This week, the students wanted to research how we could help monarch butterflies. They found that one way we could help them was to plant the monarch butterflies host plant milkweed. This inspired the students to plan a butterfly garden for our school yard. The students chose other plants that the monarch butterflies enjoy to add to their garden plan such as joe-pie weed, cosmos, aster and thistles. They incorporated their mapping skills in their garden planning and learned about area and perimeter. We also went on an excursion to Lithuania Park to see if we could find any milkweed plants bearing seeds for our garden. We learned that milkweed plants produce their seeds in the fall. If the students wanted to purchase seeds at a store we would have to trick these seeds to make them think they had gone through winter and put them in the freezer for 3-6 weeks. This process is called stratification. We could also plant milkweed in our garden in the spring if we purchased milkweed sprouts from the garden centre.
Here are pictures of their garden planning and walking the perimeter of the park.
In room 101 the students have weekly practised with individually assigned spelling words. After the students practise these words and their penmanship across a wipe board they engage in a series of hands-on centres. These centres include spelling their words with a wet paint brush on the blackboard, making crosswords, using playdough to spell their words, using letter stencils, letter beads, stamping their words, and playing build a bear (a friendlier version of hangman).
To celebrate the lovely weather that has finally hit our city, in room 101 we decided to have our D.E.A.R Time (Drop Everything and Read) outside. Students took turns reading books at their level to a partner of their choice. Some students even had the opportunity to read to our classroom character Dex.
This term the students have followed our classroom character Dex as he travelled the world and found different animals that needed our help. This month, Dex travelled back home to Canada to examine which animals need our help here. On this mission, Dex gave the students a list of animals from across Canada. The students completed independent research projects on 18 different animals and explored where they lived, what the animals needed to survive and whether or not they needed our help. The students also created a map of Canada where they could arrange their animal accordingly. This week Dex left us a map and told us that the animal we would be researching as a class could be found in this area. The map was of High Park and so we took a walking excursion to the High Park zoo to see if any of the animals there were on our master list. At High Park we found two animals on our list: the monarch butterfly and bison. When Dex told us that the animal had 6 legs, 3 bodies parts and could fly we infered that the butterfly was the animal we needed to help!
This week, students examined place value using a fun game called roll to 100. This game inspired some students to make their own hundreds chart that included a picture of each number using base-ten units. When students are learning about numbers it is important for them to move from the hands on approach with manipulatives before they move to abstract concepts.
Every Friday, the students participate in Writing Centres in our class. This week, one group of students invited a new centre. They decided to create a dance to our lullaby of the week and write down the dance steps. Once they had done this, they had the opportunity to perform it for the class.
Another popular centre during this time is building a story using a story planner graphic organizer and our play mobile characters. Children are constantly creating stories through their play. My role is to help them to build their literacy skills as they do what they love.
This Tuesday we had special guest Marketa Schusterova, who is a wildlife photographer come in and do a presentation for the students. Students were able to ask Marketa questions about the endangered animals they were each studying for their research projects. Marketa showed the students live footage of land gorillas, malayan tigers and various sharks in their natural environment. Working for the conservation team Sea Shepherds, Marketa was also able to share conservation tips with the students.
This week, our classroom character Dex left a package for the students in Room 101. In this package was a letter explaining that he was at the World Wildlife Foundation headquarters. Here his boss had given him a file containing 8 different endangered or animals at risk from around the globe. He asked the students if they could research these animals to see if they could determine which one was in most need of his help. To do this, students chose one animal that they wanted to study and generated questions to guide their research. In mathematics, students learned to use coordinates and the cardinal directions to place these animals on a world map.
This week, our classroom character Dex left the students a note letting them know that the World Wildlife Foundation needed his help. After leaving a video message, Dex left on a trip to an undisclosed location. He told the students that he would tell them more about his mission once they had learned the continents. The students worked hard to learn the continents each morning with a daily song. They then made maps of the world and during centres time had an opportunity to do a puzzle of the continents and read books about them.