Here are some quick glimpses of project work in our classrooms:
The Animal Kingdom Project
This project allows students to learn about vertebrate and invertebrate animals. We kick off the project by visiting the Osteology Museum. We learn about the different characteristics of vertebrate animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds). This year we will also collaborate in small groups to create our own animals. The students will name them, think about their eating habits, how they move, where they live, etc. I know the kids will have a blast using their imagination and will learn a lot in the process as well.
The child will also select an animal and complete an investigative report with their family. The student will go to the library to research books and utilize library databases, talk to experts, visit the zoo, and after reading, observing, talking and discovering together, the kids will put together a book and share their research findings with their peers. The presentation will include a short explanation of the animal, followed by a question/answer session from the audience.
The Rainforest Project
In this project, we learn where the rainforests of the world are located on the map, what the weather is like in the rainforests, and why they are so important to all of us. We learn about the different rainforest levels and the different animals that live in each one of them. We learn about food webs, rainforest resources and the people that live there as well as rainforests conservation efforts. Kids choose and research about an animal or any other topic related to the rainforest. To conclude the project, the class visits the Myriad Gardens and participates in their Rainforest Ecology Activity Program.
Me on the Map
First grade’s geography project, “Me on the Map,” spans the entire year. In order to make geography personally meaningful, we begin by mapping our classroom and bedrooms. With compasses in hand, we map our beautiful campus. We use digital cameras to explore our town, and we use the photos to make a class book inspired by the illustrations of Mo Willems. We learn fun facts about the great state of Oklahoma, and we sing “The Fifty Nifty” in music class. In art, we travel the globe by studying the work of famous artists around the world. Book clubs read Flat Stanley, then students create their own “Flat Me,” which is then mailed to a friend in another state or country. We track our Flat Kids using Google Maps, and we learn more about the culture of the places they visit. When the Flat Kids return, the students are thrilled to open a box full of souvenirs to share with their friends. When the unit concludes, the children have a book full of maps to treasure for a lifetime.
1st Grade Entrepreneurs
Each year, our first grade entrepreneurs create their own business. All proceeds from their business support PLAY at Terra Verde. In 2015, our first graders ran a lemonade stand at recess in order to raise money for an outdoor dramatic play center, which will be built in spring 2016 by class dads and kids. From beginning to end, the students are engaged in running team meetings, writing a business plan, advertising, staffing, and tracking costs/profits.
Our 2nd graders work diligently each day caring for our school’s chickens. As part of the chicken project, students plan and develop a business, which last year they voted to name Terra Verde’s Generous Feathered Friends & Co. After discovering our egg supply did not meet the demands of our growing school community, students decided to create crafts using chicken products to sell. This past fall our chickens’ feathers were molting, so children collected and sterilized the feathers to make ornaments and pens. The class performed market research and analysis to decide on pricing for their products. Advertisements (including a commercial and posters) were made. Our store was a HUGE success! Proceeds were donated to Second Chance to help animals within our community. We also supported wildlife education and outreach by making a contribution to the Lake Thunderbird Nature Center.
Third Grade will have an environmental focus on Composting this year. We will maintain an on-site composting bin using our lunch and snack scraps. Students will be responsible for managing and maintaining the upkeep of this project, including scheduling the gathering of raw materials and sifting compost on a weekly basis. Families will have an opportunity to add to our compost from their at-home scraps. Students will study the impacts and value added of the compost on our gardens. Our year-long goal will be to provide an opportunity for all families to compost regularly, adding to the sustainability of our raised gardens and flower beds.
Violet – Our Classroom Pet
Violet is our class rabbit. She is four years old and loves being around children. You can find her hopping around the classroom, resting by a student’s foot, or snuggling up on a beanbag. Students will research the basic needs of rabbits and track Violet’s daily behaviors in the classroom. They will use that knowledge to design an obstacle course that will challenge her and be a source of fun and exercise as well.
Mrs. Beckenhauer will share her talents with the class in this yearlong project. Students will learn the basics of quilting and create their own quilt. Each quilt is unique, just like each child. Students will take these beautiful keepsakes home at the end of the school year.
Students will focus on reading from a variety of genres as they work on completing the 40 book challenge. We will focus on a specific genre in whole group and small group activities. A fourth grade favorite is the mystery genre. In this unit, students learn the components of a mystery, read a mystery in class, and celebrate the end of the unit by participating in a family Mystery Night.
Water Conservation Project
In the first semester 5th. Grade will study water, the water cycle, water pollution, water conservation and water power and aquatic animals. We will be reading Linda Su Park’s “A Long to Water” which tells the story of the lost boys of Sudan but also highlights the global problem of water shortage. This will also drive our fundraising efforts. The project will provide many cross curricular areas of study; science, language arts, social studies, and philanthropy.
Bread and Grain
In the second semester our project will be Bread and Grain. We will look at the history of agriculture and how early farming shaped communities. Bread baking with different flours will present a lot of science discovery. Designing, making (and ultimately eating!) a sandwich will tap into our students’ creativity and develop expository writing skills. Growing wheat and corn will tie in with our colonial life study.