Thursday, February 28, 2008

Website Update!

The website has been updated with a video of Anjali reading The Bedtime Story. Click on child of the day 2, then her name, and enjoy!

The website has also been updated with a new academic vocabulary jeopardy game. Go to the website, click on games, then click on multiage jeopardy. The other games are also for academic vocabulary and all three are GREAT for helping your child understand these critical words!

You can access the website by clicking on the link to the right: Community of Learners. Have fun!

Thrilling Thursday

Anjali was our child of the day and read the book A Bedtime Story. She chose this book because it reminded her of when her parents read to her. Her video will be up on the website tonight or tomorrow, so be sure and take a look.

Also, take a look at the website under student writing. Natalie has a new story up called The Rainstorm. You'll love it!

We finished the book Grandfather Twilight and I asked the kids what do we know about asking questions. The essential understanding I wanted to leave them with this week was that readers ask questions before, during, and after reading. I was amazed at some of their understandings and it will give them a good basis for next week as we read The Sweetest Fig. Next week the essential understanding I want them to understand is readers ask questions for many reasons: clarify meaning, speculate about text yet to be read, determine an author's syle, intent, content, or format. They focus attention on specific components of the text, locate a specific answer in the text or consider rhetorical questions inspired by the text. The children are off to a GREAT start!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February Mystery Readers and Reading Videos

Click on the website link to the right and then click on Mystery Readers. The February mystery readers video is up. Thank you Mrs. Mittal and Mrs. Taylor for bringing smiles to the kids faces! We LOVE mystery readers. Email me at if you would like to be a mystery reader!

The videos of Aayush and Gabrielle reading are also up. Go to the website, click on child of the day 2 and listen to some great reading!


Tuesday AND Wednesday happenings!

Gabrielle was our child of the day yesterday and read the book The Ugly Duckling. "I chose this book because it teaches you a lesson. You should be nice to everyone!" She really enjoyed this traditional tale and did a great job reading it. Look for her video on the website later tonight.

Aayush was our child of the day today and read the book The Whistle Tooth. "I chose this book because it reminded me of when I lost my tooth and tried to whistle." He did a great job, too! Look for his video later tonight also.

In reading we went back into the book, Grandfather Twilight, and tried to answer some of our questions. Many of them we had to infer. What a GREAT discussion we had! Once again...WHY didn't I have my video camera on?!?!

In word work we found out that if a word has the /k/ sound and if the second letter is e, i or y, the letter k has to be used. We knew this because last week we found out the c makes the /s/ sound when it's followed by e, i, or y, so the letter k has to be used at the beginning of those words. (kind, Kyle, keep) We also learned that if the word makes the /kw/ sound, it's spelled with qu. Another "rule" we discovered was ck is only at the end of the word...not the beginning.

We reviewed sentence fluency in writing. What great stories! In fact, one was so good, I had to send the author and his story to the principal!!!! Ryan read his story to Mr. Burger and he is now illustrating it. I can't wait to get it up on the website.

Juniors spent math working on fact families and using their new fact triangles. Seniors worked on complements of ten. We will be reviewing this again tomorrow.

Have a GREAT night!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Marvelous Monday!

Alexis was our Child of the Day today and read the book My Sloppy Tiger Bedtime. She chose this book because it was funny! Look for her video to be on the website later tonight!

In reading we began reading Grandfather Twilight and learned that expert readers ask questions before they read. Tomorrow, we will read the book, and while doing so, learn that readers have questions as they read and after they read.

In Word work, we listed words that began with the /k/ sound. Our next step will be to sort these words and see what spelling patterns we can discover.

In writing, we reviewed Lead and Stretch and Ba-da-bing sentences.

We also had a mystery reader today!

Mrs. Taylor, Natalie's mom read Stellaluna! What a GREAT book! Thank you!

Math was very busy as juniors learned about name collection boxex or equivalent names and seniors learned about patterns. We also practiced math facts because we have to know our addition and subtraction facts FAST! Please work on these at home (addition and subtraction....not multiplication and division!)

Tomorrow I will be at a Roadmap meeting at the district office and we will have a substitute. There won't be a blog entry till Wednesday!

Keep an eye out for the weather!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fantastic Friday

Simi was our child of the day and read the book Anansi and the Talking Watermelon. She chose this traditional tale because she liked the trickery in the story. We all enjoyed listening to her...look for the video on the website.

