What’s Happening in the Classroom?

There are a whole slew of things happening right now in our classroom! We are hitting the books hard this month and finishing up many loose ends before our next world classroom adventure. 

One method of schooling that we love and utilize weekly, is the thematic book theory. Every week (sometimes every other week) we start a new book. These books are comprised of all different kinds, genres, authors, publishers and award winners and not. The way it works for us;

On Mondays we start a new book, I introduce it to the boys and we read it aloud. We then make a list of things that we want to learn more about that were mentioned in the book.

On Tuesday evenings I lesson plan for the list that the boys helped me create. 

On Wednesdays we begin introducing lessons inspired by the book and chosen by the boys.

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This week we read ‘Eliza and the Dragonfly and what a wonderful, lesson plan filled book this has been! It’s about a little girl, Eliza, who spends  a lot of time with her Entomologist aunt. They find a dragonfly Nymph that they name Horace and they watch his life cycle unfold.

Because I let the boys dictate what they want to learn sometimes we get stranger ideas for lesson plans than what I would have chosen. For example their list for Eliza and the Dragonfly looks like this;

  • Why Dragonflies are different colors?
  • What is an Entomologist (I’m excited about this one)
  • What is Metamorphosis?
  • Life cycle of the dragonfly (mom’s obvious addition to the list)
  • Making dragonfly crafts
  • Dragon flies eat mosquitoes so do they like human blood? If so then why? What is in blood that they like so much? *blah why couldn’t we just paint dragonflies?*
  • Making an underwater telescope to attempt to view Nymph/Dragonfly Larva in their first habitat. The boys wanted me to buy one they saw in a catalog, but we are going to attempt to make our own with a plastic bottle and plastic wrap first. Little do they know that there were already getting one for Ayyam-i-ha so you will see our experiments with both homemade and purchased.

We walked down to the little beach access in our neighborhood and put our homemade underwater telescopes to work. We used paper towel rolls, plastic wrap and electrical tape. The boys thought that the telescopes worked pretty well, but of course got soggy.

Then I brought out the big Guns

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I confess, the underwater telescope is pretty cool. So cool in fact that it is now packed to head to Europe for the next 8 months, which was definitely not part of the original packing list. We will be using it to explore every beach we can find. This telescope is super light weight and comes with an awesome activity book, a built in thermometer to test water temperature, l.e.d. lights and a ruler to measure specimen. Any little scientists’ dream actually. 

Full disclosure, if you purchase through the telescope photo link above I make a few pennies, but I am only reviewing things we actually love and enjoy. Our unit on Eliza and the Dragonfly turned out just as I had hoped. It would be a wonderful addition to your home library and/or classroom. Even if science is not your child’s forte there are a million indoor science activities and art projects to do with inspiration from this book.

Enjoy! Please tell us how you like it and what you chose to do with it in your classroom!

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Author: thewildbradburys

Homeschooling, natural minded mama to 3 boys. Military spouse. Avid adventurer and explorer. Wanderlust driven. worldschooling mom.

2 thoughts on “What’s Happening in the Classroom?”

  1. I’m not sure how many people see this so I’ll try to be brief. When I taught kindergarten, for the first 15 years, it was thematic based and I LOVED every day of it. Yes, it was a lot of prep work, but I looked forward to every day. Then, we started “no child left behind” and it was all academic based rather than child based. I struggled with not having the time to talk with my kids about their night because I had to do attendance and lunch count on the computer and reading groups 19 minutes after they got there! So much for the days they came in for free play the first 30 minutes and a book that drove the rest of the day! Anyway, I retired early because of that. I couldn’t justify that kind of day for my 5 and 6 year olds! Sounds like you’re on the right path. ❤️

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. oh Ann, I’m so sorry for you and your students. we love thematic learning and I feel that it works so well on so many levels. I can only imagine how hard that transition was for you, especially when you went to college and learned to teach that way and then to entirely change the way you teach. thank you for voicing your experience and support, thematic learning is rare know so I feel especially blessed to have found a supportive curriculum as other resources on this learning style are rare as well.

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