Thursday, March 26, 2009

March Toward Independence...

The final week before spring break is just about over and it seems to have blown past all of us in Room 108.  From story reading and discussions, to publishing and space walks, the experiences for everyone have kept us busy!  For the long break I want to provide you with a list of good links to keep children thinking about the classroom and what many of them can't wait to get back to.  

Jack Prelutsky - The poetic foundation for Room 108 is Shel Silverstein but the follow up poet is this outstanding wordsmith.  Prelutsky has a knack for expanding vocabularies and writing higher level wordplays than our foundational leader.  This is his homepage and it is excitingly kid-friendly.  (This is also an unofficial request for any Prelutsky books you may have occupying bookshelves or desks at home.)  Seeing as though we have read through just about everything Shel has put on paper, we need some more GREAT poetry for snack time!  

Number Twins - This overly addictive fact game was introduced in computer lab and was a quick favorite for those fact-minded brains.  The game can be reached via the Room 108 blog but sending specific web instructions with some children is like sending air mail via a hot air balloon: (interpretations left to your imagination.)  Bottom line, this game is fun and has tons of other "math" game links on the same page.  Notice the "sum" can be changed by clicking on the numbers directly above the playing board.  

Tumblebooks - Let's be honest, sometimes reading can be a chore for your child (and you!) so I bring to your mouse click one of the all-time favorite links for students: TUMBLEBOOKS.  Reading never seemed so engaging, enjoyable, and effortless.  Not to mention this strategy is a great way to build fluency.  There are books for all level readers, games and comprehension activities to match, and new books almost weekly!  If you haven't checked these things out yet, NOW is the time!

These links should keep students connected over the week long break.  If anyone needs more, look no further than the right hand side of the blog.  There is a vast array of links to choose from and they all have relevance to the learning experience of the children in Room 108!

For those of you traveling for spring break, I bid you a safe journey.  For all the locals hanging around, I wish upon you warm weather and lots of energy for outdoor spring activities!  It will seem like only a blink of your eyes until Room 108 is up and running again, all systems go, for the final two months of the academic year!  

Friday, March 20, 2009

If At First You Don't Succeed...

...try, try again!  After another great "Game Day" in Room 108 we are moving forward to a shorter, different curriculum feel of learning.  As the first day of spring is officially upon us first graders are elevating their thinking in all subject areas.  This week was a very busy week with a review day on monday, Game Day on Tuesday, Spring Share on Wednesday, Horseshoe Hooray First Grade celebration on Thursday, and Leprechaun Traps to share on Friday.  With such a busy week of activities, it may seem easy for the "kiddos" to overlook the fact that all the while they are learning new concepts and applying a variety of skills in new contexts.  Below is a picture from the all school celebration coined "SWISH into Superb Behavior."  Students participated in a variety of physical skill activities that accumulated team points.  

Reading has elevated the expectations for all students by giving each child an anthology book loaded with stories based on unit themes.  Unit 7 is themed "Keep Trying" with stories focused on lessons of failure and success.  Now reading comprehension strategies are of the utmost importance as we focus on the development of characters, sequence of events, and making connections with what we read.  

Math is shifting its focus as well into shapes of all kinds.  We will be working with two and three dimensional shapes with words like prisms, attributes, and polygons becoming more commonplace.  We will be constructing a "shapes museum" so keep your ears open for the details surrounding your child's learning.  Students will also be reviewing previous learned concepts with daily review workbook pages and exploration activities.  

With one week left before spring break the room will be going through some "spring cleaning" activities.  After the break we will be returning with some different unit themes and lots of fun new things to learn about in science and social studies.  


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The "March" Continues...

Greetings Readers of Room 108's blog!  We certainly were spoiled with the heat wave last week but brought back to the reality of early spring weather with temperatures below freezing this week.  Please continue to dress your children according to the daily weather report!  As spring time nears, so does individual growth toward first grade independence and heightened responsibility.  Many students are improving their ability to follow directions and work independently but as with anything in life, there is always room for improvement. 

Coming up next Tuesday is Game Day for Unit 6 in both Open Court Reading and Everyday Math.  The language arts assessment will focus on high frequency words, phonetical sounds and skills such as /oo/, /ow/, /ou/, and /oi/, along with early grammar skills and comprehension strategies such as sequencing.  The math assessment will reevaluate time telling skills, measurement, addition facts, and coin counting.  All the students in Room 108 should be prepared for these assessments if they have been in class, complete their work, and engage in whole class activities.  Some of the children are commenting on how much they like Game Days!  That is a very strong indicator of attitudes toward school and learning.    

Science and Social Studies continue to alternate days and times depending on current events and events happening around us.  The current Moon cycle phase has allowed for great literature extensions as well as moon phase activities.  Clear night skies have helped to inspire the viewing of constellations and recent closeness of Venus to the Moon has provided an extra ounce of energy to our sky gazing.  Weather charting has also been much more engaging because of the drastic differences in daily weather!  Social studies continues to expand on our place in the world with issues of Time For Kids and geography lessons focused on the United States and cardinal directions.  

In parting I will thank all of you that support Room 108 and our mission in education.  Each child is encouraged to grow, learn, and connect to the world every single day.  It is with the help of all you that makes this possible.  I've said it before, "No man is an island" and your child and I both need and appreciate your help.  It is an absolute privilege to have the encouragement and reinforcement that so many of you provide to the first grade experience.  Be sure to come see us all at the Spring Share performance next Wednesday, March 18 at 8:30am in the auditorium.  And if time permits,  join us for refreshments and healthy snacks at the "Cast Party" that follows!  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Marching On...

Salutations Readers!  I write today as I gaze out open windows into a mostly clear blue sky with the sun shining and drying up what many of us hope is winter's remnants.  As spring time nears, thoughts of outdoor activities and nature's beauty start stirring.  Next will be shorts and sunglasses.  And who could forget about the start of the baseball season?

Room 108 has spent the beginning of March wrapping up the wonderful journey around the world of Captain Bill Pinkney.  If you have not heard this name repeatedly over the last couple of weeks then you must ask your child about him.  Students have used an arsenal of academic skills, discussed a variety of concepts, and followed his path around the globe in an attempt to capture the spectacular feat the captain's great voyage.  This theme has provided numerous extensions in all content areas: reading and writing of language of the captain's log, math with counting sailing days at sea and comparing to other modes of transportation, science with weather and its effects at sea, social studies with the variety of people he met, and geography with the cities, countries, continents, and oceans he touched.  

As children move ahead in the first grade experience we will venturing deeper into the concepts we already know.  Please continue the good work on homework packets and home links.  Keep after those math facts and really emphasize subtraction along with addition.  Everyday Math presents them as fact families with fact triangles as a manipulative.  

Make sure to take a glance at the upcoming dates - especially Spring Share March 18th!!  Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Friday was a deep trip into the great beyond astronomers call outer space!  Students spent time learning about pictures in the night sky and listening to a couple tales that inspired their names.  In addition to discussing the names of many astrological signs, children practiced ruler use and measurement with high number connect the dots constellation activities.  Here is a short video outlining the basic of what used to be coined as "The Greatest Show on Earth": the nighttime sky.  Fortunately we were able to have some soundtrack for our constellation explorations!