This week the Super Kids explored pastels and watercolour paints while making haunted house silhouettes. The class first sketched their spooky houses with pencil and then coloured them in with black pastel.
This took a while, but we wanted to have interesting shapes. Some students used white pastel for wind and flying halloween inspired items like bats, birds and even witches.
Next, it was time to add watercolour paint. The whole time we were listening to spooky halloween themed music to get us in the mood.
On Monday we’ll be writing about our spooky houses. Who lives there? What makes the houses spooky? Stay tuned to find out. 🙂
Math games are a natural way to practice our developing number sense. This week we focused on counting up and back from a number to help solve number sentences. To differeniate to meet the needs of all learner in our class, different dice were used. Students picked from either a 6 sided, 9 sided, or 12 sided dice along with a spinner. The students were partnered up and worked together.
We sent a thank you e-mail to Paulette Bourgeois for answering our questions. We included a picture of our class (a few students were missing that morning) holding her books. Again she got back to us in just a few minutes telling us that our picture would “put a smile on her face all day”. You should have seen the reaction of the Super Kids! They couldn’t believe how kind she was to answer us again. She even signed her e-mail “your new friend”. One Super Kid said, “Wow! We’re friends with a famous author!” Love it!
Next week is spirit week at our school. Let the wackiness begin.
Ok…that was fast! I found the author of the Franklin series’ e-mail address and sent her a message from the class. She got back to me in 20 minutes! I had to post it and I can’t wait to share it with the Super Kids on Monday. We have to send her a class picture of us holding her books thanking her for getting back to us so quickly! What a kind lady to take the time to answer our questions. 🙂
Hi Mrs. Bourgeois,
We are a 1/2 multiage classroom from Ecole Sage Creek School in Winnipeg Manitoba. We have be researching nocturnal animals and had a couple of questions about your Franklin books. We love to read them during storytime! We made a connection to our science research on nocturnal animals and our love of your Franklin series. Why is Mr. Owl not sleeping during the day? He is a nocturnal animal. We also were wondering why all of Franklin’s friends go by their animal species
names and not Franklin. Thank you for your time and helping us with our questions.
The Super Kids 🙂
Dear Ms. Didyk and curious Super Kids
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my books and to study them. I write both non-fiction books and picture books which, like the Franklin the Turtle series, are mostly from my imagination. In a book about nocturnal animals, of course, an owl would sleep during the day and be alert and awake during the nights. But, a fiction writer must, and can!, set aside much of reality to create a story. That’s what I have done with Franklin. Turtles don’t go to school and as far as I know in the natural world, they do not pal around with bears and geese and beavers. So… Mr. Owl is a fictional character who has all of the great characteristics of a wonderful teacher.
Looking back, I wished that I had given Bear, Beaver and all of the friends names. In languages such as French and Spanish where nouns— words such as beaver, bear and goose— are either girl words or boy words. I know that is funny for English-language speakers. For instance, in French, Beaver is Le Castor. That’s a boy word and Beaver is a girl so we gave her a name in French but not in English where there is no confusion. In many languages, all of the he characters in the Franklin books have names. Check out a French-Canadian version of Franklin— he is called, Benjamin. But when I started writing many years ago, I thought there would be only ONE Franklin book and I wanted him to be the character that everyone knew. Back then, I had no idea that all of his friends would have their own stories.
I hope that helps, rather than confuses.
Best, Paulette Bourgeois
What animals go bump in the night? This time of the year is the perfect time to learn about nocturnal animals. The Super Kids first brainstormed different animals they thought came out at night and sleep during the day. Next we looked them up using the Pebble Go website to confirm that they were nocturnal. The list consisted of spiders, bats, owls, foxes. wolves, fireflies etc. So many questions came out of these discoveries. Why do some animals come out at night? How do they see? Do they have super senses? With the help of our 5/6 buddies we began researching and learning more about the nocturnal animal each student picked to learn about.
The class discovered that many nocturnal animals have heightened senses. Owls have huge eyes and have heads that can turn around almost the whole way! Bats have a super sense of smell. We tested our sense of smell with a science experiment. When the class came in on Thursday morning there were cotton balls at each table spot. Their mission was to smell their cotton ball, describe the smell, and find a partner in the classroom that had the same smell.
They described their smells as candy cane, pancake syrup, cinnamon buns, ice cream, and cleaning supplies. Not to bad! All were cooking extracts with maple, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla flavours. The class found some smells harder to distinguish like maple and vanilla. We concluded that bats must have a very strong sense of smell since they have to find their food at night. We also watched a “Sid The Science Kid” on smell and a Franklin the turtle video on nocturnal animals to tie our learning together. We wondered why Mr. Owl, Franklin’s teacher, taught during the day since he is a nocturnal animal too. Excellent question! We plan to tweet or e-mail Paulette Bourgeois, the author of the Franklin books to find out! We just have to find out her contact info. We’re on the hunt!
