February 16th, 2023
The children had a busy morning with back-to-back specials first thing this morning! The children went to Wellness first, then to music, before recess and lunch.
In the afternoon, we listened to the gorgeous book Someone Builds the Dream, by Lisa Wheeler and beautifully illustrated by Loren Long. This book celebrates the team of people who work together to build and create bridges, amusement parks, wind farms and books. It is a beautiful book to look at that shows the different types of work that are necessary to complete a project.
We learned about Harriet Tubman today as well. We read a beautiful book called Before She was Harriet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome, that recounts her life from an old woman, back to Araminta from Maryland. We talked about how Harriet Tubman did so many amazing things that helped so many people. She was a true superhero. Ask me to tell you some of Harriet's other names and things she did in her life. This book got applause when I finished, and a couple children wanted me to find a copy to put on our blog, so here it is.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day studying these amazing fishermen from Vietnam and talking about this incredible photograph. I am always amazed what comes out of these little people's mouths who have been on the Earth just five or six years. The first child that shared what they talked about with their partner very clearly stated that the two men on the boats were balancing, like the balance scale, and they had their other foot up on the stick so their side wasn't too heavy. They talked about the shapes they saw, and we thought about what would happen when they put fish in their boats.
We will continuing a tradition my classes have had for the past five or six years but with a big modification. We will be watching an eagle's nest. In the past we have watched the nest at the National Arboretum in D.C., but the two eagles, Lotus and Mr. President have moved to another nest in the area that does not have cameras. I blame it on Lotus. She moved in with Mr. President and replaced The First Lady after a season where no eggs were laid. Now Lotus wants a new home. I'm really sad because Lotus and Mr. President were very entertaining, as well as educational. I looked at other eagle cameras in the area and around the U.S. and decided on the Dulles Greenway Eagles Nest, www.dullesgreenway.com/eagle-cam/. If you are unfortunate enough to have a fine on the Greenway, you can pay the fine there too! We are late to the party on this nest with Rosa already laying two eggs. They were laid two days apart about a week ago. What you will see now on the nest is Rosa and Martin taking turns incubating the eggs. There are two views on this camera. I talked to the children about this being a wild nest and that they may see some things they think are gross, but I promise they will get used to, like when they tear a fish or rabbit apart for dinner. There is also the possibility that the eggs won't hatch, or when they do hatch, won't survive. We had one eaglet last year die shortly after hatching, but the children were very matter of fact about it saying that it was part of nature. Hopefully, we will follow DG3 and DG4 until they fledge from the nest. We will start a journal on Monday to document what we see and learn from this nest.
We started our Black History Month by reading a few African folktales. We read Anasi and the Big Stick, by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Janet Stevens, Lazy Lion, by Mwenye Hadithi, and Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, by Verna Aardema.
We continued our Black History study today by reading the book An American Story, by Kwame Alexander. This book beautifully tells the history of how the slaves from Africa were taken away from their homes, brought to America, and used as slaves. This book tells this harsh reality of America's past with stunning illustrations that are actually sculptures. The words Alexander chose are powerful and beautifully constructed, chosen carefully without overwhelming the reader with too many words. I stopped along the way as I was reading to discuss some of the words, and when we finished we just shared feelings and thoughts. Below you will find an interview with the author and artist who created this book.
In math, we continued working with the vocabulary more, fewer, equal, and including the word than to compare two groups. We looked at cookies and cupcakes and compared the groups using these words. We also talked about how they knew one group had fewer or more than the other group. We talked about using the fewer when we talk about a quantity instead of the word less. Precise language is important in math!
Have a great weekend!
We started our 100th day of school by looking at four places that are about 100 miles away from our school for a pretend field trip. The children looked at the photos and talked with a buddy to share what they noticed and which place they would like to visit. We took into consideration that Hershey Park would be closed this time of year.
We used tallymarks to vote for our choice of which place we would like to visit. Ask me to tell you about our data and what we know now.
The 100 Day projects were great! The children loved sharing them with their classmates. So many creative ideas. We made a little 100 booklet with what we would do when we are 100 years old, what we would buy with $100, what we would wish for 100 of, and what we could eat 100. We will finish these booklets tomorrow so you can enjoy them as much as we did!
