This week we will be finishing our fifth ecosystem, tropical forests. We have only three more systems to cover and they are fresh water areas, grasslands, and temperate forests. I think using these ecosystems and the book Earth Matters as our base for all of our animal studies has been very productive. Once we have completed all of these sections, we will have a chance to review some of this material by having handouts and games to see if students can identify what animals and features go with each of the ecosystems we studied. It will be our form of the T.V. show Jeopardy.
Our magazine project continues this week and next. Each student should have a minimum of 17 pages for their magazine by the end of next week. After the break we will put all of the pages in magazine format and create what I hope looks a lot like a real magazine. We will then read and talk about each magazine and see if it is really modeled after its original inspiration which ranges from National Geographic to Opera.
We had a project this week inspired by the art work of Jay Ryan, a graphic designer. He is a person who uses minimal lines to create amazingly charming and sometimes edgy animals. We actually started this project by enhancing a bat drawing that was created by a student in the younger class. Each student in the class added color and additional details to her work, and they are now hanging on our wall. I love it when the classes share work with each other! From that beginning, I then presented work from a book on Jay Ryan and asked the class to try to draw animals making only a few lines. We soon learned that it is quite a challenge to use less to create more feeling and expression. I was very pleased with the work we have done so far with this idea.
This week we had our regular work along with phys. ed. and music. It is good to have both Helen and Chris back!
2nd NEW YORK TRIP:
We will be taking the train from Middletown Station and upon arrival at Penn Station we will take the Number 2 Subway line to The World Financial Center to see Canstruction, an exhibit of structures created by artists, architects, and engineers from food cans. The sculptures we will see were made from 100,000 cans! We will have our lunches in The Winter Garden before heading back to the subway to take the 2 and then the 1 train to 50th St. (The subway is about 6 blocks from the World Financial Center.) We will have a six block walk to the museum where we are going to be looking for animals in paintings and sculptures, as well as enjoying several new exhibits. We will be at the museum for 2 hours and then walk seven blocks to our restaurant. It is D Napoli Pizza and they have delicious pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and salads served family style. It is a very comfortable and spacious environment. After dinner we will walk 22 blocks back to Penn Station. We will get Krispy Kremes and board the train for our trip back to Middletown train station for pick up by parents.
We have begun a new phase of animal study by discussing the system of classification developed by Carolus Linnaeus. Each child is choosing an animal and then researching its classification. We will then be making a chart or diagram to show species, genus and family. We will be discussing what characteristics animals in a family might have in common.
The class has been processing social relationships. We have been identifying areas of misunderstanding or conflict and brainstorming solutions. I am planning meetings with the boys and the girls to give everyone the opportunity to speak to each other about anything that needs work and to share all the positive experiences they share. It has been difficult to get everyone together as we have students out every day for one reason or another. I understand that it is not always possible to schedule doctor/dentist appointments outside of school hours, but in the event that your child is going to miss school, arrive late, or leave early, please let us know as far in advance as possible. As you know, most of our projects are done in groups so it is helpful if I have some advance notice that a student is going to be out. Thank you for your cooperation.
This week has really gone quickly! With two students away on a cruise all week and a number of others out sick, we have had a small class and this has allowed us to spend a lot of time working together and getting even deeper into interesting topics. Every animal mural is finished and on display. We are continuing to work on creative stories and fact writing about the animals as well. We have also worked hard on our first newspaper of the year, E is the editor and he has been following up with everyone on their writing and pictures and typing the articles when they are finished. Next week we will be making our Valentine’s Day boxes, if anyone has shoes boxes please send them in by Monday, they make the best card boxes. Please read our overview of our Valentine’s Day traditions so you and your child can decide how they would like to participate next Thursday. If you have any questions please feel free to talk to me. Also next week we are really excited to be going to Brookdale to watch the play, Amazing Grace, a book about an African American girl who sticks up for her right to play the lead role in her school play even though they tell her she can’t due to her race. I think this will be a lot of fun and a great activity before the break.