Thursday, February 04, 2016

Harry Potter - Chapter 8 - Potions Class

SOOOO much fun today!

Today Professor Wilfred Waldicott made an appearance as the Potions Teacher.

I followed Amelia's (Where the Wild Things Learn) instructions to a T as I gathered the materials for my four potions lessons. If you are interested there is a freebie from Amelia's blog where you can download the very Potions book that I used! It was kinda fun sticking labels onto ordinary objects to turn them into Potions Ingredients. With names like Powdered Unicorn Horn, Gillyweed, and Flubberworm Mucus how could you NOT feel like you are entering the dungeons of Hogwarts to partake in a class with Professor Snape?


I was able to purchase two large cauldrons for each of four houses and several little bottles to put things like dish soap, borax, and vinegar in for the lessons. The students had to come up and find all the ingredients they'd need to complete each experiment.

The first one was Exploding Filibusters which came with a lovely aroma that permeated the classroom. You can tell as these kids were holding their noses as they mix up the Dandelion Root (dry yeast) with vinegar.

I wasn't sure how well my class would behave with all of this fun going on. But this first experiment went really well. They were listening and working together and talking quietly. So we went into experiment number 2: Snape Slime.

Here's where I made my biggest mistake. I listened to Amelia and bough some table covers at the dollar store. This one was going to be messy. However, I managed to leave them in the car. I wouldn't recommend this!

Snape slime was really gross Awesome! I was afraid to let the kids stick their hands in the cauldrons with borax floating around in there, but the directions said to do just that. In we go. The stuff resembled snot but firmed up after a bit. I had to make the kids put their take home bags of slime away after listening to them slap and pat their bags like overzealous bongo players.

There was a lot of clean up involved with these two - just so you know.

We ran out of time and only got to these two. I'm planning on finishing up the other two closer to the end of our read aloud. It's taken us five weeks to reach chapter 9, so all 17 should be done in 10 weeks, right? I don't know how Amelia go through all this in five weeks. Oof!

On another note our owl research is complete. For the writing I only had them focus on one topic since the area to write on the owl body was small. They could write about what the owls looked like, ate, lived,  or their predators. Also it was a great lesson on narrowing down your topic. Some kids had trouble sticking on the topic. Definitely made it easier to know who to involve in a small group on narrowing topics!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Harry Potter - Chapter 7 : Hogwarts Express

I've been totally waiting for the chapter when Harry gets dumped at King's Cross by his horrible Uncle. But then it is all made better when he in shown through the wall between Platforms 9 and 10 by maternally helpful Molly Weasley.

I still remember sitting in the theaters when the first movie came out. That moment when Harry turns the corner and sees the Hogwarts Express wreathed in steam made my heart leap. I wanted to be part of that world.

Today I brought my class on my adventure. I shared some of the sights and sounds associated with this particular train ride.

I shared this ppt with them.

They got a huge kick out of that! Bonus points for when the principal walks in to observe me. (YAY!)
We nibbled on Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans as well. If you look really closely you can see I hand painted the bowl to say, "I Solemly Swear I am Up to No Good."
 I bought a candy mold and it was super easy to create those chocolate frogs. Also I downloaded the actual packaging online and printed them out in color so we could take the fun a step further.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sharing Sunday January 31, 2016

Thought I'd help you out with a few ideas to fill in your February. If you're school is like mine we have parent conferences this month. Eeek!  So I could use all the help I can get.

My school is also doing something a bit unique in 2016. In hopes of increasing our Social Studies and Science scores for the upcoming GMAS testing, we are dedicating out entire Friday schedules to those subjects. So my grade level got together and designed a  45 min content lesson for both subjects, and a 45 minute technology lesson for social studies, and a 45 minute science experiment. That way we only had to plan for one lesson. Great collabo!

I thought I would share my Economics idea with y'all this month. I am using this as a great way to review material we haven't discussed since the beginning of the year since most of the Fourth Grade standards revolve around those earlier topics. I created an interactive ppt with four slides for the students to manipulate and reveal answers as they go. There is a worksheet involved as well for them to write down their thoughts for each slide.

You can click on this image to be able to click on all of the links:
Here's the worksheet that goes with the Economics Understanding slideshow.

Who can forget Valentine's Day? Here's some more fun for y'all

Just click on the image to see all the links

Head back to the Primary Peach for MORE February fun and freebies.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Harry Potter - Chapter 5 - Diagon Alley

I can't believe how quickly we've raced through the book so far. The first three chapters were for simple enjoyment. I didn't stress any real work, but to gauge how well they'd take to the book. Listening to their chuckles and outright giggles at the monstrosity that is the Dursleys, I knew they were going to enjoy this read aloud.

Once we got into Chapter 4 it was time to add more activities to our lessons. We looked at vocabulary. I stuck with four words at a time for each chapter. I wrote the words on a white board for them before we began. They copied each on a sticky note and put it onto a white lined piece of paper. As we read Chapter 4 I stopped when we came across one of them. I had them write down the sentence the word was in. We discussed what it could mean and then came up with a synonym (sometimes an antonym as well) and decided on part of speech.

There are now comprehension questions for every other chapter. The first two can be found from the text. I ask that they write it in such a way that isn't using information from the story. The evidence from the text goes in a separate box on the sheet. For example: The Dursleys wouldn't give Harry a proper bedroom. Evidence: He had to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs.

We have been doing some activities after our readings. The Wand Stories are done and floating on the wall outside our room under the banner of, "A Flutter of Letters."

