Sunday, April 22, 2012

green thumbs

We're totally back in the swing of things in my room, completing two weeks post-break on Friday. Since then, we've had two separate field trips (one for each grade,) two fun friday parties (which not everyone has earned,) got a new classmate (hmm,) two more weeks of chugging along in reading (OMG you would not believe how much better they are getting,) done a few craftivities, and started a new science unit.

I've mentioned we do stations in math, and one of the stations is center time. I usually put out four or five centers to choose from, and they are generally review activities. Sometimes they are pretty challenging, sometimes not. I have about seven categories of centers, so they are not all out every week. One of our center categories is the Creation Station. Most recently, they made even and odd houses. This came from The Teacher Wife.

This picture was taken before it was quite finished, but you get the idea. Hers looks much cuter! I had planned to use butcher paper colors other than blue and yellow but M (my assistant) thought that if we were copying someone, it should be an authentic replica.

Right after we came back, we covered weather in brief. Urm, very brief. We do weather during morning meeting every day, but anything past that is a second grade standard. I only have one 2nd grader during science right now, so I figured we'd spend a week on that and hit the high points. My second grader ended up not at science for half the week. . . hmm. Anyway, we talked about the water cycle and how it rains a lot in the spring here, etc. My littles each wrote what they like to do on rainy days during writing time. M teases me about taking other people's ideas, but this is actually mine. I know there's probably a million people who've done something similar (I'm pretty sure I've even seen pictures,) and theirs probably came out better. . . but I was proud of myself for making the tracers myself and everything. My grandmother has informed me that, in the olden days, you had to do this for every craft you wanted to make because there was no internet. I have lots of sympathy.

Our reading series focuses heavily on decoding and comprehension, while in language arts my littles are still working on basic oral language concepts and following verbal directions. While it is what they need right now, I know I need to supplement a lot in order to cover all of our standards and have comparable experiences to first/second graders in general ed all day. We've read poetry before, but we'd not written it yet. I'm hoping to make a poetry center next year, but. . .  Anyway, we've also been learning parts of speech. Combine adjectives and acrostic poems and now we have rainbow name-bows! See Turnstall's Teaching Tidbits to get it. They're adorable hanging from the ceiling. 

We started our plant unit this week. Out of all the pictures, I forgot to get ones of our What We Know About Plants and Our Questions About Plants charts. I also didn't take any pictures of the seeds we planted in our little planter outside. I'll try Monday. 

Anyway, so far we've planted radishes, morning glory flowers, and spearmint outside. Those were the seeds promising the quickest sprouting seedlings. We also are doing the whole beans-in-baggie experiment (Grandma assures me they did this in "the olden days" as well, except without ziploc bags. So traditional.) 

We have four bags: kidney beans and lima beans, soaked and unsoaked. We're going to observe them every day. I am hoping that there's not too much water in the bags. Looking at this picture, I'm a little nervous. 

We put the bags on the door, since our classroom has no exterior windows. You can see our awesome Japanese Garden outside. (I have no idea what makes it Japanese except the sign saying so. I think I should research this.)

We also took notes in our observation logs. We made a big deal about how when scientists are conducting their experiments, they take detailed notes so they know what to expect next time, how things affected their experiment, etc. I thought about us just being gardeners instead of scientists, but since they (and I) doubt my ability to grow anything I thought we'd make it into an experiment. (And sometimes experiments fail.) They've seen the slow demise of the money tree my mentor gave me on the first day of school, so they're not expecting anything miraculous. 

Next week we'll hopefully see something grow. Also, I have a ton of IEP meetings. I have a case of the Sunday Nights, and I'm avoiding writing one as we speak. Hmm.

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