Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday, 9/29/16

Chicken Group- The students checked their at home assignments at the beginning of class today. We then quickly reviewed the yellow and blue phonics charts.  They seem to be doing a great job with the online videos, but they all made me promise to make my own video next time instead of finding one online! I promised to make tomorrow's video more fun and less monotonous!  They also asked me very nicely if I would actually appear in the videos, which I have never done before. I may feel silly, but they were so sweet about it that I promised them I would overcome feeling goofy and show up in the next video for them!  Ha!

Today's lesson was over the special sounds sl in sleep, sn in a snack, str in stream, and sw in swim.  They used white boards to practice circling the special sounds and marking the vowels in different words. They also spelled some words that were not on the spelling list, but used the special sounds that they have been learning.  I was very impressed with how well they did!  It may have been because I bribed them with a skittle for hard work... but whatever it takes to keep interest and enthusiasm high!  For spelling practice, the kids did a say/spell/say activity. As they spoke the word, they pretended to put a big hamburger bun on a plate. Each letter that they added to spell the word was another layer in the hamburger.   They added a patty, ketchup, lettuce, cheese, and then when they said the word at the end, they placed the imaginary bun on top. This just gave a physical motion to help make the spelling practice more of a kinesthetic experience. At the end of each word, they chomped down on their imaginary burger. At the end of the spelling list we had an imaginary hamburger food fight!

Guinea Group- Today's class began with a spelling review game. At first, I gave each of them a few minutes to study the list. Then, they used white boards to write down words as I quizzed them.  To keep interest high and everyone doing their best, I used a skittle to reward each word correct!  The class broke up into pairs to work on their poem. They practiced the first three stanzas, and then tried them along with their puppets. Having the puppet in their hands cause some of them to forget their words! This was really good practice for their upcoming recitation videos. We will be working on finishing this poem in the next week, and should make the video!  

 Vocabulary (both groups) - The classes took each vocabulary word and made up new sentences for them. They took turns playing a game using their made-up sentences and the words in this list. At the end of class, they played their favorite game, "Think on Your Feet".   Mr. Jim uses this game to help increase their comfort level with speaking in front of a group. The chosen student is given a topic.  They then have to pretend that they are the expert on that topic, even though they may not know a thing about it. They have to speak for a solid minute without saying "um", which is not easy!  Each of them has been doing a great job with this, and it is building some confidence and speaking skills!

History- In history, Mr. Jim explained the difference between B.C. and A.D., CE and BCE. It was a very tricky concept to grasp, but it helped to get the students on their feet, physically moving around to different parts of the room on an imaginary timeline.   For some of them, it blew their minds to hear that years  B.C.count down instead of up! It is important to be able to understand timelines and dates as we discuss history throughout the year.  Today, each student was given a syllabus of history class. Because there are more chapters then we can cover any gear, we will be jumping around a bit. Mr. Jim wanted to give the syllabus to help parents look ahead to what we will be covering, and to understand the big picture of the course. Also, it will help parents who may want to jump ahead, read more, or dive deeper into each unit!

Grammar (Cow Group)- The cow group today added the Pronoun Grammar Card to their stack. Some of them forgot to bring their grammar cards to class, which makes things more difficult in planning a lesson! I explained to the students that it is their responsibility to be prepared for class, and hopefully my little speech on responsibility will help them to be more prepared next week!  We went over the answers to the at-home worksheet from yesterday on commas in dates and addresses, which some also forgot to bring to class. (sigh) After working through some dates and addresses and their proper punctuation, the students learned how to use commas in a list. We made some really funny lists where the students could make up funny things they ate for dinner, or list things that the baby could do.  These kids did a great job remembering to use the commas in the right places, even with their silly lists!

Grammar (Horses)- The horse group began by checking the work from yesterday's at home lesson. They all really seem to enjoy diagramming! I have been explaining that we always need to diagram the verb first and then look for the subject. This will hopefully get them into the habit so that more complicated sentences will be easier to diagram. The students learned about adjectives and the different things they can do. Adjectives describe nouns, but they can do so by telling what kind, which one, how many, or whose. We talked about the first three types in class today, and they will be working on adjectives that tell "whose" in the video lesson tomorrow.  This class also made more grammar cards to add to their stack. I explained that although they are pretty easy now, they will be learning and parts of speech they have never even heard of before! These cards will help make studying easier!

Both grammar classes were given the same bonus assignment. Anyone who can tell me the list of pronouns without looking gets a prize! It is not a race, so each of them just need to come to me and say the list when they're ready.

