Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Pancake Men

"For breakfast there were pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children. Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on the arms and the legs and the head. It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully, on a hot griddle."

Today at school we made Pancake Men like the ones Ma made for Mary and Laura in the chapter called "Christmas"  in Little House in the Big Woods.   
We are quite sure Ma would not have used Aunt Jemima pancake batter or Pam spray but we did!       

 What will we eat next, inspired by the book?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Making Bread

After we made butter yesterday, there was lots left but we needed something to have it on.  Ms. Simms brought her bread machine from home so it was not at all like Pioneer Times but we made bread!  Some kids in our class have seen their Grandmas or other people make bread from scratch and know that it has a lot of steps to making it and you need to knead it.
 The machine takes care of all the steps to making bread and it takes 3 hours.  We started it at 9:00 and by noon we had fresh hot bread for the butter.

 Even if the butter looked like scrambled eggs, it tasted great.  It was a bit hard to spread too.  Our mouths were watering with the wonderful smell of the bread and the butter melted right into it.  Are we making you hungry?

Monday, 25 May 2015

Making Butter

This morning we decided to try making butter in school after reading about Laura and her family in the book Little House in the Big Woods

We used whipping cream from the store and poured it into a jar. 
 Then after carefully putting on the lid, we took turns shaking the jar.  At first we could hear the liquid cream sloshing in the jar. 
 When we couldn't hear the liquid anymore, we opened the jar and saw that the liquid had become fluffy, like whipped cream.  This wasn't butter yet so the lid went back on and we shook it some more.
 Then we could faintly hear sloshing again and when we opened the jar, there was a solid-type lump in the almost clear liquid.  This was the butter in the buttermilk.
 After even more shaking, it became a more solid lump and it was done!  We were a little surprised that it was white but then remembered that in the book, Ma had grated carrot and mixed it with hers to get the yellow colour we are used to.
 Next we poured off the buttermilk and rinsed the butter with water.  A bit of salt was added and stirred into the butter.
Next came the taste test on crackers.  We all thought it was delicious!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Little House in the Big Woods

Our current read aloud is another old favourite, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This will lead nicely into our final Social Studies topic of the year, thinking about the ways pioneer society worked and how they met their needs and wants. 

The first chapter was a real eye opener for many!  It described Pa preparing for winter by butchering their pig.  The unforgettable description in the story of Laura and Mary playing with the pig's bladder like a balloon and roasting the pig's tail over a fire and eating it made quite an impression!  As you can imagine, you could hear a pin drop while I am reading this story.

The second chapter included a description of churning butter and we decided we will need to try that ourselves!  Stay tuned for further updates!

There are many episodes on YouTube and you may have some memories of the books yourself or the TV series.  I hope this book inspired reading and thinking about life in Pioneer Times.   

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Air and Water in the Environment

Our final Science topic of the year will be to learn about the roles of Air and Water in our lives. 
Our daily calendar time now includes monitoring the wind speed and direction using the weather station that we have on top of our school. 

 Thanks to the West Souris River Conservation District for buying and installing this unit a few years ago.  We plot the findings on a line graph every day.

To be able to use the design process in this unit, students have been given the assignment to create wind chimes with the following criteria.
  1. The chimes must be made from reused materials
  2. They must make noise in the wind and
  3. They must be solidly constructed. 
We have discussed it in class and students should be making a plan for their design and bringing in materials to use to construct the chimes May 19 - 22. 

We also studied water and came up with as many names for "Water" as we could.  Lake, drop, river, ocean, wave, hail, and flood were a few from the list.  The Water Cycle is a very interesting concept and especially the fact that the same water we have now was around in the dinosaur times!  Bill Nye the Science Guy has excellent educational videos and part of his one on Water Cycles is below.

We took the Science study to Art class and used coloured chalk on black paper to create representations of the water cycle. 

The words : evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection are central to our discussions.
 One of our favourite YouTube songs about the Water Cycle is here. Ask your child what they know about Air and Water in their Environment!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Roman Numerals

Our unit on Medieval Times brought up a discussion of times before that and the Roman Empire.  Some children said they had noticed the Roman Numerals on clocks and in other places and were curious to learn about them.  Wanting to take advantage of that curiosity, we worked on learning the symbols and then used them to work on addition and subtraction facts.  It certainly added a challenge and another level off complexity but it did help some children when they saw that 15 was written XV because it was 10 and 5.  Some kids even took on the challenge of writing four digit numerals with Roman Numerals.  We found an online game at ABC ya to help practice the skill.  

Pippi Longstocking

Our current read-aloud book in the Grade 2-3 class is Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. 

You may remember hearing or reading this book yourself as it was written in 1950!  It was also a TV series in the 70's and a cartoon later on.  Some Youtube Clips are here and here and the original trailer is here. 

One of the first activities the students completed was to listen to the author's description of Pippi and use the watercolour crayons to draw her. 

Reading the book together gives us an opportunity to talk about the characters, the plot and new or unfamiliar words.  I encourage you to choose a read along to do with your child at home.  There are more books in the Pippi series or maybe your child would enjoy Harry Potter or Little House on the Prairie.  Find a book you remember as a child and share the enjoyment!