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Showing posts from November, 2007

Vocabulary is Alive in Reading and Math

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Learning and using new vocabulary is emphasized in our classroom daily. Whenever I read a new book, I try to pull out a few words that may need some clarification before we start. I find that this is valuable in that the children hear me talk about the word before I read the book, and then they recognize the word when they hear it. We have a wonderful vocabulary unit that my fellow teachers and I worked on during the summer under dayle timmons' guidance. We use these books daily (fairy tales, folk tales, and various other fiction books) to read and teach vocabulary. The students love to hear the words learned from these books and repeat them often during conversations and are starting to use them in their writing - words such as clever, delighted, cozy, and adventurous.


We have stretched our vocabulary word wall to include a vocabulary math word wall. This is a portable chart that we use to review each new word learned in math. This has proved to be an excellent way to review math …

Our Room Mom is Volunteer of the Year

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Our very own Room Mom is our school's Volunteer of the Year. She has two sons at our school. One in fifth grade and one in kindergarten. Last week we celebrated with the fifth grade teachers and students. Our room mom checks with us every morning and afternoon to see if there is anything we need. She takes pictures of the kids, helps with class projects, works on computer projects, to make sure that her children's teachers have what they need to help students learn. She works behind the scenes to make sure things are running smoothly, especially in organizing parents during the school's weekly WOW days and manning the front desk in the lobby. We are very lucky to have her and we are very proud of our VOY.

Time for Pilgrims and Hand Turkeys

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How can we have Thanksgiving without doing hand turkeys? We were busy yesterday and today making Pilgrim placemats (listing what we are thankful for), hand turkeys, turkey cookies, and turkey hats. With so much time and effort going into the Powwow, the Pilgrims are relegated to the two day short week before the holidays. The children did learn about the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, and the big feast. Did you know the Mayflower was as long as a school bus and the children hated the food on the ship (old salted beef and fish and hard, dry biscuits)? They couldn't bring their toys, but two dogs and a cat made the trip! We have a lot to be thankful for: our family, our homes, and our friends. Our class wishes all of you a very festive Thanksgiving!!






A Brief Moment in Time Makes Lots of Memories

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Our Powwow...a powerful learning experience

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Today was the culminating event for our unit on Native Americans...it was our Powwow. We prepared for weeks learning about our Lenape tribe - their food, shelter, clothing, and culture - and today we celebrated what we learned and saluted our Native American brothers and sisters. Represented at our Powwow were the nations of the Sioux, Inuit, Hopi, Iriquois, Seminole, NezPierce, and Nootka. The ceremony started with the tribes being introduced individually and processing onto the field. Our principal, Mrs. Phillips, gave background about each tribe and decribed our clothing and culture. We performed "The Grass Dance" and several other traditional dances. Parents lined the boundaries catching a glimpse of their Lenape child. Afterwards, pictures were taken and we processed off the field. The children had a day of exciting activities ahead of them including: storytelling (in a teepee), natural-dye painting, food tasting, music, clay pottery, outside games, and animal artifac…

Powwow Family Project Homework

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Family projects are always a great way to get home and school working together and staying involved. Last week a cardboard "person" cutout went home and the family project was to dress it according to our Native American tribe, the Lenape. Attached to the cutout was researched pages from the internet as to the dress of the tribe during the 1600's to present day. The results were amazing. We learned so much from the children sharing their projects. We learned that this tribe only used one feather in their headbands. Also, if the feather was pointing downward they were not in a war, but if it faced upward, then they were at war with another tribe. The women wore shell necklaces because a lot of the Lenape were from the New Jersey shore line and they spoke a language called Urami. Moreover, we were able to tie-in Writer's Workshop (How-to writing) because the students explained step-by-step how they made their Lenape Native American project. Our family night is tonight.…

A Week to go until Powwow

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No matter what age, the students still remember how much fun it was when they had their Powwow. It's hard to believe that our Powwow is only a week from today. Parents have been busy cutting, hemming, fitting, and adding bead work to the costumes that the girls and boys will be wearing for our Powwow. Students have been called out in the hall by parents to decorate their headbands, necklaces, bracelets, and berry pouches. Our tribe is the Lenape which means "The Original People." They came from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. During the day, through read alouds and in Reader's Workshop, the students are learning about our tribe. They learned that the Lenape were farmers in the summer and hunters in the winter. They lived in wigwams, some with only one family and some with up to ten families living in them - then it was called a "long house." The wigwams had a hole in the middle of the roof to let the smoke out. When they slept, they had t…

Safety Patrols are our Rockin' Readers

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Each morning our class is greeted by two wonderful patrols. The girls make sure that when the students enter our hallway that they find a book from book basket, sit quietly against the wall, and read it until 8:45. At that time, the patrols have the students enter the classroom, put their backpacks at their tables, and sit on the floor quietly until they read the book. The patrols will read any book that I place on the rocking chair the night before (hence, my rockin' readers)! The books are usually a "Star Book" and/or a seasonal book. For instance, today the girls read "A Chair for Peter" and "The First Thanksgiving." Because "Star Books" should be read several times a month, having the patrols read them is a great way for the children to hear the books from a reader other than myself. Star books include such great classics as, "The Three Bears", "Caps for Sale", "The Gingerbread Boy", and "The Three Litt…

Ask Us "How To" Make Chocolate Milk!

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In our Writer's Workshop for the past two weeks, we have been talking and writing about what we are experts at. The children came up with all kinds of things they are experts at: making waffles, walking the dog, brushing their teeth, and carving a pumpkin. To write a "How To" book, children think through a procedure, step by step, starting from the beginning to the end. Then they draw the sequenced events on special "How To" paper which had three small boxes on the side to draw the picture and lines on the other side to write the directions. I thought it would be fun to have a shared class exper-ience for a "How To" - and that was making chocolate milk. I sat in front of the class and had all my "ingredients" lined up - the milk and the chocolate. Then I had the cups and spoon ready for stirring. I poured the milk, squeezed in the Hershey's syrup, and stirred vigoriously...voila chocolate milk! (Some critics suggested more chocolate a…