Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Co-op Update - September 11, 2012

I'm back! I've been gone from this blog for some time, but now I am back. I will be posting about our year last year, along with many other topics. It was quite the year! This year I am running a co-op at my house which I will post more about in the coming weeks. For now, this post is mainly for the parents of the children in my group. If gives them a chance to see what we did during our day. So here we go.... While we waited for one of our friends to arrive, the kids worked on a lego challenge. This was a good ice breaker and way to start the day. The kids didn't need much building time so we jumped right in and went to the table. As a group we wrote some Mad Libs. I chose one Mad Lib story and on a piece of paper, they had to write down their ideas for the different parts of speech presented in the story. We started with all of the nouns first, then the adjectives, etc... Once everyone had all of their 16 parts of speech chosen for the given story I inserted the words and read the stories aloud. This was a hoot and the kids really seemed to enjoy it.
Once all the kids were present, we discussed my expectations, and what the co-op would look like throughout the year. I plan to briefly discuss one virtue a week from the Family of Virtues book. I'm choosing character traits that will apply to our group and the group's dynamic. We have an age range of 6-11, with many different personalities and interests. For today I chose the virtue - RESPECT. We quickly talked about what this means and we went through 4 or 5 scenarios and discussed how we would approach each scenario in a respectful manner. It would a really good discussion with lots of input from everyone. The idea of being sincere also came up. Next up - math! I brought out the cuisenaire rods and we just played with them. Last year I had a training session on cuisenaire rods and it's amazing what can be done with them. They're really a great manipulative to have. When using these rods, it's always a good idea to just let kids play with them. It gets it out of their system, and by playing with them, they get used to the idea of each colour having a different value.
It was time for a break. They had a quick snack and then went outside. We warmed up by doing some foot work on the exercise ladder. This was fun! Then we played Capture the Flag.
After our break we came inside and had a quick discussion about maps. We will do a lot more on this in the next few weeks. I was using it mainly as an introduction to our unit on Canada. We looked at a map of Guelph and looked at all of the different mapping features and symbols and discussed why certain symbols are used instead of others. We talked about a bird's eye view and what it would look like. What would a bird see if the roof of our house was lifted off and the bird looked inside. How would we use symbols to illustrate things like our beds, dressers, stove, couch, etc.. I then gave the kids graph paper and they sketched their rooms. We started with wall location, door placement, and then furniture placement. They had to consider what each item would look like from above. The idea of scale came up and many realized that they hadn't drawn their furniture to scale. This will be discussed next week. Lunch and play time outside. They had a good amount of time just doing some free play outside. When they came back in they were ready to go! We started an Alphabet Project on Canada's provinces and territories. Each child was given a province or territory and a reference book and they had to find a word or sentence about their prov/terr. that fit each letter of the alphabet. They had to look at illustrations, photos, text features, or read the text, to locate the information. Much of this was done aloud which was great as everyone learned together. I scribed answers for some, and helped locate info for others. We didn't complete them (obviously) but they worked really hard on this project for about an hour. Eventually we'll take our info and put it together into a book they can illustrate.
We did a quick group activity by putting together a Canada puzzle. As we put it together, many of the facts they discovered during their research came up. I then read 3 chapters from Paddle to the Sea. As we winded down the day, I briefly spoke to them about next week's art project - graffiti art! What's the difference between graffiti and art? I told them to think about lettering styles, colours and the symbol they want to use for their tag. Play time - lego! Great day. Thanks everyone!

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