Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bringing Cattle to School!

Cattle drive day at school 2012. Even though these pictures are a year old, they remind me of one of the best days at school. About 80% of the students in 4th grade have never been up close and personal to a live horse (yes, in Texas!). I took 2 horses to the school grounds (along with the help of my awesome hubby and eldest daughter, of which I could never have done it without them!). We set up stations in the yard complete with an art center where students learned about the anatomy of a horse, saddle up races where students had to properly saddle a horse rack, pole bending races on stick horses, roping a cow head, and of course getting to touch a real horse! This was a culminating activity after students had learned about Texas cattle drives and participated in a "mock cattle drive" using raw eggs. The students had to apply for their "ranch job" and maneuver through a laid out trail without "loosing any cattle" (breaking eggs). With the help of some "wranglers" (other teachers) students had a great time and realized just how hard it was to "drive cattle" arriving at their destination with few losses. The team with the most "cattle alive" got "paid" the most. 

In Texas, 4th grade is required to study Texas History. This is an important part of it. Trying to bring a "real world" experience to the students was a blast! Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Students had a great time learning to rope a cow head, racing on stick ponies, learning to saddle a horse and be up close to one. It incorporated teamwork, art, physical activity, real world experiences and just good 'ol fun!

Anyone reading this post, I would like to know how you bring real world experiences into your classroom. I would love to hear about it! 

What are you working on now?
Well, considering the writing test for Texas students is coming at a furious pace, I recently analyzed data from a writing test. Our students have a difficult time with homonyms/multiple meaning words and subject-verb agreement while editing. 

In trying to figure out how to get the students to understand subject-verb agreement, I was thinking of ways to tie it to some prior knowledge I know they have. This is what I came up with, let me know what you think.

Ask students: What do you know about magnets? (should answer - when two charges are opposite they attract positive to negative. When the poles are the same, they repel, negative to negative or positive to positive.)

TE: OK, great! This is how subject-verb agreement works too! If the subject (noun) is plural-lets say its positive, so the verb must be negative (not plural)  Here is an example: The boys run down the street. [subject:boys-plural or positive, verb: run-singular or negative, agrees with (is attracted to) the plural subject]

The same is true if the noun is not plural (negative) the verb must be positive (plural). Another example: The boy runs down the street. [subject: boy-singular or negative, verb: runs-plural or positive, agrees with (is attracted to) the singular subject]

Finally, using two negatives, they do not "attract", in-fact they repel. So you can not say:"The boy run down the street"(two negatives). Nor can you say: "The boys runs down the street"(two positives). In addition two negatives might also be,"My paper does not have no mistakes". Its appalling and repel from saying a statement like this! 

Then move into an activity using sentence strips where students have to put sentences together using different colored words (red positive, green negative) to create grammatically correct sentences. 

What do you think? If you have any ideas or have taught this element in language in a different way that worked for your class, please feel free to share your thoughts. I would love to read your posts!

Have a great day! Spring break is almost over, 2 more, gotta head out to get some RR real quick (Ride and Ride more!)
Hope to hear from you!

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