Welcome back! Our second year together has had an amazing start and the students and I are excited to share our learning and experiences with you. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts with us as well. Enjoy exploring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Four Big Announcements!

Well we had one busy week as our first full week in what seems like a very long time! The four biggies for this past week were that we finished a math unit, completed our first classroom chapter book, went on a field trip to WCS, and had a sneaky visitor stop by.

The kids have been very hard at work for the last month and a half or so diving into the world of Antarctica and learning math through the study of penguins. Their heights, weights, and fun facts have challenged and surprised us for quite some time and the kids just did a great job finishing up the unit! The students have been making connections throughout the day to the 6 different kinds of penguins we have studying and their unique features. The Rockhopper penguin was many students' favorite with the yellow feathers that stick out from the side of their eyes, followed closely by the Little Blue who is only 16 inches and nicknamed the "Fairy Penguin". The Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins were also enjoyed because of the strap underneath the chin of one (try and guess which) and the white feathers that wrap around the others head. Lastly though, the Emperor and King penguin were talked about probably the most due to their size and interesting behaviors when raising their young. This past week the kids got a chance choose one of the six to design and paint for their own life-size penguins and I must say, they came out fabulously! The students had to measure their heights and draw the penguins in proportion to the rest of their bodies. This is an interesting challenge, as we spend most of our time creating drawings on much smaller paper. I was quite impressed at the accuracy and detail that the students put into their penguins using all of their newly acquired knowledge. They really came out wonderfully and are now on display in Synergy's hallway! After we celebrate the end of the unit with watching a bit of "March of the Penguins", we will be moving onto the wonderful world of two and three-dimensional shapes with a unit on geometry.

On the same day that we finished the study of penguins, we also came to the conclusion of our first classroom chapter book of Ramona! The kids absolutely loved this book and were fabulous listeners, I think if I had dropped a pin, even with the carpeted floors you would be able to hear it. I think that the emotions were mixed as we finished the book, because as they were excited that we wrapped up our first chapter book, they were sad that the Ramona adventures were over. I told them not to worry as we will be starting another chapter book shortly. Stay tuned for which one it is!

Our third big announcement was that we went to go see fifth and sixth graders perform Pinocchio. First of all, wow, the performers did an amazing job! The play was interactive as they sometimes ran throughout the audience and needed our help yelling for the cricket. We also were lucky enough to sit in the front row and Tom actually got to participate by bringing a prop up to the stage, a very exciting moment! One very unique part of the play was that the lead roles rotated with other students, so their were actually four performers for Pinocchio and other parts. It was interesting to hear if the students were aware of this change and why they felt they did it. Many imagined that it must be difficult being on stage for so long so they made need a break. All in all, a very exciting morning and the students were a very respectful audience!

Thursday was quite a fun day that began right off the bat with green everywhere and an Irish accent coming from the fabulous Ms. Kate next door. The morning went along very well and then the most crazy thing happened after lunch. We went into Ms. Kate's room to hear a story and when we came back the students noticed that the Leprechaun must have stopped by because book bins were turned in the wrong direction, their cubbies were all in the wrong spots and he even left a note! We decided that he was just too quick and we were going to try and catch him. The students worked in pairs and had a chance to put their creativity to work as they made either a house or trap to try and catch the Leprechaun. Many students got paper out to start drafting their ideas, while others just got right to work. The teamwork and cooperation that took place was fabulous and they came up with some very interesting inventions. We left them out overnight thinking for sure that he would be coaxed into these cozy creations, but typical to his behavior, he somehow managed to leave just gold chocolate in the traps. How sneaky and clever he is....

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