September 29-October 2

Monday: No School

Tuesday: This morning we reviewed Genesis 3 by completing a crossword and responding to 3 focus questions.  In language arts, we started our mentor sentence for the week and discussed chapters 7-10 in our literature groups.  During grammar mini, the students were given a handout on how to do spelling homework and started that.  They will need to complete 20 points worth of activities over list 9: #21-30.  This is due every Thursday.  This afternoon we took a Heritage test.

Note: This Friday is our field trip.  Permission slips need to be returned by Friday morning, and we still need 1-2 more drivers to make the field trip possible.  Contact me or the school for more details.

Next Tuesday we will be processing natural clay in art class.  Students need to bring a paint shirt or wear something that can get dirty.

Homework: Spelling homework is due Thursday

Wednesday: Our chapel speaker talked about the importance of prayer.  In language arts, the students revised their mentor sentence for the week and started partner reading chapters 11-12.  We stopped periodically to share our thoughts.  In the afternoon, we completed an exercise on prepositions.  We played a rocks and minerals jeopardy game for science.  We read pages 20-22 in Heritage and completed workbook page 15.  We are starting a new unit on Mesopotamia.

Thursday: This morning we read through Genesis 6-7 as a class and discussed.  In language arts, we finished reading through chapter 12 in Old Yeller.  The students worked on a sheet making connections and determining importance.  We also completed stations in Heritage on the geography of Mesopotamia.  Below is a Spanish song I’d like to do in assembly once the students know it better.  Try practicing it at home!

Homework: Spelling homework was due today.  Spelling test is tomorrow

Friday: This morning we had bus safety that took the place of Bible.  During language arts, I had the students work on getting caught up on missing work and yesterday’s assignment, and we took a spelling test.  I reminded students that if they were disappointed in a lower score on a spelling test this month that they could redo it at home or come in for recess to retake it.

In the afternoon was our field trip!  We went to Hoff’s Rock Shop.  The students completed a short assignment on identifying the 3 main types of rocks.  They were able to cut a rock, view a fluorescent display, and were given a demonstration on polishing a rock!  Many of the students came back with rocks to add to their collection.  You can find their business online or on Facebook to find more information about planning another visit with your family.  Great job students on making it a wonderful experience!


Rock Identification Game 1

Rock Lab

3 Types of Rocks


September 21-25

Monday: We started our new mentor text “Gaston” and wrote down things we noticed about the mentor sentence.  We took notes on determining importance and wrote a chunky paragraph summarizing important information from today’s reading.

Wednesday: Post-It Notes to demonstrate thinking while reading (need at least 4 separate thoughts written down on post-its while reading)

  • Use half sheet handout for help on what to write on your post-its

Write out the part of speech for each word of our mentor sentence (writer’s notebook, grammar section)

Thursday: Write following notes into Writer’s Grammar/Notes section

When to Add Punctuation

  • A complete sentence- has a subject, verb, is a complete thought, and capital letter at beginning
  • Add after a complete thought
  • Reread and listen for natural pauses
  • Watch out for a sentence that’s too long
  • Look for subjects and see if any of those subjects start a new sentence

Free write for half hour (can be any topic or style of writing): Focus is on punctuation

Revise mentor sentence: Improve the writing of the “Gaston” sentence: remember to go for quality and not quantity, choose a few words to change (make more descriptive or clear), can omit or switch structure around to improve the sentence

Friday: Use the same structure as our mentor sentence to create your own sentence. Write your sentence in Writer’s Notebook: Grammar section

Imitate- Use the structure of the sentence to create a brand new sentence.  I’ve laid out the structure for this week.
Start out with a prepositional phrase + comma + independent clause + comma + conjunction + independent clause.

Example: Underneath the bright midday sky, we laid down a thin towel in the sand, and we enjoyed the sun shoeless, sluggish, and smiling.  


September 21-25

Monday: This morning the students wrote their testimonies and responded to the question, “What is Christianity?” in Bible class.  This is a writing assignment I have all students complete every year in grades 5-8.  It gives them the opportunity to practice responding to questions about their faith, and hopefully they will see growth over this span of 4 years.  I file these and return them when the students graduate.  During language arts, the students read chapters 5-6 and marked 5 different parts in their reading where they thought about the text.  During grammar mini, the students practiced their spelling words on their own or with a partner.  We are on list 9: #11-20.  In the afternoon, we finished making paper minerals to show their crystal-like structure, and we dissected cookies to “mine for minerals.”  We are thinking of minerals as individual ingredients (chocolate chips) and rocks as the combination of those different ingredients (the cookie).  Finally, we read about colonial homes in our Heritage textbooks.  Our art lesson for the day was to make a watercolor sunset covering a large piece of paper.  We will add to this next week.

