Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat Friday!

Gavin was our child of the day and did a wonderful job reading The Greedy Goat.

There was some learning going on this morning, but the HIGHLIGHT of the day was the Halloween party. So...enjoy!

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Thank you Mrs. Andrews for arranging our party! And thank you Mrs. Bukantis, Mrs. Spinazze,Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Shaw for helping with everything. The kids had a GREAT time!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thrills

Elsa was our child of the day and did a wonderful job reading. Yesterday was so busy with our mystery readers we didn't get a chance to listen to Haley read so we enjoyed her reading this morning.

We created a word exchange chart for the word "scared" during our morning meeting. We can use this in our writing time.

Today we learned that readers grow their schema. We read the book Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. First we pulled out our schema files and listed what we knew. Then after reading we made a chart of our new learning to see how our schema grew.

In writing we learned how we can time a "sketchy" story and turn it into a super story by just asking Who...What...Where...Why...When... and answering it in our writing.

This afternoon we went to art and our ELL enrichment time.

Tomorrow we have P.E. and Music. Be sure and wear gym shoes. We will have our Halloween party after we return from our specials.

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ....READ.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Wonders!

We had a very exciting beginning to our day as three former students and old friends came in as mystery readers: Natalie, Simi, and Francis! They were my students the last two years and are now in 3rd grade. Simi is also Neha's sister, so we had another reason to be excited! And...Mr. Burger was in the room and got to hear their wonderful reading.

They read Zoom Broom by Margie Palatini. It is the sequel to Piggie Pie, which we did as a readers' theater when they were in 1st grade. They did a wonderful job! I was so proud of their wonderful reading!

When they were finished we asked what 3rd grade was like and if there was a piece of advise they could give the current 1st and 2nd graders. They told them many things but the number one thing to remember was to read and THINK!!!! It was heartwarming to me to hear my current students tell how they used metacognition now in all they do. And....they said metacognition!!!! They can say the word and they know what it means!

In readers' workshop we learned why schema is important. We learned that good readers always activate their schema before reading. We have mental files that we open and close as we read. We learned that using schema helps us to understand the book.

In writing we learned that we need to zoom in on a small moment and expand it by using words to paint a picture. I'm seeing some GREAT, GREAT, writing!

In math, we worked on patterning. Identifying and completing patterns is an important concept for understanding algebra. We also worked on math subtraction strategy: the number right next door. Example:
5-4=1; 6-5=1; 8-7=1. Which you subtract a number that's right next to another (5-4)the answer is always one.

We also worked on problem solving and explaining our thinking.

Tomorrow we have art so be sure and have your art shirt at school.

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ....READ!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thrilling Tuesday!

Leighton was our child of the day and did a wonderful job reading Super Fly Guy! It was very funny! Thanks, Leighton. Enjoy the video.

Well....the day came. I had to send TWO students to the office to see the principal. Tsk...Tsk....NOT!!!!!

Isabella and Neha were "sent" to the principal to READ their stories. Here's Isabella's:

Hi! My name is Isabella. I like to dance. I love dancing. Dancing is what I do! I dance every day. My favorite show is called Dancing with the Stars. That's my life. What's yours like?

Isn't that GREAT voice? CONGRATULATIONS, Isabella!

Here's another 1st grade students story. I'm sure you will be able to picture it all:

My brother and I found a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch and brought it home for Halloween. It seemed like an ordinary pumpkin at first. But after we carved a scary face onto it, we discovered that it was far from ordinary...

(that was the's her story:)

It was alive! We dashed out the door before the pumpkin could get us. Suddenly, we saw our mom. "Mom, Mom!" we cried. There is an alive pumpkin on the loose. Mom did not believe the kids, but when she arrived home, she saw the pumpkin and she screamed, "AHHHH...the pumpkin is alive!"

Then she fainted. She was afraid of fainting, so she woke up. Suddenly, the two kids came in with a knife and cut the pumpkin right through the middle. And that, was the end of the pumpkin!

What a GREAT example of SHOWING...not telling. Congratulations, Neha!!!

I RARELY give students a prompt, but occasionally, to teach them how to respond to a prompt, it is okay.

