Reflecting back on an eventful and productive month of September, I can’t help but share the same sentiments as the Gr.4 students, who perfectly summed up my thoughts with this simple statement: “September is already over?!”
E.L.A: Sitting, Writing, Wishing.
One of the perks to teaching English Language Arts is the opportunity to witness the students’ voices shine through their writing. As writers, the students were challenged to stretch their writing and allow others to enter the worlds they imagined in their minds by adding more descriptive details. While we analyzed different examples of descriptive writing, the students began to see the importance of using sensory details and concrete worlds–since these literary devices help paint an image of what it is they want their readers to imagine.
At this point, students were raring to write their own descriptive paragraphs. Students were asked to choose a place important to them. They then wrote paragraphs upon paragraphs where they skillfully revealed their special places and why they were important to them.
Social Studies: Going where no historian has gone before!
My favorite part of Social Studies is when students begin to see connections and patterns throughout history. What makes this an even more special moment is when it happens organically–where the students are the ones who point out similarities between civilizations throughout time. For example, in both Gr. 4DD and Gr.MR, students took note of the fact that the early civilizations of India and those that lived in Mesopotamia were both located by a river. These points in our discussion perfectly fit into our first exploration of Ancient India–its geography.
As the students navigated through India’s terrain, which we learned is also a subcontinent, the students learned how the physical features of India could both protect and support life. A favorite activity of the students’ is when we were able to simulate life as the Aryan Civilization–various groups of students represented the small villages that dotted India at the time. As we reflected upon the simulation, the students who were situated farther from the Indus River, noted the difficulty of getting access to water, while those who were situated by the river pointed out that the river was both “a blessing and a curse!” Lastly, students also saw how difficult it was to have several rulers or rajas controlling land and people. What the students gained from this experience was more than I imagine, and has resulted in the students wanting more simulations–I’d say that is too is both “a blessing and a curse!”
I can confidently say that the month of September was an exciting, fast-paced and challenging month that set the perfect tone for the 2017-2018 school year!