We covered up the tree on our back wall in our room. We are going to paint another oak tree all the animals that live in the tree. We have started with some of the birds we know how to paint!
Judd worked with the kids in Art today on drawing an eagle in flight. Check out our masterpieces!
We were able to clean out the garden one morning which was a bit over due. We kept the Kale and the strawberries. The kids had a blast smashing the melons and throwing the tomatoes at the basketball hoop. We left some plants to add organic material to our garden. Next year, each student will have their own garden and be completely in charge of it.
The most exciting news we had this week was our new friends that joined us for Music, PE and Art. During music we had three new homeschooling students. We worked on pitch while getting to know one another, sang a new song in 6/8 time. We used scarves to dance and move to different types of music and picked our favorite song to sing, "Gypsy in the Moonlight".
For PE the next day, the same family joined us. Next week we will have one more family join us for a total of 10 students! We started with rules and stretching. Then we organized the game so we could get our heart rates up and then slow them down with the next game. We played "Get Out of Town", "A What?", "Bean Bag Dodge Ball", "The Human Knot", and "Who's it?". Each week we will add at least one new game.
Art has the largest enrollment with 14 students, a total of three families. Thank goodness we have the art room organized to fit all those kids. This week we drew a raccoon peeking out of a hole in a tree. Judd started with a few warm-up activities introducing vocabulary. The next warm up was different parts of the raccoon they needed to copy. This really helped the kids see that the drawing of the raccoon is just a bunch of blobs, straight lines and curved lines. Judd had everyone follow along with him as he walked the kids through drawing the raccoon. It was wonderful to see how the students got excited to look down at their papers to see the raccoon appear as they drew.
The students discuss what they did this week...
We made sunflower seeds. We made the batch 9 times bigger. That was a lot of salt. It was 4.5 cups of salt in 36 cups of water! Whoa!
We took pictures of our costumes. The funniest one was when Parker tried on a 2T costume. We were super models. We looked in a Halloween magazine to see what was the price. We are going to sell them for less.
In art we drew Downy Woodpeckers. We are starting our mural project. Each week we are going to draw an animal that we are going to transfer into our Oak tree.
Music started this week with Betsy! We sang some old songs from last year but learned new ones as well.
We have exciting news...we have homeschoolers to join us for Music PE and Art. They will start next week.
On Wednesday we had gym and played the bean bag game. I love that game! Can we have gym everyday?
Claire worked with Parker on his sight words and BJ worked with Lucy.
It's October so we changed the calendar. So far we have had 42 days of school! Everyone from this summer is gonna come back for our 100th day party. Even Dustin!
We made shape poems. It was fun because we worked on art as well. Parker did a police car. BJ did a football field goal. Claire did a rose but it was different than the other students. Lucy did Mickey Mouse.
Beau ran away and rolled in something dead...somewhere. Paula took him home and gave him a bath. He did not like it. The next day he ran across the street. Paula made us brainstorm how we can keep better track of him. We had a lot of good ideas but using an electric fence was our best idea. We will try it on Monday.
We ate lunch every day.
This week we studied the Olympics! The students learned about the Olympic rings and what they stand for and where the Olympics are being held. Ella and BJ presented information on two unfamiliar sports of the Olympics (shooting and pentathlon), Claire presented information about the Olympic torch and relay and Judd gave the kids a choice of drawing an Olympic track runner or a swimmer.
As the summer session is winding down the students are finishing up their reading books (Aurora County All-Stars and the second Cam Jansen book). They are also finishing their written stories, "A Day In The Life Of A Prairie Green Student". It's been fun to see the the students be amazed at how much they can accomplish over these four weeks. They are very proud of those days they are able to get everything done on their "To-Do" list!
Each week the students have been working in their math books at least 20 minutes a day. They like setting the timer and working at their own pace. Using these math books worked well because if a student had a question, they could ask me or a Prairie Green student since they are the same books we use. Most of the math the students have been working on are concepts they had already been taught but need more practice with. Most of the students' questions were easily answered with short instruction which worked well during transition times.
