Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday Wonders

Gabrielle was our child of the day and she read another Amelia Bedelia book: Amelia Bedelia and the Baby! She could really connect to this book she said. Listen later tonight to hear her read.

In reading, we synthesized together the book The Rag Coat. What a great job they did! It's rewarding as a teacher to not only hear them use the words: "I inferred" or "I could connect that to another book," or "I'm changing my thinking, now,"; but to also hear them explain their thinking and show that they understand! GREAT JOB, READERS!!!! That's REAL READING!!

Many of the students are ready to write their non fiction reports. Tomorrow we are going to look at how non fiction books are written. Some are written as narratives, and that is a form they can use. I want them to see how other authors take their research and put it into their own words.

In math, we worked whole class on equivalent fractions. We worked with pattern blocks to see how different fractions can be the same as another. We also looked at the multiplicaton and division table (from 3rd Grade!) and saw an easy way to use the table to identify equivalent fractions. I still want them seeing it, but some are moving further along. Be sure and get them on the Virtual Manipulative site off my website to help them explore fractions.

We will have a representative from Junior Achievement here tomorrow to talk about communities.

Tomorrow is a switch day and we will follow a Friday schedule. Be sure everyone has gym shoes.

Have a GREAT night!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday Tales

Simi was Child of the Day and read Falling for Rapunzel. She chose this book because it's funny and she knew we would enjoy it. Listen later on the website as she reads.

Today was one of those days I wish I had my video camera on while we were discussing our synthesis of the book Smoky Night. Gabrielle was the first to see how my thinking got bigger and bigger as I read the book. Not only was my thinking changing, but as weaved my thoughts with the ideas from the book, my synthesis got bigger. Grier pointed out that it was like the earthquake we had a few weeks ago: My first idea was the center of the earthquake, and has my ideas got bigger, it was like the shockwaves of the earthquake spreading out, bigger and bigger. What a GREAT job!

We continued taking notes on our weather topics. A few are either beginning to write or are almost there. They are really getting the idea of what is important and what is just interesting.

In math, we reviewed the hundreds chart and how we really need to have it in our minds so that we can visualize it as we add and subtract. We looked at different strategies (+10, +11, -9) and how knowing those can help us. Seniors also worked on estimating with money.

Tomorrow we have library, so don't forget to bring in your books if you haven't already.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Musings!

Grier was our child of the day and she read the book Amelia Bedelia Family Album. She chose the book because it is so funny! Thanks to Alexis for taking such a GREAT picture! Listen to Grier read tonight when I load her video to the website. Unfortunately, we will only hear part of the story, but she did a GREAT job!

There was a change in plans for the book fair this morning, after the newsletter was printed. The book fair will be next week. We will preview the books on Tuesday then make our purchases on Thursday. A note went home today regarding the new dates for the book fair. Be sure and check your childs Liberty Folder.

We began our study of synthesis as a reading comprehension strategy. We reviewed summarizing, but then as I read the book Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, I modeled my thinking in a think aloud. When I finished, I asked them what they noticed: my thinking was changing as I read and I was using all my strategies.

We will keep working on this as a verbal share, then we will begin to write our thinking down as we read in preparation for writing reading extended responses later in the month.

Students continue to take notes on their weather topics. In math, juniors worked on place value and seniors began a money unit.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fabulous Friday

Isabella was our child of the day and she read a Biscuit book. She chose this book because she thought her friends would enjoy it. Listen later tonight or tomorrow to her video off the classroom website.

We watched a short video this morning on the water cycle and different types of clouds. We then talked more about the weather and our observations. Monday we are going to start observing the different types of clouds we have each day and see if it helps us to predict the weather.

We spent the rest of the morning taking notes for our research topics.

In the afternoon, both juniors and seniors were assessed on the math units.

Don't forget to read this weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Tales

Nicole was our child of the day and chose to read Amelia Bedelia for Mayor! She chose it because it is funny and it certainly was! Listen later tonight by going to our website and clicking on child of the day 2, and then her name. You will enjoy it!

Gabrielle had a wonderful birthday surprise! Her mother was our mystery reader! She surprised Gabrielle by bringing her sister Rachel and treats for the class. We loved hearing the two books she read about Bear. They are well loved books of Gabrielles! Happy Birthday, Gabrielle!!!

We finished up with summarizing, and now will begin the real work of synthesis. They are excited to get started! Of course, we never end summarizing, but we want to take it to a new level, and use all our strategies. There is information about synthesis in last weeks newsletter and there will be more this week.

