Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday, 5/16/17

On Thursday, the class began a unit on geography.  They are learning about different types of landforms, and we have integrated this lesson into writing class.  At home, each of the different groups wrote a description of their own made-up continent.  This continent had to include different landforms from their geography unit.  In class, the children illustrated this continent, creating a poster for their creation!  Continents included Pugland, PupPeru, W-Land, Guinealand, & Kitland.  Based on the descriptions of some of these places, I would definitely want to visit!

This week, we are wrapping up our history class by giving them an opportunity to break into groups and create a visual representation of a certain time period.  They were so excited to sprawl out and work together on the floor!  Through this activity, the students were motivated, on their own, to open up their binders and flip back through each lesson.  They pulled out pictures they had colored, worksheets they remembered completing, and unit reviews that they could use as they worked.  I absolutely loved this project, not for the finished project, but for the enthusiastic, self-motivated review from its creation!

The Guinea Group finished up The One and Only Ivan today.  We discussed that this was a work of fiction, but based on the true story of Ivan the gorilla.  Tomorrow, they will be visiting the Atlanta Zoo website to learn about the real Ivan, his history, and his life at the Atlanta Zoo.

The Chicken Group has completed their phonics lessons!  They have really come a long with the fluency of their reading and the accuracy of their spelling.  As the year progressed, we phased out of marking vowels and special sounds.  They were able to apply the special sounds to difficult words quickly, as they read.  I am very proud of them for their hard work this year!

The class recorded the audio to their very last poetry recitation project.  They each illustrated their portion of the poem, and I will have them compiled into the last poetry video of the year!

At the end of the day, the class had a brief review of invertebrates and vertebrates.  We discussed cold and warm blooded animals, and they did a great job recalling the information from their at-home assignments!  Afterward, we had a lesson on when to use a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, and encyclopedia.  I know that most of the time we look things up on our computers.  But, it is very important to know how to find information, and how to use guide words at the top of the page to locate the information that you need.  We practiced looking up different words in each of these resources.  They were so excited to learn that there was an entire book just for synonyms!  They had no idea that a thesaurus could help them find just the right word to use when they are writing!

Our monarch caterpillars have formed their cocoons and are getting ready for their great transformation!  We are very excited to see them spread their wings!

Thursday will be our last day here, and I honestly cannot believe it.  This year has flown by!  Time truly flies when you're having fun, and teaching this group has been an absolute


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tuesday, 5/9/17

Welcome, Ambassadors!

Today, the school room was transformed into the United Nations Conference!  The students represented their countries during the conference, making trade deals, developing allies, and working out global issues.  The conference, presided by the chairperson, Mr. Jim, was a complete success.  Not only did the students learn about their specific countries represented, they also learned the meaning of words such as import, export,  ally, delegation, treaty, and more.  The class even integrated a little of our agriculture knowledge into their trade agreements! Over the last couple weeks, the students have been learning the formality of procedures in a conference setting.  They put this knowledge into action today.  I was very impressed with their performance.  The future is bright!

After the Guinea Group completed today's spelling review, we talked about the characters in our Ivan book.  Each student has been doing a wonderful job with their journal for this novel, and they really love to share their thoughts with the class.  The older students have been working on diagramming select sentences from the book, and this at-home work was corrected today.  We read on a little further today, and the students will be finishing this book up very soon!  At home, they will be studying the new vocabulary for the upcoming pages, and we will discuss these in class on Thursday.

The Chicken Group reviewed the new spelling list.  I have been trying to get the students to slow down and focus during their study time.  Children so often want to hurry through and simply check things off of their to-do list, without taking the time to master and learn the material.  Today, they had to slow things down, use multiple senses, and maximize the effectiveness of their study time.  They looked at the words with their eyes.  They spoke the spellings of the words with their mouths.  They listened to each other with their ears.  They also used their hands to write the words.  I know it isn't the most fun lesson in the world, but I believe it is important to teach not only the skills needed for studying, but also to teach the students that flying through an assignment without learning is actually a waste of their time!

The entire class learned about points of view today.  After reciting their pronoun list, we discussed the use of pronouns in stories, and how they can give us a clue as to whether the story was written in 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person.  Once they understood this concept, each of them wrote a story about one of the animals on the farm.  The stories were written in 3rd person, and each child shared their paragraph with the class.  Next, they each rewrote their story in 1st person.  They really did a wonderful job with this activity, and they thought it was pretty fun! 

