I was overwhelmed by all the holiday and plane crash stories when the kids came in today! I was very happy we were doing a writing from personal experience piece. We worked today on constructing a good beginning sentence for our piece. We are also working on stretching out the word to hear all the sounds. In Really Great Reading we are working on spelling 3 letter words with the letters we have introduced, but many of the children are able to use more letters and write more words, so writing is becoming easier for them. We will be learning about breaking words into syllables so spelling longer words will be easier for the children.
Today we continued our study of the Native Americans, or First Peoples. We looked at and learned about the different kinds of homes they lived in and talked about why they had those kinds of houses. Ask me to tell you about Native American homes.
In the afternoon, as part of our math warm-up, we made a pictograph that shows what Native American home we would like to live in. We used math words as we talked about the pictograph to talk about what we found out.
We worked with pictures of shapes today, noting how one shape was different than the three other shapes in a group. We used the words from the word wall above to help use the most precise words we could to talk about the difference.
Have a nice evening!
Today we did a guided drawing to create a turkey. First we sketched shapes and lines with a pencil. Then we went over the pencil with an oil pastel. Finally we used water color to paint our turkeys. Wait until you see these with their proud artists. Unfortunately, when we were cleaning up, some of the kids put their names on their papers, so I had to cover them up with stickers. My apologies, I should have told them not to!
We read a beautiful book called We Are Grateful, by Traci Sorrell, that goes through the year telling about the gifts and challenges of each season. The story is told by a Cherokee with many words from their language, Tsalagi, included.
We enjoyed sharing our gratitude scavenger hunt items. The children were so prepared and proud of their work! Thank-you for your support with this project.
I hope you have a peaceful, happy and safe Thanksgiving!
We had a busy, short day! We studied these interesting landforms. Ask me to tell you what these are called! Learn all about this landform in the video below.
We went shopping for books today. Your child brought home three books they chose from books we are no longer using from the book room. The kids were really excited about the books! I hope you enjoy them.
Have a great evening!
This week we continued studying characters in stories. We read Goldilocks and the Three Bears and looked at text evidence that told us about her and the bears. We identified key events and used them to retell the beginning, middle and end of the story.
We read a short story about a bear and a fox today. In the story, the fox was described as sneaky. We discussed the word sneaky, then I decided we should play a game of "True Confessions." You should have been here. Although I promised not to tell, I will just give you this little tidbit of information. About 75% of the confessions involved iPads, tablets, computers and your cell phones. You might want to change your passwords on those and on your office doors. These kids write things down when they don't remember. I expected stories of sneaking candy and donuts, and only one confession was about sneaking candy. It did involve scaling a refrigerator. There was also a late night visit to the kitchen for a few bites of some brownies. Honestly, I didn't even have to coax this out of them. They were happy little campers sharing their acts of sneakiness. We have only two children who are either not sneaky at all, who are shy, or possibly afraid I will spill the beans. I sure am glad they aren't sneaky at school!
As part of our Read the USA and in recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we read Totem Tale, A Tall sTory from Alaska by Deb Vanasse. This story is about animals on a totem pole that get released one night, but fight over who should be on top when they need to get back on the totem pole or be left in the land of in-between or never-was. This book is great because it has a story in a story! It tells the story of the totem pole and why the animals were placed on the totem pole in that order. Ask me to tell you the story of the totem pole.
We also worked with shades of meaning of words. The Totem Tale has rich language and used bold print to emphasize interesting verbs. We talked about what the word meant and thought of the words that could be used to say the same thing, although not as beautifully or interestingly.
In math, we have started studying shapes. We worked with vocabulary we will use as we talk about the shapes. Right now we are working with flat shapes. The children worked with pattern blocks to put together some designs using only a certain number of prescribed pattern blocks. They also worked with stencils to make pictures using only shapes. We also looked at artwork to find shapes in the paintings.
In our Picture Talks and discussions, we have been emphasizing asking questions. We have talked about the questions words and what they are asking. Sometimes children answer what they want to tell you and don't pay close enough attention to the questions words to find out what is being asked. This is something I am sure you notice from time to time as well! We watched a fun video they wanted me to share with you, so I will below. Enjoy!
