Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

After a very eventful five days of learning and experience, Thanksgiving week is upon us and that means only two days of school this week for Room 108. Monday will function like a regular academic school day, with our usual schedule of learning routines capped off by a festive activity with our fourth grade buddies. Tuesday will be more of a Thanksgiving infused academic day with an emphasis on social learning and group work.

Students in Room 108 have been working with our fourth grade buddies every Monday for quite awhile now and most of our activities have been inspired by holidays or seasonal awareness. Fourth graders are helpful in a variety of ways. The expectation for fourth graders is that they will model positive "Mustang Motto" behavior, assist first graders with reading and writing, while also encouraging hard work and effort. Many first graders have had one or two buddies for most of the year but partnerships will get shuffled around as the school year continues.

Speaking of the "Mustang Motto," Tuesday will be the all-school celebration for positive behavior. The entire school will celebrate another month of outstanding behavior by doing the "Cha-Cha Slide." To help get into our school spirit children and staff are asked to sport "Mann Wear" to school.

With a short week there will be no spelling words or library checkout time. If you want new library books, or forgot to return books last week, your child can bring them in on Monday or Tuesday to get some new ones for the long weekend. Children will also have a Thanksgiving Fun Packet to work on over the break. This packet is not required to be completed or returned to school, it is just something fun to work and a simple way to keep thinking skills sharp over the turkey break.

For those of you traveling this holiday, I hope your travels are smooth and safe. No matter what your Turkey Day plans, I hope they are full of family, friends and plenty of food. I think we all have plenty to be thankful for and I hope everyone shares their grateful thoughts with those closest to you. I am especially thankful for everyone involved in the first grade experience and all the outstanding support in the learning process. Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spelling Counts

It's almost like when one holiday is over, the next is right around the corner. Can you hear the gobble of the turkeys? Can you smell the fresh baked pie? Do you taste the stuffing yet? Thanksgiving is fast approaching and the seasonal changes that come with it have been long underway. Students in Room 108 have been asked to use a variety of their senses and thinking skills to connect to the variety of aspects this wonderful holiday offers. From a book and biographical writing of Sarah Hale, to the step-by-step process of how to draw a turkey, Thanksgiving is a theme we will be gobbling up until the feast is upon us!

All the turkey talk is in addition to the standardized curriculum infused into our daily routine. Open Court reading is now in Unit 4 titled "Our Neighborhood at Work" and focuses on a the vast assortment of jobs, careers, and workers in our surrounding community. Major reading skills will include making connections, comprehension, drawing inferences, and comparing/contrasting. This unit matches nicely with our current social studies unit about our community. Children will be analyzing not only vocations and people of our community but also the physical characteristics of our neighborhood.

Everyday Math is now progressing into new concepts of measurement. Measuring will require new tools like thermometers and rulers, in addition to non-standard (human adapted) units of measurement like a digit, hand width or fathom. Students will continue to practice concepts like frames and arrows and number sequence while taking other skills to a deeper level, like telling time and coin counting. This section of Everyday Math matches nicely with our science topic of Solids and Liquids (formerly Properties of Matter) as students will soon be asked to distinguish and match traits of objects based on characteristics such as size, shape, and color.

Spelling words will be added as part of the writing process this week. Word patterns and spellings will match very closely to daily and weekly phonics skills and literature exposure. The spelling list will be posted on the right hand side of the blog starting on Mondays after school.

In parting, I will leave you with a very general and manageable Thanksgiving link from Scholastic. I don't know about you but I feel like I've learn something new about each holiday every year. I guess that comes with the territory. Thanks for reading and I'll see you on the blacktop!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Halloween Montage

An observation of Veteran's Day granted us an extended weekend and the next two and half weeks will be include the next level of growth leading up to the end of the first trimester, and Thanksgiving break. Game Day for Unit 3 will happen this Tuesday, November 10 with Unit 4 in reading and math beginning the next day. I understand there have been some students that have missed multiple days of school but everyone has done a great job keeping up with missed work. Thank you parents for taking such strong initiative in keeping your child connected with classroom content!

Thanks to those of you that sent pictures in from the Halloween celebration and art appreciation. You will be able to see some shots from Room 108 in the slideshow on the right hand sidebar. I created a simple video montage video using iMovie. The song choice was inspired by the recent theatre release of the Michael Jackson movie This Is It. I had a chance to see the movie and it was inspiring in the sense that Michael Jackson really was a tremendously talented entertainer who nearly perfected the art of performance. Thriller also has an eerily familiar Halloween feel. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Is It November Already?

Rain, rain go away and come again another day! If you don't we don't care, we'll just move our Halloween parade inside and still have a great time! Thank you everyone that came out for the Room 108 Halloween Celebration and for adapting with us to have the All-School Parade indoors. The costumes were classic, creative and some a bit spooky but what was clear was the energy and enjoyment beaming from students (and even some parents!) Hopefully the excitement continued through the holiday weekend for you all and will help carry us through the short, four-day week.

Looking ahead to the week, Unit 3 in Everyday Math and Open Court Reading will wrap up with the introduction of a few new skills and some review, before culminating in a Game Day on Tuesday, November 10. Math will include time telling to the half hour, introduction of the dime, continued coin counting practice, and number grid counting. Phonics skills will continue to focus on digraphs; two letter combinations that make one sound, like ch-, th-, sh-, ar, er, ir. Reading strategies will focus on summarizing, visualizing, and making connections.

Science and social studies will continue to alternate days and weeks. Science will still use organisms as a basis for observations, inference, and sorting skills while we continue to learn about the subject of science and it's embedded nature throughout the world around us. Social studies will keep on with geography skills like reading cardinal directions, using map keys, and following directions. We will also begin reading out of the Unit 2 big book titled, "Our Community."

In closing this week I will leave you with a link to the time telling game students played in the computer lab last week. The game is called "STOP THE CLOCK" and children need to match digital clocks to analog clock times to stop the clock in the quickest amount of time possible. We were working on telling time to the half hour, but if your child has a firm grasp of the half hour, your might challenge them with clocks to the quarter hours. This link, and more new links, are available under the "Math Maniac Links" section on the right hand side of the blog.