Oh the Places we can go!

Fall Festival

Last Thursday, we began a math project for rounding.  We had been working with rounding and what rounding is all week.  After a quick review, I announced that Mrs. Stephens had chosen our class to plan the Fall Festival.  She gave us a $2000 budget.  The students had to choose among the various choices already listed as well as going through store circulars and choosing what they would like to purchase, rounding it, and then adding it all together to create a proposed budget for how to spend the money.  Naturally the children were extremely excited (though most were skeptical as to whether or not it was real).

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They thought about what was important, and they thought about what they would need for a Fall Festival.  The students worked eagerly and some even had the opportunity to share their proposal with Mrs. Stephens.  The children had such wonderful presentations that we earned lots of fruit.  They all walked away from this with the realization that math has very real world applications.

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Writing–Draft, Revise, Edit, Publish, Celebrate!

This week we put the finishing touches on our writing that we have been working on since the beginning of the year.  We published on Monday and Tuesday.  On Tuesday, we also wrote a Dear Reader Letter to let the reader know what to focus on in the story, where the author drew inspiration from, or an area that the writer struggled with.  Wednesday was our writing celebration day as each student had an opportunity to share his or her writing with the class.  We all then went around reading each other’s work and letters, and we left comments to the author.  Throughout our celebration, there was a buzz in the air of the excitement for writing.

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Landscaping our Crickets homes

In our novel, Cricket in Times Square, we have completed through Chapter 6.  With all the details in the beginning dedicated to setting, we created a scenery for our live crickets.  The children were able to choose either the country or the city setting.  They had to create their image based off of the details in the book, listing the text evidence and the page number where they found it.  Afterwards, our crickets’ cages looked so much more beautiful!

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Missions Conference

The big emphasis for the week was Central Baptist Church’s Missions Conference.  Our Bible verse for the week was Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

To prepare the centerpieces for the International Dinner on Sunday evening, we teamed up with pre-school.  Each of the students worked with one pre-schooler at a time and painted their hands to create 4 hand-prints on a sheet of paper.  As I watched them, I was very proud of them helping the younger students and kindly encouraging their new friends.

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This is the finished product.  If you come to the international banquet on Sunday, you should be able to see them!

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Throughout the week, our class showed faithfulness by attending the Missions conference each evening.  We had the most in attendance of any grade.  Because of this great example of bearing fruit, the Patience Fruitstand chose to give us Little Pot for the week for bearing fruit.  When we got back in the classroom, we chose to put Little Pot by our buckets.  We started this last week; when the students notice a child doing something fruitful or simply have a compliment for another, they write it on the post-it and put it in the other child’s bucket.  We are trying to be bucket-fillers not bucket-dippers.

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Here is a shout-out to the students who came out on Friday evening!

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Wednesday September 16

Hi!  Hello?  I think that is how humans greet each other.  Humans are scary! For over a week now, I have been able to study and observe them…well at least ten.  Nine smaller ones and a bigger one.  And from what I gather, they are fascinating creatures!

But I am getting ahead of myself.  Last week, my life completely changed.  I went from a dark world with occasional light and lots of room to a small box with eleven of my friends.  This is a very unusual box because if you stand in the middle, it looks like there is no box.  I can see the entire world.  However, this is a special box because as soon as I go a few steps I run into a wall…a clear wall that allows me only to go so far.  Every time, I forget and hit my head against the wall.  Ouch!  Sadly some of my friends did not survive the unique clear box.  Now there are only eight of us.  From the clear wall, I can see others like us in clear boxes.

Everyday, I look out and I see the nine small humans learning.  I see them reading a book with someone that looks like me on the cover.  As I watch them, I want to learn how to read and go to new places.  If I can understand human, the character like me (they call him a cricket named Chester) goes to New York which is a great big city–very different than my earlier days and my current special box.  The small humans really like this story and seem to have lots to say even relating it to their own lives.  Their excitement is so contagious!  How can I look at them without getting excited to learn?  Please teach me!