In Social Studies we are studying geography. We studied our classroom globe and have started talking about maps. Landforms and bodies of water are also discussed in this unit. I will be introducing landforms and bodies of water in our Picture Talks. I hooked them today by showing them Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. First we studied the photograph. Initially it was thought to be a volcano, but as I listened in on the talking, the kids noticed there wasn't a mountain or lava. Another student suggested it was a geyser. (I was so impressed!) So we took a little "field trip" to Yellowstone, where there is snow right now! The National Parks have webcams that are interesting to look at, so we checked in on Old Faithful. It was still pretty early in the day, and foggy, so we didn't get a great look, but we watched a YouTube video to see it erupt. We also watched the Steamboat geyser. I'll put videos below in case you need a little field trip too! Here is the link to the Yellowstone webcams. https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm
We read another folktale, although a different version than the typical Three Little Pigs, and learned about the desert and the beautiful state of New Mexico. We read The Three Javelinas, by Susan Lowell. This story has the same plot, but because of the different setting than the typical Three Little Pigs, the details are different. Ask me to tell you what was different and what was the same.
Have a great weekend!
We had a very busy, short week! We have been working in the Really Great Reading Playground to practice what we are learning during our lessons. I love that I can see how they did on the lessons as they are graded. The children do a really great job of helping each other as they get out and put away the Chromebooks, as well as helping others if they get stuck while playing the games. This is important as I am working with small groups or individual students.
As part of our observance of Native American Month, we read the modern folktale Totem Tale, A Tall Story from Alaska, by Deb Venasse. This is a story about the animals on the totem pole getting their freedom for a night but needing to get back on the pole so they are not trapped in the land in between. We will be working more with this story next week because the author put interesting verbs in bold, big print that we will talk about more next week. We also worked on strengthening our memory by trying to remember all six animals on the totem pole at the end of the story. The children needed to listen carefully to hear their names as the carvings on the totem pole might have been difficult for the children to know what animals were on the pole.
We are working with one more and one less in math. We played some fun games and I quickly found out that the children are great with one more, and pretty good with one less. We worked with larger numbers, greater than ten, to challenge, and practiced writing them on white boards. We will be starting a new unit in math but will continue to work with numbers to deepen their understanding of the relationships between numbers.
Today we talked about Veteran's Day almost all day! We started by studying these photographs to talk about what we noticed and wondered about. The children were so interested in these photographs and had so much to talk about!
Some of the children shared pictures and told about what they knew about their parents, grandparents and even great grandparents service. The kids asked them questions and they did a great job answering with what they knew. We made a little booklet about Veteran's Day and the different branches of the military. We listened to music for each of the branches as well as other patriotic music. During indoor recess, I overheard them playing "veterans" in housekeeping.
I hope you have a great weekend!
We started our day by analyzing these turtles and tortoises. We looked at how they were the same and different, and we looked for more information to find out about how tortoises are the same and different from turtles. In the United States, sea turtles are always called turtles, but turtles found on the land are sometimes called turtles and sometimes called tortoises!
In Really Great Reading, we are working on segmenting words with three sounds. We are using our fingers to indicate the beginning, middle and end sound, and using a fist to say the whole word. We talked about consonants and vowels today and identified them together in words.
We read one of my all-time favorite silliest story today. We read Potato Pants, but Laurie Keller. Event though this is such a silly book about potatoes buying pants, it has a very good lesson. We started listening to the story, then stopped and made sure we understood what the problem in the story was, which is a strategy we want our readers to learn. When reading, you do not need to start and keep reading to the end of the book. Stopping to check your understanding is important! When I asked what lesson the author wanted their reader to understand they quickly responded the book is about forgiveness. We talked about making apologies and forgiving others is important, but not always easy. Ask me to tell you about Potato Pants!
In math we talked about counting on one more and counting back one less. We used bigger numbers and added in using a number sentence. We will work more on this next week.
We took a spelling test with 25 words today! This is not a graded test, it's used to see what the children know about spelling words and for grouping for additional work. We talked before we started about doing our best try and that they would probably not be able to spell a lot of the words, but to try and at least put the sounds down they heard. I'm so proud of how positive they were and how they stuck to it! That was a longish test!