I highly recommend you check out this book: 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins. I know I have recommended this book many times, and it's on the newsletter, but I can't tell you what a valuable resource this is for you as a parent.

The strategies are defined and examples shown. There are numerous things that as a parents you can do to help your child from infants until they are independent, comprehending readers that will help your child become a profecient reader. Things you can do while reading to them; things you can do while in the car!; Games you can play that will help them think as they read. It is an easy read and inexpensive. Here is the ISBN: 0-7615-1549-6

In math, juniors worked on manipulating pattern blocks for fractions and math facts. Seniors worked on capacity.

Tomorrow we have gym so make sure they have appropriate shoes to wear. If they wear sandals, make sure they have gym shoes and socks here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wild Wednesday

Antonio was our child of the day and read The Day the Sky Fell Down. The class was able to make connections to the Chicken Little story. Look for his video tonight on the website.

We ran out of time to interpret the data from the survey so we will do that tomorrow morning. Antonio will have our next question.

We read Puss 'N Boots today with the idea of summarizing. Summarizing, first helps us get the story into our long term memory. But it is suface level comprehension. I've told the class we are going to dig deeper (synthesis) beginning next week with our instruction. I've also told them they are already doing synthesis, but we are going to even dig further! One student said "It's like we are past the suface, and into the shallow water!" Yes! Exactly! They are very anxious to get started.

In writing I modeled taking my notes and writing about Asia. Then the students went out and either continued taking notes or began sorting.

During Math, juniors worked on fractions of groups using money and seniors worked on capacity. When you are cooking, and using liquid measurement, please include them and let them measure as well as convert measurement so they learn in a real life situation.

Tomorrow will be very busy. In addition to music and art, we have library. It had to be rescheduled from today because of events in the library.

Have a good evening.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thrills from Tuesday

Jacob was our child of the day and he read Jordan Has a Big Day. What a great job he did. Check out his video on the website under child of the day 2.

We worked on summarizing, a step before synthesizing, by summarizing the story of Hansel and Gretel. We created a story map but we used it as a tool so that we could retell in our own words.

During word work we played one of our Academic Jeopardy games. You can access this games by going to the website, click on games, then click on the vocabulary game you want to play. When you open it, a box will appear, click open to play or save if you want to save it to your computer.

I modeled how to sort notes and determine headings for our expository writing as we learned about Asia. Students continued taking notes on their weather topic. A few began sorting their notes under headings.

During math juniors worked on fractions and seniors worked on area.

If you did not return your pictures, please do so no later than tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marvelous Monday!

Neel was our child of the day and read Jordan's Lucky Day! Take a look at his video later on tonight on the website.

We also had a mystery reader: Ryan's Mom! Ryan was surprised, but he had a feeling it might be her! Thanks for coming in and reading to the kids....they LOVED it!

We began our comprehension strategy study of synthesis today. We begin with summarizing, and will continue this week with it. But, synthesis is more than summarizing, a step beyond. More about that later.

We began our new vocabulary unit today. In the mail today is a list of the words and their definitions. Try using them in conversations whenever possible.

I used Asia as an example of how to look for important information in notetaking. Tomorrow I will model again how to sort and put the notes under the correct headings. After we sort, we can identify where we need more information.

Then the students went off taking notes on their weather event they are researching. Thank you Alyssa for doing research on Tornadoes over the weekend. I've made copies for those students with the same topic. Thank you!!!

In math, Juniors worked on equal shares and Seniors worked on measuring longer lengths and areas. Then they work together as a team on the math menu.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Fun!

Alisha did a FANTASTIC job reading The Frog Prince...continued! She even surprised me! Listen to her read later on tonight when I load her video. You will enjoy it!

We watched a weather video from united streaming and took notes to add to our research projects. Because of the earthquake this morning, we spent a little time reading about it, looking at the map, and then watched a very short video (again from united streaming) about what causes earthquakes. They were very eager learners today!

After gym, we played some of the Academic Vocabulary games from the website. I sent home a note today detailing where to get the games (off the website) and more challenging math activities they can do on the website. Take advantage of it!

In math, juniors worked on making change. This is a difficult concept so anytime you are able to work with them when you get or make change would be great. Seniors worked on measuring longer distances by reading a map and then did some perimeter measurments.

