Another hard working and adventurous week here at the camp. Our campers have been finishing up their learning on money exchange and time to the 5 minutes, using activities and games to practice their skills. In language arts, we have finished writing our pen pal letters to our friends in second grade Memorial School, and will be sending them out today. We have also been reading interesting stories, practicing partner reading and working on reading groups and literary circles. In Social Studies, we finished last week our travels around the 7 continents, and have moved to learn about how seeds propagate during our science period (pictures on the presentation show our students acting as trees dropping the paper seeds from their arm-branches). And on our special bird feeder project, we have installed the camera and have seen a lot of activity in our bird feeders and bird houses. We can't wait to see the footage that the camera has captured. The project has had such a big impact in the school, that teachers and students are doing some bird watching on their own and reporting what they see to us. The houses and feeders look so pretty over a background of green grass and blooming trees, and the birds seem to love such colorful constructions!
Here is a slide show of the bird feeder installation. What a perfect day for outdoor work! Thank you to Mr. DeWitte for doing all the work, and explaining to our campers the proper use of the tools.
Now we just have to wait for the birdies to discover the wonderful buildings we have created for them!
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!
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!
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!
A week away from our winter break, the campers haven't slowed down their pace. For the past two weeks, these are some of the things we have been working on:
During our math period, the campers have been learning all about subtraction of two digit numbers with and without regrouping, understanding what that means, when they should regroup, and getting to the final answer in a few steps. Subtraction can be tricky, but these explorers have no fear! During our morning math talks, we have been playing around with Mr. Wybourney's Splats (that we call "manchas") that create rich mathematical conversations to build number sense. If you want to take a look at Mr. Wyborney's work, click here.
During Language Arts, we have started writing our how-to piece, in this case, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, in Spanish called "como preparar un sandwich de mantequilla de cacahuete y mermelada", writing and rewriting until the steps are clear. Upon finishing the piece, students will create a flipgrid video showing how to do it, and reading the instructions they wrote.
Also, Esther and I have been working on our reading group rotations where we have the chance of working with 4 small groups during 15 minutes each, do reading comprehensions and response to reading, and "gifting" the kids with new words to practice during the following days. Esther is coming up with very creative ways to fix small grammatical errors, like working with the articles "el", or "la", and the possessive pronouns, like saying "la casa de mi abuela" instead of "mi abuela's casa". Also, during the 100th day of school, our campers spent almost two hours writing words in Spanish with their articles, and I have to say, I had the dictionaries ready just in case they wouldn't get to one hundred, but they didn't need to use them, all of the words came out of their minds! Yep, these kids have a Spanish area in their brains.
And finally, during our Social Studies period, we have started working on our travel journal covers that we will take "around the world" during the weeks after the winter break (more on this to come). Take a look at the pictures to get a glimpse of the work at the camp.
Enjoy the weekend!
This Monday we received the visit of a group of seven Spanish exchange students and their teacher, that right away accepted the challenge of building structures with our campers. The students were distributed in groups of two or three with the help of one exchange student each. They were given a bin with different materials, and a set of pictures of structures as an example of what they could build. At the end, the exchange students would help our campers fill out a paper with a picture of their structure, and an explanation of the materials used, the names of the team members, the name of the structure and what was it for. All the students were so engaged for the full hour, and it was beautiful seeing our campers and our helpers communicating in Spanish.
In our Nature camp, we have also started our science unit on Material Magic!. Our campers have started exploring the properties of certain materials, and have created a hat perfect for the hot weather, with absorbent materials, and good to protect them from the sun. Check out their creations!
As a final note, I have to say that I was so impressed and proud of my students for their performance during Open House. They were incredible tour guides, and were so focused and respectful when it was my turn to present to you. Such a caring group of kids speaks volumes of the great parenting received at home!
Thank you so much for your visit during Open House. It was great to meet (almost) all of you, and to see your enthusiasm for your child's learning. As a gentle reminder, there are still many volunteer opportunities opened, so check them out on the menu above!
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!