Yippee Yahoo Y’all! The Beta Blog is up and a runnin’!
And now we have a bit of catching up to do, so hitch up your oxen to your covered wagons and join us on our adventure!
We are a nation of movers!
Did you know that almost a half a million people moved west along the trails such as the Oregon Trail and the Santa Fe Trail in the mid-1800’s? That’s a lot of moving! But when you think about it, the United States has always been a nation of movers. After all, most Americans- or their parents or grandparents- had come here from Europe to seek a better life.
The Betas have been busy preparing for our long and strenuous journey westward.
Next, we took our lists of supplies and created a visual to represent what was placed in side the wagons.
Our wagons are just about packed. Pa and Ma told us we could only bring one item with us, for the wagons are so full. What a tough decision to make!
All packed up and said our good-byes to family and friends and it is time leave for our adventure!
Life on the trail was quite monotonous. Pioneer kids were pretty inventive when it came to amusing themselves on the journey west. They would make toys out of the simplest things. Peek into a young boy’s or girl’s pocket back then and you might have found a buzz saw or ball-in-cup toy.
So far our trip west has gone without a hitch, but Pa sees a storm a brewin’. It’s going to be a big one! We have lost our tent and our wagon cover is wearing out and has holes. We need to seek shelter, but where? Pa instructs us to collect sticks to create a lean-to to keep us dry as we weather out the storm. We must work together quickly to get it complete before the rain begins to fall!
So much of our language arts program is embedded into our theme. We find the kids are more engaged and focused when their skills are not used in isolation, but used with a purpose- like reading about what is needed to pack in our wagons, or writing about our journey. The kids forget they are learning!
Language Arts lends itself readily to lessons that build upon students’ “real life” experiences (in our case- Westward Expansion). Reading, writing, listening and speaking – these are the building blocks of communication, a process that is central to our lives, and we allow a great deal of time to express ourselves, as well as reflect on our learning and experiences in the classroom.
If you would like to learn a bit more about Words Their Way, check out this file! TG_WTW_Wordstudy
In math, our main focus so far this year has been on number sense, as well as place value. Our goal, as teachers is to help the kiddos understand that they should always try to make sense of what they do in math. We will always encourage them to explain the purpose for what they’re doing, the logic of their procedures, and the reasonableness of their solutions. During our math time, we probe children’s thinking. We ask: Why do you think that? Why does that make sense? Convince us. Prove it. Does anyone have a different way to think about the problem? Does anyone have another explanation?
Math is a time for talk. Communication is essential for learning. Having students work quietly-and by themselves-limits their learning opportunities. Interaction helps children clarify their ideas, get feedback for their thinking, and hear other points of view. Students can learn from one another, as well as from their teachers.
The photos below show what we mean. The kiddos CAN teach and learn from one another! And it is super cool to see!
If you are interested in learning more about this approach check out this website. Marilyn Burns is our math hero! http://mathsolutions.com/about-us/marilyn-burns/
Here is what’s up over the next few weeks!
October 9th- Beta heads to the Bob Bullock Museum!
October 12th- Mr. Scott’s birthday
October 16th- The Beta Jamboree- Oregon Trail Style! (Top secret for now!) 9am-11am
– Around the World 11am-2pm
October 20th-24th- Fall Break!!
October 27th- Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences
October 31st- Emil’s Birthday