Thursday, February 25, 2010

Joy of Reading!

I am going to dispense with my usual post (although scroll down for Bela's pictures!) and challenge all parents to help their child find the Joy in Reading!!!!

I can quote research that shows reading is the number one way to improve student achievement. It will increase vocabulary....develop thinkers...and more. But, here is my personal reason. Because it's fun!

Why do I read? I LOVE it! There is nothing I like better than sitting down with a book and being transported to another world....another time...another place. In my bedroom I have a 6 shelf bookcase of books waiting for me to read. By my bed, my current book and the one to read next. My home is full of books. My daughters are husband is a reader. You won't find us without a book. When we pack for trips, we pack our books to read as well. Is there a DVD in our car for long trips...nope...we take a book to read. We are Barnes and Noble's best customers. We are on a first name basis with the library. I put books on hold and when we walk in the library, they no longer ask our names....they just get out the reserved book.

I read everything. I have my favorite genre's...favorite authors. I've traveled the world through my books. I keep up to date on research in reading, writing, math, instruction and I read for just plain old enjoyment!

How did I become such a reader? My parents. Plain and simple. Did I have the latest toy on the I had plenty to play with and I used my imagination. My imagination was developed as I read more and more. If I went to the store with my parents I could count on getting a book....not a toy. They told me I would have to wait for my birthday or the holidays for a toy...but a book...sure. Some of my favorite memories are going to the library. My dad would drop me off at the library then go pick my mother up at work. They would then both pick me up at the library and talk about the books I chose. I was part of the library's summer reading clubs every summer. Book orders from school were highly anticipated events at my house. My parents instilled this love of reading in myself and my 2 brothers. We are all still great readers to this day.

I challenge you to turn off the TV...turn off those video games and read! Make reading a priority in your house. Don't bring hand held games to play with while waiting....tell your child to bring a book. I am challenging the students to turn off the video games this 3 day weekend and read. I'm looking forward to hearing about their reading on Monday.

Make reading a priority. It is the GREATEST gift you can give your child.

And's a GREAT reader, Bela. Thanks for reading to us today, Bela! You read with such fluency and expression!

Now...curl up with a GREAT book and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Wonders!

If was fun listening to Mia read My Lucky Day. She has come a long way as a reader and her hard work shows! GREAT READING, Mia!!!!

We worked on vocabulary and word wall words first thing this morning and then into our morning meeting. Our focus during readers' workshop was determining importance and we learned that authors sometimes wrap up the hard things in life with their writing to help us understand difficult concepts. We read Rudi's Pond by Eve Bunting.

In writers' workshop we interviewed our biography buddies. Here are some pictures as we ask and then record the answers to our questions:

After lunch/recess we read How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightening as we continue to learn about writing biographies. During math workshop, students worked on problem solving and number sense. 1st graders learned about probability and practiced their addition facts. 2nd graders worked more on data analysis and well as comparison number stories.

Tomorrow we have art and don't forget Friday students do not have school.

Have a GREAT night and don't forget to READ..READ....READ!!!!! Find the JOY in reading a GREAT book!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tales of Tuesday

Thanks Elsa for reading Pepper's Adventure, leading us through the classroom promise, and completing our calendar today. GREAT job!

We began the day working on vocabulary. We learned about synonyms and antonyms and will continue with the topic for awhile, using our vocabulary words. We also practiced writing and spelling our word wall words correctly.

In reading today we learned that authors have a purpose or reason for writing. Often they have a message they want us to discover and understand. We also learned that they want to challenge our thinking...not just give us information. We read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and looked for the authors message about what she wanted us to understand about life.

In writing time we began interviewing a biography buddy. We will continue with this tomorrow and Thursday. We should begin writing our biographies of our buddy next week. Some students are applying what they have learned (YES!) and are writing a biography of a famous person already!

After lunch and recess we reviewed our Drops in the Bucket and Daily Double. 1st graders worked on problem solving and 2nd graders learned about comparison number stories. All students worked on graphing and number sense during workshop time as well as their math goal area.

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

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Marvels!

We began our day with word work and our new word wall words. Be sure and practice them using spelling city. You can link to the site from the blog or our classroom wiki. Practice!

But then we had some excitement as Chris' mom came in as our mystery reader! She read a GREAT book, How to Drive Your Sister Crazy! I'm sure I'm going to read some interesting stories now!

Gavin then read to us about Penguins and lead us through the classroom promise. Great reading, Gavin!

We took a quick break to celebrate Haley's birthday. Happy Birthday and thanks for the doughnuts!!!

We continued with our strategy of determining importance and learned that authors have important messages in their books. We will learn more about this tomorrow.

Our writing lesson was about biographies. We looked at many biographies and then created questions that we might ask someone if we could interview them. We sorted the questions into categories. Tomorrow students will begin interviewing a buddy using our questions.

After recess and lunch, we went to the library. We returned to the room where 1st graders worked on comparison number stories and 2nd graders worked on addition with several addends.

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

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fun!

Haley did a FANTASTIC job today as our child of the day. She read The Manners of a Pig...a great book for inferring. Thanks, Haley!

Today was clean up day. We spent the first part of the morning just cleaning up unfinished work from math or other projects we have been working on. As students finished, they could read.

