Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tuesday, 10/25/16

The students reenacted the battle of Tours!

Finishing up our posters on erosion, weathering, and deposition!

Thursday, 10/27/16

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday, 10/20/16

We just finished up week 7, and these kids have come such a long way!

The Chicken Group warmed up by reading aloud in the Treasure Chest books.  Afterward, they had a review of our special sounds and then learned the tricky ones for this chart: the suffixes "-ed".  Sometimes, this suffix sounds like the name "Ed" like in "wanted" or "floated".  Sometimes, it sounds like a "t", like in the words "looked" or "kicked".  Other times, it can sounds like "d", like in "played" or "smiled".  We discussed many examples and why it is important to learn and study these sounds... the English language is so tricky that you need lots of tools in your reading toolbox!  Finally, the class layer their spelling "Skittles Review".  We worked through the tricky ones together, and wrote them for extra practice on the personal whiteboards.  They did a great job with the words on this list!

The Guinea Group spent time studying their spelling lists in pairs before our Skittles Review.  I don't know if this list are easier or if they have stepped up their studying at home!  They rocked it!  After spelling, we recited he poem, The Duel" and worked towards finalizing our backdrops for the puppet video project.  We will begin recording next week!

The classes worked on handwriting skills and vocabulary lessons with Mr. Jim.  They worked through 4A and 4B together, discussing the meanings and how the words were being used.  

In history class, the kids had an awesome review day! They worked in teams to answer questions.  Each team member worked together to earn points for their group.  This marks the end of this unit.  Our next unit will cover from the Great Kings of France through the Viking Invasion.

In grammar class, the Cow Group finished their letter writing activity.  They wrote rough drafts and a final copies of their letters, and learned to address the envelopes themselves.  I explained the reason WHY the address needs to be located in a certain place on the envelope, why they needs to use their best handwriting, etc.  Kids, like adults, learn better and try harder when they understand the reason behind things.  The letters will be mailed out today!

The Horse Group learned about state of being verbs and helping verbs today.  They will be studying these as part of their grammar card practice, and they will be learning to diagram sentences that include helping verbs in their video lesson on Monday.

Both the Horse and Cow groups listened to more of the book, Dr. Doolittle.  They listened as Mr. Jim read to the students about Dr. Doolittle's garden of dreams!  The students also took turns reading and sharing favorite excerpts from their own books.

After math study, the students had Show & Tell!  At the end of class, I explained that they were almost a quarter through the school year.  We reflected on how far they have come with organization, comfort with the new books and classes, and responsibility.  I showed a graph to help them visualize how far they have come, and how far they have left in this school year.  Then, I explained that, if they had come this far in only 8 weeks, they will be so much wiser, organized, and responsible by the end of the year!  Sometimes we just need to stop and look back to see how far we have come, and it can help us gain the confidence needed to keep challenging ourselves!

This guy walked around the building this afternoon crowing LOUDLY as he walked.  No one was sleeping in class, that's for sure!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday, 10/18/16

This week will be our seventh week of class, and everyone has really gotten into the groove! I am so impressed with these kids, and I am excited to come out each day and teach them!  The reward system that we began for those who remember to bring all of their materials to class has really helped a lot.  Today was such a smooth and easy day with the students, and I truly appreciate the kids and parents who are making this year an amazing one!

For spelling, the Chicken Group began by reading through each word on list 6, spelling them aloud. We then used the spelling words in sentences, discussing any tricky words along the way. I specifically pointed out for them to be careful with the long "e" sound that is in the words squeal and squeak! We used the letters and sounds test to assess how each student is doing with their special sounds and blends.  Because there are so many special sounds, it is important for us to keep reviewing the old sounds as we learn new ones.  They learned the sounds "y" in baby and "le" in little today.  

The Guinea Group also practiced their spelling list aloud. We then worked as a group on a very difficult word find! As the students look for the words, they have to keep the spelling of the word in mind. Word finds are a great way to study spelling words without realizing that you were studying!

The students worked on handwriting practice, and talked about the new vocabulary list, list four.  To make it fun, the students wrote their own commercials using the vocabulary words in the list. These turned out to be pretty funny!

