Monday, May 18, 2009

Eric Carle Project

Maybe you 'heard the tweets,' maybe you read the blog, or maybe you just heard the good ol' word of mouth about this project. Here is a picture sample of the kind of illustrations created during a tremendous author extension activity. Our school librarian brought the popular, uniquely talented, and self proclaimed 'picture writer' Eric Carle to life by guiding kids through one of his illustrating techniques. This technique had students wildly painting colored tissue paper, cutting it apart, and artistically using paint brushes with glue to paste them into all different kinds of bugs. This was an outstanding connection to many of the wonderul themes we have been exploring recently in first grade.

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Distinguished Classroom

The final weeks of school are buzzing by us all in Room 108 as we have been focused on final academic challenges and cherishing the limited amount of learning we have left together.  The month of May has evolved into reviewing a variety of skills and narrowing in the on the strategies that will prove most valuable in second grade!  It seems only days ago sentences were being pieced together, now paragraphs are beginning to emerge. Words used to look like letters jumbled together, now chapter books are merely a title.  Numbers used to appear with the greatest of confusion, now some are wondering if numbers go on forever. Those early September days are fading in the distance as sights are jumping ahead at a horizon full of opportunity and information!  

As Unit 9 zips along, knowledge is spouting everywhere.  Children are readily connecting skills to concepts, tying strategies to new problems, and unfolding new discoveries into foundations for further investigations.  Discussion is seemingly ongoing during whole class reading as students are beginning to understand stories and authors on a deeper level than previously known.  Participation is overflowing as students are eager to read aloud, answer a question, or share some unique insight.  Likewise, mathematical skills are bursting to be applied on new problems, games, and puzzles.  Now is truly an enjoyable time in the classroom as many students have earned the freedom to explore application in a variety of previously unknown ways.  

So what now?  Well an Olympic Week is set to take over the school next Tuesday, May 19.  In the spirit of "Chicago 2016" the school has chosen to embrace the Olympic mottos in a 16 day stretch leading up to our Olympic Day, June 3.  Each classroom has been randomly assigned a country to represent in an all-school Opening Ceremony.  Over the course of these days students will be presented themed lessons and activities in special area classes like Art, P.E., Music, and Spanish. Room 108 was selected to represent India!  Students located India on the map, identified bordering neighbors and geographical features, made personal connections to it's people, and are asking all kinds of questions!  Hopefully you know a thing or two about India, if not, here is the World Fact Book page for it.  (And the Wikipedia page, for good measure.)

Be sure to check the "Upcoming Events" on the right hand column of the blog.  It is loaded with important days for students in Room 108.  As the school year winds down there will be an assortment of special events and experiences designed to capture some of the final days we share together.  Hopefully you have had some time to talk with your child about the tremendous things that have occurred in our classroom over the course of the school year, but especially in the last month.  It is truly an honor and privilege to teach the children of this community and I hope everyone will enjoy the final weeks ahead.  

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Great Ball Game

Last week the students in Room 108 performed a play for kindergarteners. The children created scenery and created a stage for which to sit behind. When they read their parts, each child held up a self created puppet to depict their interpretation of their character. Plays and readers' theaters are a great way for children to strengthen reading skills such as comprehension and fluency.

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tweet-Unit 9 is Here!-Tweet

The warm spring weather many have been waiting for is finally here! Now if the rain would hold off, everyone would have a chance to settle in for the warm months ahead.  Everything is affected by the rain; schools, baseball teams, cities and nature!  Staying indoors has urged Room 108 to becoming a Twitter classroom as well!  So I must be very straightforward and admit this recent Twitter fad has finally caught up with me and I am giving it a shot.  It is merely me, sending updates from the classroom and school, about the things Room 108 students are doing at that very moment.  All "tweets" are time stamped and sent directly from either my computer or iPhone.  Room 108 has already gained a few followers and I hope the trend continues.  It is impossible for anyone to capture EVERYTHING students experience in the course of a day (Let's be honest, many of your children don't even remember what happened at school today!) but technology is allowing for an interesting way to capture major events.  Hope you are able to occasionally follow!

Here is your "old-fashioned" curriculum update:
Unit 8 is over in both reading and math.  The new theme for reading is "Being Afraid" and focuses children on stories relating to fear.  Students are going to be engaged in constructing story diagrams and charts of all kinds to activate comprehension skills and make story connections.  Personal experience and thoughts are going to prove most valuable for children as they discuss selections with their peers throughout the unit.  Math is becoming a bit more challenging on a daily basis as the direction of Unit 9 heads into place value and fractions.  The number grids (hundred charts) are going to be utilized on a daily basis as a strategy to solidify awareness of place value, for most it will be ones, tens, and hundreds.  For others, the sky is the limit as numbers will be explored forwards and backwards, up and down, as well as diagonally.  Fractions hopefully become more engrained in children's mind as they use pattern blocks and paper strips to identify equal parts, comparing fractions, and dividing wholes.  

Science and social studies are aligning nicely as the end of the school year nears.  Insects have infested our entire classroom and science curriculum.  This works out well for geography skills and social studies as students are connecting bug types with geographic locations.  Insects, such as ants and bees, also provide a nice insight into the intricacies of communities and the dynamics of their citizens.  Don't be surprised if your child has already started, or begins soon, a sudden interest in creepy crawlies!  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Room 108 is now Twittering!

Happy Monday everybody! After a beautiful weekend of bright sun and warm breezes Room 108 is rejuvenated in a variety of ways. That, of course, means the Room 108 blog has got to relay some of this rejuvenation your way. I am attempting to do that in the form of Twitter! That's right... Room 108 is now Twittering! Technology, and more specifically the Internet and social networks, are progressing at an alarming rate. I am simply trying to keep you and your children up to speed. For more information, visit the Twitter homepage. But to keep it short and simple, Twitter provides you with the answer to one question, "What are you doing?"

So if you needed another reason to visit the Room 108 blog on a more regular basis, already have Twitter and looking for another Twitterer to follow, or just want to find out what this thing is, here you go!!