Our day started with a big surprise! Mrs. Kanter brought in McGruff the police dog to say good morning to us. McGruff brought each child a special gift too! Ask me to show you what McGruff left for us! I grabbed my camera as fast as I could and got a few pictures.
We thought on our own about this quote, then did a Turn and Talk with a partner and talked about whether we agreed with the quote, and why or why not. We had a good discussion about trying new things, making mistakes, and sometimes having things not turn out like you wanted them to. At the end of the discussion we all agreed that mistakes are good, however it's easier said than felt for some kids, so we do have a big reminder in our room that reads "Mistakes Allowed Here!" We followed up on this idea by reading the book Ish, by Peter Reynolds. This book is about a young boy who loves to draw. His drawings don't turn out as he wants them to, and when his big brother asks what he drew, Ramon gives up and throws away his drawing. In fact he throws away many pictures. But his sister Marisol has been collecting his pictures and has hung them all over her room. Ask me to tell you what Marisol told Ramon about his pictures.
We continued to talk about making mistakes in Writing Workshop today as we edited. Young writers are fragile, and like everything we do, we try to build on what they can do. So today we looked at their writing from yesterday and tried to make it better by fixing it up. For now, my expectation is for most of our writers is that they have a picture that matches their words. I know that many children are just beginning to read and write, so it is not my expectation that they will be spelling correctly or should fix up every word. For now, I expect the word wall words we have been practicing are spelled correctly. Please understand that some children may not realize the word we are practicing is the same word they are saying because they may not be saying it correctly yet. A good example of this is the word "the." There are children who pronounce it "da" so it hasn't sunk in yet that it is the same word we have been practicing in our word work. The other expectation is that they will be putting spaces between their words. As we move on in our instruction, the expectations will change. For those students who are reading fluently, we will work more with fixing up spelling errors.
We also read a funny poem about pumpkins today. The poem is about why it's a good thing pumpkins grow on the ground. Ask me to show you the poem and my two drawings that show what the poem was about.
We had a fire drill today. I know it's bragging, but I can't help it; our class was awesome. They came out quickly, lined up quietly and stood quietly. No one was looking for siblings or talking. They waited patiently on the playground until the other classes returned to the building and were still quiet. Mrs. Oglesby gave them a big compliment about how well they did. The only thing we need to fix up is remembering to shut our outside door. All our writing workshop papers from my desk blew all over the room while we were gone! Sadly, we lost two. You might see them floating around the neighborhood if you live close!
I hope to see you tomorrow at the Halloween parade and party. I promise lots of pictures in case you aren't able to come!
Have a nice evening!
Ask Me About October 26-28
We are recognizing Red Ribbon Week with short lessons about living a healthy life. We wrote and talked about taking time to relax. We read a story called Moody Cow Meditates, by Kerry Lee MacLean. We made text-to-self connections about the kind of day Daisy the Cow was having. We learned about the importance of breathing in being calm. Ask me to tell you about belly breathing and what we were doing in these pictures! (It wasn't sleeping!)
In writing this week, we have been focusing on putting spaces between our words as we write. We use Spaceman as a reminder. Spaceman is a tongue depressor that has a astronaut type face on it. This is a great motivator to remember to put those spaces between words! We wrote personal experience stories today, and tomorrow we will begin to fix them up to make them our best try.
We have had a lot of fun with measurement. We have been using Cuisenaire Rods to compare and order length. A few of the kids have done some problem solving with the rods. They had to multiple answers using clues about length. Today we began making our own Halloween pictures following oral directions that involved measurement.
We had a class meeting about honesty this week. We read the book Hello Goodbye and a very little lie, by Christianne Jones. We predicted what would happen in the story as we read. Larry told some very fantastic lies in this story. Ask me to tell you what happened that taught Larry a lesson. We talked about our own experiences with lying, and had a very interesting discussion as you might imagine! But the one point I tried to make was that telling the truth is a good habit to learn when you are young, and that accepting responsibility and telling the truth needs to be learned when you are a kid and solving kid-size problems. It gets harder when you are a grown-up! I also let them know that just like at home, we will love them even when they make the wrong choices and that telling the truth will help us to help them with their problems. I know you probably think I work for Amazon on the side, but Hello Goodbye and a little lie is also a book I highly recommend for your family book collection. It has a strong, clear message that is taught in a simple, funny way.
