All about Spanish
As you may know, teachers and administrators at the Spanish Immersion Program have been deeply looking through the way we do things, reevaluating, and receiving wonderful professional development through conferences and coaching. One of the areas that we need to put more work is on Interpersonal Communication. Our students are really good at interpreting the language, and presenting orally on a prepared project, but how about the day to day conversations on normal topics, the ability to talk back and forth during a dialogue? For this reason in our camp, encouraging this adventurers to speak more of the language every day is one of our main goals. Fortunately these campers are all for it, and the amount of positive Class Dojo points on "communicates in Spanish" has grown significantly. Not only during our guided reading groups, but also during games and group activities without me being present, students have made an effort to practice their spoken Spanish. This week, we have been talking all about money exchange, with an activity where students had to withdraw money from the bank, purchase and object, calculate the quantities, and save money for a bigger purchase, using sentences like "es barato" (it's inexpensive), "es caro" (it's expensive), "prefiero ahorrar" (I rather save), "me gustaría comprar" (I would like to purchase). To keep them accountable when I was not in their group, students recorded their conversations on "Voice Memo". Also, as you know, the campers have started blogging in Spanish, and commenting on their friends' pieces. The editing process has tested their stamina and perseverance, what makes the final publishing even more worth it. During guided reading, the students have been retelling the stories with their own words, self-timing their words per minute to practice fluency, and recording their reading, questions and answers during partner reading.
And yes, we even had time to breathe :)
Take a look at this week's slide show for a small peek at our camp.
Looking forward to what the Spring will bring!
Projects and fun
It has been several weeks in the camp since our last journal, weeks with tons of activities and fun. Our campers did an amazing job taking on the challenge of the snow person, and that has led to work on different areas in the curriculum. For example, with the pictures of the snow people that you took, I could create some cards that the campers had to organize by size, by type of accessories, and by amount of accessories. After organizing them, they created line plots to study the data. Then, during writing, they started the creation of a "Como hice mi muñeco de nieve" (How I built my snowman) story in Spanish, using the writing process of coming up with the vocabulary, writing the first draft, revising, editing and writing new drafts, and finally publishing. We are still in the process but their pieces will be published in an online blog for kids.
During math, our campers have been working on addition and subtraction with three digit numbers, using strategies of place value, regrouping base ten blocks, and using the number line. To finish the chapter, the campers had to use their best exploring skills during our two day escape room challenge "El misterio del caldero de oro" (The mystery of the pot of gold), where a mischievous leprechaun had destroyed the rainbow, and hidden the seven colors in seven different treasure chests, that the students had to "open" after finding the clue hidden in the different addition and subtraction challenges, and the color represented by the words in the limericks. It was just amazing to see how they didn't want to stop working on the challenges even during snack time, and the second day they went directly to the table of challenges at arrival before almost even saying hello. Check out the pictures to see how all of them got to get to the pot of gold, and also to see their funny faces during the most complicated and puzzling challenges!
Finally, during Social Studies, the campers have been traveling around the world to visit some of the continents and oceans, getting their passports stamped, and their boarding passes ready for such long flights to the second grade classes in the school.
And what about the projects coming up? Well, the fun hasn't finished, next week we are planning on hammering away and assembling our bird feeders and bird houses, installing a camera to see the birdies enjoy our treats, and we will soon start a pen pal program with the second grade SI Memorial students!
School is cool!
The power of productive struggle
Do you think it is possible to keep children working on math non stop during long periods of time without getting distracted? Well, it is. Our campers found out yesterday that, in order to get this teacher's Valentines, they would have to work for it, and work hard (Why would I ever give them gifts without expecting them to work for them, right?). That's the reason why, for Valentine's Day, the campers found out that for math, they would be working on one Escape Room type of activity. The students had to crack the codes of three different levels of activities in order to get the final code that would get them to the gift. You can imagine how motivated they were! It was fantastic to see them using the strategies we have learned all these weeks working on subtractions, and getting frustrated, struggling, discussing, making mistakes, and trying it all over again, not giving up until they could solve the puzzles. It sure was a fun thing to witness. I have to say, I didn't create this activity, but now that I know how it works, I will be introducing more in the future!
In the afternoon, some fantastic mother volunteers came over our camp to work with the campers on three beautiful and really creative Valentine's crafts. Thank you so much to all of you for participating. Take a look at this week's slide show.
Enjoy the winter break!
This week's highlights
This week at our camp the nature explorers have been learning so many different things.
During math, we have moved from learning about place value, to addition equations with regrouping. To make sense of the movement of ones to the tens place, we have been working with "untraditional" number bonds, that is, with paper plates with legs. The campers have been separating the addends into tens and ones, and then regrouping the tens on one side, the ones on the other, and making new tens with the individual ones. Take a look at the pictures to know what I am talking about. We have also been comparing equations, and figuring out if the comparisons where true or false, and we have been finding reasons why one number wouldn't belong to a group of other numbers. The number sense of our campers is expanding, and setting the base for future and more complicated math problems.
During science, this week we have learned why the rivers flow in one direction, and where do they go. We have created a model of a mountain and rain pouring over it, and we have seen what happens when it rains. Take a look!
During our meditation period, we have been learning new things about our brains, like what are the functions of the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala, what is a neuron, and how the constant practice of something reinforces the neuropathways in our brains. We have established the routine of doing our core practice, "mindful breathing" three times a day, that will help us calm our amygdala and therefore, have better access to our memories in the hippocampus, and to make better decisions with our prefrontal cortex. I don't have pictures of the campers meditating, because... well, I am meditating with them. But I do have a very cute picture of the second day of school after the holiday break, the campers surrounding the reunion of stuffed animals :)
Enjoy the week!
Thank you, volunteers!
This week I want to say a big GRACIAS to the parent volunteers that have come to Nature Camp to play Math games with our campers, or have organized this event, and to the parent helping with our reading centers. We enjoy your participation and that you can get a chance to get involved in our daily camp routines. Also, to the two parents that are regularly cutting up and assembling booklets and other reading and math materials for us, I want to say "your help is huge to me!, Thank you so much!".
I love the involvement and generous heart of this community, and I am looking forward to give you more opportunities to volunteer! If you are interested, check out the wejoinin pages on the "camp volunteers" section on the top menu.
I feel very grateful for your help.
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!