Monthly Archives: March 2013

27 Down, 11 To Go


Why did I skip week 26? We were testing. Bleh.

I expected this week to be disastrous: We were just coming off spring break, it was going to be a four-day-week, and we had an academic competition on Saturday that we were preparing for during the last period of each afternoon. 

But, it wasn’t that bad. The students must have been stunned into good behavior from all the work, or they didn’t have the energy to be bad. Whatever it was, they did a good job following directions, working on learning, and going with the flow during schedule changes. 

In language arts we discussed theme, which is REALLY hard for six-year-olds. Theme is never stated, and it’s not even a summary. It is what you’re supposed to take away from the story. First graders can barely identify facts from the story, let alone the big message. But, they managed through it, and did pretty well on exams. 

In math we jumped into subtraction skills. Subtraction is traditionally very difficult for munchkins because they are less familiar with it (compared to addition), but our book does a good job of connecting addition to subtraction using fact families. So, students understand that the numbers 3 4 and 7 can be related in adding and subtracting. So they are taught to look for numbers in addition fact families that they are familiar with and figure out what subtraction fact it goes with. It’s much more complicated than simply subtracting, but the kids enjoy it so much more thoroughly that I don’t care.

Science and Social Studies were put on hold because of the preparations for the academic contest…that the munchkins rocked. 4 ribbons!! Go munchkins!


25 Down, 13 To Go


This was a fairly easy week for our class. We didn’t have a spelling or language arts unit this week because I didn’t want to load down our little ones with tests before the big, bad IOWA test came on Friday. We did, however, have to finish up our math, science, and social studies units before spring break. So, they got assessed plenty. 

In math and social studies, this assessment took the form of a test. Boo! But in science, the munchkins turned in lab notebooks to demonstrate their knowledge. You see, for the past week, our students have been caring for and observing one of God’s most beloved creatures–nightcrawler worms. They’re like earth worms, but about twice as big. 

They were all so excited to build terrariums, and up until the last moment, had no idea what animal would inhabit it. The kids selected themselves into one of five groups: race cars, ferris wheels, submarines, hot air balloons and rockets. Then they got a habitat, food (grass), shelter (soil), and water.  Then they began guessing what would go in their 6 cup terrarium. Some gave logical guesses like “beetles,” others said things like “cats” or “fish.” I kept telling them: “Think of something that can live in a 6 cup container, and needs soil, plants, and water. 

When I brought out the worms they were all as enchanted by them as they would have been by cats, fish, or even an elephant. They carefully held each worm in their little hands and gingerly placed them into their habitat. 

Then the kids began to write. Most of them did an excellent job chronicling the existence of their beloved creatures. “The worms are in motion!”  “I can see the worms kissing.”  “Some of the plants are missing. I’m guessing the worms ate them.” “The worms are sleeping or dead. I don’t know. But I know they are slimy”