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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Silly Stories

I used my new Silly Story Cards with my students today for the first time! 

 Each student got to choose one card from four different card types.  Each card has a different story element on it - main character, time, place, and problem.  The students then recorded their four story elements on the top of a recording page.  After that, the writing fun began.  Each story came out different because they all had different combinations of story elements to begin with.  

After we finished our stories {and yes, I wrote one too},  the students that wanted to were allowed to read them out loud to the class.  We had lots of fun giggling at the silly stories about things like farmers in outer space, cowboys on the beach, and talking dogs.

The kids had so much fun, but even more importantly, they spent about 20 - 30 minutes actually writing.  True, I didn't get everything taught that I had scheduled for today.  But it is worth it to put a few things off until tomorrow so that kids can have fun practicing such an important skill!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Studying, Writing, and Creating with Poetry

Well, we wrapped up our 3rd grade poetry unit today.  We spent a week of reading classes focusing on some poems written by Robert Louis Stevenson.  
Illustration of "Pirate Story"

This was our first poetry unit of the year so we started by defining the parts of a poem.  We used Lovin' Lit's interactive notebook lesson on Parts of a Poem to begin with.  We defined lines, stanzas, rhythm, and rhyme.  

A sideways picture - Oops!
After gluing copies of the poems into our notebooks, we then spent two lessons focusing on rhyme scheme in poetry.  We talked about using letters to identify what words rhymed at the ends of lines and then the students practiced finding rhyme scheme on their own.  We also spent one lesson talking about the theme of this set of poems - imagination.

Working on "Block City"
Finally, we chose two of the poems to illustrate in different ways. For the first project, the student was allowed to choose any poem and paint a picture that they felt showed the poem in some way.  Then, they cut out block shapes and glued them onto paper to make a block city of some kind. Once the blocks were glued on, they colored in a background picture.  This art project went perfectly with Stevenson's poem "Block City."  The projects came out amazing.  

We also read the poems out loud several times and then to the class while we displayed our art projects.  We finished by writing our own poems about ways that we use our imagination in play.
It was a great week of poetry fun!  I can't wait until the next one!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week In Review

I didn't get a chance to post at all this week. {It seemed to be super busy!!}  So I thought I would just give you an overview of what our week was like.

 1st grade read the story "A Snack for Two" in our reading books this week.  So to go along with the story, we wrote about our own forest snack.  {In case you can't read what this says, Colby would bring Lucky Charms and lemonade and sit on a log to eat his forest snack.}

It was exciting to receive our first pen pal letter in the 3rd grade.  Danny immediately wanted to go to the writing center and write a letter back so of course we made time for that!

We did lots of other things that I don't have pictures for as well. 
  •  4th grade started writing their how-to papers. 
  •  6th grade started learning about the different types of characters found in stories and started a new English unit.  They are going to be writing persuasive essays.  I can't wait to see what they choose to persuade others to do!
  • 3rd grade started a week long poetry unit.  We are reading and looking at some of the poems by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I will be posting more about that when we finish our unit this week. 
  • 1st grade has been learning all about blends - both at the beginning and ending of words.  
We have been busy!!

We had a half day Thursday and then our Fall Festival Thursday night.  It looked like the kids all had a blast!  There was free pizza, goodies to buy at the Country Store, games, candy, hayrides, and cupcake and pie eating contests!

The 1st - 3rd graders were especially excited about the cupcake eating contest.  They wolfed those cupcakes down as fast as they could!

And the winner is....Danny!

We closed the Festival with a message from God's Word.  And the kids even sat and listened well{despite the obvious sugar high they were all on by this point}. 

And Friday was a day off.  I don't know about anyone else, but I really enjoyed having that extra free day this weekend.  I was able to get quite a bit of prep work done for next week - especially for my reading units. 

What did you do with your extra time with your children?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Today We... a board story in Kindergarten!

...practiced our memory verses in 2nd - 4th grade! WOW!

...set up for our puppet show/play in 3rd grade!

...worked with starting blends in 1st grade!
...wrote about Columbus for Columbus Day in 2nd grade! some from The Indian in the Cupboard in 6th grade!
...learned about singular possessive nouns in 4th grade!
Of course, we did lots and lots and lots of other things as well!  This is just a small part of our day today. ☺

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Art Class {Last Thursday}

Paul Halferty came to our elementary last week and taught the first of a series of art classes to our students.  Paul is an accomplished artist who graduated from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.  He and his wife, Esther, now run their own specialty tile business called Lilywork.  On the first Thursday of every month, Paul is going to teach our students a different artistic concept. 

He started the lesson by talking with the students about what art really is.  The students listed some of the things they thought art was: drawing, painting, pictures, etc.  Mr. Halferty went on to list some other art forms such as architecture, statues, vases, sculptures, and photographs.  He then showed a slide show of some famous art and discussed how an artist uses art to tell a story of some kind.

Next, Mr. Halferty set up a 
bowl of fruit and a spotlight.  He pointed out the shadows that the light threw on the fruit bowl and then demonstrated how to draw the bowl of fruit and shade in the darker parts. 

Now the students got to use charcoal to draw their own bowls of fruit.  Mr. Halferty walked around the room praising the drawings and giving suggestions for improvements.  The children seemed to enjoy using the charcoal, and they worked very hard on their drawings.

 You can see how diligently the students are studying the fruit and drawing their pictures!

Once the children were done with their drawings, Mr. Halferty showed them some famous drawings and photographs of other still life fruit bowls.  (We teachers used this time to hang the drawings in our hallway.)  It was interesting to see how other artists - and how our students - portrayed a simple bowl of fruit.  Don't you think their drawings were amazing?!

(By the way, the photos don't really do these drawings justice.  If you want to see some masterpieces, just come down our elementary hallway some time after drop off or before pickup and see the drawings for yourself.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Apple Picking

Our elementary went to Scott's Orchard in Glastonbury on Friday.  It was such a fun day with perfect weather for being outside!  We started our field trip with a wagon ride into the orchard.

 The children were each allowed to pick a plastic bag full of apples.  They loved picking their own apples off the trees.


 After picking apples, the students visited with some chickens and goats, played in the hay maze, tried some apple cider, ate our lunches outside on the grass, and picked out mini pumpkins.

 We had such a great time!
(Thanks to Nate and Callie for taking us!)