Do You Remember It All?

Of course, not, silly, but I can help you pull some of it out of the depths of your memory!  Wait–let me back up a little bit.  Remember when I mentioned the other day about how we are going to be starting MAP testing in a couple of weeks? Well, one thing that we have been doing to help us prepare for the Science section of that test is to review concepts that they have learned about previously.  Because, of course, they probably wouldn’t remember all of it without a few reminders.  And pretty much anything they’ve ever learned about (yep, since 1st grade!) is fair game on this test.  So we had some work to do.

This week we went back to an activity we’d done with past units in Social Studies in our classroom.  Since I knew that it worked to help us remember big ideas and I knew they had fun doing it, I figured it was perfect to pull out again.  Plus, unfortunately, the last few units we’d been doing in Social Studies had been more of the sit-and-read-from-this-book-and-tell-me-what-you-learned type units, so they were ready for a change.

We have access to Safari Montage through our school district, which is an amazing resource for videos to supplement your curriculum.  There is a great series by Schlessinger Science Library that presents concepts in a fun and informative way with short, interesting videos.  This week we watched several videos and then created window murals to help us remember the big ideas.  We worked with a partner or in a group of 3, and created representations for each big idea on the mural.

Here’s what we’ve been working on this week–

This one was after a video called All About Plant Life:

Can you see the big ideas of leaves, roots, what plants need, how plants are different from animals, photosynthesis, and how they give us oxygen?

Next we watched a video called All About Animal Adaptations:

I wish the picture had turned out better, but this one had big ideas about how animals have to adapt to their environments to help them survive.

On Thursday, the topic was animals again, but this time Life Cycles:

And then Friday we moved on to Electricity:

It is always great to see what my students do when they are given a challenge, and how much fun they have doing it.  I loved how so many kiddos mentioned this activity when they shared in our closing circle on Friday.  The Friday question is almost always “What did you like or what did you learn?” and a majority of kiddos mentioned that they liked going back to this again.  And any time we can learn in a fun way, I’m all game.  We have more window space and more science to review, so there are surely more of these in our future next week!  I am sure my class will be just fine with that. 🙂

Stray Rescue

What a day Friday was for us!  We were so busy with so many fun opportunities!  One of them was a visit from a representative from Stray Rescue of St. Louis.  I mentioned here about how one of the great things we’ll be doing this quarter is participating in a service-learning project related to helping animals in our community.  And last year, I explained in a little more detail all about the background of service-learning in our school, and a smaller project we’ve already been a part of (check it out here).

So the visit for Friday’s goal was for us to learn more about both Stray Rescue in general, but also how we can most effectively help them.

We were visited by a volunteer, Constance Davie, who came along with her friend Sheri.


She gave us so very useful information about the work that Stray Rescue does, and how they are different from other animal agencies in our area.  The biggest difference–they are a no-kill shelter.  She told us about how they have a newly built facility on Pine St. that can house around 150-200 dogs at a time!  That’s a lot of pooches to take care of!  Part of the great work that Constance does when she volunteers is walk and wash and play with all of those dogs every day.

Ms. Davie shared with us about all of the programs that Stray Rescue has, using a big display board she brought with her.

We learned a lot from this part of the presentation.  Ms. Davie told us about how it cost only $75 to get a pet from Stray Rescue, which is much less than any of the other places around town.  Then, through their Post Adoption Program, they will provide training for you and your dog, if they need help adjusting to your family, or if they need to learn better doggie manners.  She told us about the Rent-a-Pet program (which I think is now called TAP–Temporary Adoption Program) where you are allowed to “try-out” a potential pet first, to see if they get along with your family and any other pets you already have.  What a great idea!

She also shared with us about many of the success stories of Stray Rescue; about animals that were in terrible conditions that were then rescued and are now living in forever homes with loving families!  She told us about how Sheri, her dog, and Sheri’s brother, Eddie, were once Stray Rescue dogs that now live with her!

The visit was short, but we were left with some very useful information to help guide us in our next steps.  When we asked Constance about how we could best help Stray Rescue, she was able to give us a long wishlist of things that the organiziation always needs, things that enable them to take care of all of those dogs they help.  The most surprising thing she mentioned was peanut butter, which is used as an easy way to help the dogs take their medicine.  I’d never heard of that before!  In the end, though, she said what they need the most is money.  Most of the money they spend is in veterinary care for all of the animals they rescue, and that can get pretty expensive.  Helping to offset the cost of those bills would do wonders to help them rescue and save even more animals in our city!

So what does that mean for us?  Since the whole idea behind a service-learning project is to learn while you’re helping others, we decided it’s probably not the best idea to just collect money.  We want to add more to our project and really “plus” the amount that we can get out of it.  So we’re going to go with our original idea of creating things that we can sell, and then we’ll donate the money to Stray Rescue when we’re finished.  I’m excited about all of the ideas we’ve thrown around, and how much we will learn through that process.  As we get into it, I’ll be sure to update on our progress.

Until then, have you ever heard of Stray Rescue?  Have you ever rescued an animal?  What suggestions do you have for us as we go further in our project?  We’d love to hear what you’re thinking!