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!

Tuesday, 11/8/16

Today, the chicken group turned in the Pirates during spelling class! They reviewed each of the words, spelling them in pirate voices. Argh!   They learned the special sounds "ea" in leaf, "ea" in thread and "ea" in steak today. These can be tricky but learning to recognize the sound will definitely help reading to be more fluid.  As I check there at home assignments, I am seeing that many of them may need to slow down and follow directions. This is a good habit to get into! I will be encouraging them to work on their handwriting, and to read all directions thoroughly.  If parents could also help me enforce these things at home we can really help them to develop some good study habits!

The Guinea Group reviewed their new spelling list, and then we began a study of William Blake. The class closed their eyes and listened as I read William Blake's poem Tiger, Tiger. We took this poem piece by piece, explaining the complicated words and the imagery. The class really enjoyed the beauty in the wording, and we talked about different techniques that Blake used. At the end of class, the students chose their own special animal to write about. They will be working on these at home tomorrow, and we are going to edit them in class.
In history, the class discussed the battle of Hastings. They reviewed chapter 15 on the Vikings and the first kings of England. As they have been studying this era of the Middle Ages, Mr. Jim taught them the game Fox and Geese.  This game originated during the period of time that they have been learning so much about. It was definitely a hit!
The Horse Group has been reviewing linking verbs, helping verbs, state of being verbs, direct objects, and predicate nominatives. This is all very tricky and it is important to me that they mastered these before we move on! The goal is not to trudge through the lessons, but to truly understand each one! 

The Cow Group reviewed the different types of verbs, as well as interjections.  They are all so excited that they have memorized the list of pronouns, the helping verb list, and the state of being verb list! They're doing a great job, and these lessons and memorization is really going to help them next year when grammar gets more difficult.  The kids learned how to use commas to separate words in a list.  They each came up with a noun, and then wrote adjectives to describe their noun.  Finally, they chose three of those adjectives to make into a sentence, showing their newly learned comma skills!

In science class, the student split up into two groups. Each group was given a different biome that they studied during their at home lessons. The grasslands group organized their thoughts and gave a short presentation, teaching us all about the biome.  The temperate forest group also came up with a presentation to teach the class what they had learned. I think that everybody really enjoyed listening to each other teach! It's always good to mix things up and keep them interested. Plus, having them give these little presentations helps to teach them teamwork, organization, and public speaking skills.

As always, I continue to help the students work on self-improvement as it pertains to classroom behavior and their education. Today, we discussed some important guidelines for being in our little group. They agreed that we should always try our best, always be respectful and kind, and take personal responsibility for our assignments.  We talked about how there is a time for play, a time for learning games, and a time to listen. It is still early in the year, and I am very proud of them for their hard work and their drive to be the best they can be!