Monday, September 09, 2013

Down on the Farm

September 2 – September 6

We made it through the first week of school! The weekly theme was "Down on the Farm"-- Here's a recap of our week of fun.

For the first field trip of the year we visited the Utah State Fair. It was incredibly hot but lots of fun. We visited farm animals, discussed how genetic traits are passed from parents to their offspring, critiqued the visual art displays, watched the lumberjack show, browsed the craft booths, practiced spinning wool into yarn, touched a moon rock from the NASA exhibit, and judged quilting/baking/preserving entries.

Our first selection for the year is from the genre of realistic fiction: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. It makes a fun start to the year for fourth graders (and up) and because the reading level is appropriate for most students this age, many will be excited enough by this first book to read the others in the series.

Each week, students are provided with copywork quotes related to the weekly theme that they can use to practice their handwriting. They are a fun addition to our Montessori classroom. Here are this week’s selections.

We read Alexander and The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Our mini lesson (check it out here) focuses on using prior schema to make connections. It's an introductory lesson that we will build on during guided reading all year long.

We use the Words Their Way spelling program because it is an individualized spelling program that integrates beautifully into a Montessori classroom. This week students learned how to use their spelling folders and how to do word sorts independently.

Poetry and Literature
This week's selection is “I Know All the Sounds the Animals Make” by Jack Prelutsky. We had lots of fun creating silly poems by substituting our own animal sounds for those Prelutsky chose.

Measurement: Money, Time and Temperature Review-- As we start our first math unit of the year, I want to make sure that my students are familiar with the common forms in which we see and use numbers. When learning about time, students must understand what "quarter 'til" and "half past" mean. They should know that temperatures drop below zero so we use negative numbers to describe those temperatures.They need to be recognize that 75 cents is the same thing as three quarters (3/4). These basic concepts will help them as we delve deeply into the Real Number system.

We are using several fun matching games from the University of Utah research division on genetics and heredity.

Introduction to Key Events and Ideas in Utah's History and the History of the Westward Expansion of the U.S. [i.e. Manifest Destiny]; Introduction to the  Montessori Timeline

This week we got an introduction to the Drawing Center of our art studio. On day one, we learned how to put away paper and pencils, how to use our personal drawing kits, and how to store our completed drawings in our art portfolios. On the second day of art class, we talked about preparing to work and how artists find inspiration.

One of our goals for P.E. is to show children that there are many choices for physical activities. How about exploring traditional county fair games: Horseshoes, Three-Legged Race, Gunny Sack Race, Wheelbarrow Race, Basketball Shooting, Baseball Throwing at Bottles, Hoop Rolling?

Line dancing anyone? It's a great way to teach spatial directions.

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