Just a reminder that I am trying to finalize my conference schedule. If you have not signed up for a conference yet, please do so by the end of the week so I can give the office a copy of my schedule. Thanks!
Have a nice evening!
Ask Me About Friday, October 23, 2015
Today we listened to The Storm Book, by Charlotte Zolotow. This book is unique because it has pages of text, then two pages of pictures. We listened to the words and practiced visualizing by making a little movie in our head of what we heard. We listened to the beautiful language of the book that describes so elegantly an approaching storm and the beautiful rainbow at the end. We drew pictures of a storm too, using details and colors to show a storm.
We took a different kind of Brain Break today. We started to learn about yoga. We read I Am Yoga, by Susan Verde, and artwork by Peter Reynolds. I highly recommend this book for your family collection. This book gently describes how we can take time away from the everyday stresses and use yoga to calm our mind. Ask me what I can tell my wiggling body, my thinking mind, and my racing breath..
We practiced sitting quietly, thinking of a peaceful place, and breathing. We will continue to work with yoga and other mindfulness exercises throughout the year and use them in the classroom on a regular basis.
We learned more about leaders today. Yesterday we started a classroom book about how presidents are leaders. We studied photographs of President Obama at work and analyzed them to help learn about what the leader of the United States does. We made many connections to the photographs we saw to our own lives. We can be leaders to in our class. Yesterday we wrote about what we learned from the pictures in our book. We did some revising today to make sure our ideas were written to say what we learned about being a leader. Here is our book. Ask me to tell you about what I know about being a leader from analyzing these photographs.
In math, we continued to work with measurement. We used our Cuisenaire rods to play a lotto game. We each had one set of the rods. Each size of rod is a different color. First, we put the rods in order from shortest to tallest. Then we matched rods to spaces on a small puzzle card by looking at them. Next week, we will play the game again, but this time we will put the rods in a bag and choose rods we think we need by touch. This will be more challenging, and a lot of fun!
I would like to pass on compliments I have been hearing about our class. Several teachers have commented how polite this group is, and yesterday two different teachers at different times commented on how sweet this group is. Thank-you for sending me these happy little people every day!
Have a great weekend!
Today we analyzed pictures of spiders. We noticed what was the same about them, and what we saw that was different. We looked at the parts of the spider that make up a whole spider. Check out these spiders! Ask me to analyze these spiders.
We collected data to find out which spider our class liked the best. Ask me to tell you about what we found out from our data.
We enjoyed singing a couple different versions of The Itsy Bitsy Spider today, but the class really enjoys Little Richard's version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider the best!
We continued our our mini-unit about writing notes in Writing Workshop. Today we focused on writing more in our messages. We thought about different reasons we may have for writing a note. We shared ideas then reviewed the three important parts of a note.
We continued to practice measuring. Today we compared lengths to one measuring stick and sorted classroom objects by whether they were longer, shorter or just right.
We had a rushed afternoon as our pictures were taken in the afternoon, and we did not get to exchange Read to Me, Talk to Me books. I will be in the school tomorrow but will have a substitute so I may not get to exchange the books tomorrow either, so look for a new book on Friday to come home with your child. If your child has not returned their Read to Me, Talk to Me book and bag, please do so tomorrow so the children have a good selection of books to choose.
Have a nice evening!
Ask Me About Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Today we started our day by looking at an interesting picture. We analyzed the picture to figure out what was happening in the photograph. Ask me to tell you about what I noticed in this photograph.
