Sunday, September 13, 2009

End of Unit = Game Day

Greetings Readers. As the brink of the fourth week in the new school arrives, the end of the first units in language arts and math follows close behind. Everyday Math and Open-Court Reading curriculums offer a nice mapping of units with lessons that can be planned in such a way that culminating assessments can be delivered on the same day. I coined the term "Game Day" for students in Room 108 to encourage enthusiasm for high performance and hopefully alleviate, an early age, many of the pressures that seem to surround standardized testing in higher grades. Over the past couple years I have used these assessment days as a way to practice test taking skills and procedures at the first grade level. As long as your child is coming to school daily, participating in whole class activities and giving their best effort, they will be prepared for assessments. What you can do to help ensure your child is ├╝ber-prepared for "Game Day" is make sure your child eats a hearty dinner, does some (at least 10-15 minutes) reading before bed time, and gets plenty of sleep. The morning of Game Day, ensure your child has a well balanced breakfast and their Mail folder and snack loaded in their backpack. These tasks may seem simple and routine for some but assist in preparing your child for a great day of thinking and performance at school. Assessments will be used as formalized evaluations of student ability, focus, skills, and effort. Parents can see assessments during parent/teacher conferences in October. The first Game Day will be this Tuesday, September 15.

Thanks to everybody that ordered books through Scholastic. Books should arrive late this week or early next week. Your purchases help to support our classroom library and increase resources available to ALL students in Room 108. Another great way to motivate reading at home is to utilize online reading resources. One of the most popular resources for Room 108 students in the past are Tumblebooks. Tumblebooks are like karaoke for children's books. Ha! That's the best short description I can offer. Check them out by following the link, click on "Tumblebooks at the New York Public Library" and then click "Story Books." There is a wide array of book topics and reading levels with many books offering games and activities to check comprehension and promote deeper reading insight. The link is permanently available on the right hand column of the blog.

In parting, I leave you with an interesting time lapse video I found when exploring technology and media literacy for elementary students. Other than being fascinated by the video, I hope it provides entertainment for you (and your child might like it too) with a realization that life can be viewed differently when given someone else's perspective. We have talked quite a bit about people and the world in our first unit of social studies titled "People Everywhere." This video reminds me of how small humans really are when compared against the gigantic expanses of the world's natural features. (I'm also becoming very interested in video and photography so if ANY OF YOU have any skill or knowledge about cameras, film and/or photography, please let me know. I'm just an amateur.)

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.