Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week 6 (September 23-27)

I wish you could be a fly on the wall when we start our day.  We begin with worship, prayer, and Bible class, and it is such a sweet time.  This week was especially powerful.  We had great conversations and touching worship times.  These kids are hungry for the Lord and His word.  I have a pretty attentive class, but when Bible starts, they are tuned in like you wouldn't believe!  I love it!

I introduced the class to one of my favorite Christian groups, Shane and Shane.  We've sung a few of their songs but on Tuesday, I decided to have the students listen instead of sing along.  I shared this song with them and told them to listen carefully to the lyrics.  I gave the background of the song (it was written by one of the Shanes after his dad passed away suddenly) and shared that a man named John Piper would be speaking towards the end of the song.  I chuckled when a child asked, "Is John Piper the drummer in this video?"  Cute.  
No matter what your thoughts are about John Piper, this song is quite powerful.  We were able to discuss the song after we listened, and I was amazed at the spiritual maturity of some of these kids.  We closed with prayer, and I was fighting back tears.  Oh, I love having the privilege of talking about (and to) the Lord with my students.  

This song was a great segue into our study on Joseph.  We will focus on him for the next couple of weeks.
I had the chance to read one of my favorite books to the students this week: The Turtle Saver by Mississippi author, Laurie Parker.  This is a great book that comes full circle; the ending always leaves kids jaw-dropped.  It's a very touching story.  I'd recommend it for children, ages 8-12. 
Speaking of books, the students presented their September book reports on Friday.  I assign monthly book reports that are due at the end of each month, but the students do not always present them in class.  I assigned a Cereal Box Book Report that you can read more about IN THIS POST.  Here are the fronts and backs of some of the boxes/reports:
One little girl decided to promote her cereal with an adorable "commercial."  She got the audience engaged with her commercial and then went on to tell about the actual book she read:
That's some expensive cereal, but it was a cute intro!
The students also presented their landform projects this week and we learned so much from each group!
I showed the students several different apps this week.  Here they are during indoor recess, playing one of my favorites--Stack the States:
We ended the week with a fun problem-solving activity that I call "Save Dave."  I tried it for the first time last year and you can read about the details IN THIS POST.  I used a different type of Gummy Worm this year, which was smaller.  If I could do it over, I'd stick with the larger ones that I used last year because they were more challenging for the students.  Click Here to access the flowchart/activity sheet I created.  It's the same one as last year, but the formatting was off in the one I shared from Google Drive.  I saved the document in Dropbox, and it's a little better but not exactly the right size.  For me, the document is just a front and back page. 
Here are some photos from Friday (all but one group were able to save Dave).  Afterwards, we enjoyed eating some Gummy Worms and Gummy Lifesavers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Week 5 (September 16-20)

This week, we celebrated two birthdays and those students brought in delicious treats to share.  We had cupcakes and individual trail mix "cups":
On Friday, a child brought in Munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts (just for fun), so we enjoyed those as well.  Finally, PSO delivered cinnamon bread to all the teachers:
Whew!  I need to learn some self-control or else I'll gain about 20 pounds this year!

I received a surprise in the mail early in the week--10 small boxes of Kleenex from  I had entered my school supply list on their website back in August and was sent the Kleenex as a thank you.
We learned about punctuation this week in grammar.  Our school uses the Shurley Grammar curriculum, which is scripted and can be a little dry.  I am NOT a fan of scripted curricula, so I like to add my own little flair to the program and use supplemental materials.  I am working on a fun, culminating activity to wrap up our unit on punctuation.  I'll post about it in a couple of weeks, when it takes place.  I can't wait!   

