Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beyond Co-op: Sarah Plain and Tall #3

We continued our fun learning with Sarah Plain and Tall.  In this co-op we learned about shells.  We spent time learning about the basic types of shells.   We learned about bivalves, tusks, chitons and

There was a wonderful display with pictures and also lots of real shells to examine and touch.
We learned about the animal inside a conch.  (A sock was used for demonstration purposes.)

After hearing about the various shells and the animals that lived in them, it was time to get hands-on with the learning.  The kids volunteered to be various mollusks so we could learn more about the unique characteristics of each one.  First up, was the gastropod.  Animals in this order include conches, snails, slugs and more.   The animal has eyes on stalks, The smaller pair of tentacles is used for the sense of smell and touch.  Of course there is a large shell in the animal's back.
A bivalve - clam, scallop and oysters fall into this category.  These animals have shells that are in two halve or two valves.  The "foot" sticks out and is what the animal uses to dig or to move.
Joshua volunteered to be a tusk - a tapering shell shaped like a tusk with openings at both ends of the shell.
Last up was the chiton with a shell composed of eight separate plates.  
After learning about shells, they each had the opportunity to pick two shells and draw them in the notebooks which we made in the first co-op.  I am glad for the opportunity to have done this nature notebook to go along with Sarah Plain and Tall.  We have sporadically done nature notebooks over the years, never really sticking with them for long.  I purposed to do better during this study.  What I found was that Isaiah really enjoys doing this!  That really encourages me to do more of this!

Can you pick out the various "shells" that the kids enjoyed for a snack?  There is one of each of the four we talked about.
More information on how to identify a shell for those who wanted to learn more.  Shell Detective information can be found here.
For the second half of our co-op we focused on writing - specifically on how and where to get ideas for a story and character development.  The kids were challenged to come up with various ideas, to think, create and brainstorm.
Not sure how to flip this picture as I took it upside down.  Anyone else know?  One of the resources used for this lesson.
The kids split into two groups.  One worked on creating an idea folder where they could jot down ideas they had for setting, characters, plot, etc.  This is something to add to as they have fresh ideas.  They were encouraged to think that ideas are everywhere if they will just take time to look for them!
The other activity was to work on their characters.  They drew a picture of their character on the outside of a file folder.  On the inside, they wrote ideas and thoughts about what the character is like - physical descriptions as well as character traits.  Some of the kids were excited to share what they had come up with too!

Once they finished in one area, they changed places and worked on the other.  Writing is an area in which I've always struggled.  Its good for me (and my children) to have some help in this area.  I want them to see writing as fun (it can be) as well as know things they can do to improve their skills.  (I can use these tips too!)
All in all, another wonderful co-op.  Love this time and this style of learning.  :-)