In reading, we learned that writers ALL have schema, but it is different schema. In writing we learned about zooming in on small moments to write. We will learn more about this tomorrow.

Math was spent graphing and analyzing data. Students had "DEM BONES" candy they sorted and created graphs for. They also created graphs for last week's blog survey. Here are a few pictures:

Some of the students may not have finished and they may do so tonight and return it to school tomorrow.

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ....READ!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Marvels!

Jacob read a very funny book: The Diary of a Worm. I know you will enjoy it as much as we did!

We began the day working on our spelling strategies. Based on where students are in their spelling development, students sorted words with specific spelling patterns. We will meet this week in small groups to see what we learned and then how to use our new knowledge to spell words. We began a new reading unit of study: Schema. We learned that schema is what you know. We will be learning how to use schema to make connections to help us understand our reading. We will also learn how schema about text type and authors can help us understand.

In writing we are also beginning a new unit of study: personal narratives or slice of life writing. We learned today that writers get ideas from their lives...their schema. We also watched a video of Lucy Calkins speaking to students about writing. Lucy Calkins is the author of many, many, professional books on teaching students to read and write. She teaches as the Teachers College in New York. She was speaking to students about honoring their writing; to treat it like GOLD! She also encouraged students that when they honor their writing they can change the world...their writing can make a difference.

We also read One Good Turn Deserves Another and learned our new vocabulary words. Click on the link to the right to read our new words and their definitions. Try to use them in your discussions. We also learned five new word wall words. These are also posted on the WIKI under word work.

After we returned from the library, 1st graders learned more about counting nickels and pennies. 2nd graders reviewed using the doubles facts as a strategy to add. Both grade levels worked on problem solving during math workshop.

The Everyday Math Games Passwords will NOW WORK!!!! YEAH!!!! Everything is finally fixed and you can use the passwords I already sent home.

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ....READ....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Fun!

Isabella was our child of the day and did a wonderful job reading! I know you will enjoy her reading as much as we did!

We learned today that readers activate their schema about a book by first looking at the title and then the pictures. They open their schema file about what they know about the author and what might happen in the book by looking at the pictures.

In writing we learned that writers stretch out the sounds in the word like a rubber band. Yesterday we learned that when we don't know how to spell a word, we draw a line. Today we learned how to "stretch it out" when we go back to fill in the blank line.

After indoor recess we went to P.E. and music. When we returned to the classroom we worked on addition math facts.

Have a GREAT weekend and don't forget to!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Naper Settlement Video...Part 2!!!

Miss Diane shared her photos with us! Enjoy!

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Tales from Thursday!

Hayden read Sebastian Gets the Hiccups. He did a wonderful job and I know you will enjoy his reading as much as we did!

We learned in reading today that great readers get into the book....they bring the book alive with their thinking. We learned that books can take us to places that we may never get to visit, but we can put ourselves into the book and go anywhere!

After a very, very, quiet readers' workshop where the only voices I heard were kids reading or discussing a book, we shared what we learned about ourselves as readers. There was sooooo much sharing today! Students were sharing how reading is alllll about thinking and that we have to think in everything we do from reading, to writing, to math, to everything we do. Their insightful comments about the books they were reading was just amazing....I was getting goosebumps! Especially when the bottom line comment was: READING IS FUN!!!

During writing we learned that when we get to a word we don't know how to spell that if we just draw a line for our unknown word, we can keep on writing and not lose our thoughts about the story. We can come back when we are done and use our spelling strategies to figure out the unknown word.

During our 1st grade enrichment time with our ELL friends, we did Making Words, then we did a number sense activity: Show me or Stump Me.

Tomorrow is P.E. and music, so be sure and wear gym shoes.

The Everyday Math Games passwords will not work at this point in time. I do not know why one day they worked and the next day they didn't. Don't thrown them away, however, as I don't know what the solution will be. I'm working with our district representative to try and find a solution. At this point, I can't sign on to even create new passwords. Use the portaportal site ( for some enrichment activities instead. Use the guest access password: libertyschool

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings!

