Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start!
The children were certainly happy to see each other when they came back on Wednesday. We passed the Talking Carrot to share something we did over the Winter Break. We focused on listening to others and speaking in complete sentences. Then we read an interesting book called Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas, by Gail Piernas-Davenport. The story is about a family that is preparing for their New Year's celebration with their traditional foods; black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, baked ham and corn bread. But the family soon finds out they forgot to buy the black-eyed peas, or cow beans as they are also called. It's bad luck not to eat black-eyed peas for New Years, so Shante goes to her neighbors to see if they have any black-eyed peas. We learned about the different foods other cultures have for New Year's as Shante goes door to door.
We talked about what a resolution is and came up with three resolutions for 2024. One resolution was for home, one for wellness, and one for school. I will send these home next week. We broke this down into parts so we could be thoughtful as we determined an appropriate resolution for each part.
This week we also read about what animals need in Benchmark. Ask me to tell you what animals need to survive. We talked about what a topic is, and we closely examined different text features as we read. The children wrote a key detail from the book that supported the topic of what animals need to survive. We focused on starting the sentence with a capital letter, putting spaces between words, ending the sentence with punctuation and spelling any Heart Words in the sentence correctly. We continued to work with this topic and read an information book that gave us a lot more information about what foods animals eat. The children will write more about animals and the food they eat to survive next week.
We also listened to a story about hummingbirds. Ask me to pound out the syllables for hummingbirds then spell this 12 letter word! We did not look at pictures for this story but instead used the strategy of visualization to remember key details in this story. We used our doodle journals to draw quick pictures and write a couple words to remind us the important details of the story. Ask me to tell you what I learned about hummingbirds and what I drew in my doodle journal.
In math we worked more with balance scales and counting. We will continue to practice measuring length, height, weight and will learn about capacity next week.
We also practiced reading nonsense words. I will be reviewing this with children before we do the next Dibels test. What I have noticed with some of the children is that they are trying to make sense of the words, and that when the word doesn't sound right using the sounds of the letters they are reading, they substitute a real word. Their brain seems to naturally do that although we need to "prove" they are not guessing, so nonsense words are used to measure what they know about the sounds and letters. We will practice this a few more times just to help them understand it is okay if the word sounds funny and to not change it to a word they know. I hope that made sense!!!
We read a great book this week called Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchino. Morris is a little boy who loves to wear a tangerine dress that is in the dress up corner at school. He also likes to wear some of the different shoes. Soon he is teased by other children about a boy wearing a dress and he is left out of activities and teased by the other children. It upsets him so much that his stomach hurts. We stopped reading the story at this point and talked about what Morris could do about his problem. We brainstormed good solutions as well as solutions that were not so good. We turned and talked to a buddy about what they thought Morris should do. In the story, Morris tells his mom his stomach hurts, and he stays in bed for a day instead of going to school. On the weekend he feels better and paints a picture that shows Morris on an elephant in the tangerine dress. Morris shows his mom the picture and tells her about the dress he wears that is tangerine and that reminds him of his mother's hair. He tells her how it swishes like an elephant, his favorite animal, walking through grasses, and how the clicking of the shoes he wears reminds him tigers teeth as they eat giant leaves. His mother understands what is happening, and Morris feels more secure in being who he is and is ready to go back to the school on Monday. We talked about how important it is to share your worries and problems with others, like your family, teachers or anyone else you are close to that can help you. We also talked about how important it is to accept others and let them be who they want to be. The children have started giving books ratings. This one got a 10/10, and a few other incredible ratings. Often I think they give ratings to books because I think they think that's what I want them to do, but I do think they liked this book. Taking time to read part of the book, then continue with the book later in the day after reviewing the first part is a great way to get kids to think more deeply about the book and not be overwhelmed with a story that gives them a lot to think about.
I hope you have a great weekend! We started the week with kids talking about snow coming for the weekend, but I'm afraid those snowmen they were planning to build will have to wait! They had a hard time understanding that the winter break being over didn't mean that winter was over!
Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas