Tuesday, October 31: Halloween
Wednesday, November 1: Day of the Dead Festival; photos may still be brought in Monday morning.
After a thorough picture of the general life cycle of the angiosperm last week, we were ready to dive into the individual parts of the plant. From corolla (which some clever students realized is also the name of a car) to the pistil and stamen, students first learned the general pollination process that awakens the life in the ovaries and will swell to become the fruit which carries forth the next generation of the plant. It wasn’t long before students could identify which parts seemed more male in nature and which seemed more female. We did note that there seem to be some general parallels between the plant world and the human world, though specifics were not a part of the discussion. Overall, students seemed to handle the topic with general maturity, though Tuesday also saw a number of students headed home with flu or cold shortly afterwards! Coincidence? I will let you decide! We did spend a good deal of time creating careful shaded drawings of the plant, using tracing paper to label the parts. It was some of their best artistic work to date and many were proud of the efforts they made.
Since we were able to see the vital role pollination plays in ensuring we have food to eat, trees to climb, and beautiful flowers, we began Wednesday’s lesson in the garden with Ms. Leidy to take a look at the bees. Ms. Leidy shared her passion for beekeeping and gave a description of how the hive works. She warned us that the previous Friday, she and Ms. Kiefer had seen wasps trying to attack the hive, and that our bees may have fallen prey to them. When she investigated further, this is indeed what had happened. The children were disappointed that they didn’t get to see an active hive. When we returned to the classroom, however, I stated that the school may be able to get bees again in the spring. A group of students were immediately filled with the idea of doing a fundraiser to get the bees as a surprise for Ms. Leidy. We spent sometime later in the day brainstorming possible fundraisers with a bake sale and hot chocolate stand topping their list. Without ruining the surprise, they even cleverly got Ms. Leidy to reveal that a new brood would only be 150.00; they were confident they could easily raise the funds by spring. More details to come!
We continue to work daily with long division, multiplying three digit numbers by one and two numbers, quickly making equivalent fractions, and spicing it up with challenge puzzles. It is fantastic how much the students seem to love math! Any day we play a game of Bizz Buzz or Prime Number Game, they are aquiver with excitement. Even those for whom it is not yet automatic, really focus during our daily and weekly math opportunities.
Students finished painting their Arrigo Park tree, and now that the weather has turned cooler, we will be using Friday afternoons for watercolor, wet on wet painting. Our first attempt was a Silver Maple ablaze in an October sky. See the attached photo for a sample. It was also the tree from Soren’s birthday verse!
Earlier in the week I was beginning to see more students seeming to settle with greater consistency into our routine and into my expectations and Wednesday was one of the nicest days we have had. On Thursday I had to leave morning lesson with a debilitating migraine and Ms. Huckabay came to fill in for the end of morning lesson, snack/recess, lunch/recess and dismissal. By the end of the day multiple students were in tears with lots of hard feelings. We spent a portion of Friday pulling apart the threads of what happened and recognizing that our class rule of “Tending Your Own Garden” is vital for a positive learning environment. It seemed that rumor and accusations spun out of control. I continue to work with Social Inclusion and with individual families to foster growth in cultivating a focus on kindness and simply giving each other the benefit of the doubt. I am choosing an umbrella story for our math block that will support these ideals as well.