We sang The Itsy Bitsy Spider and used our thumb and pointer finger to show how the spider moved up the water spout. We had to practice it to get the hang of how to put our pointer fingers on our thumb, and how to turn it so our spider would move. We looked for the word the in the song and practiced writing it too. Then we made pictures to retell the story on the back. We had to put in details to show what was happening in each picture. The setting stayed the same, but the weather in the pictures changed. Ask me to tell you about the pictures I made to retell the story.
Today we listened to a beautiful story called All the Water in the World, by George Ella Lyon. We will read this beautiful story again to listen for wonderful words.
This story is about the water cycle, but the author writes it in a lyrical form. Ask me to tell you what it means when the author says "the sun licks up the water from the ocean."
In writing we began a mini-unit to learn to write notes. There are three important parts of a note. Ask me to tell you about the three parts of a note. We practiced writing notes to friends and people we love.
We had an emergency drill today. First, we had a Shelter in Place Drill. This drill means we limit where students can be in the building. We stay in our room but we continue working, and the teachers take attendance to be sure everyone is accounted for in their class. We then went into a Lockdown Drill. We locked our door to the hallway, turned out the lights, closed the blinds, and sat quietly until our drill was over. We talked about thinking about a special place during the quiet time to help pass the time. I always think about being in the mountains of Colorado, or at Disney World. The children did a great job.
Don't forget, tomorrow is individual picture day!
It was so nice to walk outside this afternoon and feel warmer weather!
Have a nice evening!
Today we read Splish! Splash! A Book about Rain, to learn more about rain and the water cycle. We thought about the word cycle and connected it to bicycle. We know that bicycles have wheels, which will help us remember what a cycle does. Ask me to tell you about the word cycle. We will be learning more about the water cycle this week. We continued on our reading journey across the United States and learned about George Washington by visiting Virginia and reading Where Is George Washington, by Carla Heysmfeld. The story is told through the eyes of a cat who lives at Mount Vernon. We compared life at Mount Vernon with life in Potomac today. We found differences in the way people dressed, cooked, washed clothes, and traveled from place to place.
Today we visited with Mrs. Kanter again! Mrs. Kanter told us about Red Ribbon Week next week. We talked about living a healthy life. Mrs. Kanter read The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor. We wrote about what we do to stay healthy. We made sure our pictures matched our words.
Today we started a mini-unit of measuring in math. We made counting sticks of ten cubes and compared objects around the room to find things that were about ten cubes tall or long. We also practiced writing the number 6 today.
Don't forget tomorrow is library day, so please bring your library book back to school. Please remember to bring your Read to Me, Talk to Me book back in the big ziplock bag I sent it home in as well. Your child will pick a new book on Wednesday.
Enjoy your evening!
Today we read The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda D. Williams. This is a spooky little story of a little old lady that goes in the forest mushrooms and spices and meets up with different parts of a scarecrow. Ask me to tell you what happens when the scarecrow follows her to her cottage. We discussed the importance of a setting in a story. We talked about the setting being the place and time of the story, and how the setting sets the tone of the story. We wondered if this story would be as spooky if it was set during the day at the plaza at Cabin John, or other places the children suggested. Ask me to show you the two pictures I made of the setting in the story Linda Williams wrote, and a setting I suggested.
Today we had a bus evacuation drill. This drill is to be sure the children know what to do in the event of an emergency on a school bus and how to get off the bus quickly and safely. Ask me to tell you what I learned on the bus.
Don't forget, there is not school tomorrow for students or teachers.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Today was a busy day. We learned about verbs. We read a long poem called My Busy Day that had many verbs in it. We played a game like charades and acted out some of the verbs. We also found many words that rhymed or were opposites. We played Guess the Covered Word as we read the poem, so we used strategies readers use to help us guess the covered word. We thought about what would make sense and made a good guess, then checked the first letter of the word and if it was right thought about what would come next in the word. We also thought about what would rhyme or if an opposite word would make sense there. Ask me to show the poem so we can read it together.
We practiced more with subitizing and with collecting data. We rolled a die and graphed to see which number we would roll most often. We worked on making our graph neat by coloring it in neatly and not leaving white spaces.
