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!
In our Nature Camp these last couple of weeks, we have somehow overcome the flu season (fingers crossed), not without difficulties. Our campers have been in and out of the classroom, but have managed to keep up with the learning, and I have to say, some seem to have grown taller with those fevers!
In the camp, we have introduced a new number routine, comparing three numbers and figuring out how far they are from 100, or how much would those numbers be if we added 100, 500, 1,000 or 10,000 more. We have also started investigating subtraction with regrouping, using our handy "hundreds, tens and ones" mats and manipulatives. In Language Arts, we have been working on opinion writing, and read tons of non fiction readings, finding evidence from the stories about facts and opinions. In Science, we have been working with soil erosion from water, and have done some messy but cool models of plateaus and canyon formations. In Social Studies, we have been preparing our continent boxes, and will start next week our journey around the world. And during our meditation breaks, we have been practicing our core practice, breathing, three times a day, following some guided meditations, and learning more about our filter system in our brains, and how to, in order to pay attention, we need to filter out a bunch of input from the outside. Take a look at these pictures. This time I took some pics of the campers during our mountain breathing exercise. Ask the campers to show you how to do it, it will help you relax!
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!
I can't believe three weeks have passed since my last post! Let's take a look the highlights of these weeks:
In math we have been working non stop with numbers. Our number talks are now focusing on target numbers, and on finding as many ways as possible to make those numbers. Did you know that some of my campers are challenging themselves out of their comfort zone and trying multiplication and division? Way to go! The campers are definitely not afraid of making mistakes and learning from them, yipee! And what about counting groups of 10 objects? On the pictures you will be able to see how it was no minor adventure. When I got back from the math conference I had the privilege to attend, I returned so inspired that I want my students to feel that passion for math. We are training our eyes to see math everywhere and notice and wonder! So I want to invite you to do the same, if you see math, take a picture and send it to us. Your child can give you a few tips on how to start seeing math everywhere. But I warn you, once you start, there will be no way to turn off the math eye!
In science the campers presented their animal habitat project, and worked on the prototypes for bird feeders, after studying the eating habits of different local birds like cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers and finches. Take a look at their models.
Esther, our Spanish aide, showed us a fun presentation on holiday traditions in Spain!
Thank you so much to those of you who volunteered last week to play the math games with us. The campers had a blast.
Just a few highlights on this short week:
In math we have finished chapter 1 on place value, and have just started chapter two on numbers to 1,000. Yesterday the campers had a lot of fun making groups of 10 objects to count up to a certain amount of hundreds in each station. Take a look at the pictures.
We have also been learning a lot about different habitats, and writing reports after watching some videos.
And as a final note, I want to thank you all for all the support and help that you give to this Nature camp. I feel truly blessed to work in this community, with such wonderful kids and families. I am so lucky to have a job that I adore, in this fantastic school, with such amazing administrators and colleagues. I am thankful for all that.
I really wish that you have a great Thanksgiving break with your friends and families.
These past two weeks our campers have been exposed to the Andalusian accent of Spanish through our Spanish Mystery reader, and our Cultural Assistant. Our students enjoyed a beautiful narration of Streganona, and this week, our Assistant created a fun and engaging interactive presentation on Andalucia, the southern region of Spain. Thank you, Mystery reader for volunteering to read a story to our campers!
In math we have been skip counting to 1,000 in 100s, 10s, 5s, 2s, and 1s.
In Science we have been getting ready for our Animal Habitat Science Fair, connecting our research from World Animal Day, to the habitats of our animals. Students have been learning a lot about the rainforest, and the importance of conservation of precious resources.
This week our campers have been really hands on with their learning:
In Science, we have finished the unit on matter, first creating the highest structure with cards and clips, and then transforming it into a stronger structure that can hold the weight of a hard cover book.
During math, we have continued our journey through numberless problems, and splitting up numbers in tens and ones. During Halloween Day, our aide Esther, presented on "El Dia de Los Santos", a November 1st celebration in Spain to honor our family members that passed away, and engaged our campers with a fun game comparing Halloween with El Dia de los Santos. In the afternoon, we ended the school day with a fantastic party organized by our volunteers, in which our campers decorated a pumpkin, frosted some cookies with some scary and yummy scenes, and played a guessing game with some horrific and mysterious objects in cauldrons. THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!
And during Language Arts, our campers have continued their practice on close reading, learning new vocabulary, and doing some summarizing with sequence of events.
Take a look at this week's slideshow.
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.
Hola! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a Spanish Immersion teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our Lab through 3rd grade!