Home reading is in full swing in the Super Kids classroom. In a multiage classroom there is a wide range of reading abilities. Each day the students are randomly paired with each other to practice a “just right” book and their sight word cards. The reading skills that each student is working on varies, but they’re learning to work together and to be each other’s coaches. Beginning readers are working on looking at the picture, one to one match, recognizing sight words in the book, and looking at the initial letter. Others are working on the flow of they’re reading so it isn’t so choppy, understanding what they’re reading, and reading with expression. A big thank you goes out to the Super Kid’s families for taking time each day to practice our “just right” books with us and using the Raz Kids program to have more selection of books at our levels.
Below are a few pictures from our choice time centres. The kids enjoy picking centres that interest them and extending on lessons learned together.
There was no school on Friday because of MTS PD day. All teachers in the province of Manitoba had the opportunity to pick professional development opportunities that they were interested in and attended throughout the province. I went to the Manitoba Association of Multiage Teachers (MAME) event. I attended a session on integrating art into the early years room which I loved because I got to be creative and see many of my teaching colleagues from other schools.
I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and remember that it’s early dismissal on Tuesday. 🙂
The leaves are changing, Thanksgiving long weekend is coming to an end, and I’m currently watching football while typing this post. Yep…Fall is here. It was time to make some fall inspired art. This past week we talked about the difference between warm and cool colours. We used warm colours, that reminded us of a sunset, to create our backdrop for our birch trees. After looking at many pictures of fall birch trees, we created our own. The students used black paint and a small piece of cardboard to create the small nicks in the trees that makes the distinctive look of a birch tree. We love to create art with some classical music playing! It’s so calming. You can hear the kids take a deep breath and relax. If you’re around this week, make sure to take some time to stop in and see our artwork.
The Super Kids were introduced to the online reading program, Raz Kids this week. It is a reading program that we are using for our home reading program this year. Each student was exposed to “just right” books at they’re reading level. Once we all got logged into the laptops and onto the system, the kids explored the website so they could share it with their families.
The Super Kids love math games! This week the whole class had several mini lessons on using a number line, counting up and back from a number, and solving number sentences in their skill builders.
Each afternoon, the Super Kids have centre time. This is a time for the students to explore different activities that interest them. This week many students built structures, create art pieces, built chain reactions, explored the science items, and explored the classroom library.
This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. I’m thankful for my family, friends, and the opportunity to teach my amazing students each day. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families.
This week we had our first library class! The kids were thrilled to meet Mrs. Nicole, our library assistant, in the beautiful space. We even had a ribbon cutting before we entered. One Super Kid was so excited to go to the library that he had a dream about it the night before. The class was thrilled to see all the books and excited to be the first kids to take them out. All of our library books are brand new!!!!
This week we continued our discussion on cause and effect. We looked at books and videos about what an engineer is and how they help solve problems by designing solutions. We read the book “Rosie Revere Engineer” by Andrea Beaty. If you haven’t read it, our class highly recommends it. It’s a book about a second grade student who designs things and realizes that not all of her inventions will always work the first time.
We also watched a couple of YouTube videos to support our discussion. The first is from “Crash Course Kids” a series of short science education videos, the second is a movie clip from the animated movie “Meet The Robinsons”, and the third is a clip from a “Sid The Science Kid”episode on incline planes.
Armed with our prior knowledge from last week’s first attempts and our new found knowledge of engineers, incline plane, and a can do attitude, we revisited our chain reaction designs.
It was amazing to see their designs develop and their confidence grow. The class didn’t get frustrated, but had the try again attitude necessary for testing designs. Thank you to those families that sent in items to help develop our designs.
This week we started our math workshop and reader’s workshop. Students are grouped into math clubs and book clubs. These groups rotate through a variety of centres set up to help develop their number sense or literacy skills. One of the centres is “work with teacher”. The group comes to the moon table and we work on reading strategies geared to the group’s reading level in reader’s workshop and number sense strategies during math workshop.
Friday was “Orange Shirt Day” in the Louis Riel School Division. It is a day to reflect on the history of residential schools in Canada and their effect on the Indigenous people. We talked as a class about how we are all unique and come from a variety of backgrounds. We’re lucky to be able to be ourselves and express our traditions. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case for some cultures in Canada and around the world. To be honest it was a difficulty conversation to have with my class. They are so loving, kind, and compassionate. They can’t imagine a world and time where they couldn’t be themselves. Our school had a walk along the trails in our community to honour the day.
On a completely different note, our class is excited to be recognized by the Edublog community! We found out on Friday afternoon that the platform that we use for our classroom blog, Edublog, tweeted out our classroom’s blog to it’s members and posted our link in the online newsletter! The kids asked me to thank them which we did and they responded that they love the work we’re doing as a class. The class thinks their famous! We checked out our cluster map and we had hits from Venezuela, China, Germany, Brazil, Belgium etc. In September we had over 700 visits to our blog! Wow! We are connecting with the world and learning about being a safe digital citizen at the same time.