Keeping with our focus on folk tales, we read the story "The Irish Cinderlad," a folk tale from Ireland. This folk tale was similar to the familiar story "Cinderella." It was about a boy whose mother died and then he was left with a mean stepmother and stepsisters who teased him incessantly about his big feet. He was eventually sent out to take care of the cows but with a warning to look out for the speckled bull, who was considered dangerous. The boy, Becan, in fact, did encounter the bull, but made friends with him and since the mother didn't feed the boy, the cow did. He provided a tablecloth and food out of his ear each day for the boy to eat. Soon the mother found out about the bull and decided to kill him, but the boy ran to tell him first. The two of them ran off together but when they reached a certain place, the bull had to fight the gray bull, and he lost. He gave the boy instructions to take his tail when he died and to use it when he was in an impossible place. So the boy took his tail and continued on. He was then given a job by another man as a herdsman of cows, but the man warned of the arhach (giant) that lived on the other side of the wall. One day he met the giant and needed to use the tail of the speckled bull to help him. It helped him get rid of the arhach and it also scored him a pair of boots that actually fit him. Later, he hears of a city in peril- a dragon comes out of the water each year to eat the fairest maiden of all. This year it was the princess who would be sacrificed for the townspeople. Becan decides to fight the dragon, and with the help of the speckled bull's tail, he wins. But he leaves behind his boot. Soon the princess decides that she is going to marry the man who saved her, but all she has is his boot. She goes on a large search for the owner and eventually finds that it belongs to Becan. They get married and live happily ever after!
- We have been observing many things around us that change, but one thing we had fun with was our feelings. Yes, our feelings also change. Different circumstances make us feel different things. We read the book "How I feel" and then each student picked an emotion and wrote what makes them feel that way. The faces were great!
As we've been practicing learning about time, the kids all made a clock reading their birth time that we have added to our timelines. They wrote the time on a digital and an analog clock.
The kids each created their own clock this week in order to understand the components and function of a clock and also to have something to bring home to practice telling time. Some students glued down the minute hand pointing to the 12- so that they can practice moving the hour hand and easily read the time to the nearest hour. Others were ready for two mobile hands and are already telling time to the half-hour. The kids then practiced reading times on a digital clock and then making their clocks match.
As we are learning about time, we have learned that there are 24 hours a day but only 12 hours on the clock. The kids understand that the first time around the clock is called "AM" and when it repeats a second time that it is called "PM." The kids brainstormed some important times for each of them in their daily lives and then chose one to illustrate for AM and another to draw for PM. Here are some of the things they chose...
A second folk tale we read this week was called One Grain of Rice and it was a tale from India about a clever girl (it worked in with our "cl" blend) who tricked the king into doing what was fair and just. She asked the king for just one grain of rice the first day but then asked that it be doubled every day for 30 days. At the end of the story she had to have 256 elephants carry all the rice that she received. She then shared it with all the hungry people and taught the king a valuable lesson. The kids drew their favorite part and stated their opinion about the book. Most students liked it, but the ones who didn't thought that the king was too mean.
We read a Chinese folk tale this week called Tikki Tikki Tembo and talked about compassion. The kids then had to summarize the story in sequential order with three pictures. Here's what the story was about...
This unit we are observing the changes that happen around us. So we read a great book about changes and how many things were once a different thing. The kids then brainstormed a list of things that we see changing around us and then chose one to illustrate. Their pictures were really great! Our list ranged anywhere from rain evaporating to foods changing (like grapes to raisins) to plants growing to things that we change everyday like what we wear and what we eat.
We began our literacy unit on folk tales this week so we read a tale from Nigeria in West Africa called Zomo the Rabbit. It was a tale of a rabbit who wanted to get wisdom from the sun god. But first the sun god gave Zomo three impossible tasks. The first was to get a scale from the Great Fish, so Zomo played his drum until the fish came out of the water to dance and all his scales fell off. Then Zomo had to get the milk of Wild Cow, so he tricked him into getting stuck and then got his milk. His third task was to get the tooth of leopard. In order to do this he made leopard slip down a hill and bump his head on a big rock so that his tooth would fall out. In the end he brought these three items back to the sun god and did in fact acquire wisdom, but also some practical advice... if he ever saw any of them again, he should RUN FAST! And thus explains why the rabbit can run so fast. The kids sequenced the events and drew awesome pictures, even adopting the African style and colors that the illustrator used.
This week we learned about halves. We learned that to be a half, there have to be two equal pieces. We practiced splitting groups in half and used manipulatives to model halves. We also split different shapes in half and discussed all the different ways that halves can look and then tallied up the number of students that had split their shape in half using horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines.
This week we finished the last few "Bossy R" letters, as we added "ir" and "ur" to our list of other R-controlled vowels. The kids made a "Bossy R" flipbook and got to choose their own pictures from our vocabulary cards to put on each section. It was a good review of old R-controlled sounds as well as a good activity to solidify the new vocabulary.
The kids have been learning the basics of typing on the computer. They have learned how to capitalize letters, add punctuation, and delete any errors. They each chose one of the facts that they wrote about mammals to type up. We then put these facts up next to each animal that they wrote about.
We learned the digraph "ph" and what better way to connect it to animals than to talk about amphibians! The kids each chose one amphibian to draw and write about. We learned that amphibians live on land and in the water. They begin as eggs and most go through metamorphosis. The kids chose newts, salamanders, frogs and toads to draw and write about.
After reading and writing about mammals, the kids made some large-scale mammals to go on our "island." When we finished, the kids had to figure out which animal belonged to which habitat.
