Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Early Explorers

We have been sooo busy. For the last four weeks we have been learning about the early European explorers that set out across the ocean blue. We learned about new inventions, such as the printing press, mapmakers, navigational tools, vessels, crews, lands, peoples, and animals never before seen by European eyes. We learned about what they did and their explorations in search for cities of gold, riches, the fountain of youth, and conquering of new lands and peoples. Some major explorers such as Columbus, Cabata, Cortes, Polo, and Vespucci...just to name a few. The students found it very interesting, especially the part of planting the flag down in the ground and claiming that land for a faraway country. They were outraged at the enslavement and treatment of the natives. They were inspired by the braveness of the explorers.

To sum up their learning, they created a tri-fold presentation of one the explorers. They had to include a flag from the sponsoring country, a timeline, a journal entry, create a model of something of the time, and write a short biography with early life details, sponsoring country, what they "discovered", and any other interesting facts they deemed important. I was very pleased with the results--they learned and had fun--yippee!

 I have included a copy of the instructions that were sent home. I hope it helps. Just click on the picture below to get your copy.

What activities do you do for early explorers? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Authors Visit our School

Today was such an exciting day! We had the amazing privilege to have author Mary Ting visit our school, talk with us about the importance of writing and reading, and have our books autographed. The best part is that Mrs. Ting is getting ready to publish her next book and our students have the unbelievable  opportunity to be the illustrators of this new book. Now that is FANTASTIC! That kind of opportunity does not come around that often (if ever).  Imagine, how the chose kiddos will feel to see their published illustrations in a book that can be read all over the world. WOW. I can't wait to see who gets chosen.

  Big Things Come in Small Packages is all about the daily adventures of Zoey and her friends Katie, Abby, Megan, and Nathan. I love that the story is told from Zoey's perspective, because children can very easily relate. Our kiddos find themselves struggling to meet our expectations and being the age they are. It is so difficult being a kid--you're not an adult and you're not a baby. This book discusses very serious issues for children from daily problems they face, how to stick up for themselves using their words, and that big things can come in small packages. The dialogue is catchy and very humorous. My kiddos were constantly cracking up. The kiddos especially loved that all the illustrations were from students at Mrs. Ting's former school. I above all love how you can use it for many reading lessons--dialogue, show not tell, plot, chronological events, word choice, humor, realistic fiction elements, etc. It is such an easy and smooth read. I highly recommend this book. 

The week after Thanksgiving break, we had the honor of having another author visit at our school. Her name is E G Ryan

She is the author and illustrator of some adorable children's books that have colorful illustrations, endearing characters, and great themes. She read a couple of her books to our students and talked about her routines as a writer. She talked with the kiddos about where she gets her ideas, how she incorporates her family and friends in the illustrations, and the importance of reading.

I really liked The Dreamies, because of the importance of kids to get out and play. The importance of balance in our lives is what hit home for me. As my journey with my current kiddos is slowly coming to an end this June, and as I prepare to go back down to kinder/first (?), I am definitely going to start getting my hands on her collection. It will make an excellent author study.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Boogie" Juice

Halloween was a day to top it all off. We celebrated by brewing some "boogie" juice. We gathered all of the ingredients and a s a class decided on what to name our items:
  • orange soda= mutant pumpkin vomit
  • orange sherbet= brain swirl
  • pineapple juice= moon juice
  • plastic skulls= victims
  • scooper= monster claw
  • condensed sweet milk (I find this too sweet, so I decided not to add it)

Before you make the concoction, have some Halloween music playing in the background. It definitely adds to the atmosphere. First, place a whole can of pineapple juice in a large bowl. Second, add 1/4 of the orange soda. Third, add four or five very large scoops of the ice cream. Finally, for the grand finale, add the skulls. Swirl everything around and see it get foamy. The kids LOVED it and the aroma of the mixture is delicious. I gave every kiddo a cup with a small scoop of ice cream filled with the mixture of the bowl. They each got a skull with both a spoon and a straw.  All you kept hearing was, "This is the best!" Of course this makes me feel like I made their day!

Other years, I call this concoction the witches' brew. I place all the items in a cauldron, add gummy worms (or any other gruesome gummy I can find), and serve it in colored cups. There are many variations online, but I find this one works the best.

These are great activities that allow for writing to be engaging and meaningful. They will be adding this recipe to their 5th grade Holiday Recipes. By the end off the year, I hope to bind their recipes together like a cookbook so that they have recipes they can do again and as a nice keepsake of 5th grade.

What is your favorite Halloween activity to do with the kiddos?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover