Guess what we learned about last week?
Swash-bucklin', plank-walkin' pirates.
And, boy was it fun!
I wracked my brain for a topic that would be fun for the kiddos and fun for me. Oh, and I also wanted the kids to have some stuff to do independently so that I could finish about a million and one things that needed to be done to close out the school year.
We started the week with an anchor chart.
We built our schema, thought of questions and then started our research. I read them the following book and they had a BINGO board with terms from the book that they had to write down the definition for as we read.
This book was the best - it even says so in the title! I happened to find it in a garage sale a few years ago and it's been used a few times. Good purchase, I must say :)
At the end of day one, we also started reading Treasure Island. I'll be honest, I'd never read it. But, we started it and the kids were absolutely ENTHRALLED in a matter of minutes. I think it's pretty cool that the kiddos got so sucked in to a classic book like that so easily. We read a children's version, of course. But, it still has the classic song in it:
"Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"
Okay, okay. Maybe my kids shouldn't have been exposed to that - but, it's a classic! And, they don't know what rum is. And, besides, they made up their own version in a matter of hours. Yo ho ho and a bottle of glue has a nice ring to it, huh? Ha!
The next day, the kids used books about Blackbeard the pirate that I printed off A to Z Reading to make a huge bubble map of the infamous buccaneer. They were pretty wrapped up in and it took them forever and a day to finish them. Which is fine by me because I was wrapped up in my own stuff. So, I forgot to take pictures of the bubble maps. Oh, we also read another really good book that day:
This started quite an impressive streak of pirate babble in my crew.
Wednesday, we strayed off a little bit and read this book because we took the Math Constructed Response Assessment (gag me) and my kiddos were all spread out and arrived back at the room at different times:
It's so cool! It's a mystery about this boat a long time ago where the crew went missing. I had the kids make a hypothesis first. Of course, they almost all thought it was pirates. But, as we read clues (that the kids recorded in their notebooks), we eliminated pirates as a possible cause because the cabin was neat and tidy and nothing on the boat was disturbed. From our reading, we knew that pirates caused destruction on board ships they plundered. The kids were so into the story and we had a ton of great discussion. They were using a lot of inferencing and synthesizing. Very cool book...
Thursday, we did a lot of crafts. We started off inventing our own pirates. They had a list of things to think of: what they wear, what they do, what they look like, things they like and dislike. Then, they went back to their desks and made wanted posters for their pirates. They turned out so cute!
We were having a 50th Anniversary of our school on Friday and the principal asked us to make sure the hallways looked good. So, I got it in my head to make pirate faces out of paper plates. The sign says "We aaarrrghh ready for 4th grade, mateys!" And, the pirates have little speech bubbles telling what they are excited about next year.
Friday was the best. In the morning, we made treasure maps. They did SUCH a good job! They had a rubric to follow but basically they had to make a map with a compass rose, map key and at least five symbols. Then, they had to write a letter explaining the directions to find their treasure. They had to use direction words and highlight them.
Notice the pirate talk?
I bought the kids eye patches out of the party section at Target and we made hooks out of tin foil and red Solo cups. Mr. Hedgepath dressed up as pirate for us and we had a treasure hunt around the school that ended on the playground with popsicles!
Today, we finished Treasure Island. I let one of the boys read while I slipped out for a second to get some paper in the hallway.
How adorable is this?
Well, this will be my last school post of 2013. We're on our last week and there will be NO blog-worthy activities going on, I'm afraid.