Thursday, April 9, 2009

Batter Up

Now that Major League Baseball has officially begun, baseballs may be flying everywhere! Room 108 does not officially endorse any one team but the people inside of it definitely have their favorites! Students in the room are similar to baseball players as they want to keep their strikeouts to a minimum, their hits at a maximum but of course always learning and having fun playing the game!

Believe it or not, Unit 7 is done. Typically a unit lasts about four weeks and details all kinds of topics, culminating in a final day of assessment Room 108 knows as "Game Day." But as student development and unit themes progress, so does the curriculum layout of the academic calendar. The final Game Day is not beyond students but will instead be more of a celebration of knowledge and learning toward the end of the year. In the mean time, students will be engaged in more ongoing, as in day-to-day, activities that aren't simply captured in one lesson or activity. Instead lessons and activities may span multiple time frames, days, or even weeks! This kind of continuum offers students the opportunity to learn that not everything is done quickly or gained immediately rather contends the mind to engage and connect different subjects, contents and contexts.

Looking ahead to Unit 8 provides a spotlight on story reading and comprehension with greater emphasis on story understanding and strategies such as visualize, predict, connect, sequence, and conclude. Writing is going to round the bases with some poetry (also to honor national poetry month), four-square, and journaling; all very familiar writing experiences for students.
Mathematics is continuing to progress with focus on more abstract, and usually challenging topics, like MENTAL arithmetic, money (including making change), and fractions. All of these concepts will provide children with opportunities to manipulate numbers, strategies, and concepts with physical objects, save mental math of course. It should be quite a challenge to force all children to "do math" without the assistance of a number line, hundreds chart, calculator or even their fingers!

The biggest change of all academic stimuli will be our science topic. We have soared around the universe and are back on planet Earth to dig deep into the big world of BUGS! Insects is our new theme and there will be creepy, crawly critters all over Room 108! It certainly is an exciting time for children as the spring weather warms and the grass grows greener. Seems almost natural for children to start examining the tiny little six-legged bugs moving over everything outside, and sometimes inside too.

Let me also take this post as a chance to say an appreciative word of gratitude to all of my readers, supporters, and partipants in the Room 108 first grade experience. There has been quite a stir of excitement and energy swirling through the classroom in the recenet days and weeks. Hopefully everyone can keep up the action and efforts as we push forward into the final two months of the year!