NOTE: Students will need a large shirt to protect their clothing when we work on processing natural clay in art later on.

dandelions and dragonflies: Notice and Note (part two):

Tuesday: In the morning, we talked about yesterday’s Bible worksheet and read through 1 Peter to get an overview of the entire book.  Later in language arts, we worked on our mentor sentence for the week.  We made observations about the sentence and wrote down each word’s part of speech.  Then the students met with their groups, filled out session 5 over the post-it notes they discussed.  We continued literature groups after recess and then wrote down two new vocab words from chapters 5-6 in our vocab journals for grammar mini.  We watched the video below in Heritage and built log cabins with Lincoln Logs.  The students practiced daubing the cracks with mud similar to how the pioneers would have done it.  The pioneers used other materials such as corn husks, stones, animal dung, and moss between the logs.  Afterwards, we read science pages 22-25.  Students wrote on a post-it note their definition of a rock and shared their responses to create their group’s best answer.

Wednesday: After chapel, we completed Wednesday’s activity with our mentor sentence from Old Yeller.  We read chapters 7-8 afterwards.  Next, we talked about the difference between infinitives and prepositions.  We watched the preposition video below.  The students watched the science video and discussed the differences between sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.  We went to the cafeteria to make crayon rocks.  Students have the opportunity to receive extra credit by making their own “rock” at home.  They can bring in their model or take a picture, but they will also need to explain how it’s a sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic rock.  They can do crayon rocks, food rocks, or come up with their own materials.  Extra credit rocks will need to come in by Sept 30 (a week from today).

September 14-18

Monday– We made observations on our first mentor sentence for the year, we read the picture book, and wrote notes on the importance of reading.

Tuesday– We went through the parts of speech for each word of the mentor sentence.  We also took notes on text-to-text connections in our Reader’s Notebooks.
Text-to-Text Connections

  • How does your book relate to another book, story, poem, movie,
  • Connections can be made on characters, plot, themes, ideas, style
  • You can focus on contrasting ideas rather than similarities
  • Example: I read another book by the same author.  The plot and characters are very different but the style was similar in the following ways…

Students read in their books and then wrote 3-4 sentences on a text-to-text connection in the Daily Work section of their Reader’s Notebook.  Make sure that you include an explanation for your connection.

Homework: Text-to-text connection if not finished in class

Wednesday: Today we improved upon our mentor sentence.  Then we made a list of transformational life events in our writer’s notebook.

Thursday: We had a special guest speaker talk to us about the public library today.  She showed us how to use the online catalog to search for books and movies (you can do this at home, not only while you’re visiting the library).  On the library’s website, you can also check out Novelist (in the e-Resources section on the left).  This will connect you to new books that are similar to ones you like.  You will need a library card to view this page.  You can also view Britannica Encyclopedia through the e-Resource section on the library’s website at

We also worked on our mentor sentence and read in our novels.

Homework: Students should bring home their mentor text worksheet to study.  Tomorrow there will be a quiz over the week’s work.

September 14-18

Monday: This morning we read 1 Peter 2:12-18 and talked about 2 questions.  Why does God call us to be blameless if we can’t achieve perfection?  And does God want us to submit to a corrupt authority no matter what?  I’d like students to go home and think about these questions, ask parents, and come back to discuss our thoughts.  During language arts, we noticed things about our mentor sentence from Old Yeller and started reading the first chapter as a group, looking for vocab and thinking about what we can learn from this chapter.  We will continue our work tomorrow.  For grammar mini, we worked through our first spelling list of the year.  It’s in our books list 9: #1-10.  The focus is on commonly misspelled words.  Some students did not finish.  They will need to write each word 3 times each.  During Heritage, we went outside to make observations on our bricks.  We completed a reflection on our activity in partner groups.  Finally, we watched a couple videos on the layers of the earth, listened to the song below, and shared what we learned.

Tuesday: This morning, we finished our discussion and filled out a journal response to the next section of text in 1 Peter.  We met in literature circles for language arts and finished reading chapter 1 and responding to our reading with our group.  During grammar mini, the students chose 2 vocabulary words from their chapter 1 reading of Old Yeller and completed a vocab activity with those words.  We finished reading about Native American homes in our textbooks and completed a Venn Diagram over two Native American homes of our choosing.  Students should have 3 differences and 3 similarities.  Lastly, we read page 6 in our textbooks, viewed a PowerPoint on weathering and erosion, and completed an exit ticket over information we learned today and yesterday.

