Zoology: The Cuttlefish 

The transformation from imagination to objectivity and detailed observation is manifest again in the study of nature that forms the Human and Animal main lesson block (Zoology). Animal study is introduced, growing out of a descriptive study of the human being and our place in nature. The child develops an understanding and appreciation of the animal kingdom as it reflects the environment to which each species has adapted. Through detailed study of the forms and habitats of animals, the children begin to get a feeling for the fascinating assortment of skills and qualities that the animals possess. At the same time, the children begin to see the unique and responsible position they hold as human beings upon the earth. This detailed study offers opportunities for the child to develop his/her comparative, conceptual, and observational skills, and it provides additional material for artistic, dramatic, and language arts activities. 
  
Last week, the class began by studying the cuttlefish and the gray seal. The class is working on improving their informative essay writing and are beginning to word towards peer editing. 

   
 
During extra main, I have been working with the class on continued math fact practice, problem solving, and writing pen pal letters to the fourth graders in Mrs. Hedrick’s class at the Swain School. 

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Hello Fall Break 

We had a great week of learning and being together as always this week. The days before fall break are always bittersweet. The kids and I are both ready for a little down time, but we have so much fun together that I hate to take a break from it. This week we reviewed all of the math concepts we covered over the course of our first arithmetic block including 

A review of measurement learned in 3rd grade

Perimeter 

Estimating measurements

Converting measurements

Area

Square numbers

Prime numbers 

Factoring, finding factor pairs 

We starting using this terrific book as a class reader, reading stories the class has heard orally as part of main lesson.  

 
We have been singing and dancing as usual, and the children have been doing a wonderful job singing this Autumn Roundelay as a class. 

 
Today we had our first introduction to slant line drawing. Here is a little more information about slant line drawing. I will talk in depth about this at our next parent evening and we will do a few exercises.  

    

Here is a peek into a tag game the class has been playing with Miss Edit in Games and Movement class. 

  

Bifröst and Yggdrasil Factors and Factoring 

This week we began using Math Daily 3, as a way to allow the children time to practice arithmetic in small group with me and Miss Sarah, our classroom apprentice. The children will engage with math independately through games and activities, while the teachers cycle through groups of students based on need and ability. This is done for usually the last thirty minutes of our math period. 

This week we also learned a great deal about prime numbers, composite numbers, factors and factoring, and rules of divisibility. We used the Sieve of Eratosthenes to find prime numbers and practiced finding factors of composite numbers using the old Norse rainbow bridge, Bifröst, to help us. 
We then use the old Norse tree of life, Yggdrasil, to factor numbers. 

      

We also explored square numbers. 

    
Last Friday, we celebrated Circle of Season’s fourth annual Day of Courage by performing the play George and the Dragon as a whole school. Each grade recited part of the story and sang songs.  

 
And the day before the Day of Courage, we were fortunate enough to have the author Alan Gratz come to school to give a talk to our 4th through 6th graders a talk about his newest book, Ban This Book. Alan Gratz, who was invited by Let’s Play Books Bookstore, was an excellent speaker and really engaged the kids. They have been very excited to read the book and to learn more about writing books.  

 

Odin’s Law 

The class has absolutely loved hearing Norse Tales and has literally been begging to hear more. We are hearing 2-3 a week and working our way through two sources Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and Padric Colum’s The Children of Odin.  

 
We used Odin has a connection to multiplication by composing Odin’s law of multiplication by multi digit numbers.  

   
Hopefully the fear of Odin’s wrath with keep us on track for following the correct algorithm! 

Day of Courage 

Tomorrow Circle of Seasons will celebrate our fourth annual Day of Courage. We will celebrate by coming together and reciting the story of George and the Dragon in verse with each grade taking a turn. I think it will be a truly special way to celebrate. Please remember to have your child wear red tomorrow if they have any I their wardrobe.  

 
This school celebration of courage is related to a harvest festival that has existed for hundreds of years. In the days when people were responsible for growing, harvesting, and storing all the food they would need for the winter, autumn was a cause for both celebration and trepidation. They celebrated their harvest each autumn, but at the same time feared the possibility that all they had grown might not be enough to sustain them through a hard winter. Although our children do not need to fear that they will not have food this winter, we all have our own fears, great and small, to overcome. We wish to teach our children to be brave enough to face their fears, to be courageous enough to overcome fear and become something greater with each victory. This is the heart of our Day of Courage.

Multiplication Mania

This week we have mainly been focusing on improving out use of the traditional multiplication algorithm with special attention to when we are multiplying by a two digit number. Luckily we had Odin, father of the Norse gods, to help us with his laws of multiplication.  We have been hearing lots of Norse tales and the children are enthralled.

   
We reviewed linear measurement learned in third grade and discovered rules for converting linear measurements. 

   
Some students put the finishing touches on their maps of the school and we now have them displayed in the hallway.  

   
We have also begun working on knot tying which will help us as we begin drawing Celtic knots in form drawing.