Thursday, January 26, 2012

Learning Safari

 Spanish- Today was a day of preparation for our Mexican restaurant! The kids worked on signs for the room, menus, and practiced their Spanish terms. We will have our Mexican restaurant night on February, 16th at 6:00.

Spelling- As a review today, the kids took to the yard. They jumped from one hula hoop to another until I yelled “stop!”. Whomever landed on the orange disk had to spell a word from list 20. Love that kinesthetic learning!

Grammar- We had a much needed review over the four types of verbs, direct objects, predicate nominatives, and predicate adjectives today. The kids are doing an amazing job with all of this! We will be doing many more at home video lessons as the material gets tougher and tougher. It's just amazing what sponges these kids are!

Reading- This book is a hit! Not only are we tackling some tough vocabulary, this book is catapulting us into some great discussions on plate tectonics. After we went over each of the vocabulary words and created our own sentences with them, the kids illustrated a scene from chapter 8.

Math- We took our long multiplication a little farther today... multiplying numbers into the hundreds! The students learned to regroup more than once today... and saw that it wasn't a tricky as it seemed like it would be! Keep drilling those multiplication facts... having them memorized will make things easier from here on out!

Science- We have been learning about the Earth's resources. Today, we learned about the water cycle. After taking notes and doing an experiment with evaporation (which we will have to get the results of on Tuesday), I passed out notecards with the words sun, rain, glacier, water vapor, and ocean. The children had to take their characters and work together to create a skit on the water cycle. At first, the room was in chaos. Kids talking over kids, ideas smothering ideas. Tempers, opinions, and frustrations flew about! I decided to step back and explain why group projects are so important. They learned that most jobs work on tasks that are far too large for one person to complete! Even grown ups have a hard time working together... and all for the same types of issues that this class of 3rd graders had. After a little pep-talk, magic happened. They started to work... and write... and brainstorm. They were on FIRE! All of them worked together, without any interaction from the adults. They worked right through writing class. Why stop enthusiastic learning?! After an hour and fifteen minutes of solid cooperative brainpower, these kids had written a play. They even decided that one of them would have the job of combining the separate pieces of paper into a single script. On Tuesday, I will film the product of this awesome lesson on not only the water cycle, but on working in a group!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis began his lesson on the American Revolution today. The kids had some background knowledge from their internet reading yesterday, and the lesson took off! They completed a crossword puzzle using the terms from today. Also, Mr. Dennis introduced them to their new long-term project. They will be making a big timeline of the American Revolution. They will keep this at home, adding to it the information that they learn in class each Tuesday and Thursday! They can add pictures, either hand drawn or printed. Their timeline will begin with the French and Indian War in 1754 and end with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. I think this will be a great way for them to keep a handle on all of the important events!

During free time today, the kids checked out a Lego robotic rover that one student had made at home. He had created it using motors and an RC receiver... and a small video camera. In no time, the class had devised a plan. They took off into our little country scene, gathering sticks and twigs and clumps of grass. They worked during their entire free time, and then again after school. Then, they shouted out for all the parents to come and check out their finished product. What they had created was just awesome. They had made a path for the rover that was lined with miniature models... a turtle with turtle eggs, a giraffe eating from a tree, and an Indian fort. The rover made its way through the path, filming as it rolled across the ground. They even narrated their adventure, which they then asked for me to edit and post here. The beautiful thing is that this beautiful project was spontaneous, collaborative, and born from the minds of children. I love this place.