Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday, 1/24/17

We had a sunny, beautiful day today!  Our class blazed through their new spelling lists, vocabulary lessons, and handwriting time.  The Chicken group reviewed different ways to add suffixes to the ends of words:  tiny + est = tiniest, smoke + ing = smoking, etc.  They really did a great job remembering the different rules and when to apply them.  We reviewed to, too, and two before diving into the book, "Stage Fright on a Summer Night".  At home, they read the first chapter at home.  In class, we discussed what they read, and they took turns reading the next two chapters.  This book is set in London in the year 1600.  We will be focusing on what life was like in England at that time. The Guinea group continued to work their way through the MacBeth book in the Shakespeare for Kids series.  They begged me to read past what I had planned for today, and we made it all the way to Banquo's ghost's appearance at the banquet table!

 These kids absolutely loved their history reading about Isabelle and Ferdinand!  They broke up into groups and reenacted what they remembered from the story... which was a lot!  After a review of how Spain was united, the students worked on a map activity to help them gain a better understanding of the geography from the story.  

In grammar, the Cow group began with the students breaking into pairs to study their grammar cards.  Next, they learned a new part of speech: prepositions!  They will be working on memorizing the preposition list soon, but for now, they are just working on understanding the role prepositions play in the sentence and how to identify them.  We put glue sticks under the table, on the table, above the table, and had all sorts of visuals to help the lesson "stick"!  After our lesson, the students headed outdoors to continue filming their Conjunction Junction remake video.  We're almost done shooting!

Last week, the Horse group learned about prepositions, prepositional phrases, and objects of the preposition.  Today, they learned how conjunctions can join words or groups of words in a sentence.  They diagrammed sentences with multiple subjects and multiple direct objects in class.  They will be working much more with this over the next couple of weeks.  

In writing class, the kids were so very excited to share their stories!  Last week, each class was told that they were the crew of a large spaceship.  The students had to each come up with their job title on the spaceship, writing at least a paragraph to explain their role on the team.  As they shared these in class, Mr. Jim had the students record each of their classmates' jobs.  The classes agreed on names for their spaceships, and their crews were all set!  At home Friday and Monday, the classes had to take their list of crew-members and write a story about their spaceship's adventure!  Because their classmates were performing set jobs on the ship, these kids ate it UP!  

After math study, the students learned about elements, compounds, and mixtures.  After our lesson, the class created a fruit salad to represent a mixture and a smoothie to represent a compound. Yum!

1/17 & 1/19

Teamwork Exercise!
The kids learned how the hydrophillic and hydrophobic properties of soap's molecules  allow fats to be washed off of their hands!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thursday, 1/12/17

 During our enrichment time, the class learned that bees are like tiny mathematicians!  They learned why shapes with equal side lengths are stronger than shapes such as rectangles, with unequal side lengths.  We talked about triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, and octagons, diving into their Greek and Latin roots.  Bees make their hexagon honeycomb cells out of beeswax, and the students learned that the hexagon is the shape that stores the most honey for the least amount of beeswax in the walls!

We used Popsicle sticks of equal lengths and multi-link math cubes to illustrate the difference in beeswax to honey ratio of the triangle versus the hexagon.

Next, the students modeled a honeycomb structure on the floor.  They loved this!  It helped them to see just how well the hexagons fit together, and how new cells are able to be built without having to create very many more walls of wax!  We integrated all of this hexagon talk into our art project.  In art, the students used hexagon bolts to stamp out a honeycomb background.  Next week, we will be adding bees to the foreground.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuesday, 1/10/17

These kids were on the ball today!  It was definitely a great day!

The chicken group began with a spelling review over list 15. We talked about the "why" behind the spelling of the words. For instance,

We talked about some of the trickier special sounds, such as "tion" in nation and "tain" in mountain.  The class used these sounds (and more) to write different words on their lapboards.  

The chicken group began reading the book "Mercy"
We have been talking turns reading the book aloud, and are almost finished!  They enjoyed being able to compare the opinions about pet pigs in the book to what they have learned about pigs here in class!  We will finish up this book on Thursday, and begin our take-home chapter book next week!