This week as we were learning about "ar," we read a book about farms and the plants, animals, tools, and equipment that can be found on farms from A-Z. The kids made predictions about what the letters would bring and then chose one or more animals and letters to depict.
On Monday we finished learning about "oi" and we talked about the BP oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago. We watched some videos about the damage and looked at pictures. We talked about how it affected the plants and wildlife that live in the Gulf of Mexico. We were also able to talk about all of our ESLR's. It took a lot of courage for people to go out and help with the clean-up, people showed sensitivity and compassion towards the animals that were covered with oil, lots of people had to use intelligence to figure out the best ways to contain the spill, and it sure took a lot of vitality to clean it all up!
We began measuring today using our foot as a non-standard tool of measurement. We traced and cut out our own feet and then began by finding things around the room that were longer and shorter than our feet. We extended this activity over several days, the second day actually measuring how many of their feet certain objects were, and on the third day comparing their feet to a standard foot.
We began talking about sequencing in math- putting events or numbers in the correct order. We talked about the things that we do during the day and the kids drew three things that they do and put them in order.
Since this unit of inquiry looks at how we share the planet with both plants and animals around us, we have begun learning about different kinds of animal groups: birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, etc. This week we read a book about insects and talked about the 6+1 trait "ideas." We took the information from the book and brainstormed our ideas in the form of a list before drawing and writing about what we had learned about insects.
We took a delightful field trip to Polar Ocean World this week to kick off our unit on communities and the plants and animals that we share our world with. These were some of the animals that the kids enjoyed the most!
We learned the digraph "th" this week and so we read some stories with the "th" sound. One of the books we read was "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly." As a comprehension exercise, the kids drew some of the animals that the old woman swallowed.
When we were learning about the digraph "th" we read a book called "These Hands." It was a lovely book about what a little girls hands could do. So we decided to write about what our hands like to do!
We read the story "Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Blue Sea" for the digraph "sh." We talked about how the rainbow fish showed courage by going down and meeting the other sea animals that were thought to be "different" and therefore "dangerous." It led to a great conversation about not judging people before you get to know them and about being courageous in making new friends.
We have begun learning common digraphs and this week we introduced the "ch" sound. We built our own "choo-choo" train, writing "ch" words on each train car. Then we put them all together to form a "ch" train.
As our classroom elf, Jingle, got ready to go back to the North Pole, the kids wrote letters for him to take to Santa. It was particularly good timing since we've been talking about wants and needs anyways, the kids were able to write to Santa what they want for Christmas.
To celebrate winter and prepare for Christmas, we had a lot of fun with a snowman glyph. The students had to follow the four rules of the glyph and then interpret the data in different ways- primarily, they wrote about themselves using the glyph, they tallied the class results and then we made a class graph with all the data. The kids loved this activity and we all had a lot of fun with it!
For Thanksgiving, we talked about the many things we are thankful for. The students chose a few of the things that we had brainstormed together and either wrote or drew them on their feathers. Some of them drew a lot of different things, some only one. Ody is REALLY thankful for pizza! The kids had a great time coloring their turkeys and giving them lots of bright colored feathers!
For the letter W we read Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss. It is one of my favorite books and the kids absolutely loved it! They were making up "wacky" scenarios for the rest of the day! Each student got to draw their own wacky thing and write a short sentence about it. We saw people with 12 heads and others with lots of eyes, pink grass, trees with arms, someone driving a tree, sharks on a leash, and all sorts of other "wacky" things.
As we've begun our second unit of inquiry into wants and needs and the materials that we get from the earth to meet them, we've been exploring different materials. This week we explored rocks and what they are used for. The students each chose a rock and drew it paying close attention to color, shape, and size. They also wrote a short one-sentence description of their rock, describing two different properties (color, shape, size, hardness, or texture).
As we learned about the vowel combination ee, we decided to make a tree using leaves for our classroom. It serves multiple purposes. Not only does it help us to display our ee words and illustrations, but it is also in our inquiry corner. We've talked about the things that we need to survive and trees and plants are one of them. Trees give us oxygen to breath, some provide fruits and nuts for us to eat, and they help give us the materials we need to make homes, tables, desks, paper, etc.
We have been learning about symmetry in math. We've explored symmetry in nature, noticing symmetry in animals, plants, and insects. We also explored symmetry in art and symmetry in our own bodies. The kids did a lot of different activities to explore symmetry, and in the words of little Eric, "Mrs. Angie, I LOVE symmetry!"
As we learned the vowel combination ai, we did a shared reading of "Rain, Rain, Go Away" and, after brainstorming words that contain ai, each student made two raindrops. On the first raindrop, they wrote the ai word of their choice, and on the second, they drew a picture illustrating that word. We hung them up under a rain cloud in the window of our room.
We read a story about Jaguars and then made jaguars out of the letter J. The kids had fun with it and each of them personalized their jaguars in a way that was their own.
This week as we learned about the letter W, we read the story Worm's Wagon, and made wiggly worms using alternating colors and our thumbs.
For the letter U, we read under umbrellas and made a list of things that go up. One thing that goes up is a hot air balloon. We looked at pictures of real hot air balloons and looked at all the cool designs and colors that are on them. Then we created our own hot air balloons and we added other things that go up, such as the Sun, birds, and clouds.
For the letter O, we made owls using a large oval O, a triangle for the head, two circles for eyes and little rectangular feet. The kids had fun decorating their owl and making it unique while reinforcing the names and properties of basic 2-dimensional shapes.
As one of our daily routines, we track the weather each month using both a tally chart and a bar graph. At the end of the month, we compare the weather from both months, seeing which kind of weather we saw most frequently, and least frequently, and if there were any kinds of weather that occurred with the same frequency over the two months. These were the results from August and September.