Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Week

September 23 – September 27

Our theme for the fourth week of school was "Apple Week." It was Johnny Appleseed's birthday on the 26th and we celebrated all week long with apple cider, applesauce, apple pie, fresh apples, apple fritters, apple turnovers, apple pancakes and apple coffee cake.

Here are this week's apple quotes for handwriting practice.

We read "Mrs. Gorf" from Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar as an interactive read-aloud and our mini lesson focused on "recalling details." Mrs. Gorf turns her misbehaving students into apples and my favorite part of the lesson is hearing the reasons children think Mrs. Gorf might be tempted to turn THEM into apples.

Poetry and Literature
Each week, I reinforce our grammar lessons through poetry. This week we are studying adjectives and Haiku is the perfect medium. I encourage students to write their poem and then go back and edit out the insignificant words. Haiku relies on cramming as many relevant descriptive words into as a small space as possible. We review the style of Haiku, remind ourselves how to determine syllables, list descriptive words and brainstorm items, places or events in nature that we can write about in our Haiku.

Also, when possible, I like to record my kids reciting their own poetry. Here is a poem written about our field trip to the mountains last week.

Nature in the Mountain
Cold and chilly hike,
early in the morning light
running waterfall.

This week we focused on the 6+1 Writing Trait CONVENTIONS (which includes grammar). The main thing we worked on is how to use commas in a series of adjectives. [Personally, I subscribe to the "less punctuation is better" philosophy (which, incidentally, is my main complaint with the English Language Arts Common Core-- they over punctuate and that makes for difficult reading material). Hence, I teach my students to omit the final comma in a general series when using the word "and."]

This week we continue our study of the Real number system. We played an equivalent numbers matching game. Admittedly, it's quite difficult and I wouldn't recommend it for any students who haven't had significant experience with the corresponding Montessori math materials (golden bead material, fraction/decimal boards, fraction circles, etc.)

Properties and States of Matter (Changing Apples into Juice, Applesauce, Slices, etc.)

In fourth grade we focus on several essential questions. Those that apply to this week are:
  • What does “Manifest Destiny” mean?
  • Why did the U.S. expand its territory during the 19th century and why did settlers move west?
This week we studied tall tale heroes and American legends: Johnny Appleseed, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Casey Jones, Paul Bunyan and John Henry. Each of these individuals tells a story about the types of people who settled the western United States. (We will revisit several of these stories in a few weeks as we practice distinguishing between facts and opinions.)

This week we got an introduction to the Printmaking Center of our art studio. As usual, after a five minute introduction, everyone chooses to work in one of the four centers now open: drawing, painting, printmaking or collage.

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