Today we learned about Trash or Treasure. I took several different pieces of students writing, pulled a sentence from it, and wrote it on a sentence strip....exactly how it was written by the student. I did not identify the student. We looked at the sentence for editing: word wall words spelled correctly, spaces, capital letters, and punctuation. We did not look at word choice as that is revision. We were only concerned about editing.

We then separated the sentence strips into TRASH (not edited) or TREASURE (edited). We learned that we have to edit our writing or it is TRASH! We want to turn our TRASH into TREASURES! Students then went back to writing, editing their pieces into TREASURES!!!

After P.E. and music, we learned about the census that citizens of the U.S. will be participating in. We discussed laws and what they mean. We are participating in an online project with schools across the country. We completed various census activities in our room and will finish up next week. I'll keep you posted.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Wonders!

Great job today as child of the day, Leighton! We really enjoyed listening to you read!

Today I brought in spaghetti noodles to demonstrate in a concrete manner what determining importance means. I demonstrated how when you pour the spaghetti out of the pot of boiling water (the book) into a strainer (your brain), the strainer (the brain) seperates out the water (the unimportant information) and leaves the spaghetti (the important information). We will continue with this strategy for a quite awhile.

In writing we reviewed how when we think we are FINALLY done, we edit. I modeled how I check for punctuation, capital letters, word wall words, and spacing. Even as we edit, we sometimes revise. When I was editing my story, I still found changes I wanted to make.

Bradley recorded his Titanic story using PhotoStory today. I won't be able to post it to our WIKI till hang tight!

In math today, 1st graders worked on number relationships with >,< and =. 2nd graders completed a checking progress for unit 5.

Tomorrow students have art and ELL enrichment. There will not be a blog posting on Thursday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tales

Jacob began our week as child of the day. Thanks for reading to us and leading us through the classroom promise!

We began our study of determining importance to help us as we are reading biographies. We read another biography about Alice Roosevelt and learned another way to organize our information.

After lunch and recess, first graders worked on addition and second graders worked on symmetry.

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

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Fun!

It was Valentine Friday as we did LOTS of valentine activities in the morning: probability, graphing, number sense and more. We even had a Mystery Reader: Branden's stepmother! Branden was so excited, as you can see:

Isabella did a wonderful job leading us in the classroom pledge and reading Q is for Duck. Thanks, Isabella!

And, of course, we had the afternoon party. Here are a few pictures; I'll try and post more this weekend.

I hope to see everyone at Elgin High School tonight at 7 pm where we can ask our legislators some questions about state funding to schools. The state currently owes U-46 almost $13 million dollars. They are now proposing an addition 10% cut in funding.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thrills!

Hayden was our child of the day and we enjoyed listening to him read. Thanks, Hayden!

We went to the library first thing this morning. Our next library time will be Monday Feb. 22.

We had a GREAT discussion about the book The Memory String. Branden shared a lot of insightful ideas...GREAT THINKING, Branden!

We learned about transition words that help move our stories along in writing. We continued working on our storyboards.

In the afternoon students went to their ELL enrichment time and art.

Tomorrow we have P.E. and Music, so wear appropriate shoes.

Our Valentine's Day party will be in the afternoon after P.E. Students are very excited; their Valentine Hearts are ready to receive valentines from all their friends. Use the class list that has been provided so every student receives a valentine.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Wonders!

Bradley was our child of the day and did a wonderful job reading with fluency. He did a great job leading us through the classroom promise as well. Thanks, Bradley!

We had just begun our word work time when there was a knock at the door: Mystery Readers....but not just any mystery readers! Third graders Simi, (Neha's sister), Natalie, Francis, and Alisha (students from the last 2 years)came to read us a biography of Helen Keller! I was so proud of their reading and remembering where they were as 1st graders! It just goes to prove if you work hard and read, read, read, read, can be a GREAT reader. We really enjoyed listening to them! They had asked several weeks ago if they could come in by reading our classroom blog. Of course!

We finished up our word work and then went right into readers' workshop. We finished reading the book The Memory String by Eve Bunting and we will finish our discussion tomorrow.

Today we took the storyboards we made yesterday and learned how to use them to write our stories. They should be interesting!

After recess and lunch, we read the biography of George Washington Carver. Sahithi made a connection to Martin Luther King, Jr. We learned that he discovered over 300 uses for the peanut. We learned that we could be just like him by working hard, helping others and being responsible for ourselves.

During Math Workshop, 2nd graders made more 3D shapes. We are learning how to construct them so we can see how many sides, edges, faces and vertices's are in each. We also learned more line segments and parallel lines. 1st graders learned about the greater than and less than signs to compare numbers.

Tomorrow we will go to the library. Mrs. Weiss was not here this past Monday and since this Monday is a holiday, she was able to fit us in tomorrow morning. Please make sure your library books are at school.

We also have art and our ELL enrichment time.

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowy Tuesday!

Shivam read a non fiction book about SHARKS! He and Gavin could probably have some great conversations. Thanks, Shivam!

We worked on our new word wall words: through, get, know, much, and back. Then we began reading The Memory String by Eve Bunting as we worked on the reading strategy of inferring. We are doing a character analysis using our strategy.

In Writers' Workshop, we read the book Patches Lost and Found and discovered a new way to use our storyboards. More on that tomorrow.

Here are some pictures from Math Workshop as students worked on 3D shapes, data analysis, and place value: