This morning we used our analysis skills once again to look at photographs of beautiful skies. Then we took our sky windows outside and used paperclips to mark what the sky looked like, what the weather was like, and what kind of clouds we saw. Today we brought home the sky windows. Ask me to show you how I can use the sky window and talk about the weather! Check out the pictures below of our weather watchers!
Today we used "Stretchy Snakes" to stretch out unknown words we wanted to use to label a picture. The snakes are simply a tool to encourage children to say the word slowly to hear the sounds in the word. The children know the Stretchy Snakes are a tool, not a toy.
This afternoon we learned more about symbols. We focused on American symbols. Ask me to tell you about the American symbols we learned about today!
And now, one of our favorite parts of the day, a video of a Brain Break. Please enjoy The Bear Necessities. It's difficult to get a good video of this since the kids are following the motions on the Promethean Board, but this should leave a smile on your face. Enjoy!
Today we looked at a very unusual book to practice analyzing pictures. The book, This Equals That by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin, is unusual because it has photographs and pictures that are connected by some common thread. One way we analyze is to notice what is alike and what is different. The book begins with a triangle, then on the page beside it is a shark. The commonality is the triangle. This continues throughout the book, and the book is actually a circle because you end up at the triangle at the end! Then we used our analyzing skills to study four weather pictures. Ask me to tell you about what is the same and what is different in these pictures. I put them in a slideshow, so you will see all four together, then each picture separately so you can see more details.
We listened to a great story called The Rain Came Down, by David Shannon. This is a wonderfully illustrated, entertaining book that has a story is cumulative. Not only does it begin to rain in this story, but people become grumpier and mad as the story progresses until the rain stops. Ask me to tell you about the story and show you my picture I made of the story. Many of the children labeled some of the important parts of their picture too!
We finally made our sky windows! We used weather symbols, photos of clouds, and paint samples with sky colors on our sky windows. We will use them at school next week and then bring them home.
Have a great weekend!
Today we had a class meeting and discussed waiting. We read Waiting Is Not Easy, by Mo Willems and discussed times when we have to wait. Mo Willems' books have limited text that are often some of the first "real" books our beginning readers can read. We will be reading more Mo Willems books as we do an author study about him and his style of writing. For our class, waiting is hardest when they have to wait to add something to a class discussion. We talked about why it is important to wait for a turn instead of blurting out answers.
We looked at a wordless picture book today called Deep In the Forest, by Brinton Turkle. Ask me to tell you about this story! This is an interesting book because as one of our students pointed out, this is the opposite story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Instead of a little girl coming in to the home of a family of bears, this story is about a baby bear who comes in to a human family's home. Wordless picture books are really important to beginning readers and writers because they give the child an opportunity to study the pictures and tell the story in their own words. It's important children have the opportunity to tell stories, either with wordless picture books, about events or things they are interested in, and in looking at family pictures. I will be posting a list of wordless picture books on our reading page in the next couple days with more information about "reading" wordless picture books with your child.
Today we sang a fun song called Happy Mooday to You. As you will soon find out when you hear your child sing this song, it is the Happy Birthday song for a cow. We worked with the word "to" and learned about drawing and labeling pictures. We will continue to work on illustrating by talking about what is important to include in the picture to tell the story. Labeling pictures is also a great activity for beginning writers because they don't have to mess with all the conventions of writing; they are just stretching out one word at a time instead of sentences.
We collected data today about the most interesting bug out of four pictures. We made a pictograph and talked about the information we could get from the data we collected.
We have begun our Maryland testing and are moving through it as quickly as possible. I was hoping to start reading groups, but will concentrate most of the time on finishing this testing and just calling a group or two a day until it is finished. Hopefully that will be by the end of next week.
Have a great evening!
Today we worked more with the word It. We read a poem with it in it. We read it in two parts. Your child may want to read it with you in two parts. They will have a red or blue dot before each line, and your child will tell you which lines to read.
Today we learned about clouds. We learned about the three main kinds of clouds and made up motions to go with each cloud. Ask me to tell you about stratus, cirrus, and cumulus clouds and show you the motion we made to remember what they look like. What kind of clouds are these?
Remember that we do not have school tomorrow! Enjoy the evening!
Today we practiced the letter Tt in handwriting. We also worked with the word wall word it. We had a lesson with Mrs. Kanter about children with autism. Today the children are bringing home a letter from Mrs. Kanter along with some pictures from a book, My Friend With Autism, she read the children about how children with autism are good at some things and not so good at other things, just like everyone else. Ask me to tell you about what I learned about children with autism today.
Today we began to talk about clouds. We talked about what we know and think we know about clouds. We read a beautiful book called Cloud Dance, by Thomas Locker to look at the differences in clouds and the sky. The book is illustrated by Thomas Locker with beautiful oil paintings.
Today we were weather detectives and looked at several paintings to find clues about what the weather might be in each setting. Ask me to tell you about these paintings and the weather.
Today we continued to work on writing lists. We used a writing tool, the alphabet strip, to help us with matching sounds and letters, and to remind us of how to write the lower case letters. We know the upper case letters don't do much work! The lower case letters get used much more! The alphabet strip is on the Writing page if you would like to print your own at home!
Next week we will be starting reading groups. I will not get to each group each day because I have the Maryland test I will be doing as well, but I want to get the students in the routine of meeting in groups so our day is more normal!
Have a great weekend!
We started our day today by looking at this Peanuts comic strip.
We talked about what a comic strip was then talked about what happened in each scene. We thought about what made it a good day for a dog like Snoopy. Then we thought about what makes a good day for each of us. We did a Turn and Talk where each student had to listen to what their partner said and share it with the class, so they would say something like "Hanchi said a good day for him is to get up at 6 A.M. and read books." We will do this type of listening and talking throughout the year to help children become responsible for listening to what others are saying instead of just waiting for their turn to talk.
We read Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure, by Doreen Cronin and studied the characters in the story. We found out Farmer Brown is quite often grumpy and that the duck is tricky, but also grumpy at times. Ask me to tell you about why Farmer Brown might be grumpy and what the duck had to do with it!
We had a class meeting today. Several children have stated they don't have anyone to play with so we talked about this as a group. It turns out that sometimes they need to look around a little more to find each other. We will try and discuss what we could do and who we could play with before recess so they have a plan! We also talked about the Friendship Bench and how we could go and talk to kids on the Friendship Bench and try to get them to play with us or just talk.
We also talked about self-control during our meeting. Ask me to tell you what self-control means. We read one of my all-time favorite books called Oh No, George by Chris Haught. This story is about a dog named George who gets into trouble because he is still working on having self-control to stop himself from doing things he shouldn't. We also used this book to illustrate the rule we have at Bells Mill and in our classroom that states "I give second chances and forgive." George is very lucky to have an owner the does just that! Ask me to tell you about what trouble George gets into and how his owner, Harry, gives him a second chance and what happens when they go out for a walk
Enjoy the trailer for Oh No, George below, and have a nice evening!
Today we worked on our routine for handwriting and word work. We have a special way we line up and get our supplies, as well as how we keep track of our supplies as we work. We worked with the word see today. This is one of our word wall words that we will need to learn to read and spell "just like that." We used a song, "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" to help us remember how to spell the word. I posted the entire word wall on the writing page. We are introducing the words a couple at a time, and will be finished by the end of third quarter with them. Word Wall Words are to be "overlearned" so that children do not even have to think about them when they come to them in reading or when they are writing them. They often do not follow other rules of phonics, so memorizing them is the best way to learn them. I have songs we use to help remember how to spell the words on the writing page, as well as things you can do at home with your child to learn the word wall words. Learning to spell them as the children learn them is the best way because the movement of their hand as they write will help them remember the word. Today we worked on see. We also worked on writing the letter Ii.
In Writing Workshop, we learned about how pictures help authors tell the story. In fact, pictures can tell their own stories, even without words. No one was better in doing that than the American artist Norman Rockwell. We looked at several of his paintings and talked through what could be the story. We paid attention to the setting and the character/s faces. Knowing how the character is feeling is important in understanding the story. We made personal connections to the paintings we looked at today. Ask me to tell you a story about the pictures below by Norman Rockwell.
We played a fun sorting game called "Guess My Rule" in math today. We played with people today. The children had to guess what the rule was I used to create small groups of children. Tomorrow we will play again in small groups with other items.
I'm just about finished with our reading testing. I'll start the Maryland test as soon as I can so we can get the testing out of the way and get a more normal schedule! I'm hoping to start calling reading groups next week, but there will be some days when not all groups are called due to testing. I'm so anxious to get started with our reading groups!
I meant to send home Read to Me, Talk to Me books today, but we had a bumpy afternoon. Some of the children are having a hard time "collaborating" and are not trying to solve their problems without yelling out students' names. We will work on strategies for working out problems in more peaceful ways. It's all part of learning to be part of a group! I will send the books home next Tuesday, although they will usually come home on Wednesday and be due on Tuesday, but since we have a day off on Wednesday, we will send them a day early.
Have a nice evening!
Today we studied an interesting weather picture. We analyzed the picture to zoom in on parts related to weather. First, we studied the picture on our own. Then we did a Turn and Talk, which is when we turn to a partner and talk about what we noticed in the picture. Finally, we shared with the whole class. Ask me to tell you about this picture.
Today we read another story about Yoko, called Yoko Learns to Read, by Rosemary Wells. We drew pictures of the characters and talked about what each character acted like in the story. We learned that the main character in a story often has a problem that moves the story along. We identified Yoko's problem in the story and thought about how she must have been feeling throughout the story.
I posted OPTIONAL HOMEWORK on our homepage. Each week, on the first day of the school week, I will post homework. There are links for websites that support what we are studying in the classroom. The National Geographic link was working today, but at least on my computer, it was loading very slowly! We will begin working with the word wall words I posted tomorrow. I will also be sending home Read to Me, Talk to Me books which you can borrow for a week. Please return that book, and also library books, on Tuesdays. Some children forgot their library books today. They can bring them in tomorrow or later this week and go to the library to check out a new book in the morning.
Enjoy this gorgeous weather!
We had a great end to our second week of school! Our t-shirts arrived so the children got a big surprise with a kindergarten t-shirt! This is a great t-shirt for Friday Spirit Days! Be sure to check out the class picture on our homepage of almost everyone in our class!
Today I sent home a corrected class list. Please be sure to note that No. 11 was cut off when I printed it, so today I sent home the whole class list. You can use this class list to find the names of the children in the pictures on our photo page. This will help you in talking with your child about their classmates and in learning their names. I will be adding more pictures to the photo page this weekend!
Today we learned more about our Bear Necessities. We discussed including others in our work and play. We read a wonderful book with just a few words, a few pictures, but a meaningful story. Ask me to tell you about the book Say Hello, by Jack and Michael Foreman. This book tells the story of a little boy who is left out of play. A four-legged friend helps the boy, and he finds out that when someone is left out, it doesn't take much to say hello!
We opened more literacy stations today. We opened the word station, writing station and the technology station. The children did a great job working with each other quietly. Next week we will open more stations and I will introduce a work board that will help children move through different stations.
Be sure to check back to our website later this weekend for more updates to the website. I will be adding information from Back to School NIght for those who missed attending.
Enjoy the long weekend!