To open our unit and jog my students' memories, I read aloud Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver (Grades: K-5).  I love this cute little book!
In geography, we recently moved on from our map skills unit and are currently learning about landforms.  Even though we've moved on, we are still using latitude/longitude to plot active hurricanes in the Atlantic.  I invited a speaker to our class and he spoke to the 5th graders about hurricanes.  He graduated from FSU with a PhD in geography and uses statistics when studying hurricanes.  He shared with us about his experience of joining Hurricane Hunters and flying through Hurricane Isaac!  The kids loved his videos and stories!
The students began their landform projects this week.  I paired the children up and assigned a landform for them to research.  I assigned fjord, delta, strait, plateau, bay, glacier, and isthmus.  They had to discover what the landform is; how it is formed; a famous example and its location; the flora and fauna that is typically found on the landform; and what the weather is like on the landform.  The groups completed this project in class and I love that you can tell that a bunch of 10-11 year olds constructed the landforms:
The students will share their landform in a 2-3 minute presentation next week.  They will also point out their famous example on a map and I'll project a picture of their example so the students can see. 

The students had a great time working on this project:
Click Here to see the grade sheet for this project.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week 4 (September 9-13)

We had our first geography test on Tuesday, so I decided to prep the students on Monday with a review game, originally called "Stinky Feet Review Game."  I got the idea from Pinterest.  I divided the class into two teams and took turns asking each team a question.  When they got the question right, one student from the group was asked to come to the board and randomly select a Post-It note.  On it was a point value--either a positive or negative number!  That's the stinky part of the game.  I added or subtracted scores as we went along, and the kids had a blast playing this game.  Next time, I'll have the team with the lowest score be the "winner."  I plan to mix it up each time we play.   
One of the responsibilities of the 5th grade students is to raise and lower the flag each day.  On Tuesday, the 5th graders were trained for flag duty.  We had four sixth-grade students train our 5th graders.  The 6th graders did a fabulous job!
 And our 5th graders caught on quickly.
On Wednesday, we got a new document camera for our classroom:
I battled a cold all week and hardly had a voice.  By Thursday, I was in a fog.  I came to school, even though I felt horrible, and was surprised with a cup of chicken noodle soup from a student in the other 5th grade class!  It was delicious!
I enjoyed it at home because I was too sick to stay at school.  A substitute came at 11 a.m.

I got some rest and tried it again the next day.  I still wasn't feeling my best, but I hate missing school.

This week, in geography, we learned about the five themes of geography.  I shared a silly video (by teacher James White) to start the lesson and grab the students' attention:
We did a group activity and completed two graphic organizers.  Here's one:
We also learned the silly mnemonic device of "My Hand Really Likes Pizza" to remember the five themes: Movement, Human-Environment Interaction, Regions, Location, and Place.  We traced one of our hands and wrote a theme name on each finger.
The kids were so sweet and well-behaved this week while I was sick.  I decided that they should be treated, so on Friday we all enjoyed popsicles:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week 3 (September 2-6)

This week was short due to the Labor Day holiday.  I always get off track during 4-day weeks.  I actually did pretty well this week, though, and didn't get too confused with my schedule. 

This week, we were able to add the Daily Depositor component to our Every Day Counts Calendar Math bulletin board.  We began with a million dollars on September 1st, and each day we will subtract $1,000 times the calendar date.  Therefore, on September 4th, we subtracted $4,000.  The students predicted how long it will take for us to spend our $1,000,000.  We shall see who gets the closest. 
In 5th grade, the students take part in prayer groups and we began that this week.  I set them up in groups of three, and they will remain in the same group for the entire school year.  Every day, they meet to share prayer requests and how God is working in their lives.  Each group keeps a Prayer Journal to record their prayer requests and praises.  They spend about 10 minutes with their group praying together.  This creates unity and a stronger sense of community in our classroom.  It's a great way for students to pray for one another. 
In addition to Prayer Groups, we also sing a worship song and visit Operation World's Prayer Calendar to pray for a country in the world. 
We plot on a map the countries we have prayed for.  I can't wait to see this map at the end of the year!
I love that we get to start our day with prayer and worship.

On Thursday night, I held my Parent Tea.  This is an event where parents are invited to school in order to spend a casual evening with their child's teacher.  Refreshments are served, and I was able to share my observations of the class so far, my goals/vision for this year, and some tips for 5th grade.  We closed with a Q&A time.  This evening just allows the parents and teachers to get to know one another better.  It's always a fun night for me.  :)

Week 3 was a short, but enjoyable one!