Everyday, our special box gets lifted by one of the small humans.  Suddenly, the world flies by underneath as if we are on the back of a bumble bee, and we land in the middle of three of the small humans.  Everyday, the small humans open our box, take out our old food and replace it with delicious fresh food.  They then spend time just gazing into our box.  I find it intriguing that they would spend so much time looking into our little small box when they have an entire room and world full that they can look at each moment.  They point at us and laugh and talk with each other.  One even uses a stick with a pink point to make markings on a paper.  It is very odd.  I feel slightly uncomfortable.  This is one part of my experiences with the humans that I do not enjoy!  I just want to eat my food in peace.

The other day, after our new food was put in, the small humans were for the most part looking at the big human as she explained something that looked very important.  All day long, I had been feeling very cramped and itchy.  I didn’t know what was going on!  Suddenly,  I knew I was shedding my old skin for new skin. I thought it was a perfect time since the big one was saying something important so none of the small ones would be watching (I thought).  Obviously, I thought wrong. Suddenly one small human raised her hand and said some very strange words, “Miss Savides!  I think the cricket is having a baby!”  Before I knew what was happening there was a rush of movement outside my box.  I looked up and there were ten pairs of big white eyes with glowing dark circles in the middle all staring at me.  They were all surrounding me and my box!  I just wanted to shed my skin in peace.  Of course, when I do shed my skin, I can’t really move for awhile so it wasn’t like I could go and hide in the dirt or even crawl under my hill.  I had to stay there.

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As I mentioned earlier, though I do not like them staring at me especially when I have to shed my skin, I do like watching them learn.  All week they have been working on making marks on the paper.  I keep hearing “writing” and “published” and “draft.”  I’m not really sure what it is, but the small ones are very eager and have been working very hard on that project.  IMG_5428 IMG_5429

Yesterday, after the small humans delivered our food and flew us back to the back of their room, they seemed to play a game of some sort.  I think they called it Jeopardy!  As I watched the children become excited as they answered questions, I learned a lot about a place called Israel and things that happened long ago.

Today, we weren’t exactly fed at our normal time.  The humans came back and began working on white sheets.  I was getting sleepy just watching them.  Finally they flew us over, opened our box and began to feed us.  For some reason, my humans today kept the door open a long time as they prepared our food.  There was a moment where no one was staring at me! Here was my chance to escape and learn some of the things they were learning!  I used my powerful legs and jumped out. The world looks so different from the ground!  Everything is bigger and I had to tilt my head back to see where exactly I was going!  It was glorious though for a brief moment.IMG_5432

I probably could have made it to freedom…but the big one saw me.  Suddenly the nine small humans that I had earlier been watching from the safety of my special box rushed toward me.  I heard loud piercing screams and I felt the wind as the small humans all came toward me.  I then felt warm soft hands grab me.  Of course I panicked and the first moment I could, I jumped out again.  They were faster than I was.  I ended up back in my special box without so much as being able to read a page!

Though these humans are scary up close, I have enjoyed my time so far among them.  I’m excited to see what else is going to happen!

Meet our new class pets…all 36 of them!

Though this was a short week, we were able to cover so much and learn so many things.

Letters in the Post Office

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This entire week, we began writing letters about what we are reading–finding personal connections, writing about what we like or do not like, predictions etc.  The students write me a letter about what they are reading including having to address it properly in an envelope with a stamp (a rubber inked stamp).  Their return address is the number on their desk, and our street is Faithfulness Fruitstand.  Just like outside the classroom, they deliver it to the post-office and can check their mailboxes for a response letter.  The excitement for letter-writing can be contagious!

Math and Social Studies

This week, we continued looking at place value and began comparing numbers with <, >, or =.  To practice our place value, we did a bit of human place value where each child had a number and went to the place value spot on the floor when their number was called.  Below, we worked together to create the number 437,002,586.

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In social studies, we continued our journey through Israel including meeting the famous Jewish historian Josephus Flavius who though not a Christian bore testimony to the existence of Jesus Christ.  We also visited the shores of the Dead Sea and together discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave in the year 1947.  After learning all about the Dead Sea Scrolls, we made our own!

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We found a verse about faithfulness to put on our paper, crumpled and tore our papers, and used a tea bag to make them look old.  I mean…they are real!  We found them in a cave just like that!