Just a quick note about homework. Research has shown that homework (other than reading) does not help students academically until about the 10th grade. I am required to give out homework, so I use the homelinks. I like to vary it some, that is why I include the computer work. The best thing you can be doing with your child is reading, but if they want more to do, the website has a ton of things to do. If you want worksheets, then go to the links for parents, and print them off. What I'm finding though, is that because of what they are doing in class with the math menu, that they are really, really, understanding and enjoying math, so let them use the computer to explore the different sites off my website to challenge themselves. Don't tell them how to do it, but let them explore. Understanding comes from the explorations. Questions....just ask.

Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thrills from Thursday

Blake was our child of the day and read the book The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. He wanted to read this book because he thought the class would enjoy hearing the sound the cricket makes at the end of the book.

We finished our non fiction conventions book today. They will use this as they write their report on weather. As I said yesterday, they each have their subject. They began taking notes today. I would appreciate it if you would help them pull up research on their topic at home from the internet.

As soon as MAP testing is done, I want to go to the computer lab and have the kids complete a webquest on weather. At this point, the earliest will be May, but if we didn't have a lot of absentees during the testing for make up, maybe next Friday!

Although we use the one computer in the room, I don't like to waste a half hour in the lab for kids to play computer games, including Everyday Math, Kids College and other internet or software games. Since every parent indicated to me that they had computers, they can do this at home as part of the homefun, in addition to the homelinks. However, a webquest, which is based on best practice in instruction, is a valuable opportunity for them to use the computer in a more meaningful way.

If we had kids that did not have access to computers, I would give them the opportunity to play the Math games, etc. in the lab.

Sofia also has a story up on the website. Just click on the hot link, Community of learners, then student writing, then student writing page 2. You'll see her new story there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday Wows!

Natalie was child of the day and read Owen by Kevin Henkes. She chose this book because she was able to make a connection with the character who had a favorite blanket he did not want to give up. Her connection helped her understand how the main character, Owen, felt and why he behaved the way he did. What a good reader she is. Her video is already up on the website...take a look!

In reading we added to our Non fiction Convention books with photos, a glossary and comparisons. This will help us when we begin writing our weather research reports.

Natalie was our weather reporter today and we took a look at the temperature, air pressure, humidity, winds and precipitation. We also had a visit from Nature Dan from the Bartlett Nature Center and we learned a lot more about predicting weather. Take a look at the video and enjoy!

Nature Dan showed us how to make a barometer. They brought their own home today. Keep track of the air pressure and see if you can predict rain.

We also chose our weather research topics to write about. Your child should be able to tell you their topic. Please help them find internet information or books from the public library to help them write their reports. We did check out books from the library today on their topics to use.

Because we made barometers, I only met with juniors today for math where we learned some more about place value. Seniors continued to work on their math menu. Tomorrow they begin area and perimeter.

This Saturday at the Bartlett Nature Center they are hosting an Earth Day Celebration. Check out their webiste, for more information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday Tales

Kyle was our child of the day and he read one of our author study books: Up, Up, Down by Robert Munsch. He chose this book because he liked how the little girl got to tell the parents to behave! We also discussed our schema about him as an author and how that can help us as readers. Look for his reading later tonight on the website.

We began our weather observation charts today and we will continue charting the weather. We want to gather enough information so we can make predictions about the weather based on data we collect: temperature, wind direction, air pressure, clouds, humidity and precipitation.

Seniors took the math MAP test today and juniors finished up their reading tests. We will get that information out to you as a school as soon as we are allowed.

In math, seniors worked on measuring to the nearest 1/2 inch and juniors worked on money.

Don't forget tomorrow is library. Have a GREAT night!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Symmetry Fun

Juniors and Seniors have been working on symmetry. Enjoy!

Marvelous Monday

Meghan was a wonderful Child of the Day and did a fantastic job reading Wemberly Worried! I know you will enjoy listening to her read later when I get it downloaded to the website!

We continued to work on our non fiction convention notebook, adding table of contents and headings. We also added why, put, different, away and help to our word wall. We continued to learn about the continents as we read about Antartica.

We also watched a video about weather. We will begin to keep track of more aspects of the weather on a weekly weather log this week. Wednesday we have a presentation from the Bartlett Nature Center about Wacky Weather.

Tomorrow is the math MAP test for seniors. Juniors will be taking another reading MAP test. Make sure they get a good nights rest and a good breakfast in the morning.

Have a GREAT night!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fabulous Friday

What a GREAT job Alyssa did reading BOO by Robert Munsch! She chose this book because it was funny and she really enjoyed it. The students did too as you will hear later tonight on the video.