Aayush published a story on PhotoStory and you can take a look at it on the website under Student Writing.

In reading, we learned that asking questions leads to gaining information and as we learn new information, we have more questions. We also learned that questions spur more questions. Next week we will learn that readers ask questions before, during and after reading a book.

In writing we learned about "ba-da-bing" sentences which tie in with our Lead and stretch technique to adding details to our story. When writing sentences we can follow "ba" (what were your feet doing at the time) "da" (what do your eyes see) and "bling" (what were you thinking at the time) What fabulous stories I've been reading! I can't wait to publish them.

In math juniors worked on the math menu while seniors began division. We tied it to our problem solving strategy of drawing a picture to solve a problem.

Have fun at the fun fair tonight!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Tales

Grier was our child of the day and she read another selection from Poppy. Look for the video to be up on the website tonight or this weekend.

In reading, the students asked more questions about my jar that revealed more answers as well as more questions. In writing, we continued on with the writing strategy of Lead and Stretch. During math we worked on problem solving and learned that drawing a picture and knowing our doubles facts can help us solve problems.

We also went to art and music! What a busy day.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

Isabella was our child of the day and she read a book by Laura Numeroff: If You Give A Pig A Party. She said that it reminded her of parties she has gone to and that her connection helped her to make predictions as to what might happen in the book.

In reading we worked more on asking questions. We talked about questioning stems (I wonder....I'm and we created a Wonder Box for questions they have about the personal item I showed them-a jar that is special to me. We will use this wonder box later as we get further into questioning, but we learned today that as they gather more information, they generate more questions.

In word work we sorted the /s/ words that we brainstormed yesterday. We quickly discovered that if a word begins with the /s/ (s sound), if the second letter is a, o, or u, the first letter is s. So if the second letter is e, i, or y, it could be c or s. There are no /s/ sound words that begin ca, co, cu...those would be the hard c sound. When we finished our sort and created our "rule", Gabrielle said that we could do the same thing with the k sound...and guess what....we week! That's thinking, Gabrielle!!!!

In writing we learned about a technique to add details to our stories called Lead and Stretch. There really are only 3 ways you can add details to your story. You can (a) tell what you are thinking about (b) tell what you said at the time or (c) tell the very next action. I modeled writing a story using this technique, and then they went out and!!! What an improvement. We'll work on this more tomorrow!

In math, I finished unit 6 assestments for seniors while juniors worked on their math menu. Be sure and check out the Blog archives for February and take a look at the video about what the math menu is all about.

We also went to the library today.

Stay warm.....(when can I start saying stay cool?)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Tales

Antonio read the book Househunting today. He chose this book because it reminded him of when his dad asked if he wanted to move.

We began the study of questioning as a reading comprehension strategy today. I read the book The Wise Woman's Secret and learned that the secret to wisdom is asking questions. I also held up a jar that is very, very, special to me and having them ask questions as to where, what, etc. about the jar. I want them have a concrete experience as to what asking questions involves as a reader and we will soon see that one question leads to another.
In word work we brainstormed words that began with the /s/ sound. Tomorrow we will sort the words and create a "rule" as to when we begin our words with s or c.
In writing we looked at two versions of one story and discovered that our words need to create a picture in the mind of the reader. In version two of the story we highlighted the words that created that picture.
Take a look at the website under student writing. Gabrielle is the latest student to have a story published using Photo Story.
In math, juniors learned about the addition/subtraction table as a tool for solving problems. We will work more on this later. We also worked on turnaround facts. Seniors worked on a unit assestment.
Stay warm!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fabulous Friday

Nicole read a few pages from the book Poppy by Avi. I'll have the video up this weekend, but when you listen to might hear a slight lisp. She lost a tooth this morning!!!! Look at that beautiful smile now. She did a great job and I chose the book this time because of what a wonderful job she did (along with Grier, Meghan, and Nicholas) in her literature discussion book club as they discussed the book together. I wish I had my video camera that day to film the deep conversations they were having.

I probably won't have Nicole's video up until the weekend, so keep checking. To access reading videos, click on the link to the right: Community of Learners Classroom Website. This will take you to the home page on the website. Then click on Child of the Day 2. There you will find Meghan, Kyle, Natalie, Blake, Alisha and Neel when they read their books. Click on their name and the video will appear.

Those students who have videos under Child of the Day, I'm either going to redo them or delete when we get a new recording of them reading. There was a problem uploading and downloading to the website and some now don't have sound. I do them at home now and everything works easier and cleaner, so in my spare time :) I'll try and get those corrected.

