Friday, September 20, 2019

Celebrating the Good!

Each week in 6th grade, we are devoting time to celebrate the good things that are happening in our world. Because the news we hear about each day can quickly become bogged down with cruelty, violence, and tragedy, we wanted the students to recognize that there are many positive acts happening around us that deserve recognition and discussion.

Students read one current event article a week published about a good deed done in our world. It can be something done by a child, adult, celebrity, etc. It's important for them to see that even the smallest of acts can make a huge difference.

After reading, students write a short reflection that contains their opinion and reaction to the article. We then follow that up with a discussion. We have read two articles so far and each focused on a child, younger than themselves, who did a selfless act to make a difference. Words the students used to describe the acts included "amazing, inspiring, surprising, kind".

This time is beneficial in so many ways: students are becoming more fluent in reading and analyzing informational text, they are building their vocabularies through our discussion, and last but not least, they are left with a heart-warming story to motivate and inspire them to be world changers as well.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Raising a Reader

Summer is so much fun!  Picnics, bike riding, Great America, swimming,  and vacations.  There is so much to do!  As summer ends it's time to get back into a routine of school.    I recently read an article stating that irregular bedtimes can lead to many problems for children.  Studies have shown that  having a different bedtime every night can lead to an increase in bad behavior, slow development, lower test scores, and health problems.    Irregular bedtimes can effect a developing brain.  A child's brain continues to grow from birth into their teens.  Having a different bedtime every  night  can cause sleep deprivation  which then can effect the child's brain.  Getting into a routine of having the same bedtime every night can be beneficial for everyone.    Having a different bedtime every night was compared to having jet lag every day.    The study also showed that children with irregular bedtimes every night tend to be more hyperactive.    The article stated that having a regular bedtime routine that included brushing teeth and reading a book together every night  can benefit your child at home and at school.  Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

We're Habitat Scientist & We Know It!

     Did you know that our 2nd graders are scientists? They are learning about habitats.Through a series of activities, they will be able to explain how living things in a habit depend on each other.

     Their first investigation was the habitat just outside of the school. Our scientists used string to mark their sample site. Students then recorded & labeled their observations on paper. This got them to understand 1) what scientists do and 2) what habitats are.

Drawing of habitat sample site

Interactive Word Wall shows English/Spanish Cognates for Bilingual students

      Next students shared their observations. Because we also focus on improving students’ speaking skills, students shared their observations with a partner.  Sentence stems were provided to ensure that they used the appropriate science vocabulary. Sharing with their partners gave them the opportunity to practice what they wanted to say before recording themselves on a program called  Flipgrid.

     Flipgrid is a media platform that allows me to video record myself asking a question or teaching a lesson. In this instance, I asked our scientists to share their habitat observations with me. They individually recorded their responses and shared with me for review. This allows me to give them specific and timely feedback on their responses. This is a great way for our English Learners to practice their speaking skills.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Drawing Technique

Every year, art students begin by learning different drawing techniques. Drawing is important for a developing child for many reasons. Not only do many children like drawing purely for enjoyment, drawing can also help give children an increase in:
  • imagination 
  • freedom of expression and independence 
  • cognitive function, especially the right hemisphere of the brain
  • fine motor skills 
  • creativity and originality
First graders are learning how to draw and describe different types of line. They are also learning about creating background and foreground. For their first major project, students drew 10 different types of line with crayon and painted them with water color paint, for the background. Then, students used their knowledge of line variety to draw their choice of an animal or human face to glue in the foreground.



Second graders are learning how to draw forms and shade them to make them look more 3 Dimensional. They practiced drawing and shading cubes, cones, spheres, and cylinders. Then, they created their own drawing using at least two of these forms and shaded those with pencil or colored pencil.

Third graders are learning how to draw landscapes. They learned about how to incorporate horizon lines in their landscapes. They also learned that when objects are near to us, they appear much larger than when objects are far away (just like the moon looks small because it is far away, but it is actually so massive that you can stand on it when close up). In addition to having size differential and horizon lines in their landscape drawings, students also learned about overlapping objects to make it appear as though there is more space.


Fourth graders are learning different drawing exercises to help them draw what they see in real life. They learned about contour line drawing, and practiced drawing without looking at their paper, only looking at the object or person they were drawing. They practiced drawing objects upside down to challenge them to really look at the object they were drawing instead of making it up in their head. 


Fifth graders are learning different shading techniques. They learned how to shade with pencil, colored pencil and tempera paint, and will next create a project of their choice that incorporates these shading techniques.

Sixth graders are learning one-point perspective drawing techniques. They learned how to draw abstract shapes and landscapes in one point perspective. Next they will learn how to draw a room in one-point perspective, and then they will choose their favorite one point perspective technique to create their own choice project.