 At the end of the day, I gave the students a creative brain-break!  They could choose an activity: making a comic strip story or creating a mandala design.  I think this relaxing project was a much needed end to our day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, 9/27/16

The Chicken Group learned more special sounds today and reviewed the ones they learned at home on Friday and Monday. I used the Letters and Sounds Test to gauge how well they are remembering these sounds, and how well they can identify them on their own. Instead of simply grading this test, we stopped and make corrections as we went along. The goal is to help master these phonics sounds so that we can use them as tools to increase our reading and spelling skills, so simply marking the answers right or wrong does not help us meet our ultimate goal!  The class will be working on the next spelling list at home, and we will be playing a spelling game on Thursday. Be ready!

The Guinea Group spent the morning reviewing the new spelling list and practicing their poetry recitation of the first two stanzas of The Duel.  They are doing a really good job with this! We will be continuing to memorize the rest of the poem over the next couple weeks before finally putting it all together.  Although this class has all completely memorized (and continually utilize) the special sounds charts, we always use them to break down the spelling words and help with pronunciation.

Handwriting continues to be a more individualized subject, with Mr. Jim helping each student to make their handwriting the best it can be.  Mr. Jim has been giving each student and individualized assignment based on their needs, and we will continue to work on hand writing not just during hand writing time but throughout the school day.  

In vocabulary, both classes went over what they have learned in the second list of terms. They played a game to help solidify these terms in their mind, and they will be working with these words again tomorrow and over the next couple weeks.

History- Today, the class split into pairs. Each pair came up with a time travel story, where they describe a trip to Ancient Rome. They used many keywords and concepts from their history lesson, and did a wonderful job presenting their stories to the class!

In grammar, the Cow Group learned about commas and how they are used in dates and addresses.  We made up a very catchy little song to help us remember how it fits into an address!  Ha!  We used our grammar cards to quiz each other over the parts of speech, and then added a card to our deck.  Without a grammar book this year, these grammar cards will be used all year long to help make grammar study an easier experience! 

The Horse Group diagrammed their first sentences today!  They learned that you always look for the verb first, placing it on the diagram before looking for the subject.  I explained that the habits they form now with diagramming will help them as things get more complicated in the future!  The Horse Group also worked with grammar cards, and they are trying to memorize the list of pronouns... for a prize!  

Both classes were able to read their stories in writing class.  They talked about the stories, and then took turns in a reading circle, listening to the different snippets from each student.  They absolutely LOVE this part of the day!  I think it is a great time for their minds to relax and their creative sides to take over!

Everyone worked very hard during math study time today!  Thank you, parents, for finding the right balance for their in-class math assignments.  Today worked really well, and the assignments took just enough time!  I will continue to provide fun math sheets for anyone who finishes early.  You can't go wrong with Minecraft Math!

In science today, the kids learned about the different layers that make up the earth.  We colored a diagram that helped them to get a better understanding of the depths of each of the layers.  They were all very shocked at how much of the earth is made up of the mantle!  We will be building on each week's lesson as we continue to make our way through Earth Science!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday, Sept. 22

This morning, the Cow Group began their day with a phonics lesson and spelling review. We we over yesterday's assignments, and the special sounds that they had learned previously. We also moved on to learn the rest of our yellow chart. Again, we will need the special sounds for our phonics lessons and at home assignments.  For spelling, the class went outside for a relaxed review session. We talked about the special sounds in each one of the spelling words and played a review game where the children could hop like frogs as they spelled the words!

In the Guinea Group, the class had a practice test to see which words they needed to study and focus on at home. They did a really great job with this list. It's a tough one! We talked about each of the ones that they missed, made changes, and made a note to make sure to study them at home. Next, they continued to work on their activity for the poem, The Duel. Once the Chicken Group gets into the groove of in class and at-home assignments, we will add poetry recitation for them, as well!

In hand writing, Mr. Jim worked with each child individually, focusing on their unique needs. I've noticed in other classes that some of the children are starting their letters at the bottom instead of the top. This will make it tricky to increase speed later on and will make cursive more difficult than it needs to be. In order to help us tackle this in class, we would love for parents to watch for children starting the letters at the bottom and make corrections when needed. It would be better to tackle this habit early than be frustrated with slower writing when frantically taking notes in high school and college!

The vocabulary list review went really well today! The kids were given a few minutes to look over the words before the review. They really know this list inside and out!