The chicken group also worked on vocabulary

The Guinea Group has a difficult spelling list this week, so we really picked it apart and discussed each word. For instance, we talked about the difference between loose and lose for the book 4 students.  We made up funny hints to make this easier to remember!  The kids learned about the difference between homonym, homophone, and homograph, which wasn't even one of their words!  I think it was an awesome discussion, and if students can be engaged and entertained with spelling, I consider that a big win!

Next, the class learned about Genghis Khan in history class.  In this unit, they are learning about a different area of the world.  Mr. Jim had them complete a map assignment, stepping them through the geography that was mentioned in their at-home reading.  The kids also worked in pairs to put events from their at-home reading in order.  They will be spending a few weeks on this unit, and I think they are really enjoying the rich history of the Mongol Empire.

 In writing class, both groups brought in the stories that they wrote at home.  They chose a super-power, and wrote about how that super-power could be used to help a friend or family member.  In class, the thoroughly enjoyed sharing these!  This class period is dedicated to encouraging a positive writing experience.  So many children dread writing, and it is my hope that we will foster a love (or at least reduce the dislike) of writing down their thoughts!

In grammar, the cow group continued to work on their video production of Conjunction Junction. So far this year, these students have mastered nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections, and more!  I am very proud of them, and I am happy that they are enjoying this creative display of their grammar knowledge!  

In the last couple weeks, the horse group has memorized the entire preposition list, as a song.  They now use this list to pick out prepositions in sentences.  Further, they can now identify prepositional phrases AND understand the object of the preposition.  We spent today reviewing adjectives and adverbs, diagramming sentences that include each.  If the students do not master the material in this class, then it is imperative that we slow down and thoroughly understand the lesson before moving on.  This is exactly why I prefer to keep classes small!  It allows for the flexibility that is needed to master the material.

In science class, the students have been learning about matter.  Last week, we discussed how matter is made up of molecules.  They learned how matter can be liquid, solid, or gas, and how temperature or chemical reaction can cause a substance to change between these states.  Today, the class learned about the structure of atoms.  We talked about electrons, neutrons, and protons, and even stood up and played the part!  I explained how atoms bond to form molecules.  To help them better grasp this concept, we used different colored Legos to represent different atoms.  The students were given illustrations of different molecules, and they had to create these using their Legos.  This turned out to be extremely helpful, as they were able to see that it wasn't about simply snapping blocks together, but understanding how and where these atoms must bond to form water, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and more!

Since we're on a farm, we talked about goats today, as well.  We have a couple of goats here

that are due to kid soon, and I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss it!  We talked about the signs that I look for to monitor impending labor.  Also, I explained to the students the difference between my Saanen goats, which are an Alpine breed, and the Nigerian Dwarf goats.  I used the map to explain where both breeds originated.  The kids learned about the equator and the poles, and WHY temperatures are higher at the equator.  (We had someone volunteer to be the sun, and we spun a glob as it orbited the student.  The class was able to see that the equator is closer to the sun than other parts of the earth.)  Because the Nigerian Dwarf goats originate from a warm climate, they can be bred any time of the year.  Alpine breeds, however, usually are not able to have kids in the fall/winter.  Their bodies are used to cold climates, and they are seasonal breeders.  This was a lesson that was too good to pass up!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesday, 1/3/17

The day was a whirlwind, but here's a little glimpse of our science lesson!
The students became Oxygen and Hydrogen atoms, forming bonds to become H20.  At first, we were packed tightly together and were very still.  But, as we pretended that the temperature rose, our molecules began to spread out, and everyone started to wiggle!  Once the water started to boil, our molecules were spread throughout the room, and everyone was dancing!  We studied the kinesthetic theory using kinetic learning. Win!

We talked about how matter can change forms due to heat, but the students also saw how a liquid (vinegar) and a solid (baking soda) could combine to form a gas due to a chemical reaction.