Today I sent home Read to Me, Talk to Me books. Each child should have a large ziplock bag with a book and a letter in it about Read to Me, Talk to Me. Each Wednesday your child will choose a book to read at home for a week. Books should be returned on Tuesday. In the back of the book you will find questions you can use as a guide in a discussion of the book. You will also see a project that you can do with your child if you wish. As with all homework, this is optional, but reading the book and discussing it with your child is strongly encouraged. Some books may be a bit long, so consider reading them in two sittings with your child. It's also a good habit to model by reading the book a couple times during the week and discussing different questions. Children learn it's important to go back and reread by doing this. Finally, as with all books that will come home, please help your child find a good place to keep their book so it doesn't get in damaged. I hope you enjoy this program!
Today we read a book called Being a Good Citizen by Adrian Vigliano. We talked about the meaning of the word citizen. We know a citizen is a member of a community. We are part of a school community, a home community, and with friends. We talked about how good citizens are responsible and honest, and how they share, follow the rules and are helpful. Ask me about how I can be a good citizen at school.
Finally, today we met with our Bells Mill Bear Buddies. Ms. Wang's class came to visit. For our first meeting, we read books. I have my camera almost every day, and what do you know, today I didn't bring it! I would not be able to post pictures on the website anyway since I do not have permission from Ms. Wang's families, but just know the third graders reading to our kinders was so sweet. What a great way to end the day. Some children in Ms. Wang's class commented that they hope they don't have to wait another month to visit again! And they won't! Ms. Wang and I will be planning some additional activities we will get together and do very soon!
Enjoy the evening!
Today was a very busy day! We reviewed writing the letter e and the word like. Lowercase e is tricky! We sang the song Bingo, but then changed the beginning letter to make new names for Bingo. We had a great time doing this on our own during Literacy Centers too!
We analyzed two paintings and talked about the wind. We found many interesting things in two pictures, and many ways they are the same and ways they are different. Ask me to tell you about what we noticed in these pictures. I added another picture to talk about at home.
We read a great book called Wag, by Patrick McDonnell. This is a very sweet book about a dog who wags. The narrator kept asking what made the dog wag. Ask me to tell you about the book Wag! We used this simple text as inspiration for our writing today in Writing Workshop. We made sure our writing and words went together. We used our stretchy snakes and alphabet strips to help find the letters to match the sounds in the word. Having one simple idea and sentence made it easier for us to concentrate on hearing the sounds in the words.
Today we started a very exciting journey! Throughout the year, we will read books that support our curriculum but also have a connection to a state in our country. We are reading across America! Today we visited Pennsylvania. We looked at photographs of different places in Pennsylvania. Then we read the story Saving the Liberty Bell, by Megan McDonald. This is the story of how the Liberty Bell was hidden from the Red Coats during the American Revolution. Ask me about Pennsylvania and the book we read!
Don't forget, Monday is Parent Visitation Day from 9:25 - 11:45. We hope you can drop in to see just what goes on in our classroom! Please remember we are trying to keep our day as typical as possible, but we don't usually have a big audience. So some parts of our morning and some of our behavior may not be as "typical" as I might like it to be, but we will sure try our best. Please just give a little wave to your child as you enter and leave, and watch what your child can do on their own.
I hope you enjoy the weekend with your family!
Today we were Word Birds and thought of words to describe wind. We analyzed photographs to determine how the wind was blowing. Ask me to tell you some words we use to describe wind. We also read a funny story about a little boy who was telling a story about the wind on his way to school. He was telling his teacher he was late because of all these amazing things that happened because of the wind. Ask me to tell you about Woosh Went the Wind, by Sally Derby. Be sure to find out how this story ends!
In math, we are working with looking at groups of objects and knowing how many without counting. This is called subitizing. Today we worked with a die to practice knowing the dot configurations through six. Subitize is a great word, and I know you'll want to work it into your conversation at the soccer field or your next dinner party, so here's a little video to with a demonstration of subitizing.
Have a nice evening!