Posts Categorized: Elementary II
By: Bethany Hill
Upper Elementary Teacher
Pause, sit down, and think about your childhood. What comes to mind? Do you think about playing with your friends outside? Riding your bike or building forts for hours? Enjoying board games with your family? Now, compare those images to what life is like today. What differences do you see?
We spend so much time plugged into computers these days. They’re tiny, hand-held, and convenient little devices. While they have a lot of pros, they also have a lot of cons. The average eight-year-old spends at least two hours each day plugged into some kind of electronic device. That’s fourteen hours a week! So, think about how much time we as adults spend plugged in. It’s kind of scary.
The Upper Elementary Class recently had the opportunity to unplug and get out. We took a three day trip to Nature’s Classroom in Mentone, AL, and it was wonderful! Cell phone and internet reception were spotty at best, and there were no televisions. The children truly got back to nature, explored relationships with each other and themselves. They hiked, played games cooperatively, and worked as a team to build a geodome and a rope bridge – just to name a few things. The most technology most of them used were disposable cameras. It was joyful and peaceful!
Fall is great time to get outside – the weather is crisp and the scenery is beautiful! Here are some ideas for getting out and unplugging with your family:
- The Annual MSH Fall Festival
Come to the new Hampton Cove Campus on Friday, October 30th, 5 – 7 p.m. for games, fun, and a chili supper!
- “Down on the Farm” at Gullion Farms in Somerville, AL
The Lower Elementary Class will be taking a field trip here this month. The children will have the opportunity to fish, milk a cow, ride a pony, pick a pumpkin, and much more. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.gullionfarms.com/
- The North Alabama Railroad Museum
Located just east of Huntsville in the Chase Community, this museum offers a regular tour schedule as well as seasonal excursions and activities! You can find more information by visiting: http://www.northalabamarailroadmuseum.com/findus.htm
- Alabama State Parks
There are so many wonderful state parks near and far! Whether you’re into hiking, picnicking, or looking for an overnight getaway you’re sure to find something to fit your family. Take a look at their website: http://www.alapark.com/
During the months of January and February, the Elementary II students learned about and honored a variety of civil rights events and activists. They expressed their own thoughts and feelings about this pivotal time in our nation’s history and had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Sonny Hereford (one of the first children to integrate in the Huntsville City School System). Below are some of the thoughts and quotes from the children and their journal entries:
“I would help Martin Luther King, Jr. I would walk and not ride the bus. I would join the bus boycott. They were a huge help for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.” H.P., 3rd grade
“I would be in the marches during the civil rights movement. In the marches you walk to the city holding signs. There might be some signs that say ‘freedom’ or ‘This is not fair.’ That is why I want to be in the marches.” E.M., 3rd grade
“Prior to 1954, segregation in schools was acceptable in the United States. In 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education ruled out segregation. It was illegal to segregate schools.
On November 14, 1960, Ruby Bridges went to William Frantz Elementary. She did not know how the day would be. An angry mob met her. They shouted cruel and horrid things to Ruby as she arrived…” N.R., 5th grade
Our studies in class sparked individual interest in several of the children. They have been checking out books about Rosa Parks, The March on Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The children’s inquisitiveness has sparked many great classroom discussions. Educating future generations about peace, positivity, and proactiveness is the best way to extinguish adversity in the future.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Have cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already wrapping up another school year! I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know all of the children, and I look forward to seeing many of them again next year. In math, we are busy tying up our study of fractions (and some geometry). The children have enjoyed using the Montessori Fraction Circles, fraction bars, and the Geometry Box (aka “the box of sticks”). We have found the new fraction command cards from the Houston Montessori Center to be extremely valuable!
Sci-Quest has continued to be a favorite activity every-other Wednesday. During their most recent visit the children had the opportunity to be engineers and build their own catapults. The final visit from Sci-Quest promises to be awesome, too. We will be dissecting a shark! In the classroom, we’ve been watching our ladybugs grow and recording our observations. It has been wonderful for the children to witness complete metamorphosis first-hand, while learning about the differences between complete and incomplete metamorphosis.
We have a few more notable dates coming up this month:
*May 12th – 16th the 3rd and 4th graders will be taking the SAT. More information about testing details for the 3rd-4th graders will be coming soon.
*May 12th the 2nd graders will be participating in the strawberry picking field trip to Brown’s Farm.
*The Elementary Bridging Ceremony will be May 20th at 2:00 p.m. The 3rd graders will be bridging from Lower Elementary to Upper Elementary, and all of the children will be performing a song. Everyone is invited to come enjoy the performance and a small reception.
*Field Day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 21st. Be on the look out for more information as the date approaches!
*Finally, the last day of school and our picnic at McGucken Park is May 23rd.
Thank you so much to all of the parents who have helped out this year by volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning, donating materials, etc… This year would not have been as successful without you!
This week we enjoyed our second visit from Sci-Quest! The children learned about how rainbows are made, explored the refraction of light, and optical illusions. They used colored water to dye gardening crystals and “capture” the colors of rainbow in test tubes.
April is National Poetry Month, so we’re incorporating poetry into our study of adjectives and adverbs. So far, the children have composed their own Haikus and Cinquains. Soon, we’ll be writing Quatrains and free-verse poetry.
Our study of fractions is in full-force. Cooking with your child is a wonderful way to reinforce fractions at home, while at the same time incorporating measurement. The children have worked with equivalent fractions, comparing fractions, and some of them are moving onto simplifying fractions.
Finally, we have two field trips planned for this month. On Thursday, April 10th, we will be visiting Burritt on the Mountain. Permission slips for this field trip went home on Tuesday. On Friday, April 25th, we will be participating in Panoply School Days. I will be sending home permission slips for Panoply next week.
This month will definitely be busy, so be sure to check your child’s yellow folder regularly!
I can’t believe that Spring Break is almost upon us! We’re still very busy preparing for the Multicultural Festival. If you have anything from or about Europe that you would like to share with the class, that would be great!
Our science/geography studies have also expanded to include biomes. We’ve been discussing the interdependent relationships in biomes and the different types of biomes found all over the world. Also, a teacher from Sci-Quest is now coming twice a month to conduct science experiments with the children. Yesterday was the first class, and I’m sure that all of the children came home talking about dry ice!
Last, but not least, we have two field trips planned for April. On the 10th we will be visiting Burritt on the Mountain. We will be learning about life in Alabama during the 1800s, and the settlers who moved here from Georgia as they searched for gold. At the end of April (date to be announced) will are planning to attend Panoply School Days. So, be on the look out for more information and permission slips!