The kids love the anchor activities. The two favorite activities are the ArchiQuest, which are fun-shaped blocks to build with, and the story telling cubes. The story-telling cubes do attract all ages so I have heard some very clever storytelling adventures.
Each day, I always make sure the younger students have time for imaginative play while at recess. This year I am going to keep track throughout the year and assemble a book of all the"games" they play. So far this summer there has been "The Rodeo", "The Vampire Moon Fairies" and now this week was "Farm". There always seems to be a few of the same characters no matter what the game changes to.
For art this week, Judd focused on motion. We discussed and demonstrated what people look like in motion. It's easier to draw an person or and animal in motion but he challenged the kids with asking how we show that a car is in motion. The students had a few ideas...show smoke coming out of the back of the car or draw the background to show the car is driving to a store. If using a medium such as chalk, you could draw a blurry background to show the car was moving or you can put a flag on the car and show the flag standing up to show the motion. To introduce what we were going to draw, each child was able to go to the front of the class and strike a pose of an Olympic sport. We had a gymnast, diver, shooter, fencer, soccer player, etc. Then the students got to choose which Olympic athlete they wanted to draw, Lolo Jones, the hurdler from Des Moines, or Michael Phelps. Michael won and we all went to work drawing him doing the butterfly.
As you know we started off the week attending the Johnson County Fair. Even though it was very hot, the kids had a great time. The kids were split into three groups and each group went with an adult. Thank you Liz and Laura for volunteering your time. Each group had a scavenger hunt to find different animals at the fair and to ask questions of fair participants. You should find the scavenger hunt in their folders.
The America's Farmers/Monsanto trailer was air conditioned. As much as I didn't want to go in, I was hot and so were the kids. My group was doing a great job of listening as the America's Farmers tour guide did a good job of painting a picture of them as heros. BJ was in my group and he read Omnivore's Dilemma last year. Half way through the movie, he turned to me and said, "Wait. Are these the bad guys?" So, BJ and I helped the rest of the kids see the other side of the story in class on Tuesday. It was a difficult concept to grasp without reading the book, but at least one student, Ella, was interested in reading Omnivore's Dilemma after we were done with our discussion! I am more than happy to loan out the children's version of Omnivore's Dilemma to anyone who wants to read it.
Also, this week we continued learning how to read maps. I set up a mini-treasure hunt in our classroom before heading to the fair. Once there they used the fair maps during the scavenger hunt. On Tuesday, the "bigs" set up a treasure hunt for the "tots" outside using a google map of our school grounds. Map reading is very fun for kids and I believe it is a very important skill. I am worried about this generation not undestanding maps due to our reliance on GPS systems.
We had a couple of friends of mine that visited this week which was very fun for the kids. Annie Stoessel is a gym teacher in Des Moines and she came on Tuesday with a garbage can full of PE toys. The kids went crazy with the scooters, rubber chickens and bean bags. She organized a few games for the kids to play which gave me ideas for the school year. On Wednesday, Ashley Berggren spent the day with us. She is a high school teacher in Chicago, but more importantly to the kids, she plays professional women's football for the Chicago Force. After lunch she talked about her experience playing football and showed us clips from a few of her games. It was fun for the kids to guess what her teammates did for their professions- teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and even a biologic anthropoligist! She will be playing in the league championship August 4th at Heinz Field vs. San Diego. Here is the website to find out more about the Chicago Force. http://www.chicagoforcefootball.com/
Judd taught an art lesson on Thursday that combined the last two weeks of drawing (Statue of Liberty) and watercolor (watermelons). To tie it into the fair, we drew and painted roosters. I think everyone had fun creating the roosters beautiful tails. Again, Judd was impressed with the students work and so was I.