More student work available: Once again if you go to the classroom website and then click on student writing, you will see two new stories posted: Sofia and Alyssa. Just click on student writing and then their name. Enjoy!!!

We'll have more next week to post as Gabrielle, Nicole, and Aayush turned in finished stories to me today. Once I download their pictures to photo story, they can read them and then I'll publish them to the website.

There is also a video up on our website under classroom pictures of our Valentine's Day party. Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thrilling Thursday!

Neel was child of the day and read Stone Soup. He chose this traditional tale because it has trickery in it and he likes to trick his sister! He did a great job reading. Look for the video on the classroom website later tonight or tomorrow under Child of the Day 2.
We worked more on characterization and learned that our voices help bring a character to life when we read. In writing we worked on word choice: our words have to create a movie in the mind of the reader. We also went to music and art.

But the BIG event was the Valentine's Day party! Thank you to our room mothers: Mrs. Ruiz and Mrs. Taylor for planning such a fun time for the kids. And thank to all the mothers who were able to come in and help: Mrs. Nicastro, Mrs. Reish, Mrs. Leuzzi, and Mrs. Patel. I'll have pictures up on the website this weekend. Thank you again!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday!

Alisha was Child of the Day and she read Little Red Riding Hood. We enjoyed listening to this traditional tale. Take a look later tonight on the website and listen as she does a great job reading!
We read the book Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters and listed character traits of each of the main characters. We reviewed the list when we finished and created a sentence using the trait, plus proof from the book, to describe a character. As an example, Nyasha was generous when she shared her food and was brave when she went into the chamber with the two headed snake.
We also did our first word ladder today in word work workshop. We did one together, then they worked on their own, then we reviewed it together. It is in their take home folder today. Word ladders are a great way to get kids to look closely at the letters in words.
In writing, we reviewed transitions from the books we have read this week. We then read a poem and highlighted how the author showed transitions. (show...not tell!).

In math, juniors worked more on the function machine and What's My Rule? Seniors worked more on multiplication arrays. We also had library today.
Don't forget tomorrow is Valentine's Day and we will be celebrating in the afternoon. Be sure and include everyone with your valentine cards.
Stay warm!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tales from Tuesday!

Blake was our child of the day and he read a book by Jan Brett: Hedgie Blasts Off! He decided to read this book because he knows how much we like Jan Brett books and Hedgie the Hedgehog! Check the website later tonight or tomorrow for a video of Blake reading so you can enjoy it too. Click on the classroom website to the right (Mrs. Stringham's Community of Learners), then scroll down to the button labeled child of the day 2, then click on Blake. Natalie is there, too!

We finished reading Princess Penlope's Parrot and inferring character traits. We also learned a lesson about ourselves in how we want others to react to us. During reading workshop time I was very pleased with a book club discussion of the book Poppy by Avi. Nicholas, Grier, Meghan and Nicole (3 seniors and 1 junior!) did a great job talking about the characters and their character traits and how they reacted to each other. It was a great discussion of the book and again, halfway through, I wished I had filmed it!

We read the story The Green Secret and began our work on vocabulary. We also read the book Tuesday by David Wiesner and learned that one way we can organize our writing is through the use of time. We will work more tomorrow on transition words.

In math, juniors learned about the function machine (see if they can describe it to you!) and seniors worked on arrays and multiplication.

Don't forget we are collecting new and gently used books for the Book Worm Angels to donote to the Chicago Public Schools! I've donated some from the classroom where we have triplicates and from home. Step up and make a difference!

Drive carefully in the snow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Video on Website

Be sure and check out the website and see a video of Natalie reading The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Click on the link to the right (Mrs. Stringham's Community of Learners), then click on Child of the Day 2. You will see a video of Natalie reading, plus one of Kyle and one of Meghan Reading.


Great beginning to the week!

Natalie was our Child of the Day and she read The Boy Who Cried Wolf. She liked this book because it teaches you never to lie and always tell the truth.

We had a busy first day of the week. In reading we read Princess Penelope's Parrot and we are inferring character traits. In word work, I introduced their five new words then they went off to work on their word work menu. In writing, we read Snowflake Bently. We are working on the trait of Ideas, and learned that our experiences plus reading about a topic equals IDEAS!

