Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Newsletter
What an exciting month October has been! Our second, third, and fourth grade students have researched holidays for the upcoming months that they have started to present to the class. Some students took a “Walking Field Trip” to the Tallmadge Circle to practice map skills that were introduced last year. Other students were introduced to, or continued practicing, compass and map key skills outside. Our second-year students kicked off their rock and mineral study with learning about the layers of the Earth. A few older students have begun their body research by learning about our skeleton.
After learning about the order of the planets and their distance from the sun last month, we started our monthly continent studies. This month we focused on North America. Students learned the names of the countries and islands in the Caribbean, we discussed famous landmarks in North America, and looked through items from the continent in our “Secret Basket.”
Our students worked very hard to memorize their lines from “The Drama of the Archeozoic Ocean” to present to Ms. Courtney’s class. We practiced each day and made our own costumes. In order to make our costumes, our students had to use their research and computer skills to find what these early, and sometimes microscopic, life forms looked like.
Taking care of Vinny and Kernel has become second nature. We feed Vinny daily, and play with him frequently. Vinny is now excited when students come to pet him in his cage. He is so active each morning when it is time to be fed! Kernel is getting used to being held by me and the students enjoy watching. Many students have helped prepare his food and watch him eat. They often try to imitate how large he can open his mouth. Kernel shed for the first time this month. We laminated his skin and measured the length in inches and centimeters. It was such an exciting day!
Along with the responsibility of taking care of animals, our students have the privilege to teach their knowledge to others. Two students found an exciting section of a botany book about growing plants indoors. These students wrote out a lesson plan, gathered their supplies, and presented their lesson to their peers, including some kindergarten students. Along with their lessons, the students had handouts of plant information for each child, which they helped them read to understand the process of growing, and taking care of, a plant.
All students have been working on different measurement lessons. Some have been introduced to measuring in inches and centimeters, some are measuring to ½ and ¼ inches, some are using the yardstick, and some are learning about weighing in grams. To add to our measurement curriculum, Ms. Sara’s husband, Steve, brought his expertise (and patience) to help us with a project. We will be building a peace pole for our playground with Ms. Courtney’s class. We will have the word “Peace” written in different languages and the pieces decorated by both classes at the Tallmadge campus. The students were so excited to measure, cut, and sand their own pieces. Soon we will begin painting them. Ms. Sara’s husband will return to help us build the pole and display it near the playground as a reminder that we are all important and all connected.
With our excitement of building, we also had our first classroom party! The Halloween party was a success! We participated in a parade with Ms. Courtney’s room. We did a blind drawing contest where students drew spooky creations with their eyes closed. Pumpkin bowling was definitely a favorite! Almost everyone got a strike! Before the students went to gym we had a mummy contest. Students picked their own groups, designed a mummy costume using toilet paper and had to complete tasks without their costume falling apart. To end our Halloween celebrations, a student shared their report on Halloween and we learned the history of the jack-o-lantern before carving our own.
In Reading Group, we have two groups reading different stories of our Junior Great book series. Another group is reading The Tale of Despereaux. Our final group completed The Indian in the Cupboard. We have introduced and reviewed how to use a dictionary and thesaurus. Students have learned a fun activity called “The Fish Bowl” where they challenge their memory spelling phonetic or high-frequency words. All groups have reviewed the function of the adjective. Some of the groups learned logical agreement of adjectives, adjective suffixes, proper adjectives, and adjective opposites.
We are looking forward to all of our adventures to come in the month of November!