Monday, February 25, 2013

Bat... Bet... Bit... Bot... But...

Hello again!

This past week has been full of fun language games that have really got the friends laughing!  As many of you know, "Change the Vowel" is a favorite game in our class, especially when we are changing the vowels in our names to make silly new names.  The students have continued their exploration with different vowel sounds by listing all the different words they can make using a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern.  Students are noticing the relationship between letter and sound, which letters are constant and which get changed in the pattern, as well as practicing reading each word to find which words are actual words and which are made up words that give us a good laugh!

Another fun language game some friends have been practicing is "Change the Consonant."  They are using the same consonant-vowel-consonant pattern, but instead of changing the vowel in the middle, they are changing the consonant in the front with different puzzle pieces!  For example, using the -at ending, friends can use different consonants in the front and find new words, like, cat, bat, rat, sat, and many more words that rhyme!

During one of our discussions, some friends were really curious about the time and how to read the clock in our classroom.  Many students are able to read the clock to give a hint about what time of day it is, but not exactly tell the time.  Some might know that when the big hand touches the nine after Songs and Poems, it is recess; or when the big hand touches the nine after our Revisiting Meeting, it is time for lunch; even when the big hand touches the six after Calendar and Journal, it is the end of our day. But the concept of time is still a mystery.

We started dissecting the different parts of the clock in our room and becoming familiar with what each number represented.  The terms hour, minutes, and seconds came up which prompted us to note what the different symbols on the clock meant.  Each large number indicated what hour of day it was, and each small line represented one minute.  We checked to see how many minutes were in an hour and some friends were quick to notice that you can count by fives to tell how many minutes have passed.  This is still a big concept that is going to require more analyzing and practice, but it is neat to see that the students have been thinking about it!

Has your child talked to you about Mrs. Piggle Wiggle?  I spend a few days a week reading from this book to the class and we have had such a ball learning about the unconventional ways that Mrs. Piggle Wiggle makes doing chores around the house fun!

We have also been continuing our study on the elements to story writing and documenting what we know about the book, starting with the title, the characters and the setting.  This helps wrap our minds around sharing just a little bit of information, mentioning some key information but without giving too much away.

This week, students have been challenged to incorporate this documenting process during Relax and Reading time.  This helps the students think about some main points of the book and give other friends a glimpse at what different books might have to offer them, without giving away all the secrets of the story!  More of a reason to pick it to read it on a new day!

The next step I have briefly introduced the students to is showing which are the main points of the plot summary, but again, without telling the secret of the book.  We worked together as a group to decide which events were most important from the first chapter of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, which illustrations would best convey the message, and what information would be enticing enough to make the reader want to know more about the book.

Come on in to check out our Reading Log on the information table to see which books your child has been enjoying during Relax and Reading time, and their first attempts to document key information about them.

Love, Gaby

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Water Reclamation Plant

Hello Artistic Scientists' families!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make today a big success and were able to join us on our field trip to the Water Reclamation Plant.  We were greeted by our tour guide who gave a very interesting PowerPoint presentation about their plant,  methods of collecting water, and the process of filtering out the bacteria to ensure safe, quality drinking water.  The students were very excited to ask the expert their pre-generated list of questions regarding who, what, when, where, why, and how they do their job so that we all have clean water to drink.

As we commenced our tour of the outside water filtration plant, we got to see first hand how the water travels from one tank to another, passing through different straw-filters as well as very fine porous material that traps the smallest bits of bacteria and bits of waste. 


Placards on the floor indicating the level of bacteria left in the water as it goes through different areas of the plant.

Where all the clean water is stored.

 The tour ended at a sink which dispensed clean water!

 And notice the placard on the floor no longer has any bacteria on it!

These three vials contained water from the plant, a sink, and water run off.  Which is which?

The friends were really entranced by the scale model of the facility and surrounding parking lots.  We were able to spot where we were at that very moment and in which lot we had parked.  

After thanking our tour guide we went a nearby park for lunch, journaling, and getting in some good play time!

Thanks for everything!
Love, Gaby