Kent and I on the Plaza

Kent and I on the Plaza

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Poet Tree update

We are finishing up concrete poetry and working on free verse.  Some classes began writing free verse poems and some will begin next week.  Everyone should be working on their poem that they are memorizing for Poetry Cafe.  It will be here before we know it.

The poem I shared with all the classes this week was "The Spider and the Fly" by Mary Howitt.  The students really enjoyed it.  We took time to talk about the lesson of the poem which is to be cautious around strangers and people who flatter us.  I spoke with them about listening to their "inner radar" which sometimes makes us feel uncomfortable.  Some of the students equated this with their conscience and knowing right from wrong. It was a good discussion!  Next week, in honor of Halloween, I will be sharing "The Raven."

History Mystery update - October 27

Each day this week, I have copied research materials and sent them home with the kids so that they could finish their research at home.  I don't want any of them to struggle with it, so I hope parents will let me know if there are any questions about it.  The first time kids do fact and source cards, it can be pretty confusing for them.  In addition, I've been gone two days this week and we will not see students tomorrow.  I wish we had more time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

History Mystery Update - October 21

Each class received time to work on fact and bibliography cards.  This is hard work, particularly for our new third graders!  Next week we will be beginning to learn about the mystery genre.  Some students have started writing their stories, but most are still in the note taking stage of research.  The copy machine has been broken this week and so I was unable to send research materials home.  As a result the due dates for bibliography cards and fact cards are:

Monday, October 31
Tuesday, October 25 - I think this class is on schedule for this date.
Wednesday, November 2
Thursday, November 3

Poetry Class Update - October 21

This week many of my students heard and discussed The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.  We discussed Longfellow's use of imagery and how this poem influenced our culture.  Most people don't know that there were other riders that night or that Paul Revere didn't complete the ride.  His legacy is due to Longfellow's poem.   This week we also took time to complete acrostic and concrete poems.  We have concentrated on word choice, using interesting instead of overused words.  We have also added onomatopoeia to our Poetry Toolboxes!

I've been reminding the students that they need to be working on memorizing their poems for the Poetry Cafe coming up on November 16, 17, 18, 21, and 22. They only have four weeks left to prepare for their presentations.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Multicultural Fall Festival

This Saturday, the Multicultural Fall Festival will be held in Downtown Jefferson City.  I believe it runs from 10:00 - 3:00.  There will be lots of activities and food!  What a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday!

Also, don't forget about the TLT performance of The Crucible and MU's Homecoming in Columbia.  I heard they are giving tours of the MU library following the Homecoming parade.

Poetry Class Update - October 13

The kids are doing a super job with their acrostic poems.  I have been really impressed with their willingness to revise their word choices.    I think having the computers with the thesaurus program helps with this process.  It is easy to use and they love it whenever they can get their hands on a computer.

I am beginning to introduce concrete poetry and onomatopoeia and we are moving into that new assignment.  Except for the Wednesday class, students should have completed their acrostic poem by now.

History Mystery Update - October 10

We are all working on research.  For the third graders, it is a difficult process, but they will catch on.  I have sent home calendars with the due dates for the rest of the term.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday students will bring home research next week unless they finish in class.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Poetry Class Update

We are still working on our acrostic poems which we are writing in couplets.  I really put a big emphasis on word choice.  I have shown the kids how to use the dictionary app. on the computer and they are utilizing it for the thesaurus.  We are taking words that are over used such as "nice" or "pretty" and finding more interesting words as substitutes.  Sometimes, this will throw off the rhyme and requires that a couplet be rewritten.  It is my hope that all this revising and attention to detail will spill over to their other writing.  If you have a chance to reinforce this with other writing assignments at home, that would be great!  The poems we have been analyzing at the beginning of class is "The Ballad of William Sycamore" by Stephen Vincent Binet.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

History Mystery Update - October 3-7

It is taking longer than I expected to determine the responsibility of Captain Turner of the Lusitania.  We are continuing to finish up debates and summaries.  Next week, I'm going to set aside each day for research.  The Tuesday students will need to complete their debate next week, but everyone else should have the whole period to get a solid start on their projects.

The Little Theater in Jefferson City is performing The Crucible by Arthur Miller October 13 - 15.  It has been quite a while since I've seen it, but it is about the Salem Witch Trials. I seem to recall that the play was written as a response to McCarthyism. Some of my students are researching the Salem Witch Trials and might enjoy seeing the show!