We worked our finger muscles to put 100 stickers on paper. We also practiced writing 100, then used a hole punch to punch all the 100's on the edge of the paper.
Have a nice evening!
We started our morning with this handsome guy. The children studied the picture, then talked about what they noticed, then gave their opinion of the painting. We reviewed that when you share your opinion you give reasons to support it. The children overwhelmingly did not care for this painting. We looked at some other paintings, sculptures and art that was inspired by this Giuseppe Arcimboldo painting too, and later this week or next will create our own drawings inspired by this handsome guy!
We did a quick area lesson in math. The children used digi-blocks to cover a rhombus and a circle. We will be using the digi-blocks for a few activities because they give children a good understanding of place value. We also practiced counting by tens today. We used imaginary weights to lift as we counted by tens.
We also collected data today to find out if more of our classmates wanted the groundhog to see his shadow, or if they wanted an early spring. The vote was ten for six more weeks of winter, nine for an early spring, and three children had no preference. However, they almost all want snow either way!
Have a nice evening!
It was such a great day, with almost no testing! We had a few kids that needed to make up MAP P, so they went with Mrs. Abramson to take the test. So grateful to her for doing that so we could start to get back to a more normal schedule.
We took a lot of time this afternoon to work in measurement stations. The children practiced measuring with non-standard units. They used balance scales, measured dinosaurs with links, junk from around the room with cubes, measuring cups to measure scoops it took to fill different containers, and they got to measure with a measuring tape made just for kids. We also have some big foam feet for measuring larger things, and people! Enjoy the snaps!
In Health, we started learning about nutrition. These kids know so much already! We sorted food into the food groups and the children did a great job! If I were five or six, I would say it was the best day ever because we got to watch Captain Vegetable. I hope you enjoy it too. Beware, it might get stuck in your head!
Have a nice evening!
Today was all about testing! We did a practice test for Benchmark Reading. We will take the real interim tomorrow. This test will assess comprehension, while the other Dibels tests were about phonemic awareness, phonics, letters, words, and remembering sentences.
Mrs. Park was absent so we continued our Lunar New Year study and listened to a story Grace Lin wrote about the Chinese New Year. Then, we did a guided drawing with her and drew a dragon. I'll put the video in below in case you would like to draw a dragon as well! There are other Grace Lin videos on YouTube. She is a wonderful author and writes books for the little guys and novels for the older kids.
We listened to a story called The Runaway Wok, b Ying Chang Compestine. Ask me to retell the story.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day by studying these interesting photographs. The children always think on their own first, talk with a partner/s, then we share out as a group. I listen in as the children talk and today I heard words like equal, balance, and teeter totter used in their discussions. We will be using balance scales tomorrow and next week.
We listened to a short story called Winny Loves Winter, by Tiffany Obeng. This story was perfect for a review of opinion writing. The girl in the story states she loves winter, then goes on to give reasons why she loves winter. We made a chart of the four seasons and put in reasons we love the various seasons. I don't leave that up as the children write so they don't just copy, but I did give them the words winter, spring, summer and fall. They did such a great job. We will be hanging these up in our classroom.
We are still working through testing. We have Dibels testing, MAP P for math tomorrow morning, and the kindergarten assessments that go on the report cards.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day collecting data instead of a picture talk. We used this data and collected more throughout the day to make a prediction about which season is the favorite of most of the children in the class. We have talked about collecting data a few times and made pictographs, and we moved into a bar graph today as well. We looked at how many children voted for each item, which had the most and fewest, how many more some items had then another, and what that told us that might help us with determining what the class' favorite season might be. Here is our data. Ask me to tell you about the data.
We had more testing to do, so the children practiced handwriting the letter Aa, colored a heart word, and worked in math and literacy stations while I tested.