A Cricket in Time Square

Our first book that we will be studying over the next few weeks is a Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon.  Since we have really been focusing on procedures in reading, we have not yet gone very far in our journey through the book.  But who says we are unable to still work with the book?  To go along with our sensory details and observations from last week, we used five different colors to find sensory details that are embedded within our first chapter.  We were all amazed at the amount of rich details that we did find.  When we read what was left, suddenly the story was no longer as engaging or vivid–a perfect lesson for the importance of detail in our own writing.

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In math, we solved a problem involving the number of chirps a cricket chirps that went along with our place value study.

However, the most exciting part of this study was that we began our study about crickets.  We first created a chart about what we thought we knew about crickets and what we would like to learn.  The children came up with some excellent ideas.

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Now the moment that you have all been waiting for–meeting our new class pets!  To study crickets and to answer some of the questions that the children had, we got 36 pet crickets.  Each table got 12 crickets.

Meet the Tiger Crickets!

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The Hopping Hotshots!

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And The King Cricket and the Cool Crickets!

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Today, we began an experiment of testing crickets’ food preferences.  We give them the option of a tasty apple, crunchy carrot, or flavorful potato.  Our hypothesis is that the crickets will prefer the apples because they are sweet and have sugar.  Just by making observations of our crickets, we have already learned some about cricket behaviors.  More updates on what we learn about our crickets next week!

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Watermelon, Shalom, and the Five Senses

It’s amazing how sometimes a week seems to fly by.  Here I am again writing this blog telling about yet another great week.  This week was still filled with establishing how things should run within the classroom; however, we were still able to incorporate lots of learning and getting to know each other.

Watermelons

Last week, after my quick change of plans to incorporate independent and dependent variables, I had the students create their own experiment to determine if they understood the concept.  Three of the students came up with blowing up a watermelon with rubberbands.  The class was thrilled when I announced that we would be doing that this week incorporating both science and math (place value).  Before we went outside, I introduced the scientific process.  We created a hypothesis:  If the watermelon is smaller, then it will take fewer rubberbands to explode.  We went over the independent and dependent variables and the constants.  We talked about the control and how all experiments have to be repeated in order to be valid.  Our final step before going outside was to measure the two watermelons–weight, size, and height.

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Finally, the fun begins.  (Well for a few minutes before we had to go inside for dismissal–we had to finish the next day).  As the students added more rubber-bands to the watermelon, I could see them forming a team and working together.  I could see their faithfulness in the August heat as they placed each rubber band preparing the watermelon to explode.

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Unfortunately, it was right at this moment as the watermelon was about to explode that my camera decided it would be a good time to run out of battery. Interpretation: I did not get pictures of the explosion.  The children though were thrilled with the explosion!  It took us 570 rubber-bands for the large 15 pound watermelon and the smaller 10 pound one that I blew up later 402 rubberbands.  Our hypothesis was accurate.  Once our data was gathered, we analyzed our results, created graphs, and drew conclusions about what we saw.  In this experiment, our hypothesis was correct because our smaller watermelon took fewer rubber-bands.

I had promised the children that I would show them this video of the watermelon exploding.  Since I forgot to upload it last night, I told them I would put it on the blog.

Israel

This week, we traveled to our first destination of the year–Israel starting in 33AD.  To prepare us for this journey, we learned how to say both good morning (Boker Tov) and hello (Shalom) in Hebrew during our morning meeting.  We took a plane trip and landed in our destination!  First, we studied Pentecost by examining art from different time periods to see the similarities and differences of the paintings or other other art pieces to put together the story.  After discussing, we were able to fill in the holes with the story from Acts 2.

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We also met Saul and traveled with him on his three missionary journeys.  The students were exhausted with all the walking all over Europe that we did on those three missionary journeys, but were glad that the Gospel of Jesus was able to be spread.

Sensory Details

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This week in our writing workshop, we talked about sensory detail–details that the author includes about all 5 senses.  We found examples in books that we read and discussed the reasons why the author would choose to include those details or why they may have chosen not to include a sense.  Each day of the week was dedicated to a different sense. Monday was hearing, Tuesday was touch, Wednesday was sight, Thursday was smell, and Friday was taste.  To go along with this, everyday we made observations about the different senses and recorded what we discovered in our writing journals.  Below is our observation day of smell.

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When we would be done collecting our observations, we would go inside and share our discoveries.  We would also take a few minutes and look back at our writing to choose places where we could add sensory details.

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Of course, what would a study on sensory details without taste?

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