We reviewed interjections, and then talked about conjunctions.  These kids absolutely loved the Schoolhouse a Rock video on conjunctions, and they even knew morpst of the words!  Because they couldn't stop singing it in class, I decided to let them plan on us making a video!  We'll be working on that beginning next week... Fun!

The Horse Group went over their at-home assignment.  We talked about each question, and the reason behind the solution.  The class then learned about predicate adjectives.  Because they are diagrammed like predicate nominative so, we went ahead and learned this new part of speech.  However, we will be spending a few days just on review so that they can fully master this material.

Our enrichment class today was an agriculture lesson on pigs.  The students learned many pig terms, such as sow, gilt, farrow, litter, boar, and piglet.  They were able to spend a lot of quality time with Sprinkle, our new piggy ambassador!  It was a great ending to a super day!