Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Celebrating Our Adopted Friends


In December, we auctioned a decorated wreath and tree and donated the money to the World Wildlife Fund. The children picked three animals that they wanted the money to support: an Arctic Polar Bear, an Arctic Fox, and the Blue Footed Booby. This week we received adoption papers, stuffed animals, and a thank you letter from the World Wildlife Organization. The children were overjoyed to find out that their donations are really making a difference. They now have the cute stuffed animals and certificates of adoption to remind them of their new animal friends to the north and south of us!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Writer's Workshop...after the holidays


When the children returned to school the first week after the winter holidays, it was time for them to enter their January writing sample in the monthly writing journal. They wrote about everything from waking up on Christmas morning to staying up on New Year's Eve. We had stories about going to Disney World and going to grandma's house. After the children were finished writing their stories, we asked them to go back to August's sample and see if they could easily read that writing? How about September's? When students flipped through their writing books, they found it hard to read. We discussed how much they have grown as writers and how important it is to write everyday. The journal they write in monthly is about five pieces of white construction paper, folded in half and each page slightly raised so that the names of the months are shown. At the beginning of the each month, a writing sample is taken so that student's writing growth can be easily assessed. They are free to write about any topic they choose. This is a wonderful way to glance at a student's work-over-time and for each child to feel proud of their writing growth!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Martin Luther King Remembered


Our read alouds this week included several books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A classroom favorite was "Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King" by Jean Marzollo. Children heard the story of how he loved playing sports when he was young, especially baseball and basketball with his friends in the neighborhood. But when it was time to start school, Martin was very sad when he had to go to a different school than his friends. Martin's father was a preacher and he loved the big words his father used in church. He wanted to learn those words and be a preacher one day too. The students learned that MLK was a very smart child. Did you know he started college at fifteen years old? After he graduated, Martin not only preached to love your neighbor in church, but preached peace and justice for all people. As a birthday tribute, the children created pictures of Dr. King and now know a little about the man who had a dream many years ago.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"The Mitten" - A Great Retelling on a Cold Day!


One of our favorite stories to share with the children after the winter break is "The Mitten" retold by Jan Brett. It's about a boy who asks his grandmother to knit him a pair of white mittens. She warns him that the color is not a good choice because it's the same color as the snow. It doesn't take long for Nicki to drop one outside and it is soon found by a series of winter animals who make it their home. After the class heard the story a few times, we decided to retell it again via Reader's Theater. Our characters included a mole, followed by a snowshoe rabbit, a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, a fox, a bear and, finally a mouse. And then, of course, there was Nicki and his grandmother. The story comes to an end when the bear has a big sneeze, all the animals fly out, and Nicki finds his mitten floating in the air. When he returns home, the grandmother is puzzled as to the grand size of the one mitten. By retelling the story and acting it out, students practice sequencing, learn new vocabulary, (swoop, lumber, trot), and most of all have fun. "The Mitten" has become a fast class favorite, especially with everyone wearing their mittens on these cold Florida days!