Today was our big field trip to Naper Settlement:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Tales!

Bradley demonstrated what fluent reading sounds like as he read one of my absolute FAVORITE books: Suddenly! Enjoy his wonderful reading:

We learned in reading that our busy brains are constantly thinking but sometimes we get in a "fog" and don't understand what we are reading. We learned that we have to on...question our thinking....constantly thinking about the book and what is happening. We will finish up metacognition this week and began our study of schema next week.

In writing, we learned about big and little letters. We begin sentences with a capital letter, but we don't use them inside our words. We learned we begin names with a capital letter, but we don't use them inside our words.

We watched a video about Pocahontas and leaned how she help the settlers at Jamestown as part of our study of our past.

1st graders learned about nickels today and worked on exchanging pennies for nickels. 2nd graders learned about the 9 strategy. If you are adding 8+9 (as an example) think 8+10=18 and then 8+9 is one less. I loved hearing Chris tie that with knowing one more and one less and Branden was GLOWING when he said: "It's like you always say, you have to know the 100's chart inside your head...then adding 9 is easy!" Way to go!

Tomorrow is our field trip to Naper Settlement. Pay attention to the weather and dress accordingly. Send in lunches in a paper bag labeled with your child's name. All food has to be in disposable containers, including drinks.

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ....READ....READ....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Marvels

Shivam was our child of the day and read Where the Wild Things Are! We really enjoyed it!

Since I was out of the building on Friday, Neha did not have a chance to read, so she read today. We enjoyed listening to her read If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

We learned a new way to look at our word wall words. We are reviewing words this week. We learned today what the language of metacognition is: "I was wondering..." "I noticed..." "I remembered...." "I was feeling..." as we learned more about reading is thinking.

During writing, we learned how we "chop up" unknown words to spelling them. We break our unknown words into syllables, every syllable needs a vowel, we listening carefully to the sounds we hear and write them down left to right.

After we returned from the library this afternoon, 1st graders worked on pennies and played the Penny Grab Game. 2nd graders worked on doubles facts and then played the Broken Calculator Game.

Don't forget we have a field trip on Wednesday to Naper Settlement. Remember to send in a lunch in a disposable bag. Label the bag with the students name. We will not be able to carry lunch bags or plastic containers of any kind.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Thrills

Sahithi read The Magic Pony. It's a BIG book, so we only listened to part of it, but we really enjoyed it.

We also had a mystery reader: Chris' aunt Mrs. Safranski. Chris was very surprised and excited!

In reading we learned about Real Readers. When reading words and thinking about what is happening, weaving our thoughts with the book, we become Real Readers! We learned in writing that we have resources to help us with our writing and Real Writers' use their tools to help them: word walls, mini-offices, etc.

We went to art in the afternoon. During ELL enrichment, 1st graders worked on phonics and academic vocabulary.

I will not be in school tomorrow and we will have a substitute teacher. Students will be making a glyph that they will analyze and write about on Monday. They will also read Time for Kids. In the afternoon they have P.E. and Music, followed by math practice on doubles subtraction. There will not be a blog post tomorrow.

Have a GREAT night and a GREAT weekend and don't forget to READ....READ....READ....READ....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Wonders!

Elsa was very surprised this morning when her mother came in as our Mystery Reader! She read Mr. Gumpy's outing...what wonderful vocabulary! I LOVED the book and so did the kids! Thanks!

Chris did a GREAT job reading Spiders to the class. I loved how he introduced the book by identifying the genre (non fiction) and that we would learn many interesting facts about spiders! Enjoy the video!

In readers workshop we learned that Reading is about Thinking. We previously learned that our brains our busy thinking all the time. I compared REAL READING to a pizza: reading the words is the crust and I had a round, brown, pizza shaped piece of construction paper (the crust) representing the words. But, then while I was reading, stopping to check my understanding and think about what was happening in the book, I added the pizza toppings (small pieces of red, green, and yellow construction paper) every time I stopped and shared my thinking. When I was done I asked what there was more of: the crust or the toppings? The answer: the toppings...the thinking!