Our House Cup Challenge is healthy as well. I need a ton of jelly beans! Hufflepuff is actually commanding a great lead out of all four houses.

The students have been haranguing me outside at recess for hints and spoilers. I am trying to be tight lipped, but they ask very pointed questions since most have seem several of the movies.

We've found the Pandora Harry Potter station and listen to that in the morning during our DBQ time. It's actually quieter now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Harry Potter - Chapter One - The Boy Who Lived

I had to take a deep breath before uttering those words - The Boy Who Lived. I could go on and on about the amazing storytelling ability of JK Rowling and amaze over the subtleties she thought out from the very beginning. But this isn't about my love for her writing. It's about the students.

They all cracked open the cover of their brand new books and turned to chapter one, page one of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. And we began... As we savored every word there were many gasps and "Oohs" as they recognized important details Ms. Rowling sprinkled throughout the book that would become major plot points later on. Now this is why I wanted to do this unit. The literary comprehension is catching on. They are seeing how an author establishes character traits and builds up backstory without giving everything away from the start.

The writing activity is flowing so naturally from our reading. They have been so enamored with their wands they can't seem to put them down. So asking them to think how this wand came to be was so easy. We spent one day on collecting details about how our wands looks, feel, and even smell. We brainstormed a list of woods to choose from and delved into magical creatures that might have donated an item to the wand's making. My class is pretty creative already with personal narrative writing, but this is the first time this year I've delved into the fantasy realm with them and they are blowing me away. Their stories are sequenced naturally and include details from their plans. Plus they are having fun with them and want me to read each one before they finish.

Normally I tell them I won't read the whole thing until they turn in their Final Drafts, only the section they feel fits in with that days lessons. But these are too fun not to read as they develop. To keep them quiet and working I've taken to playing the audio version of the book read by the amazing Jim Dale (another donorschoose item!) while they write.

During the day when I find a free moment or two, I find myself throwing in some wand lessons. Of course we started with

1.) ONLY point your wands away from people
2.) Keep your wands to yourself, this includes hitting, poking, or touching other people's stuff
3.) Keep your wand in a safe place. If it ends up on the floor, don't be surprised if someone steps on it.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Harry Potter Unit 01 - First Years Arrive

They arrived. Dragging their feet and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, but they arrived. All 24 of them. 19 days away from the routines and procedures of school were clearly evident as they chattered like magpies over a few bits of string. Then they caught sight of their teacher who was dressed in a black robe and wearing a tall pointy hat. In his hand was a stick he kept waving around (think swish and flick) as they approached. Now, understand, these little ones have grown used to their teacher's eccentric moods, but this one was waaay beyond.

They greeted their teacher and may have passed a small word or two about the new year. Then they got to their desks. Quips of "What's this?" were used often when they located the folded bit of parchment waiting for them. It was addressed to them so they could open it. Confusion was the first response after reading this letter, but it soon dawned on them as they put the clues together. Their teacher was UP TO SOMETHING!

Like I mentioned before, there are only three days of school this week. I decided NOT to start reading the book until next week. But there is certainly tons of things that we can do before reading a book, right? I handed out their individual copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (thank you Donors Choose) and we discussed what they already knew about this character. They knew a lot, let me tell you. About 7 of them had already read the first book. We read the summary on the back and applied it to what we knew. I gave them some background on the author and chatted about theme and genre.

The next day we jumped on the train of character traits. There was some work to be done about separating out what is a trait and what is a feeling. We also thought about how these character traits could be collected in order to make a judgment about the person as a whole.

The third day was all about decorating our wands, so there was very little academia involved.

I had them paint the wands all black first in order to bring out the texture of the glue and then add new colors. Word to the wise: lay down paper before you let them start painting. Saves on TONS of mess. They had so much fun choosing and painting their wands. Many wanted to start using them already, but I told them they couldn't use them until they've passed the Wand Use 101 class. I was SIRIUS!

Another thing I did during this short week was have them work with their new housemates on a few projects to get them used to each other. I thought with it being the start of a new year it was perfect timing to get to know each other a little better. I had them fill out a survey with each other to get them talking.

They also had to take the concept from our character trait study and apply it to themselves. They needed to come up with three traits they all share and then design a house crest to hang above their seating area. This was an interesting conversation to listen to.

Here are a few more shots from our week:

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Harry Potter - First Day Jitters - Harry Potter set up

Okay, I think I'm ready.

I've got my costume set for tomorrow. The door is set up as Platform 9 3/4. It's a recycled Christmas decoration from another teacher. I removed the stockings. I might put a cauldron in the fireplace for the Floo Network, but that doesn't come about til Book 2.

I created all of the school folders needed for their Hogwarts Packets. 

I've got all of my stash out and ready for the Sorting Ceremony tomorrow. I've collected a few HP mementos over the years. Don't judge.

We've got this weird three day period this week to start off the new year. Not enough time to start anything new, so we'll be doing a lot of review with some fun projects thrown in. I found a foam friendship wheel (they last longer than the cardboard ones) for creating bracelets and figured out to do the easy stripe pattern from this picture.
Or you could try the 4 model without the wheel.


And we'll be making plastic mesh bookmarks in our house colors from this pinterest idea:

I cut the plastic mesh 7 holes across by 42 holes down. One sheet of 7.5 by 11 sheet gave me 16 bookmarks. I'm making a model and will let you know how it turns out.

Wish me luck!