We worked some more on Non Fiction Conventions, adding to our book maps and index. The students spent some more time looking at our weather books, trying to find a topic that interested them.

We also read about Antartica and watched a video about our earth as part of our geography study. We also watched a video on symmetry and began a symmetry project.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thrilling Thursday!

Ryan was child of the day and he picked Amelia Bedelia to read to the class because it's funny...and it is! Listen later tonight on the website video to him reading...and enjoy!

We began our Non fiction Convention books. We looked some more at captions and labels. We'll add to our book tomorrow. We also looked at non fiction books about weather, gathering ideas about what we can research and write about.

Seniors began cursive writing today. We began with what we call clock letters and started with letter a.

During math I decided to review fractions some more with seniors as the juniors took their unit 7 checking progress assestment.

We also went to art and music. Tomorrow is gym so make sure they are wearing appropriate shoes or have them here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday Wonders

Nicholas was our child of the day and he read us the traditional tale: The Emperor's New Clothes. As you will hear later tonight when I can get the video up on the website, the students really enjoyed it!

We made a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting fiction and non fiction. I was very impressed about how much they know about non fiction features. This is ALL from their reading and their daily reading quilt. The quilt helps them to read in different genre's and they have response sheets to complete. They've been reading a lot of NF and working through the features, creating their own understandings. Tomorrow we will begin creating our Non Fiction Conventions Book to use when we begin writing.

We took our reading MAP test. They all did a GREAT job and we'll be getting all that information out to you as soon as we are allowed. We have our math MAP next week on the 15th for seniors and juniors will take some additional reading skills (Phonics and phonemic awareness tests).

Today in math juniors learned more about 3D shapes and symmetry. Tomorrow they have their unit 7 checking progress and seniors begin linear measurement.

Tomorrow we have music and art.

Have a GREAT night!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tales from Tuesday

Francis was our child of the day and he did a wonderful job reading Sebastian's Special Present. He chose this book because it reminded him of a special present his sister got. Look for his video later on tonight on the website. Just click on Community of Learners (to the right under Hot Links) then, child of the day 2, then his name. Enjoy!

The BIG EVENT was the field trip to the Paramount Theater to see Bodyology. The kids had a GREAT time and learned a lot. Here's a QUICK video of our trip. Unfortunately, we can't take pictures while the performance is on and that's the BEST part, but look at the smiles!

We had a QUICK lunch when we came back and when I came back into the room I was excited to see the kids sitting quietly and singing Puff the Magic Dragon:

We had math the rest of the afternoon: 50 minutes!

Have a GREAT night. Remember, tomorrow is the reading MAP...get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Marvelous Monday!

What an exciting day for Sofia. She was our child of the day and her dad was a Mystery Reader! Sofia read a traditional tale: The Little Brown Jay that explained how the blue jay got its beautiful blue feathers. Look for her video on the website later tonight. Thanks Dad for surprising Sofia!

We continued learning about determining importance as we compared fiction and non fiction books. We also looked at maps of the world and of Australia. In math, juniors learned about 3-D shapes and seniors continued learning about fractions.

Tomorrow is our field trip and we will have the 2nd lunch when we return. Our reading MAP test is Wednesday so be sure everyone is getting a good nights sleep and eats a healthy breakfast.

Have a GREAT night!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Polygon Video

Today the juniors made polygons and they were excited to share them with everyone. We made a video for everyone to see. The Seniors were very encouraging. They can't wait till they have their video!

Aayush and Anjali's reading videos are up on the website. I also posted our link to our Kindergarten friends in New Zealand. Take a look at their blog!

Fabulous Friday

Anjali was our Child of the Day and she read Something Beautiful. This is a wonderful book about finding things that are beautiful in our ordinary lives, no matter our circumstances. Anjali chose this book because she liked that the character was able to do this. Look later tonight on the Community of Learners website for the video of her reading this great book. (P.S. Look for Aayush tonight too!)

Natalie added a story to our classroom website: My Bunny Katie.

This was the story that sent Natalie to the office to read to the principal!!! Take a look...go to the Community of Learners website, click on student writing, click on student writing page 2, then click on Natalie's Katie Story. Enjoy! may make you cry as well!

We were so excited to hear from our New Zealand Buddies today! After reading their comment on our blog (check it out under yesterday's post) we pulled up Goggle Earth and zoomed in on their location. We then went exploring all over the world: we went to Sydney Australia and saw the Opera House;Rome, Italy where we saw the Vatican, and Naples,Italy, where we zoomed in on the oceanfront.