We watched a PowerPoint presentation about the European explorers who came after Columbus. We read a book about John Cabot, an explorer from England who was the 1st to establish an English presence here.

After library, 1st graders worked on on telling time to the hour. 2nd graders played the Broken Calculator Game as they worked on fact fluency.

Tomorrow we have art. Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ...READ...READ....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tales from Tuesday!

Welcome back, Branden! We really enjoyed listening to your reading of Whales. We learned a lot!

We sorted our new word wall words. Be sure and practice reading them and writing them. Go to and practice!

Today we learned about metacognition (thinking about our thinking). We learned that good readers brains are always busy thinking.

In writers workshop we learned that that we need to have a goal or a target to aim towards. We also learned that this is true in reading, writing, word work, and math! We are setting goals in each of these areas as well as personal goals that will help us be better readers, writers, spellers, mathematicians, and learners.

During math workshop 1st graders learned about the unit box. We learned that when we answer a problem we have to say what the unit is: cents, dollars, etc. A label. As an example: I have 3 books. Gavin gave me 2 more. How many books do I have altogether? 5 BOOKS.

2nd graders worked on addition number stories where they not only identified the unit, but wrote their own stories. They also worked on the number grid.

Tomorrow is a Monday switch day and we will have library. Be sure and bring your books.

And....don't forget to READ, READ, READ, READ....

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Fun!

Enjoy the video of Jefferson reading. We certainly enjoyed listening to his GREAT reading!!!

We did a quick check in on how we are doing in learning our word wall words. Students were read 10 words to spell and then I dictated 5 sentences that used the same words. Results will go home next week. Using spelling city is a great way to practice but an even BETTER way is to have a journal for each child to write in everyday. Write stories...write their writing ideas down...make other words, WRITE.

After our check in, we did an open sort on number words versus color words. This is part of our expanding our vocabulary words. We also watched a video about Christopher Columbus.

After the students went to P.E. and music, we went to the computer lab. We read an online book about Columbus and then took a quiz. We then watched an online video about Jamestown, as part of our look back into our past.

Have a GREAT weekend and don't forget to READ...READ...READ...READ...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tales from Thursday!

Jason was our child of the day and did a GREAT job! Enjoy his reading:

We also had a mystery reader: my daughter, Ashley! She read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. She read it as part of an outreach from the company she works for, American Eagle. They graciously donated a book to our classroom..Thank you! Of course I'm very proud of my daughter who is a studying interior design and architecture.

Of course...I know I'LL enjoy listening to her read...but...enjoy if you like:

We read another book about Christopher Columbus and then worked on some Columbus Day activities prior to independent reading. In writing, we learned that writers make lists and we used what we learned to make lists in our Daily Pages. After indoor recess, we worked on calendar math and problem solving. Then, 2nd graders went to art while the 1st graders and Mrs. Fishkins 1st graders stayed in the classroom. We "played" Making Words (phonics and spelling activity) and then played Academic Vocabulary Jeopardy.

Here's Mallory Making Words. She was the first to get the mystery word: pockets. She was GLOWING!

Elsa was glowing too! She knew the word genre from the clue:

I am fairy tales. I am mystery. I am books about whales. I rhyme and I'm biography. Who am I? That's the way to do it, Mallory and Elsa!!!

We ended the day with 1st graders in art and 2nd graders played computer games with Mrs. Fishkin.

Tomorrow we have P.E. and music. Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Wonders!

Enjoy a video of Matthew reading. The students really enjoyed the book!

We began the day working on words. We focused on the word "them" comparing and contrasting it "then" and then we built words. We also looked at the pattern in the word: CCVC (Consonant, Consonant, Vowel, Consonant)

After working on words we learned that readers pick out books to read for a purpose. Just like we wear shoes designed for specific purpose, we choose books for a reason. We may pick a book just to enjoy, we may pick a book to learn about a subject, etc.

In writers' workshop we began listening to a video of Tomie DePaolo (the author of The Art Lesson). He told us that even as a small child, before he even began school, he wanted to be a writer and illustrator of children's books. He told us about how he loved to draw and that he couldn't wait for art class in school. We then read the book The Art Lesson, and discussed how this book was autobiographical. We returned to the video and Tomie told us how the idea for book came to be. In telling the story we heard words that were in the book. We learned that writing is just talking on paper.