Have a great long weekend!
We started a new unit today in Benchmark Reading. The new unit is called Every Story Has Characters, and the question we will be working with is "How are characters different?" Today we read The Tortoise and the Hare. After we listened to the story, we acted the story out. I found out last week that the children love to act when we were doing math story problems, so everyone today acted all the parts in the story. The children did such a great job! Ask me to tell you about The Tortoise and the Hare.
We also talked about plural nouns. We looked at different candy, both a singular piece and a group of the candy. We talked about adding s and es to make nouns plural.
We also read a book about the sun called Sun! One in a Billion, by Stacy McAnulty. This story is told by The Sun, but is all facts, so it's a fiction and non-fiction book.
We talked about medicine today in Health. We talked about medicines, vaccines, and being safe with medications.
Have a nice evening!
We enjoyed another story about a character we read about earlier in the year named Yoko. Today we read Yoko's Show and Tell, by Rosemary Wells. We were listening to learn more about the main characters in the story. Ask me to tell you about Yoko and the Franks. We were working on thinking of three words to describe each character. We are working to think more deeply than just what they look like, so we thought about their character and actions in the story. Then, we picked a fiction book and drew a picture of one of the characters, then drew three little pictures or wrote a word, or did both, to describe the character we chose. This is building on what we did earlier in the year, which is what Benchmark does all year. The lessons build on each other and spiral throughout the year.
We are working on building a strong memory. We have been working on answering questions in complete sentences from our Really Great Reading, but I've been surprised at how many children need reminders about the name of the character in the little story. It changes every day with every story, but the name is in the story many times, then we all answer the first 12ish questions together, but when the children have to answer on their own, they might forget the character's name. To building that memory strength, we played a memory game. I flashed nine pictures on the screen for 45 seconds. Then the children went back and quickly sketched all the items they remembered. I organized the pictures on a grid which I thought might make it easier for them to remember or use a strategy to remember. Here's the picture the children studied:
I talked to the children about only using a pencil and just sketching the pictures. I chose mostly pictures that would be important to the kids. We talked about not coloring or adding a lot of details to these, but to get the pictures drawn so they could remember as many as possible. Ask me to show you my Memory paper!
In math, some of our students acted out a story. We were working with a group of ten and were looking for hidden partners in our story. The actors and the audience enjoyed themselves! The highlight of the story was when one of our actors ad-libbed as we sang Happy Birthday. I neglected to tell the actors and audience the name of the character whose birthday party our actors were going to, so when we got to "Happy birthday dear..." and one of the actors sang "random birthday kid."
We learned about the /y/ sound today. Ask me to yodel!
Have a great weekend!
Just a quick update today! We were talking about making text-to-self connections today. We watched a story on Storyline, which I will link below, that was about friendship. The book read was Chester's Way, by Kevin Henkes. We stopped along the way to talk about what was happening in the story and if we were making any connections. We know that we will not have a text-to-self connection with every book, but many children were able to relate to friends doing the same things, which was a big part of this book. Another important lesson from the book is that you need to get to know someone before you know if they might be a friend for you. We talked about making snap decisions based on what someone looks like.
Your child is bringing home an index card with a connection they made, or a picture of their favorite part of the story. Ask me to tell you about my picture. Also, ask me to show you how we say text-to-self connection with our hands.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day by analyzing these five photographs. The children noticed the lights first, then later on the darkness. We watched a short video from National Geographic about Diwali.
We are moving along in Really Great Reading. We are almost done with the first Unit about sounds. We worked on blending today, peeling off the first sound, and the /h/ sound. Ask me to tell you what my mouth does when I made the /h/ sound.
We listened to a silly story called George Washington's Cows, by David Small. George Washington's animals did some amazing things, or did they? Ask me to tell you about the animals and what they did.
We read a short biography about George Washington. We compared the three books we have read and decided whether they were fiction, non-fiction or a little of both.
In math, we practiced counting-on going forward and backward. We also used ten frames to show different ways to make groups of 6-9.
We had a great day!