We also zoomed backed to American and looked at Liberty School! We ran out of time because we had to go to gym, but we will use this wonderful internet tool next week to explore more places around the world.

You can download Google Earth on your computer if you is free. Just go to Google, click on the feature More...and you'll see it.

We also had visitors (teachers) from another U-46 school who came in to see our classroom as the kids went through our daily phonemic awareness activities. This is the second time they have been observed and they should be proud of themselves as to how well they are doing and other teachers want to see them!!!

In math, the juniors made different polygons, while seniors worked on fractions. We made a video that I will get up on the blog shortly where the juniors show their creations.

We have a field trip Tuesday and we have our reading MAP test on Wednesday. Look for the newsletter Monday night for more information.

Have a GREAT weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thrills from Thursday!

Aayush was our Child of the Day and he read If Dogs Rule. He wanted to read this book because it is funny and he knew his friends would enjoy it. (They did!) Listen later tonight to him reading by clicking on the Community of Learners Website, child of the day 2, and his name and date. You'll laugh too....although we all know CATS rule and dogs drool!!!!

We were very excited today as we checked out a blog from New Zealand. Since we are studying the continent of Australia, we linked up to a blog from a kindergarten class in New Zealand by connecting with the Spring Trail K blog (see hot links) We were able to enjoy pictures of New Zealand and listen to some of the kids talk about climbing a mountain. We sent them a message on the blog and hope they will communicate back with us!

Tomorrow we have gym so make sure they wear their gym shoes! And don't forget homefun is due tomorrow, too!

Have a GREAT night!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday Wonders

Gabrielle was our child of the day and she did a wonderful job reading the book Miss Rumphius. She chose this book because her mom read it to her 3rd grade class when she was teaching. Gabrielle did a great job reading with was exciting and everyone enjoyed it. Look for her video reading tonight on the website.

We worked some more on determining importance using a non fiction text. We read about Elks and then listed important and unimportant facts. We used the strategy later in the morning as we read about Australia.

Today the students are bringing home a copy of their HOW TO book that the class made. I'm sure you will enjoy the stories. The students also spent time today drawing their final maps to go with their Secret Shortcut Stories. Look for that book to go home later in the week or early next week.

Please be sure and vote on Meghan's survey. We did not have enough representation to make our interpretations in the classroom, so I have reopened it till Friday. The students know this is part of their responsibility to sign on and vote. We reviewed again how to sign on the computer, log on to the internet, and then sign on to the blog. Parents....please let them do this and read together what we did during the schoolday. Here's a perfect way to find out what your child did each day and have a conversation with them.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tales from Tuesday

Alexis was our child of the day and she did a WONDERFUL job reading The Goats in the Turnip Field. The students really enjoyed this traditional tale and many were reminded of other traditional tales we have read. Look for the video of Alexis reading later tonight on the website. (go over to Hot Links on the right hand side of this blog; click on Community of Learners; when the website comes up, click on child of the day 2, then find Alexis' name and date)

We want to introduce our new student: Jacob

Welcome to our classroom. He is transitioning into our room from Mrs. Korenstra's 1st grade classroom. He's been with us for several weeks for math and now is here all day. We are so happy to have you with us!

We read The Biggest Bear today and looked at what details supported the big idea of the book. Yesterday, we learned that the big idea (or main idea) is one that runs throughout the book. Today, we looked at what details support that main idea: which ones were the most important. We used those most important details to retell the story.

We also learned new word wall words: because; part; even; back; must

Here's a picture of Nichole teaching the class about the new words:

We are integrating social studies with writing as we study geography, in particular the continents and the oceans. Yesterday we learned there were 7 continents. Today we watched a video and collected facts about Australia. Tomorrow we will read and collect facts for our classroom book on The World.

Today was picture day and we went in the afternoon. We spent time illustrating our How To Class Book (a copy will be coming home for you!)and illustrating some of our finished stories so we can put them on the website. When we finished, we worked on our math menu. I meet with some of the 2nd graders on fractions and got to play a game of POISON with Kyle! (It's a fun math strategy game!)

We are also learning a new song. Here's a picture of Gabrielle as we are learning Puff the Magic Dragon:

2nd grade Parents: Please note:'re 2nd grader will learn cursive writing. One of the 2nd grade classes began today; we will start next week. 1st graders will not be learning cursive but will continue to work on their printing.

Be sure and vote on Meghan's question. It's the last day!