Homework: Venn Diagram if not finished in class

Wednesday: This morning, our chapel dressed in armor and introduced us to the armor of God.  In language arts, we finished yesterday’s discussion, improved upon our mentor sentence, and listened to the audio of chapters 2-3.  This afternoon, we talked about coordinating conjunctions for grammar mini.  Then we wrote letters as if we were a certain Native American tribe describing how to build our home.  Lastly, we read page 7 and completed workbook page 4 in science.

Homework: Native American letter and science workbook page 4 are due this Friday

This morning we talked through the Christ-like qualities we should strive for in 1 Peter chapter 3.  We spent some time on the couple verses that talked about seeking peace and not repaying evil with evil.

After Bible class, we had a special guest speaker talk to us about the public library today.  She showed us how to use the online catalog to search for books and movies (you can do this at home, not only while you’re visiting the library).  On the library’s website, you can also check out Novelist (in the e-Resources section on the left).  This will connect you to new books that are similar to ones you like.  You will need a library card to view this page.  You can also view Britannica Encyclopedia through the e-Resource section on the library’s website at

In Heritage, we watched the following video about the lost colony of Roanoke.  We want to pay special attention to the difficulties of surviving in the New World and finding shelter.  Lastly, in science we read through pages 8-13 and completed the activities below.

Click Here to enter the first activity.  Please write down your mineral along with the correct color, luster, cleavage and fracture, crystal system, and hardness.  When you have correctly identified these things, try another mineral but you only need to write down your results for ONE mineral.

Click Here when you are done with the first activity

Homework: Spelling test tomorrow, Native American home writing due tomorrow with science workbook page 4

September 9-11

Thursday– Today is the first day of 7th and 8th grade language arts.  We went over the rules and expectations of the class.  I will be emailing each family a request to access online grades.  Students and parents should keep track of grades, missing work, and daily assignments online.  We also discussed what we like and dislike about reading and organized our reader’s and writer’s notebooks.  Students will need to select a book to read during the 1st quarter.  If they have one at home, please remember to bring it in in the next coming days.

Friday- Today we took notes on how to select books.  We browsed through the class library and tried to find a book that we can read this quarter.  The rest of the time was spent in silent reading.

Homework: Students should bring a book they want to read for Monday’s class

September 9-11

Tuesday– Orientation

Wednesday– Welcome back to school!!  I am so excited for this year and hope you are too.  Today we went over rules and school policies.  We read the picture book Each Kindness to open a discussion about how to treat our classmates and read Philippians 2 and 4 to see what unity in Christ looks like.  In the afternoon, we played a game called “Saving Sam” where the students had to think outside the box to save their worm from “drowning.”  Lastly, we introduced our Heritage unit on Homes of Long Ago by drawing a diagram of our homes and thinking about how things have changed.

Thursday– This morning, we started a unit on 1 Peter.  We read 1 Peter 1:1-12 and talked about stories we remembered involving Peter.  We had gym class after math, so in the afternoon we came back for language arts.  The students were grouped into tentative literature circle groupings.  Final groupings will be determined tomorrow.  They talked through how to handle conflict in their groups and avoid distractions.   As a Thursday tradition, we watched a couple Spanish videos to introduce Thursday’s grammar mini.  Lastly, we identified which regions of the States different Native American homes originated and read an introduction to the dome thatched home and earth lodge.  The students also received coupon books for our first fundraiser.  There are many prizes involved for helping sell coupon books, and it helps raise money for the school.  Those were sent home with the students this afternoon along with information about ordering pizza next week.

Friday– This morning we read 1 Peter 1:1-12 in the NLT translation to hear the passage in simpler terms.  We then responded to the passage in writing and read the next section of text.  During language arts, the students took the fruit personality test.  Final small groups were determined by similar personalities.  Finally, the students met in their groups and reflected on the cover and back of Old Yeller, making predictions on what they think will happen in the book.  In the afternoon, we played a game of verb/adverb charades.  We also went outside to make adobe bricks similar to the technique used to make Native American pueblos.  We washed up and compared this ancient brick making mixture to our modern concrete.  For science, we learned about how the layers of the earth are similar to an apple.  The students then drew a picture comparing the layers of the earth to another type of food.