This Week in Our Big Backyard
We always start a new quarter off with our traditional round of Barnyard Babble, where Alphas discover who is on their new table team!
This quarter we’re extending our study to the entire state of Texas, so we began by orienting ourselves by making a compass rose and learning about cardinal directions.
Once we were familiar and resolved to Never Eat Soggy Waffles, we introduced the directions to our beloved peeps. They’ll be joining us on this tour of Texas!
We started with Austin, and our hometown backyard – the Blackland Prairie. Next we traveled north and west, into the rolling and high plains of texas. We found some major Texas rivers, including the Colorado. Then we got busy creating the features of this vast land. We made rivers from paint and yarn and created a lush riparian zone around them.
We collaborated in our new table teams to create teeny tiny forbs and employed moss as grasslands. Everything needed to be miniature in size to fit on our Prairies and Plains Ecoregion poster board.
Finally, we got to sculpting the animals who inhabit this zone. Not many photos were captured so you’ll surely be dazzled to discover the prairie chickens and prairie dogs, buffalo, dickcissel, skink and yellow mud turtle works of art that we’re creating.
This Week in Math
Ms Kim’s Group
This week, Alphas started thinking about ways whole numbers can be divided into families. We ALL come from families. We know who is in our family and if we go down to supper and some aren’t there, we know EXACTLY how many are missing. Numbers are like that too! Alphas will be learning their Math Facts for sums to 10 this quarter and we began our journey this week with the number 5. We know all the different ways we can add numbers to 5. ALL those different ways belong to its own fact family. We are going to build streets for each number, and put each family in its own house. We started with 5th Street.
We played a mystery game – Alphas had to figure out what combination of snap cubes were inside the Bag o’ Mystery!
Alphas will also be learning about shapes in our world – they can already spot lots of them; they can turn their bodies into shapes too!
Ms Andrea’s Group
We got to business right away, creating a new calendar for the month of January. It’s so cool to see our Alphas starting to recall the number of days in each month and remembering to take care to begin their calendars on the correct day of the week. So much progress since the beginning of the year!
Once our monthly task was taken care of, we moved on to presentations of math games by our peers. Alphas showed great ingenuity in developing these games – mostly board games so far – to enable them to play and practice math skills simultaneously! Amazing. If your Alpha hasn’t yet made one there’s still time! This long weekend might just provide the perfect opportunity to get cracking.
We swiftly moved on to a review of shapes, in preparation for our big geometry unit this quarter. Alphas worked in partners on a couple of scavenger hunts. It was wonderful to see them exploring the classroom and discovering shapes, helping each other and discussing the job at hand.
This Week in Language Arts
Ms Andrea’s Group
Kicked off our year with the last of our research presentations! We learned about owls, poisonous plants and snakes and of course, more about cats :)
We read poems about New Years and winter, and wrote our first poem, about ourselves. Then we practiced using poems to create mental images and created our own illustrations for some poems.
Over on the phonics side of things, we launched into a study of word families! This week we met the -an and -at word families. Fittingly, our sight word this week was “an.” We also made vowel puppets and put them to use playing a much enjoyed “Name That Vowel!” game.
Ms Kim’s Group
This week in Language Art we reviewed the different types of literature we have explored so far this year: fiction, nonfiction/informational writing. We talked about why writers write what they they write. Alphas figured that out fast: because they care enough about something to write about it. Alphas wrote about what they cared about on the playground; they listed what they thought was the best thing on the playground and the worst thing on the playground. The results were interesting, because some peoples’ BEST were other peoples’ WORST- but everyone had an opinion. Opinions are personal thoughts and feelings each person has and these show up big-time in poetry – which is our theme this quarter. This week, Alphas wrote a “List Poem” about themselves.
This week Alphas helped get our room neat and sweet for the start of our 3rd Quarter! They scrubbed tables, chairs – even the floor (surprised the heck out of their teachers!); they sharpened all the yellow pencils, they inventoried all the colored pencils and redistributed them ALL evenly between all the tableteams!
We read, wrote, and illustrated during Study Hall.
We painted portraits of our owls.
We thinned out some of the inland sea oats in our Wildlife Garden in order to leave dirt-patches. Mason bees need dirt and mud to protect their nests. Alphas are going to put the mason bee nests they made out in the garden in hopes of attracting some native bees!
We had some well-deserved free time too.