All the books the students are reading have some type of mystery or treasure theme. I printed off a cool hand-drawn of a map and it became our treasure map. We discussed map reading skills including reading a key and compass direction. I would "hide" somewhere on the map and they had to determine my location. They had so much fun that each student wanted to hide! They each showed me their chosen hiding spot and I gave the clues to make it appropriate for the beginning readers. I encourage you to do a similar activity with your son/daughter and allow them to give directional clues. Next week we will have a map of our classroom and the school yard with clues left for them to find.
We harvested cucumbers and carrots this week and used them to supplement snack time. The kids wanted to make pickles from the cucumbers, so Ericka Lawler supplied us with the recipe and ingredients. We made them on Wednesday and they will be ready to eat on Monday. Ella loves pickles so she is going to bring in a pickle from home to do a taste test! This week during Art class we used watercolors to paint watermelon!
Judd brought in a few pictures from seed catalogs of all different types of watermelons. We discussed how the rind can be varied and so can the inside color. To show examples, Judd painted a few different melons with watercolors and also painted the cover of one of the seed catalogs. It had 6 slices of watermelon on top of one another and each slice was different. Then he showed us some cool watermelon carvings. A few of the favorites were the ship, the pineapple and the Statue of Liberty. Judd gave a bit of advice regarding using watercolors and then set the students free to paint. Even though there were so many varieties of watermelon colors, almost everyone did the traditional green outside with a red interior. Some students finished quickly while others were adding shadows and detail. Judd offered advice, comments and specific praise to each student as he roamed the room. To finish the art lesson, Judd said that he had a surprise for us. We all went into the kitchen and learned that Judd had carved a shark out of a watermelon and put a few seals in the shark's mouth! It was amazing and good to eat as well! Another wonderful art lesson!
This weeks theme was The 4th of July and American symbols. Each child chose an American symbol to color and put on the front of their folder. The options were, the American flag, the Liberty Bell, the eagle, 4th of July and the Statue of Liberty. Throughout the week they would be learning a little more about their symbol either through handwriting or research. We had a class discussion about why we have the 4th of July and how America came to be.
Judd worked with the kids for the first time on art. Once we had a white sheet of paper and marker we practiced drawing curvy lines, straight lines, blobs, ovals, circles and dots. It was a warm-up activity and an introduction to vocabulary. Then we had an exercise in which the students draw different parts of the Statue of Liberty without knowing that's what they are doing. This allows the artist to see that really any picture is just straight lines, curvy lines and blobs put together to make a picture. Actually during the warm-up the students just followed Judd's directions of drawing ovals, circles, straight lines and curvy lines and the next thing they know is they drew a lion!
After a snack, we started on the Statue of Liberty. The students drew the head, then torch and then body. This worked well for the youngest to the oldest. The youngest children were able to do the face and then some lost interest. Others were able to make it to the torch. Most students completed the Statue and then colored it and added fireworks in the background. We were very impressed with these statues and the students attention spans. They worked super hard today.
After art we played outside, ate our lunch and played some more. They needed it!
To end the day we shared what we learned about our symbols while eating some more Kale chips. Our last thing we did was head up to see Nora's mom, Mara Cole's art studio. She rents a room at Cosgrove as well. She had some of her work displayed and talked with us about her past work. What beautiful paintings!
This drawing of a young boy (the brother of one of our artists) is a composite of 16 abstract drawings done by the entire school--from kindergarten up to teacher. The photograph shown below was manipulated digitally, enlarged and chopped into 16 tiles.
We did not inform the artists that the tiles were part of a larger image. They simply were asked to reproduce what they saw on each tile. Their work was then compiled to form the image you see here.
It is a beautiful result, particularly because it displays the diversity of work within our group. It also, hopefully, demonstrated to the students that breaking an image into its composite parts can help us get closer to a realistic image.
As part of a unit on the personal history of each student, we drew self-portraits. These were line drawings. It's tricky to do a portrait without any shading, to capture the personality and feel of someone--particularly when that personality is your own. Jack pulled it off. His concentration was intense, and he captured that intensity in the expression he drew. He used a variety of light and dark lines, delicate and active lines. The ears, in particular, stand out as intriguing areas of focus. It really looks like him!