Monday, April 21, 2008

Beautiful Weather Means Spring Energy

Greetings Readers! Room 108 has been filled with energy and excitement due to the gorgeous weather we've had over the past week. Our field trip to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum was outstanding and student behavior merited a mighty round of applause. (In addition they were all treated to a homemade chocolate chip cookie! Courtesy of a Room 108 parent, thank you!!) Pictures will be loaded soon to the Room 108 Flickr account and then visible on my blog slideshow immediately after. If you have any classroom pictures from this school year you would like to share, please e-mail me and I will give you the Flickr account login so you can upload the pics directly from your computer. Thank you to the parent volunteers for chaperoning (and taking pictures!) I also want to say "Thank You" to all of you that turned in a Scholastic book order. Your book purchases help in increase the volumes in Room 108 and they provide great motivation to all of our young readers!

Open-Court Reading led us to a performance of "The Great Ball Game" today. Students have been practicing diligently in preparation for their performances of this puppet show. We worked hard together to create a performance stage which included a night and day backdrop, along with individual puppets that matched the many parts of the play. If you are interested in finding out more, ask your child which part they played and what puppets they made. Room 108 performed for Mrs. Poteracki and Ms. Vasquez's first graders today and were great audience members for the other first grade classroom performances last Friday. Theater is a great way to improve comprehension, word recognition, and reading fluency skills. Who knew Room 108 was full of so many acting enthusiasts?!

Everyday Math is stepping forward into Unit 9 with Fractions and Place Value. Fractions is an introductory skill that will be improved upon in the coming years but can be practiced with very basic understandings such as halves, thirds, fourths, and so on. Place value will be an important skill as we progress towards double digit addition. It will also be a very important skill when beginning addition and subtraction concepts such as carrying and borrowing. If your child has become very quick with their addition facts please plow right ahead into subtraction. Everyday Math use the "Fact Families" and "Fact Triangles" as an attempt to practice both skills together. In accordance with good classroom behavior, students will be able to practice and display their operation skills with the many math games they have learned throughout the year. There are many new fact-based games that will be introduced in the coming days and weeks as well!

Science has been in a full on investigation and observation of insects and their life cycles. Currently students each have their own vile of mealworms. These mealworms are used for a case study of the metamorphosis that occurs in the life cycle. Students have been recording observations and charting the life cycle as it unfolds before their eyes. It has been a most exciting experience for everyone. At first many of the children were timid in their handling of the larva but now some of the students have been limited to observing through their viles because they can't seem to keep the insects off their faces!!

I hope all is well on the home front for all you involved in the Room 108 learning process. Let's look to kick the finals months of learning into high gear as we practice the many skills we have gained from the first grade experience! Thanks for all the positive support and feedback. See you on the blacktop!

- Mr. Reynolds

Friday, April 11, 2008

~ * Room 108 Reading News * ~

Scholastic Book Order – Due Back April 18, 2008
Attached to this flyer is the May issue of Scholastic SeeSaw book order. I want to highlight a few of the beginning chapter books found in the issue. Many of your children have made great strides in reading and are eager to begin chapter books. A great motivational tool for reading is to find an author, series, or collection of books that has a theme for your child to become familiar with. A to Z Mysteries, Magic Tree House, and Harry Potter series are all great collections to captivate and satisfy your child’s reading needs and urges.

Reading Logs and Book Links
Please continue to help your child log their reading. Along with the reading logs Room 108 will be using “Book Links” to connect what children read at home, to their life at school. Attached to this flyer you will find a couple pages of Book Links. Simple have your child fill in the information, bring it to school, they can share it with other children, and we will be collecting them as a class.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Jungle Plants Some Seeds

The life cycle is under way! Hopefully by now your child has told you what they did with the egg carton they brought in before spring break. Each student has learned about the necessities of plant life and is now the proud caretaker of their own egg carton garden. Children were able to select seeds from a large variety of flowers and carefully place each hopeful seed in a egg carton slot. The children were excited to connect the caretaking skills from Frog and Toad's "The Garden" to their own garden!

As the life cycle continues in Room 108 children will be exposed to a number of different kinds of insects and the features they all share and the features that make them unique. Living insects, such as meal worms and ants, will soon be filling the classroom and this has motivated the children to learn about them. We will continue to read, write, and discuss all about basics concepts of biology and botany. Hopefully the bright sun and warm weather will keep up!

Everyday Math is continuing to move right along with money and polygons but is now progressing with deeper concepts such as fractions and making change (subtraction.) Fractions can be difficult for many students but do not fret because this the first time many of the children have really examined what fractions are. (These is also the beginning steps of division.) Please continue to complete the Home Links and turn them in the next day. Thank you to those of you who have been consistently bringing in Home Link requests. It is a fantastic way for students to apply what they are learning in school to the things around them at home.
Open Court Reading is now in the middle of the Unit 8 titled "Games" and just about smack dab in the middle of the student anthology reading books. The big skills we are we are working on as we reading are comprehension skills such as summarizing, predictions, and making inferences. We are also connecting writing skills to our reading by making story maps and composing short excerpts of our favorite, or most interesting, parts of our stories. Many of the stories have silly game concepts or ideas that students are latching on to and becoming naturally engaged in reenacting, or inspired to create on their own.

** Upcoming Event **
April 16 - Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Please submit a signed permission slip and check payment if you have not already. Thank you!