Hey guys! I have been meaning to blog alllllll week, but after a long week with little sleep, it's all in this one blog post! I am also linking up with Five for Friday at Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some of the cool things we are doing!
1) I hate to start out on a sad note, but I think it's important to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly. This week our nation and community has seen the bad and the ugly, it seems.
With all of the sad and terrible news around us lately in the news, it has been one of those weeks around here. I often find it difficult to determine how much to talk about these events to my 4th graders. I find that they come to school after hearing about certain events and are genuinely curious and want to know more about it, but I have to think about how much information is appropriate to share at their age and to respect their parents at the same time. Some parents tell their children exactly what happened, some tell only a little without giving details, and some are right in the middle. This has been the case this week with several events.
I should mention that my school is unique in the fact that we have students from Pre-K all the way through 12th grade. It's a sweet and small rural school. One of our 12th graders was murdered this week by a student who graduated last year. They had a child together. Since I am not originally from here, I did not know the young lady who was killed and only recognized the man responsible, most likely from seeing him around the campus last year. Students came to school with many incorrect and vivid details of what happened (mostly inaccurate) and I knew I had to address it. This was also the day after the Boston Marathon bombings. So, we sat down together and talked about how two very sad things have happened in our nation and our community. We had to talk about how we shouldn't share what we think we know about events unless we know 100% it's true and even then, sometimes it's not appropriate to share. We talked about how rumors get started and how sometimes we add to the rumors, even if we don't intentionally mean or realize we are. One student told me to "check Facebook 'cause it's all on there" about the student's death. We had a discussion about reliable sources, which is NOT people talking on Facebook. The details of the case are just so very sad and although I didn't know her or her family, I can only imagine how terrible it would as a parent myself. I don't know how anyone can survive the loss of a child. Any situation involving the loss of a child would be horrendous. Please say a prayer for this family if you don't mind. Have you ever had a similar incident? The only other time I've dealt with death in the classroom is last year when a parent to one of my students passed away. How have you handled events like that? Have many of your students discussed or asked questions about the Boston Marathon bombings in your classroom?
Moving on to a lighter note...
The only one students can hold (with a glove, of course) is the millipede. They are creepy crawly, which 4th graders love!
3. As mentioned above, we've used our animals to make lots of qualitative and quantitative observations. We spent 1 entire Science lesson per animal making observations and making notes about their behaviors. We also observed how the animals reacted to light. We made half their habitat dark using black construction paper and shined a flashlight on the other half to see which side the animals went towards. All went to the side that was darker and some even burrowed when we shined the flashlight on their side of the habitat.
4. Another topic we've studied lately in Science is flowering and nonflowering plants. I have a hard time with this topic because our text provides very little information on it and truthfully, I don't know a lot about it either! I am trying to have more of a "green thumb" but I lack a lot of knowledge in gardening and that sort of thing! We asked a Reading Recovery teacher to help us in that area because she is a Master Gardener. She is so very knowledgeable about it!
I also bought this Boston fern to use as an example of nonflowering. I let students take a small part of it and we used clear packaging tape to tape it into our notebooks with nonflowering notes. Does anyone have any good ideas for teaching flowering and nonflowering plants?
5. We had another guest speaker, a meteorologist that works at a local airport! We ask him to come to our school each year around this time to teach our students about Weather. It is one of our first units in the year so this is a great review before PASS. We enjoyed his presentation!
Students were amazed at this tornado simulator!