Friday, December 17, 2010

Center Day

Today we enjoyed holiday centers. We turned cupcakes into ornaments, turned ice cream cones into holiday trees, made cookie plates for Santa and food for his reindeer, laced seasonal necklaces, made gingerbread, pine cone and reindeer ornaments, and reindeer bags to give them all as gifts. We topped it all off with pizza for lunch and a holiday movie. Thanks to those that sent in donations and special thanks to Dazha's grandma, Michael and Nicole's moms and Taylor's dad for joining us for the fun. Also a special thank you to our homeroom mom, Autumn's mom, for coordinating everything. We couldn't have done it without you guys! Enjoy the pictures below for our fun day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Petite Rogue

Today the children listened to mystery reader Melanie Holtsman as she read a delightful Cajun rendition of Little Red Riding Hood. Red Riding Hood took on a duck personality while an alligator took the wolf's role. Melanie front loaded the children with much of the vocabulary so they would understand the Cajun elements of the story. Melanie was raised in Louisiana so her Cajun accent is a natural. What a treat!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Partnership in Functional Writing

With just a few more days to go before our holiday break we have been trying to get in as much writing as possible. Two weeks ago we started our Functional Writing unit. This unit teaches children to write a How To piece. Now that we are well into this unit we are teaching the students to confer with a partner. This is where two students pair up and swap their How To pieces and read them aloud to each other to see if they make sense. This allows the author to hear if edits or changes need to be made. Working together in pairs gives the students the opportunity to make the needed changes while getting feedback from their audience. From How To Feed My Baby Sister a Bottle to How To Throw a Football our students are becoming amazing functional writers!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Program

Today we went to the Second Grade Play. It's one of those special activities that is a traditional Chets Creek holiday event. Many of our students tried to do the motions right along with the second graders. Maybe they are already ready for 2nd grade!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Visit from Auntie Claus

Today was one of those very special days when we celebrated a school tradition. Each year, Auntie Claus makes a special visit to our school and reads a holiday book to the grade level of children. Today all of the first graders gathered in the Media Center for a visit from Santa's sister, Auntie Claus (aka Principal Susan Phillips), who was left in charge of the school for the day. As the children gathered together, Auntie Claus swooped in to greet the children and then read them a holiday story about Auntie Claus. The children love this annual tradition. The teachers love it too!

After the story, Santa's holiday elves (all of the Resource teachers), served cookies and milk! Take a look at all of our Resource teachers dressed as Santa's elves below! What a great afternoon. What a great Chets Creek tradition!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving on Thursday

Many of our young readers are ready for chapter books - more words, fewer pictures - so we thought we would begin by reading aloud some of the first books in some of the series that they can choose such as the Magic Tree House series. By reading the first book in a series, the students can meet the characters and get a feel for the books to see if they might be interested in others in that same series. We started by introducing the class to eight year old Jack and his seven year old sister Annie as they are transported to another time when they open a book in their magic tree house. We first read book #1, Dinosaurs Before Dark, which the children loved. We just couldn't resist adding book #27, Thanksgiving on Thursday right before the holiday. Of course, we realized that we might need to add a little additional background knowledge to this historical fiction when we asked them to guess who the characters might meet on this adventure and they guessed George Washington and Abe Lincoln! We did fill in with some traditional Thanksgiving books of the first celebration between chapters! Make sure to ask your child about the adventures in the Magic Tee House! And have a wonderful, gratitude-filled holiday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guess who got slimed?

I hope your child told you that after our Veteran's Flag Raising on Friday, all of the students gathered to watch our Principal get slimed! She had agreed to be slimed if 90% of the students met their Readers-to Leaders goal for the first nine weeks! 92% met the goal!

In our classroom students had to take a book home every night, Monday through Thursday, read it to an adult and then log the book and bring the log back each week to get the books counted. We believe that there is nothing better that you can do for your child than to listen to him read every night. The book that your child brings home is from the collection of 12 books that he keeps in his "Book Buddy" and practices reading during Readers' Workshop. We want the children to read the same book many times because each time they reread the same book, they become more fluent and understand better what they are reading. Your child changes out his books each week. If your child happens to forget to bring home a book one night, you can substitute with a book from your own home library or a book from the public library or you can ask your child to bring home two books the next night. Occasionally you might want to do something different, so for about one week out of each nine weeks you can also choose to read to your child and have him log the book that YOU read. Choose a chapter book that is something that you both will enjoy. Reading at home is all about developing a love for reading and developing a habit of reading every day.

If your child did not meet his goal the first nine weeks, he should make it up this nine weeks and then read the 30 books for the second nine weeks (that's 55 books in all). If you ever want to know how many books your child has read, just ask. We are really trying for 100% of our children meeting the goal the second nine weeks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creating Mental Images

Our class has been working on creating mental images when they read. By visualizing what they read our students become part of the story which in turn helps them comprehend. As I read Miss. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney the children closed their eyes and created mental images in their minds. Using white boards each child drew what they saw and we discussed each student’s visualizations. As the week went on the students began to compare their mental images. Discussions abounded about color and details. I can’t wait to see how they can use this process in their writing as well!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tinkering with Science

What do you find on the earths surface? Over the last couple of weeks our class has answered this question with rocks, soil, sand, clay and water. After discussing each of these elements we decided to create a tinkering project. Using clay, sand, soil, rocks and water the students created their own semi-biomes. With the help of a few of our fifth grade students our class worked in groups creating their own images of the earth surface. Imagination and creativity abounded.