For science, the class was excited to see that their beans had sprouted!  They were able to sketch the parts of the plant, clearly seeing the cotyledon, roots, and leaves.  We discussed the difference between vascular plants and non-vascular plants, and the students will be moving on to animals (both invertebrates and vertebrates) tomorrow!

As a side, the class was introduced to some little friends today.  The Farm Bureau has been working to educate children about the plight of the monarch butterflies.  The class was upset to learn that the monarch butterfly is becoming endangered!  They understood that monarch butterflies are an important pollinator, and need our protection.  The class discussed reasons for their decline, including the loss of milkweed, loss of habitat for migration and breeding grounds, and the use of pesticides and herbicides.  Thanks to the Fayette County Farm Bureau, our class hopes to help by releasing our butterflies when they emerge!  The students planted wildflower seeds, and we should have milkweed and butterfly bushes planted shortly.  Let's all work together to help the monarch butterflies!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday, 5/4/17

 Our bush beans are sprouting!  As the roots stretch and the cotyledons emerge from the soil, the class will learn how each part works... in action!

In spelling, the class played their weekly spelling review game.  This week, they earned goldfish for their goldfish bowl.  They have come such a long way in spelling, reading, and phonics this year.  I am very proud of each of them!

The Chicken Group learned how strong verbs can improve your writing.  As they read through short stories in their Signatures books, we will continue to discuss and integrate the grammar skills that they have learned this year.

The Guinea Group continued reading about Ivan and his struggle to help the young elephant, Ruby.  Their journal entries have become much more thorough and thoughtful as we make our way through the book.  Not only are we using The One and Only Ivan to reinforce grammar concepts such as direct and indirect quotations, proper punctuation, strong verb usage,  similes, and metaphors, we are also using it as a springboard for understanding deeper meanings that what is printed on the page.  Sometimes, the author does not spell everything out clearly for the reader.  I am hoping that this book, and our discussions of it, help these students to develop a more mature understanding of literature. 

The class continued to work their way through the United Nations study.  On Tuesday, they will be representing their countries as ambassadors at our United Nations Conference!

It was a rainy day today, so recess was spent indoors.  Even though it was soggy outside, we still were able to play with some cuddly animals!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tuesday, 5/2/17

Today was a big day, as the students began to dive into their United Nations lesson! At home, they developed a sense of the purpose of the U.N..  Here in class, moved past the overview and into the "meat and potatoes" of the unit.  Students were divided into groups of 2-3, which will serve as ambassadors from four different countries.  After a thorough discussion by Mr. Jim on the subject, the class made their flags and name plates, and also worked through the formality and structure of a United Nations Conference.  I loved hearing these little voices say things like, "I yield my remaining time to my fellow Ambassador."  We will continue to work in groups, and the students will be attending their formal United Nations Conference on Tuesday of next week!

We only have a few spelling lists to go, and we are finishing up our last vocabulary list!  Today, both spelling groups played the Kangaroo Jump spelling game.  Spelling review can get boring without a little silliness!

Here at the end of the year, we are working to integrate lessons learned in grammar, handwriting, vocabulary, and more into our book studies.  The Chicken Group has been reading a short story about Ramona, who made a crown in the yard, but ended up with burs stuck all over her hair!  We are not only reading the story, but are working on comprehension and grammar skills.  Although the class has a very firm grasp on verbs as a part of speech, we have not talked about the fact that some verbs are stronger than others!  Over the next week, we will be discussing the use of exciting and descriptive verbs as a way to improve writing.  In addition, sometimes, children misuse the words "set" and "sit".  We are working through the proper use of these words, as well as others, over the next few days. 

The Guinea Group is continuing to read "The One and Only Ivan".  This story is so touching, and the students are really enjoying it!  We have been tying our grammar lessons into the novel study.  Because Ivan is the narrator of the story, it is a great book to pick apart!  We have been diagramming certain sentences throughout the book, talking about strong verb usage, noting the direct and indirect quotations, and more.  The class will be finishing up this book just in time to wrap up the year!

In science, the students have learned about the first three kingdoms: Monera, Protista, and Fungi.  Today, they learned about plants!  At home, they will dive into the difference between vascular and nonvascular plants.  In class, we talked about the parts of a seed, and they planted a bush bean.  These beans were planted in a way that will allow us to monitor the sprouts.  We'll be learning more about plants next week!