In math, the first graders found out that they already know quite a few math addition facts: +0, +1, doubles, and the then ten facts. I highlighted these on a math fact sheet and they discovered that there really aren't too many more to learn. They know about turn around facts, and that cut the list down, plus we discovered strategies: if you know 5+5=10, then you know 5+6=11 because it's one more. If you know 5+5=10, then you know 5+4=9, because it's one less. That really cut our work down.

Second graders were introduced Friday to multiplication where they had to create arrays. Today, we worked on groups: If you have 5 boxes and 4 are in a box, how many do you have altogether? They are learning that multication is repeated addition. We will work more on understanding multiplcation this week. Please don't ask them to memorize multiplication facts. They need to understand first what you are asking them to memorize. When they get the understanding down....memorization won't be a chore!!! Ease up!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New additions to website

If you log onto the classroom website (see hot links)and click under Child of the Day 2, there are two new videos. One of Meghan reading and one of Kyle reading. I found an easier way to load the video, but I can't put it on the same page as the other videos, hence: child of the day 2!!!!

Take a'll really enjoy them!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Busy Friday!

Kyle was Child of the Day and read the book Diary of a Worm. He chose this book because he thought the other students would like it because it's funny. (And it is....lot's of laughing!) He already told me he wants to read one of the other Doreen Cronin Diary books next time.

We finished up our character anlysis if Magda in the story A Bad Road for Cats. We discussed how and why the character changed...always going back to the text. We are going to work more next week on inferring character traits.

In math we got back on schedule from the loss of a day because of the snow. 1st graders worked on turnaround facts...they knew all about them already from the math menu! 2nd graders worked on estimation and began an exploration of arrays: beginning multiplication.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Meghan was Child of the Day and just could not decide what to read to the class. She finally chose The Dog. She enjoys this non fiction book because it helps to build her schema about dogs.

Today we finished reading A Bad Road for Cats by Cynthia Rylant. We are looking at characters and inferring characters traits. We also looked at how the character changed in the story. Tomorrow we will go back into the text and find out why she changed.

We only had 40 minutes for writing today because of our morning special: music. We went back to reread our stories, making changes by adding details or taking away details.

In math we worked on the math menu...did you take a look at the video? I also worked with 2 groups of 1st graders where we practiced subtraction using base ten blocks. I did not get to meet with the 2nd graders because of the afternoon special: art. Tomorrow I will begin with the 2nd graders and probably do 2 lessons in one....that's the beauty of the math menu!

Hope you enjoyed your snow day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Math Workshop and the Math Menu

You've heard me say "The Math Menu..." You've heard your kids talk about it, but what is it? Take a look at the video and see what it's all about!

Chicago Storm

Let's hope that Chicago Storm means the soccer team and not what we are expecting in snow tonight! Check the U46 homepage in the morning and see if we are having a snow day or a school day!

The kids had a GREAT time today at the Chicago Storm soccer game. They did a GREAT job representing Liberty School! A lion paw to each and every one of them! And a big thank you to Mrs. Leuzzi and Mrs. Taylor for coming along to chaperone!

It was an all day affair, so no child of the day reading. We'll be back up and running with that Thursday....oops...Wednesday!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Busy, Busy Day!

Alyssa read The Little Red Hen to the class today. She read this traditional tale because it teaches you a lesson: "You have to help others if you want them to share with you."

We also had a Mystery Reader today. Simi was surprised by her mother and her little sister. She read a favorite of Simi's when she was a little girl: Chase That Pig! Simi will be a big sister again in July and she can read the book to her new baby brother or sister.

We had a busy day. We worked on inferring character traits during reading. We added 5 new word wall words: just, know, called, where and most. Then we worked on our word work quilts. In writing we talked about what revision means and then finished up our Harris Burdick stories.

Seniors in math worked on subtraction using base ten blocks and juniors wrote their own number stories.

Don't forget tomorrow is our trip to the Chicago Storm. Remember to pack a lunch in a paper bag with your child's name on it. Full directions went home Friday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Updated Website!

Our Classroom Website, Community of Learners, has been updated with a video of Ryan reading. Unfortunately, our other three videos are on my computer at school, so I'll get those up on the website this coming week.

I've also updated our Blog with links to a 1st grade classroom in Bartlett at Prairieview and one at Spring Trail in Carol Stream. I also added a link to a 2nd grade classroom at Wayne School. It will be fun to start communicating with fellow 1st and 2nd grade students around the district.