The class is continuing to study the spread of Islam through the Middle East. At home, they read chapter 12 on the Islamic invasion. Today in class, the students worked on a map activity. Hopefully this will help them better understand the material as they are able to plug in what they have learned onto the map. We will be looking at chapter 6, 7, and 12 as a whole and reviewing all of this material in class on Thursday.

The Cow Group reviewed our lesson on contractions today.  They also continued working on their letters that we began last week.  The students are writing letters to a friend or family member, using the correct letter-writing format.  They even wrote a rough draft and are working on a final copy!  We will finish these letters next week, and the students will be mailing them out.


The Horse Group had a review of nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives,and adverbs today.   As we learn more and more, it is important to be sure we have a firm grasp on all past concepts.  Things will get harder in this class, and mastery of the material will help the students to keep up when things get complicated!  

In reading/writing, the students read aloud from their favorite books.  They discussed the passages, working on oral reading skills as well as listening skills.  In the Guinea Group, the students had a lesson on poetry.  They read and discussed a poem in class, and they will be writing their own to share!

Science class was all about weathering and erosion.  The students learned different types of weathering and erosion, and we discussed examples of each.  In order to explain deposition, we had a demonstration where we were the river, carrying sediment (dry erase markers).  As we slowed down, the sediment was deposited (dropped).  The kids thought this was hilarious... which means they will probably remember the lesson on the deposition of sediment!  The class began a poster activity with these terms which we will continue on Thursday.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday 10/13/16

Today's class began with a phonics review for the Chicken Group.  We went over each of the special sounds charts, and then they learned a few more sounds from the green chart.  They class did a great job circling special sounds and marking vowels as we broke down words into easily digested chunks.  We had a spelling review game using letter tiles, as well.  I was really able to see a divide in the class between those who are spending time on the at-home material and those few who admitted that they are not completing the assignments/studying.  I tried to explain that, by skipping over or flying through the at-home assignments, they will be making things harder for themselves in the long run.  Spelling words, for instance, get progressively more difficult throughout the year.  If we are not spending 5 actual days of lessons, it will be very hard to master the lists.  Hopefully, the kids will start to understand that the at-home lessons are not simply
"homework", but should actually take the time/focus needed to equal a day of instruction.

The Guineas had a spelling review before taking a pre-test.  This group has really taken time with their at-home lessons, and it shows!  We continued to work on the background for our puppet show video on "The Duel".

In vocabulary, the classes both did an excellent job with their understanding of the words on the current list. They read through the passage in the text, and discussed the meanings of the terms.  

In history class, the students were split into three teams for a review game over the material on Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.  Both Mr. Jim and I were thoroughly impressed!  The students worked without notes or books, and they answered almost every question correctly!  There was MUCH excitement over the game, and they didn't want to stop.... so we adjusted the class times to allow for more review game time!

In grammar, the Horse Group continued to learn more about adverbs.  We have learned that adverbs can tell us how, when, where, how often, and to what extent.  We are working through each of these different ways that adverbs can modify verbs, and the students will be working more with this during an at-home video lesson.

The Cow Group had a quick review of initials and abbreviations today.  Then, we moved on to another way words can be shortened: contractions.  We worked through different contractions, noting the placement of the apostrophe.  They will be doing an at home video activity that will help to strengthen their understanding of contractions so that we can work more with them when we return on Tuesday.

 After math independent study time, we had a quick science review of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.  We observed how condensation forms on a cup of cold water, and discussed the reason why.  We will be moving on to weathering and erosion for next week's science class.

At the end of the day, I pulled together both grammar classes for a fun game of Funglish.  One student was given a secret word, which was a noun.  He or she had to use only adjective tiles to help their peers guess the noun.  The tiles were placed on a board and separated into "Definitely", "Sort of", and "Not".  For instance, if the word was "crocodile", the student would put "green", "long", and "wild" under "Definitely", "cuddly" under "Not", and so on.  They really liked it, and it was an awesome way to help them remember what adjectives do!