Thursday, September 23, 2010

Multi-senory Field Trip

On Monday we were invited to visit a neighboring school called J. Allen Axson Montessori School. They were hosting a multi-sensory safari field trip in their auditorium. They had animals represented from all parts of our globe including a lynx, tiger, jaguar, zebra, and water buffalo. The children learned about where they came from, their habitats, and how they are sustained. The students were invited to touch the animals and note how different each animal's skin felt. On our way to the school, we felt like we were on a safari getting there Donning our green field trip t-shirts and sneakers and carrying cold water bottles, we ventured to the safari. It was a hot trek but sure worth trip!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's the Matter...with matter?

Hog heaven students have been up to their eyeballs in matter these past few weeks. We have been asking ourselves about matter and what matter is (anything that takes up space), together with the properties of matter. Students use their five senses to describe what it is that they see and feel when observing things. Today we went on a nature walk and students collected matter. They found stones, feathers, leaves, flowers, twigs, pine cones and ants. When they came back to the classroom, they took the items out of their paper bags and used their Science Journals to write about what they found. They described the items as rough, pointy, colorful, sticky and smooth. These basic lessons in Science are building the background knowledge that students will use and need as the years go on. They will scaffold what they know and build on it. But for right now, they are noticing the world around them and coming to realize that we are surrounded by matter, whether it is a solid, liquid or gas.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writer's Getting Busy Writing

The first two weeks of school was used as a time to get students in the habit of writing again. We gave them time to "free-write". They wrote about their great summer vacations, visits to the beach, and movies they have seen. We were "getting their feet wet" and excited about writing again. This week was the start of a formal four week unit modeled after the book, "First Grade Writers" by Stephanie Parsons.

Specifically, we are working on a chapter called "Pattern Books". A pattern book has a predictable structure and format. It can have a repeated phrase or format that continues throughout the book. They are just like the books that most children are reading at this time so student's can draw a parallel between Reader's and Writer's Workshops. The books that the students write usually start out quite simple, but as lessons are taught and new ideas are presented, the books that the students' write grow in sophistication and are quite impressive. We can not wait to compare the first week's samples to the fourth weeks' and see the learning that has occurred.
Below is a sample of a pattern book that was written today titled "Glasses".

"Glasses" by Grace

"One day I got glasses. We got one pair. It was black and red."

"The next day I got another pair of glasses. They were pinkish purplish."

"The next day I got another pair of glasses. They were blue wire glasses."

"The next day I got another pair. It was turned into sunglasses. It was red with hearts on the side."

"Then I had all my pairs of glasses."