Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rain forest products, Developing countries, and Muhammed Ali!

Week Fifteen

PreK 3, PreK 4, and Kindergarten - Guiding Question: How do we stay safe in the snow?
We talked with our nurse about staying safe, warm, and dry during these snowy days and read some fun snowman stories. First was The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler. Little Nell's mom and sisters always tell her, "No, you can't help. You're too SMALL!"  But when Little Nell's friends (Reindeer, Bear Cub, and Hare) ask her to make a snowman, their group effort results in the BIGGEST, BEST, snowman that ever was!  Now, her mother and sisters say that yes, she can help! Everyone loved this story about a little girl who surprises herself and everyone else with what she can do.
We also enjoyed the rhyming story, Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner. Just imagine that your snowman doesn't stay on the lawn, patiently waiting for you all night while you sleep. Instead, he goes out to a party and plays in the snow with his friends! This is a fun pretending book with engaging illustrations.

Grade 1 - Guiding Questions: Who was Muhammad Ali? Who was Wilma Rudolph? When did they live?

We continue to learn about people from the past, and this week we read biographies about two African American athletes who lived at the same time: Wilma Rudolph, by Kathleen Krull and Muhammad Ali in Float Like a Butterfly, by Ntozake Shange. Wilma Rudolph's story of overcoming childhood polio and going on to become the fastest woman in the world,  and Muhammad Ali's story of working hard to become the world's greatest boxer inspired us to think about overcoming challenges to reach a goal.  We plotted their lives on our time line, which also includes two video clips of these sports stars in action!

Grade 2 - Guiding Questions: What clues help us know a story's setting? How many continents, oceans, and world landmarks do we know?

Grade Twos continue to learn about setting and the continents by examining the clues in a picture book to reveal where and when the story is located. This week, we read The Day of Ahmed's Secret, by Florence Parry. The author takes us through the sights, smells, and sounds of a busy market in Cairo. We feel the hustle and bustle of the city as we watch Ahmed go through his day. All the while, he holds a secret close to his heart and reveals it to us, and his family, on the very last page.

After the story, students tested their continent skills and their knowledge of world landmarks with some quizzes on the grade two tab of our website. What rich background knowledge our students have about the world! 

Grade 3 - Guiding Questions: What is a developing country? What are some features of developing countries?

Each Grade Three class created a wallwisher page where they took notes about features that showed why a country might be defined as a developing country: a country not able to need its citizens' basic needs. See of all their walls on the grade three tab, or see an example of one class's work. Next session, we will add to these notes and learn to insert photos and video clips.  There are lots of great ways to use wallwisher in the classroom. Check 'em out!

Grade 4 - Guiding Questions: What are the products of rain forest countries?

Grade Four classes also made wallwisher pages this week. They researched the exports of countries in South and Central America to fit with their rain forest unit. They listed the exports and imports of their country and described three exported products. See all of their pages or just an example. Wallwisher is a fun fast way for a whole class to gather lots of information and then sort it however they like. 

Grade 5 - Guiding Question: How can we decide what to read next?

Fifth graders learned about tools on our website that can help them find books. 
Guys Read recommends books targeted to boys and organizes books into wacky categories (like "monkeys and/or apes").  
Book Adventure lets students choose topics and genres and reading level and then recommends titles that match.
Read Kiddo Read lists books by category and shows all of their covers (great kid-appeal).
Books in Series tells the order of titles in a series, essential for those who like getting hooked on certain characters or settings.

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