In history, Mr. Jim took the class on a visual tour through the Roman empire. They asked so many relevant questions, and I was thoroughly impressed with their retention of the material!  The kids will be reviewing all of chapter 1 at home on Friday and Monday, and will be playing a review game over the material on Tuesday.

After lunch, the class broke up into the Cow and Horse groups. The Cow Group reviewed the definitions of the different parts of speech that they have learned so far.  They then learned the difference between complete sentences & fragments. We reviewed that sentences must start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark. They also learned the four different types of sentences. This year, we will be using the terms statement, command, question, and exclamation.  The students played a game on the four types of sentences at the end of class.  I read a sentence and they used the whiteboards to show their whiteboard to show which type of sentence it was.  In Mr. Jim's class, the Cows listened to the story Thidwick, the Bighearted Moose. They will be writing their own stories to bring to class on Tuesday! Mr. Jim is working to increase enthusiasm for writing, and provide motivation by giving them an outlet to share their stories with peers! 

The Horse Group reviewed yesterday's at -home lesson in their workbook. We made any corrections that needed to be made, discussing them thoroughly. It is more important for us to master the material then to simply get a grade on it! The class reviewed the pronoun list, and they were given a motivation to memorize it... I will be giving a prize to anyone who can memorize it before the end of next week! We briefly discussed the different types of verbs in class today, and we will be working more on verbs in upcoming days.

In Mr. Jim's class, the Horse Group also listened to a read-aloud. This group already possesses a great enthusiasm for writing, and Mr. Jim and I cannot wait to hear what they have to share on Tuesday!  

After our math independent study time, we had enrichment time! Today's enrichment time was spent playing some mental math games!  Although working out problems the long way is a very important skill, I believe it is also important to have simple math facts memorized to the point that they require no thought when calculating complex problems in the future. This helps students to avoid getting bogged down in the arithmetic of the problem, focusing more on the new skill or process being taught.  

I hope everyone has a great day of at home lessons and a fabulous weekend! See you Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday, 9/20/17

This morning, the Chicken Group began the day with a review of the special sounds they learned last week. They will be working on this special sounds chart for the next few days. This will help them to sound out words as they come to them in their reading. The kids did a great job sounding out words quickly today and will be working more with the new special sounds at home tomorrow. This group will also be beginning a new spelling list. We will play some fun review games of the list on Thursday!

The Guinea Group spent their morning learning their new spelling list for the week. We went through the phonics rules in each word, writing them on whiteboards as we moved along down the list. The class then continue their work on the poem, The Dual. They are making popsicle stick puppets that they will use in their recitation video.  I can't wait... it's going to be adorable!

Each group worked on their vocabulary lists in the Wordly Wise books. Mr. Jim discussed the questions that the students completed at home, making changes as needed.  They have done an excellent job with these lists!  

Each child is working at their own pace and handwriting. With such small groups they are getting some one on one time!

In history, the class reviewed what they learned in the first chapter of the Story of the World. They have learned a lot about Rome, already! Mr. Jim helped the kids to deeper into the Roman Empire. The class completed a map exercise to help them get a better idea of where these stories are taking place. He will be integrating the history lessons into writing class as the students take their own magic carpet rides through history.

In grammar, the Cow Group learned more about linking verbs. They worked to make their own sentences using nouns, linking verbs, and adjectives. We also reviewed the definitions of a noun, verb, pronoun, and reviewed common and proper nouns.

The Horse Group has been learning correct ways to form plural nouns. We have spent the last few days talking about when to use "s", when to add "es", when to change a "y" to an "i" and add "es", and when to leave a "y" alone and just add "s"! We also talked about common and proper nouns today. The class did a relay race, placing nouns into the correct bucket before racing back to tag the next student in line. Finally, we touched on pronouns, and we will be memorizing the list of pronouns beginning tomorrow.

The class spent time reading out loud with Mr. Jim. They absolutely love this time where they can share parts of books with each other! It's not only good for reading fluency, but it is also excellent for building listening skills as well.  The class finished designing their magic carpets today, as well. These will be used in Thursday's writing class as they begin their journey!

After math independent study time, the students began this week's science class. We finished our Sun, Earth, and Moon projects. These really help to them understand how the different orbits work simultaneously. After a review of how the earth experiences seasons, we began to dive into the earth itself, discussing its layers. We will learn more about this at home and will further explore this in next week's science class.

Keep up the good work at home! The only way to make a hybrid class work is to make each and every weekday a true day of learning. I will be continuing to encourage the children to take ownership of their learning, and parents, please let me know if I can help with any at-home assignment issues!