Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope that everyone has been enjoying the start of the Christmas vacation sipping hot cocoa, looking at lights, but most importantly celebrating our Savior’s birth.This week was filled with the bustle of the preparations for our Christmas program.  Though we did other things like continuing working on our zookeeping project, most of our energy was spent on Christmas activities.  In case you missed it, here are pictures of the children during the dress rehearsal and the performance.

This year, we teamed up with kindergarten to perform our song.  Fourth grade were the shepherds while kindergarten were the sheep.  Since the entire nativity story took place in the mind of Evan as he was reading the story from the Bible, the imagining of the various characters was not exactly a typical representation.  The children came out dressed as traditional shepherds, but then suddenly they became really cool as they surprised the audience with shades.  And whoa! And then they started rapping.  They brought down the house.

They sang about wanting to go and tell the good news of what they had seen of the Jesus’s birth based on what the angels had announced to them.

Luke 2:8-20

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherd’s said one to another, Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manager.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  …And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.  

Here are the images from the actual performance.  IMG_6116IMG_6117

I was really proud of the children and all the hard work they put in to be able to share with so many people Jesus’ love.  They truly showed faithfulness as we practiced and practiced and practiced and even practiced some more.  Of course these are my favorite pictures before the actual performance.

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As a reward for their hard work, the next day was school-wide pajama day.  It was a day filled with treats, hot cocoa, movies, and arts and crafts.  For much of the day, we spent with fifth and sixth grade.  We started the festivities by going around to the entire school and caroling with traditional carols.  All the younger students loved seeing their older friends come a’caroling.

The rest of the day was spent listening to a story, doing crafts, eating treats, and having silliness with selfies.

And so we all left the joy of school, tired but happy, ready for a long winter’s nap.  But I heard them exclaim as they all drove out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all! And to all a great break!”

Viking Christmas

“Draw what you think of when you think of the Vikings.”  I received a few blank stares, but soon everyone eagerly began drawing.  We quickly realized that our drawings showed that these people were rather big and strong and most of them wore helmets with horns.  We quickly dispelled the myth about horns on the Vikings helmet because if the Vikings are known for fighting, why would they wear helmets with grabbing points for their enemies?  In fact, the horns were added by the opera composer Wagner.  The children were so excited to learn about a people that some did not realize were real people.

We looked at pictures of artifacts and drawn perceptions of what the Vikings may have looked like; we watched a clip from a popular kid’s movie, about Vikings (How to Train Your Dragon).  We discussed the technological advances of the Viking ships and used that knowledge to create our own model sized ships made of carton.  Using only a picture, the students had to problem solve and communicate with others in order to understand how to build it.  The children’s ingenuity paid off.  To finish the ship, they added a dragon to the front just like the Vikings had on their ships.

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With the Vikings, we also looked at their daily lives, some fun facts, and their faith.  Though the children were excited to learn that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were named after Viking gods, they were even more excited to learn that when these people became Christians, they quickly stopped raiding.  Through this, we talked about God transforming our lives.

This week, we have been talking quite a bit about Christmas.  Yesterday was tacky Christmas sweater day for the teachers.  This meant that all the children walked in and were shocked by our appearance.  As a class and school, we have been practicing really hard for our Christmas program next week, December 17.  Let’s just say that I think they are going to be amazing.  Sorry, I’m not posting pictures of that because I don’t want to ruin any surprises.  You will just have to come and see for yourself.  For now though, enjoy the class picture as we hung our ornaments on the tree.  See you all next week!

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You are a Zookeeper

These are the words that the students read on Monday.  Suddenly, by reading those words they were thrown into zookeeping.  They are now responsible for learning about an animal in order to create a proposal in order to purchase the animal for their zoo.  No, this is not a real zoo.  Tigers, crocodiles, and zebras will not be delivered to your door (though some children thought it would be fun to order one on-line, I strongly discouraged them).  This was the beginning of our new project that is lasting until the end of the quarter.

We began this project by thinking about all the things we would need to include in the model.  The children came up with things like habitat, food, structural and behavior adaptations.  I had to prompt them a little before they realized that caring for an animal costs money, buying an animal costs money, and creating a livable habitat for the animal costs money among other costs that this animal will need.

Within this project are three parts–a business proposal with prices of things, a written proposal to show-off all of their knowledge about this animal, and a model of the habitat for the animal in the zoo.

This week, we have been focusing on gathering research facts.  We have gone over together what is research and how we can conduct it.  We have worked with a works cited page, citing our sources and putting all facts onto flashcards.  The children have been working so faithfully.  Whenever they have a free moment, they eagerly ask me if they can continue working on their animal research.  As a teacher, it makes me so excited to see them eagerly reading the articles and sharing fun facts about their animals.

With all the excitement, I did not take many pictures (if I did they would have been of the children at their computers or on their kindles surrounded by flashcards).  However, I do have a few ones from our creation of Christmas ornaments.  We used gingerbread people and dressed them to represent one of the areas that we had studied about so far in history.