Saturday, April 25, 2009

Standards Based Bulletin Boards 2008-2009


This was the first year that we took pictures of our Standards-based bulletin boards every month (well almost every month) and I'm so glad we did. As each month goes by, I see the thought, work, and imagination it took to create it. The student's work is highlighted and it shines brightly for all to see. August was our first board, "An Aussie Adventure Awaits You" which hints to our theme for the year. Because we are a looping class, students were invited to write to us during the summer via letter or postcard. Their letters/postcards/pictures were put around the map for all to see.
"Minilessons Can Make A World of Difference" was board number two. Writing minilessons such as editing, starting at the red line, using the word wall, etc. were the focus. Student's work was shown before and after a minilesson was taught. "Navigating Our Way Though Nonfiction" was a Reader's Workshop board which guided the viewer with a page by page look at the elements of nonfiction via a booklet that the students made. It included close ups, comparisons, table of contents, cut aways, and labeling. The next is a math board, "2D Or Not 2D - That is the Question". This board reflected learning about 2D and 3D shapes in Math. It included a booklet students made on 2D and 3D shapes, pattern block construction, using technology, and making 3D shapes such as cubes, triangular and rectangular prisms. "Great Beginnings - Precious, Priceless, and Winsome" was our homage to Kevin Henkes. This showed four different "great beginnings" for a response to literature. Starting with a question, a statement, a quote from the story, or a personal reflection were featured. And finally, our "Work over Time" - "Watch How Time Will Tell". This takes our student, Alexandra, from a Kindergarten month-by-month writing (2007-2008) sample booklet to First Grade (2008-2009). Showcased is a pattern book, personal narrative, report, response to literature, functional piece, and persuasive writing sample. These boards were a window into our classroom. They are now archived and will be looked on to build upon for the classes to come. We'll be taking pictures of our boards from now on -- it was a great idea!!

Men Do Read -- WOW -- What a Week!!


Within one week, we had three guest readers -- all dads -- come to model for our class that everyone loves to read -- even guys. Fireman Chris came back to visit. He read a book about fire safety. He explained the importance of wearing protective gear when on a motorcycle and he also talked about water safety at the beach and pool. Fireman Chris brought in a special visitor, his daughter "S", who will be kindergarten next year.

Next, we had a member of the BUDs club (Brothers, Uncles, and Dads), Jeff W. whose daughter "M" is in our class. Jeff read "Book Fair Day" and a nonfiction fiction book about animals that live in the dark. Ask him about "glow worms" -- he knows all about them!!

Finally, we had our Mystery Reader, Phil A. He surprised our class on Thursday and read a book about "Being Green" and also read some poems to the class. His son "B" is in our class. Then he shared some of his heavy-duty policeman gear with the kids. That was also a special treat!! Wow!! What great role models these men are to our students -- showing them that "Real Men Do Read" -- and love doing it!! Thanks dads!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Magic" Meeting an Author


Luckily, while shopping in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago, we found out that Mary Pope Osborne was coming and let the students and parents know via our weekly newsletter. This afternoon, at Barnes and Noble/Town Center, "C" was able to meet and take a picture with one of our favorite authors Mary Pope Osborne. Her books are truly "magical". We read a chapter a day from "The Magic Tree House" series and the children are transported into history. From dinosaurs to pilgrims to the Civil War to the Titanic, children are traveling with eight year old Jack and his seven year old sister, Annie. It all started one summer day in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, when a mysterious tree house appeared in the woods. Jack and Annie climbed into the tree house and found it full of books! They soon discover that the tree house is magic and can take them to the places in the books. All they have to do is to point to a picture and wish to go there. Every day, when we read a chapter aloud, our class is transported with Jack and Annie to faraway places and long ago times!
We know more of our students went to meet her and can't wait to hear how wonderful their adventure was!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Big Chickens -- Book of the Month


Our book of the month was "Big Chickens" by Leslie Helakoski. It gives a new twist to the old story about a hen house and a furry predator. Four fussy hens are chicken in more ways than one. "When they first spy a wolf, they run off to hide in the woods, but are soon frightened by a ditch, and then by a peaceful-looking group of cows, and on and on, until they end up in a cave, where an encounter with actual danger leaves them feeling brave for the first time." It was a wonderful book that the children loved hearing again and again. Students made paper bag puppets and put together the following play. We hope you enjoy it! Special thanks to Conor - who is reading the book.

Big Chickens Puppet Show

Monday, April 13, 2009

Persuasive Writing: Beach vs. Pool


As we are continuing the unit on "Persuasive Writing" today we read the book, "Should We Have Pets?" by Sylvia Lollis. This book is a collection of persuasive letters written by students persuading others about the pros and cons of having a pet. After each letter was read, students rated it a number 3, 2, or 1 to see if the letter gave enough information or persuaded them one way or another to have a pet or not. This book helped to make clear the idea behind writing persuasively, and the Writer's Workshop lesson unfolded from there. The class wanted to make our own book, as Ms. Lollis' class had done, and we decided to choose, "Is going to the beach better than going to the pool?" Below is a sampling of persuasive letters written that we will go into a class book. Are any of the letters persuading you one way or the other?

April 9, 2009
Have you ever been to a beach? I have. I like it better than a pool cause in the pool there is no sea animals and no big waves. And the beach has shark teeth. The pool, when you stand on a boogie board, you can fall off and crack your head open by the concrete. The beach you don't get hurt and you can surf. The pool has a rule called, "No Boogie Boards." I hope you like the beach better now.
by Chelsea B.
That's a good argument Chelsea. I think I like the beach better.


Another pro beach letter:
April 13, 2009
Dear Anna Grace,
Do you think the pool is better or the beach? Well, I think the beach. Why? Because you can swim farther out than the pool. You also can't ride the waves on you boogie board in the pool! You can also ride the waves and you can find sea shells. In the pool, you can hit your head on the ledge when you jump in. (That's what my dad did once.) You can do the same if you jump close to the steps. Love Julia
P.S. What does Austin like?

You have some good points, Julia. I think you persuaded me to go to the beach!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Has Sprung in Room 104


Today we celebrated Spring with an egg hunt and center activities. After parent volunteers helped hide the eggs on the playground, students were given their curbside posts to wait until the, "Ready, Set, Go" directions were given. After students collected a set number of eggs each, they came back to the classroom to enjoy making some arts and crafts activities. Centers included crafting bunny wind socks, card making, tangram rabbits (the ancient Chinese moving piece puzzle, consisting of 7 geometric shapes), cookie decorating, hard boiled egg decorating, word searches, and Spring book bin reading. It was a festive day in Room 104!