Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Last week, the kids learned the importance of soybean farming.  They were able to see how slow the process of candle-dipping can be!  This week, each student was able to choose their own essential oil scent (or make a combination of their own), and then they made pour candles in 4oz jars.  We reviewed the terms transparent, translucent, and opaque.  I think they will remember those terms from here on out!

The class has been working on their final projects.  They were able to get very creative with these!  The kids could choose any concept that they learned or literature book that they read this school year and either write a script for a talk show or write a song parody with the information.  Today, a few groups presented their projects.  We had possibly the only skit ever written about meningeal worms, a song about how much one student loved school this year (be still, my heart!), a talk-show skit about the book Hatchet, and a song about Brian's obsession with food in Hatchet.  These were great!  I look forward to seeing the rest next week!  

In science, the kids learned about birds; specifically owls.  Today, they learned how owls swallow their food whole and then regurgitate the hair and bones in the form of a pellet.  The class worked in groups to dissect owl pellets and investigate the findings.  They compared the bones they found to their charts, and they were able to determine what types of animals were consumed.  They were also able to tell that owls each more than one rodent at a time!  Some owl pellets contained multiple skulls!


We took turns reading aloud from Swiss Family Robinson this afternoon.  This book is NOT easy reading. I could not be more pleased with the improvement that they have shown on their reading and comprehension!  After reading, the class continued to work on their "New Switzerland" map projects.  They added details with acrylic paints, and we talked about the different names that the Robinson's gave to all of the locations on the island.  Next week, we'll put it all together and finish these up!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Our rescue barn cats have been on the prowl and keeping the rat population here on the farm to a minimum.  One of the young cats, Mrs. Chippy, has made friends with the baby lamancha goats.  They hang out and play together, and they are even similar in color!  The class played an outdoor game called Barn Cats & Field Mice.  The three "cats" had to chase the mice and catch their "tails".  If the cat tagged them, they had to go sit out under the canopy.  But, the mice could grab an extra tail and rescue their friends!  There were sweaty faces and tired kids by the end!
Once inside, the class heard a short lesson on soybeans.  Most kids don't realize how useful soybeans are, and how they have many uses outside of being food!  I showed the kids a big bag of flaked soybean oil.  We talked about the difference between transparent, translucent, and opaque, and then the kids were able to see how heat changes the soybean oil from opaque to transparent.  In Swiss Family Robinson, the Robinsons just dipped wicks into an oil from berries to make candles.  I morphed our literature lesson with our agriculture lesson today, and the class was able to see how time consuming it is to dip candles!  At first, everyone was excited to give it a try... but once a few came up to participate, they realized that it would result in very delayed gratification!  We continued to dip the candles throughout the day, and the kids were able to see how the wax builds up to create a candle.  Next week, we'll work on a simpler and much quicker soybean oil candle so that the class will be able to take something home!
Last week, the class began sketching out a map of the locations on the Robinson's island.   They brainstormed and came up with a list of all the spots on the island: Falconhurst, Whale Beach, Flamingo Marsh, Cape Disappointment, Tentholm, Prospect Hill, and more.  This week, they began creating a multilayered map with paints. They started with watercolor for the ocean, and then they drew their island's outline on a separate sheet.  Next week, we will add details and labels to the island and overlay the island to their watercolor oceans.  
Next stop: Africa.  At home, the class looked up some different biomes that are found in the continent of Africa.  We talked about these and discussed information on a slide presentation.  The class loved the mask art!  We will be doing an African themed art project in class next week.  We then went through a series of mnemonics to help them remember the 57 countries in Africa.  The video of this will be posted for them to study at home.

We reviewed the three different types of fish.  On our field trip, we were able to see many examples of bony fish during our lake ecology class.  We talked about the differences between these fish and cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays.  We also discussed the jawless fish; lampreys and hagfish.