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, October 16, 2011

Frogs and Firefighters

Wow! We had a really busy and exciting week filled with learning about the life cycle of a frog, exploring with the iPads and then got to end the week with a visit from a couple of local firefighters. We were very lucky!

To extend our animals unit a little bit farther and learn about the stages of an animal's life cycle and since there are some pretty incredible frogs in Africa, we learned all about the different stages in a frog's life. As scientists we learned that the number of stages in a frog's life cycle depend on the resource you are looking at. Some books say that there are 4 main stages, while others say that there are 6 or 7. While we kept this fact in mind, we looked closely at 5 different stages of a frog's life. The kiddos are very versed with all 5 stages and what occurs in each, but to give a quick review, we discussed these following phases:
1. Egg
2. Tadpole (nicknamed Polliwog)
3. Tadpole with legs
4. Froglet
5. Adult
We played a variety of games and activities connected to this cycle and were able to learn what makes each stage unique. The major difference that the kids really understood was that of the changes between the tadpole with legs and the froglet. In the tadpole with legs phase, the animal is still breathing through gills, but developing lungs and the rear legs appear in this stage. A froglet breaths with lungs, grows front legs, and its tail begins to shrink. Each day the kids were excited to learn more about the life cycle as well as some interesting facts, such as an African Bullfrog can stay in the mud for up to 2 years! Ask one of our frog experts to share more unique and impressive frog facts with you.

Also this week we got to explore with the new iPads! The students did a great job sharing with everyone what it looks like to take care of such a special school material and really treated them carefully. The students had some time to free explore with the different applications. Many took pictures and video, doodled, and began making a couple quick cartoons with Toontastic. Then, as a class we investigated with a math application called MultiTouchMath. This application asks them to solve number sentences and use multiple fingers by pressing either a 1,2,5, or 10. For example, 19-0=? They need to use a combination of those numbers to make 19. They could put one finger on 10, one on 5 and then either 2 fingers on 2 or 4 fingers on one. This is a great way for them to break apart numbers using many different combinations. This will make a fun work place for them during math time!

Lastly, since last week was Fire Prevention Week, we were lucky to have two local firefighters come in and show us their gear and explain to us what to do just in case there is a fire in our home. One of the firefighters put on all of the gear and even turned on his air mask so that we could hear the different sounds it makes to know not to be scared if we ever hear that sound in our house. The kids were fascinated with the many different tools and their uses and asked many really great questions. They also talked about having fire escape plans with your family and to practice what to do, just as we have fire drills here at school. I shared with the kids that if their family did not have a fire escape plan and meeting place, part of their homework was to start that conversation and begin to make a plan. Unfortunately it began to rain and not all of the classes were able to see the fire truck in the parking lot, but the kids were really understanding and just said, "we'll get to next time".

Enjoy the slideshow below!

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