It was another exciting week in Blaine 309. We finished Gooseberry Park, learned about the autumnal equinox, introduced the endangered whooping cranes, practiced counting combinations of coins and paper bills ($1, $10, $100), played Math Bingo and Jungle Coins on the iPads, focused our reading exploration on finding dialogue in books, and more!
SNACK/LUNCH DONATIONS STILL NEEDED
We always try to have extra snacks and lunch items on hand for times when a lunchbox is forgotten at home, when food falls on the floor, or when a child is still feeling hungry. If you’d like to help, we could use some tree-nut free granola bars, pretzels, etc. that are easy to store. Cup O’ Noodles and instant Mac ‘n Cheese work well as lunch substitutes. Thanks to the families who have already sent something in!
FROM FLOWER TO FRUIT
As a final activity for our apple study, we learned about how an apple blossom becomes an apple. Thanks to Ethan S.'s and Lena's families for sending in lilies so we could see the parts of a flower up close. The classroom and hallway were filled with their sweet fragrance all week! We learned about bees and pollination, how each grain of pollen produces one seed and that apples can have up to ten seeds. We also learned how the frost last spring killed many of the apple blossoms at the orchard and led to the limited apple crop this fall. The parts we focused on include the petal, stamen, pistil, ovary, sepal, and stem. Next time you eat an apple with your second grader be sure to ask them to show you the sepals on the bottom of the apple. These are the leaves that protect the flower bud and they remain even after the apple is harvested.
During Reader's Workshop, we have been exploring dialogue in books. We’ve introduced quotation marks and the children know to look for these punctuation marks to find dialogue. We also discovered that dialogue is found most often in fictional stories. Children can become confused about who is talking when conversation shifts back and forth quickly between characters or if one character speaks through several sentences. This confusion can impact comprehension and a child’s ability to retell story events accurately. Understanding dialogue will also help children read with greater fluency and expression. For one activity, we sent the children off with pads of post-it notes and challenged them to be “dialogue detectives.” As they looked through fiction books, they recorded how many different ways authors show that characters are speaking instead of the word “said.” The children found wonderful, descriptive examples including, shouted, growled, cried, laughed, asked, whispered, moaned, etc. These words help us know how to use our voice to read with expression.
The migration is underway and we have launched our study of this amazing, endangered bird. Be sure to stop by the stairwell to see the life-sized drawing of Wally the Whooper (photos of your children standing next to Wally are coming soon). The cranes began their migration on Friday and flew 19 miles. They were doing so well, the pilots decided to skip the first stop-over site and fly to the second. All six crane-kids are now in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. The weather proved foggy and humid this weekend so both days were down days with no migrating. The ultralight aircraft are more sensitive to the weather conditions than the birds and can't always fly even though the whooping cranes are eager. Some of you may have tried to watch live on the crane cam and may have caught a glimpse of the trike (nickname for the ultralight), members of the Operation Migration team, or may have even seen some long whooping crane legs walk by. Unfortunately, for many of us, the signal was weak and all we saw was a black screen. It's good to refresh and even try a different browser when this happens. Operation Migration is working to have a stronger, more stable signal. We will be keeping track of their days of migration as well as all of the down days. We’re crossing our fingers for better flying weather next week. Here is some background information for you:
On the brink of extinction, a flock of only 15 wild migratory whooping cranes remained in the early 1940s. Since 2001, with ultralight aircraft leading the way, a new wild flock of migratory whooping cranes is being reintroduced to the eastern U.S., once part of their historic range. The goal is 25 breeding pairs from 125 birds in Wisconsin by 2020. The new flock has had limited success in nesting, and the fragile migratory population still has a rocky road ahead. Thanks to the efforts of Operation Migration there are now almost 100 wild adult Whooping cranes in the new flock migrating in eastern North America. Each year, new crane chicks are raised in captivity, trained to migrate with the ultra lights, and added to the new eastern flock. This year's new flock members are called the "Hatch Year 2012" birds, or the Class of 2012. These birds hatched in the spring of 2012 and have been training in White River Marsh, Wisconsin all summer. Our second graders will track the birds as they begin their first migration south to Florida. The current Class of 2012 (learning to migrate following the ultralights) is a small one with only six chicks. Six other chicks are a part of the DAR (Direct Autumn Release) Program. These are captive-born chicks that have been released in the company of older, wild whooping cranes. The older birds will teach the younger birds the migration route. Finally, two wild chicks hatched and raised in the Wisconsin wetlands will follow their wild whooping crane parents to Florida! We will also follow their progress as we receive updates from Operation Migration and Journey North.
Stay tuned and if you get a chance, check out the live crane cam (via http://www.operationmigration.org) early in the mornings after sunrise. You might catch a glimpse of take off! Below is a video showing what the early morning departure looks like.
Have a wonderful week!