Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gobble, Gobble!!

Hey readers!  Here is a quick update on the state of Room 108's academics so you can all rest easy and eat hearty over the nice long Thanksgiving weekend.  There is a packet of Thanksgiving fun for your child to work on if they (or you) so choose!  

We had a "Game Day" today and it seems the communication of this event was carried home fairly effectively through the students.  Just about every child said they ate a nice well rounded breakfast and felt ready for the big day.  And it definitely showed!  The children worked extremely hard in both the Unit 3 Open-Court Reading and Everyday Math assessments and were rewarded with a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!  We also reviewed some of the concepts and vocabulary from our Social Studies series and had time to write a journal entry about what we plan on doing for the Thanksgiving holiday.  

The day capped off with a "Harvest Party" that was awarded to our classroom when one of the students' names was drawn way back during Walk to School Week.  Our guest party leader explained the meaning of harvest and talked about local organic farms.  It was quite a treat!

Thank you so much for all the support, communication and feedback this year!  (Don't forget to get your Scholastic orders in!) I look forward to the growth ahead for all of your children!  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Legoland Field Trip

Hey Parents!  Monday, November 17 we are headed to LEGOLAND! Buses will be departing the school around 9:15am and returning around 12:45pm.  Please make sure you send your child to school with a full stomach along with a snack and lunch as usual.  ALL STUDENTS NEED TO PACK A HOME LUNCH as we will be returning to the school after the hot lunch service in the cafeteria.  
For more info on Legoland and the kind of things we will be seeing and doing click here.  
We look forward to an exciting day and you can bet your britches there will be a photo posted on the blog following it all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Art Appreciation: Pointillism


video

Last Friday we had our first art appreciation session in Room 108.  It was a very enjoyable lesson on pointillism.  Seurat is probably the most well known pointillism artist.  Students were encouraged to draw their own backdrop or images and then fill them in using one of three pointillism techniques: glue and paper dots, marker dotting, or q-tips and paint.  Whatever their choice children created some very original pieces of work and seemed to have a great time doing it! 
Thank you to the Room 108 Art Appreciation Parents and especially the photographer for the pictures!  Enjoy the slideshow and make sure you have your speakers on for some Paul McCartney!  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kung Fu Fighting - Thank you Mr. Morrison!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Progress

Hello Readers!  First and foremost I want to thank all of the Room 108 parents for their attendance at our recent parent/teacher conferences.  Overall the class is moving in a good direction and each day is an opportunity to for each child to learn something new.  Another big "Thank You" must be given to the Room 108 parents for the outstanding Halloween Bash!  It may have been a little wild at times, but this year's bunch of kids has a lot of energy.  Let's be thankful they all made it out of "Kung-Fu Fighting"  dancing with no bumps or bruises!  If you brought your camera to capture the action please be sure to send the photos/videos in to me so I can decorate the blog.
Now it's time to sink you into Room 108's "Progress."  It certainly is a buzz word right now but it is applicable in so many ways to the current state of needs in our nation and citizens.  Progress is about growing every single day and learning from what already is or has been done in hopes of improvement.  As new units unfold in Math, Reading, Phonics and Social Studies students are asked to build on prior knowledge as well as skills and concepts that have been introduced to them this school year.  Now in the fourth calendar month of first grade, we are nearing the end of the first trimester and the level of expectation is slowly rising.  Many students are now stronger decoders and readers which creates better opportunity for shared reading growth.  Our reading groups are now meeting two or three times a week and children are challenged to apply effort and skills every day.  
Everyday Math continues with familiar concepts such as number line hops, patterns, evens and odds, and clocks.  But Unit 3 goes a little deeper with the introduction of the dime,  counting by 4s, ordering clock times, and exploring the sums of even and odd numbers.  As children are reading more and becoming familiar with our math workbooks and activities they are being encouraged to "discover" answers and learn new concepts together.  Of course there will still be instruction for the whole class and small groups but students are now becoming more responsible for their own learning.  
Unit 3 in Open-Court is titled Things That Go, and as you guessed it, it includes transportation vocabulary and stories.  Daily phonics skills are being introduced and practiced daily with digraphs now being added.  A digraph is two letters that make one sound.  Early examples are /ch/, /sh/, /wh/, and /th/.  As students increase their phonemic awareness word recognition, reading fluency and comprehension will increase.  
Houghton Mifflin social studies also starts a new unit this week, Unit 2 titled Where We Live.  This unit expands on what children learned in the first unit about their communities and introduces vocabulary related to the Earth and its major features like continents, oceans, mountains and natural resources.  The book mentions four oceans but the International Hydrographic Organization has declared the Southern Ocean as the fourth largest of the five major oceans.  Click here for more info.
Delta/Foss science curriculum continues down the path of analysis, inference, composition, and other skills of observation and descriptions.  Some math and science skills are overlapping such as estimation, measurement, temperature reading, weather observations and discussion as well patterns and sequence.  National Geographic Young Explorer has been a terrific compliment for science and social studies as it examines animals, plants, geographic regions and other seasonal topics.  The website has a very cool feature that shows the magazine and reads it out loud as the children follow along.  Thanks PTO for the LCD projector to make this possible!

Keep up the reading at home along with addition/subtraction facts.  I hope the links on the right side of the blog are helpful in keeping you connected to what is going on academically in the classroom.  As always, if you have any questions or comments please share them!  See you on the blacktop!