We had a quick SEL lesson that connected to the books Out of a Jar, by Deborah Marcero and Thundercake, by Patricia Polacco. This book was about worries. The book is Brave Every Day, by Trudy Ludwig. THIS BOOK! I love this book because the story is just sweet and gentle, beautiful illustrations, and just the right length. The children can make text-to-self connections as well as text-to-text connections, which we will be doing tomorrow, because of previous books we have read. The quote on the cover says "Only when we are afraid can we learn to be brave." Ask me to tell you what the main characters in this book and Thundercake did that was scary, but helped them become braver after doing it. Did you know your children almost always clap after I read to them? And today they claimed this was their favorite book. I love this book, but I bet when I put it in our favorites basket it isn't what is chosen first. The book Dude! is dominating in our room. I may have to hide it since it mostly is the word dude! All I wanted to do was to teach about exclamation marks and question marks, but now I get to listen to the word "dude" repeated over and over again until the announcements come on! And I love it!
Have a nice evening!
We had a busy, fun day! In the morning for our picture talk, we looked at Peanuts comic strips. We noticed the talking and thinking bubbles, and the pictures that helped tell the story.
We learned about CUPS today. CUPS is a way to remind ourselves of what writers need to do so a reader can read their writing. We practiced writing a couple words, then wrote simple sentences. We checked to see that we C: started the sentence with a capital letter, U: wrote a sentence that made sense and could be understood, P: used punctuation at the end of the sentence, and S: the spelling was our best try. We worked together since this was our first time using cups and to work on spacing in our writing. We worked to be sure the letters were in the upstairs or downstairs, or their tail was in the basement, and we worked to be sure we put spaces between words. I was doing this on the board, and the children were up close so they could copy as needed, but after we practice together a few more times, they will begin to practice this with fewer prompts and examples. We also practiced making question marks today.
In math, we took a little break from measuring and worked with graphs. Today we looked at pictographs and made a graph together on the Boxlite board. We looked to see what we could find out from the data on the graph. We will work with graphing more next week. We also took a quick look at the greater than, >, and less than,<, signs. Here's a quick video to remind the children about what the symbols mean.
Instead of playtime today, the children worked in groups to build towers and walls out of bathroom dixie cups. This is an activity that many children have seen now, but when I started doing this about 32 years ago in my classroom, it took some time for the children to find out the best way to position the cups so their structure was somewhat stable. They had a fun time today, but I was only able to get a few quick pictures. One group came up with a tower taller than they were, but I was switching lenses, and it got touch ever so slightly and fell down. Building with cups has so many positive lessons in it. The children have to work as a team. They learn to be patient as they build. They learn not to blame anyone for the tower collapsing. They also really notice what other groups are doing and take some ideas from them. Hopefully we will get to where they are encouraging each other and complimenting each other for their ideas and work. They had a great time with this. I highly recommend this for a family activity. The plastic cups break if stepped on so I recommend the paper bathroom size paper cups. Our rule is they can only work with one stack at a time. If their structure falls, they have to put the cups back in a stack before building again. Usually it's a quiet activity, but that was not happening today! They have been pretty noisy lately, but we'll work on that!
Here are a few quick pictures I took today:
Have a nice weekend!
Today we studied this Norman Rockwell painting and looked for clues that would help us tell the story of this painting. One of the first things the children talked about was the "squiggly white line" up the center of the painting. NO ONE was able to identify this as smoke from a cigarette. They didn't have that background knowledge. This made my day. Several children had heard the word once I said it and said they saw cigarettes on the ground before, but they didn't know about smoking. We talked about the clues in the picture and the children were able to figure out that dad was hiding from the family that was going to church. They were intrigued by all the newspaper on the floor, and I pointed out the color comics page which some children said they had seen, but most had not so we will probably look at comics Friday.
We worked more with measurement, counting on one and counting back one, and reviewed five sticks. We will be doing more work with the five sticks because it's such an important concept for them to get a firm understanding of counting on from five. They need to look at a stick with five cubes of one color, and five or less of another color and know they could just count on from five instead of counting the whole stick.
We enjoyed reading the poem about Catsup. We looked for words that had the short a sound, and we studied the punctuation in the poem. We practiced reading the poem using the punctuation.
The children had time on the Chromebooks in the afternoon going to the Really Great Reading Playground to practice what we are learning while I tested. They did a nice job logging on mostly on their own.
Have a nice evening!
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