We had two projects from last week that we are continuing to work on, they are a country project and the writing of an essay. In the country project the students needed to research the history of the country, make a copy of the flag, find the currency, look up the natural resources and crops, look up the national anthem and write it down as well as listen to it, make a hand drawn map, and finally add their own idea. This project seems to have hit the spot with students for they are putting a lot of effort into their research and producing very nice displays. The topic of the essay assignment was to compare two people. As always in this class, even though the main topic was writing about real or fictional people, one group of two students tried to extend the assignment and asked if they could compare a chair and a sofa. This assignment is going very well. Because students have really gotten involved in these two assignments, I’ve extended the time but both should be completed by Friday.
Last week when we were watching the BBC production of Richard the Third, I decided that we should be taking notes on each scene. When I gave out the schedules to each student, I included handouts that listed the acts and scenes and gave space to write underneath. We have been doing this sometimes before and sometimes after watching the video and it has been very helpful. At these note taking sessions, discussions always come up as well as questions. By Friday we will have watched two hours and 50 minutes of this video with only one hour remaining to watch next week. The class’ understanding of this complex history is utterly amazing. I am getting so excited about seeing this play on Broadway with the group.
This week our schedule included math work, music, phys. ed, reading partners with the younger class, and a new Scope Magazine with articles and a mini play on slavery.
Our new book in the class is The Shakespeare Stealer. It is a story of a young boy and his life during Shakespearean times. Of course Susan and Sara suggested this book and it seems to be a hit. We are now more than halfway through it in less than a week. We also received a present from Rosalie which is entitled William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. It is a book in Shakespearean language which retells the Star Wars story. C3PO’s first lines are –
Now is the summer of our happiness
Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!
Our ship is under siege, I know not how.
O hast thou heard? The main reactor fails!
We shall surely be destroyed by this.
I’ll warrant madness lies.herein!
R2D2 – responds beep beep beep beep beep!
This book sounds like a winner to me.
I’m afraid that’s all I can write this week. I have been working diligently on my conference reports since the end of December and I am just about “written out”. However, writing conference reports is a very positive and affirming process for me so it is certainly worth the time. I also like the fact that we do these in February so that we can use them for a guide for the rest of the year.
This week, we welcomed M back. The class missed him, and is happy to have him back with us.
The children edited their snow writings from last week, and are in the process of creating final copies to display along with their watercolors. The editing process involved reviewing spelling, capitalization, and basic punctuation. By reviewing these in their own writing, they will begin to internalize some of these rules for future writings.
The children are fully engaged in our backyard bird project. Research about different birds is well underway, with lots of excitement about the interesting facts that are being discovered. The children were so excited to finally see a few birds at the feeder at school. So, we have decided to count what we can at school, in addition to counting birds at my house each week. I purchased a feeder to put out at school to replace the one the squirrel gnawed. We summarized the data we collected at my house last week. I posted the information to the Cornell website, but unfortunately I had to do this at home this time because the website wasn’t working when I tried to do this with the kids at school. Hopefully next week the kids can record their own data. On Friday, we will be going to my house for our second bird count.
I began self-evaluation (interviews) with the children this week. These will be shared with you at conferences in February. This process gives insight into how the children are perceiving things in their world at school, which may differ from what I am seeing.
We spent quite a bit of time on math this week. Data collection and statistics is part of our bird project. We also worked on math activity cards (addition, addition with regrouping, counting by 10, place value). I have also begun to discuss money with the pair of children that are responsible for pizza orders each week. This is something you can do with your children at home. Show different coins in piles to show how many are needed to equal a dollar. Money is an abstract concept, and many will not understand it at this age, but because we are using it for pizza orders, I thought I would at least introduce it.
Yesterday we celebrated A’s 6th birthday, and on Friday we will celebrate Z’s 8th birthday. Our class celebration is lots of fun, and really makes the birthday person feel special. Happy Birthday, A and Z!!
MUSIC WITH HELEN
This week in music I showed the middle and older class the first part of a video by Howard Goodall called the History of Music. We went a good pace from 32,000 BC through the introduction of musical theater in Greece. After the video we discussed that evolution and next week we will finish part one (of six) of that movie. I don’t plan on watching all six but we may see part of other videos as time goes by. The purpose of this is to lay the foundation for a study of musical theater and how it can be used as a study of history in our country.
For the musicians, we continued our work on beginning and ensemble recorder. We are learning two pieces from the 1500’s.
In the younger class it was songs from Frozen that the kids wanted to sing. We spent most of our time singing and then we sang “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea” in an attempt to get them to get them to sing and recall names and the order of the items they added to the song. Next week we will begin learning to read rhythm in music notation.