After lunch and recess we read about Christopher Columbus. We learned that he did not discover America but in 1492 he discovered the New World. He originally wanted to sail to the West Indies, thinking the world was flat, but ended up in the Caribbean area: the new world.

During Math Workshop 2nd grade students did an end of chapter review. 1st graders worked on complements of 10. After their Daily Number Review was completed, they could play the new games I introduced today: The Coin Exchange Game and an addition game.

Tomorrow we have art. Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ....READ....READ....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Tales!

Our child of the day, Josh, did a great job reading. Enjoy the video!

We began the day talking about the books we are reading at home. I pulled up the wiki and we looked at the responses and talked more about each book. Remember, the students are to make the entries.

We then worked on our new word wall walls and did a 10 minute word spree. We track each month how many words we can write in 10 minutes.

I read the book Those Shoes and we learned more about choosing just right books. Be sure and ask your child if they brought home a book to read from our guided reading or small group reading time. They have to read it at least 3 times to an adult or a fluent reader and a parent has to sign that they read the book. Instructions are included with the books as to what to do.

After readers' workshop we shared about our reading. Chris, Bradley, and Sahithi shared what they read during guided reading and the response they wrote in their books about their book, Diving in the Pool. We learned that books have themes or there is a Big Idea: what the author wanted us to learn from reading the book.

In Writers' Workshop I read the book There's a Big Beautiful World Out There and we learned that writers' write about things in the world. We are working on where writers' get their ideas and we have learned so far that writers' write about their treasures, things that are important to them, and that there are stories everywhere just waiting to be written.

We had indoor recess today because of the rain and then we finished reading the book Gooney B. Greene, which is about a 2nd grade writer. We were able to connect our reading to what we are learning about ideas in writers' workshop.

Math Workshop began with are calendar activities then we did a quick activity on geometry and problem solving. Students then went to complete their Daily Number Review (number sense) and worked on a Columbus Day Math Activity. (Fact Fluency). I worked with 1st graders on number sense then met with 2nd graders to work on relationships between numbers. (<,>,= number sense).

After the workshop time we regrouped and reviewed our Problem Solving Journal and how we solved the problems we were working on. (Problem Solving/expanded math strategies).

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ, READ, READ, READ, READ.....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Marvels!

Klara was our child of the day and she did a wonderful job reading The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth. She spent time in readers' workshop last week practicing her reading and it paid off:

We then went to the commons for a visit by the Bartlett Fire Dept. We learned about what to do in a fire: here is a video of what it sounds like when a fireman enters a house on fire. It can be a scary noise, but we now know it's the fire department. Listen to the sound:

After we left the commons we went to have our pictures taken. That didn't leave much time in the morning, but we did begin our stories about our treasures. In math, as a class, we worked on number sense and problem solving. Then, 1st graders learned more about the hundreds chart as we played a number sense game called Rolling for 50. 2nd graders used their calculators to discover patterns.

We did not have library today.

And, don't forget to READ....READ.....READ....READ....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Thrills

Bela was our child of the day and did a wonderful job reading Mother Hen, a non fiction book. Enjoy the video of her reading!

We finished many of our reading, writing and math activities this morning. We also worked on our word wall words. Thanks for sending in the "treasures" for the students writing. I took pictures of each of them holding their special item(s)so that they can use the picture as they write. We also read Arthur Writes a Story and learned that writers' write about things that are important to them.

When students returned from lunch/recess we read our "bucket-filler" notes. Everyone gets at least one, but I even got a few this week. One that I will treasure is from Chris: "Thanks for helping me when I need you." Ah....melts my heart! Thanks, Chris, and to all the other great notes from students. You ALL fill my bucket!

Here is the long awaited video of Mia reading. Enjoy!

Monday we will have a visit from the Bartlett Fire Dept. and it is also Picture Day, so dress up! Have a GREAT weekend and read a few good books! I can't wait to see what you read on the wiki!