Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thursday, 4/25/17

 Our class always begins with "Farm News", so I can share the highs and lows of farm life since the kids were last here.  Today's Farm News was mostly positive!  Van a had her baby goat over the weekend: a healthy buckling!  We finally had a few turkeys hatch out, which is wonderful.  The turkeys free-range, making it difficult to always locate the nest.  Even when it is located, it is often in a spot that is susceptible to rain.  If eggs are rained on, it can wash away the natural protective layer that surrounds the shell. This layer helps to keep bacteria from entering the egg through the permeable she'll.  In our last hatch, one of the turkey eggs began to hatch... only to start foaming. This is a sign of contamination.  Not only does it kill the chick or turkey poult in the shell, but it can also contaminate the eggs incubating around it!  Needless to say, the hatch did not go well.  Because we don't just hatch once for a classroom project, but hatch all year, every year, we are able to teach lessons far beyond typical egg development!  I'm so very thankful to be able to share these lessons with all of these wonderful students, as the farm is rich with naturally-occurring education!

We're in the last few weeks of class, and we're going to start mixing things up a bit!   The classes continued to work on spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting lessons in class today.  The Guinea Group Shared their thoughts from the weekend on The One and Only Ivan.  
They have been doing a great job with their journals, and we will continue to add new entries each week.  These kids have really been thinking deeply about the meanings of Ivan's words, which are not often straightforward.  It he student learned about similes and metaphors last week, and this week we will dive into the author's use of strong verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.  From now until the d of the year, grammar and writing will be integrated into this novel study!

The Cow Group read the short story, Arizona.  They shared their character maps, and we discussed their thoughts on the story.  They will begin a new story at home tomorrow, and they will be thinking about story elements: characters, setting, conflict, etc.  We have been working on not on,y reading comprehension, but trying to pull out the important points of a story or passage.  This will help them not only in reading, but in all subjects as they move up through the years!    This group will also combine writing and grammar into their reading study for the remainder of the school year.

The combining of classes is allowing us to expand on the William Shakespeare unit for history class!  The entire group has been working through the Shakespeare for Kids book, Midsummer Night's Dream.  This is a complicated tale!  Because of this, Mr. Jim stops to explain, and the class discusses the meaning of the words and the significance of the events to the story.  To help the students "get the picture", Mr. Jim created a visual story map!  In just a few minutes, I could tell it was helping immensely!

After math independent study, the students shared what they learned at home about protists.  Today's science lesson was all about cells.  The class is using a comic-style booklet to help them review the information at home in a fun way!   Our activity today was the creation of an edible cell model!  After learning about the different organelles, we worked together to create a Rice Krispie Treat cell.  Of course, we had to end our day with a yummy snack!  

I know the school year is almost through but please work on keeping uptake momentum at home!  The Spring Fever is real... and we still have lots of great concepts to learn and reinforce! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday, 4/18/17

 What a beautiful day!  I cannot believe that we have only 5 weeks left of classes.  I was told not to mention it again... it makes the kids sad!

Today, both groups continued their vocabulary, handwriting, and spelling studies.  They will be finishing up with their last vocabulary list in the next couple weeks, and we will be using that time for a special project! 

The Cow Group has been working through their Signatures book both in class and at home.  This guided reading will give us the opportunity to work not just on reading fluency, but on comprehension and analysis, as well.  Today, the students worked on finding the main idea of an article.  Then, they highlighted the sentences that they believed supported the main idea.  This was the first time most of them had ever heard of this concept, and they did a fantastic job!

The Guinea Group has been reading the book, The One and Only Ivan.  We will be walking through this book together, step-by-step.  In order to encourage them to think deeper, they have been working on journal entries with each at-home reading.  We discuss their responses, diving into the real meaning behind Ivan's words. Today, the students learned about personification, which was new to each of them.  I'm excited to see them opening up to this new material! 

In history class, the students have been learning about William Shakespeare.  So, Mr. Jim will be spending a couple weeks on the Shakespeare for Kids version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The students are very excited about this!  In writing class, the students have been working on writing their own very short play, which will tie right in to their Shakespeare study. 

Both groups are wrapping up their grammar lessons for the year!  We will continue to review the parts of speech (and diagramming for the Guinea Group), and we will combine their grammar review with the work they are doing in reading class.  For instance, the Cow Group diagrammed selected sentences from their Ivan reading.  we will continue to review concepts from grammar through to the end!

In science class, we have begun the Life Science unit.  Last week, the students had an overview of biology and the five kingdoms of classification.  Today, we made Biology Mini-books.  The class will be using these mini-books at home and in class to collect information on each of the five kingdoms.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017