Sunday, April 25, 2010

Busy Week

The past week was action packed with the daily academic lessons but also plenty of independent, partner and small group work.  Mixed in with all of the formal academics were a variety of fun experiences like the Spring Sing, field trip to a nature museum and a bus evacuation drill.  At times some of the best learning experiences are never planned, instead they spontaneously evolve from a pattern of learning steps or interpersonal interactions gone awry.  However problems present themselves, there's always a chance to analyze and problem solve.  It's amazing what six and seven year old minds can think up when the right questions are asked.  Anyway, after a week full of [mostly] wonderful new experiences, here is a photo slideshow highlighting our trip to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Great Ball Game

The Great Ball Game was read, prepared, rehearsed and performed last week in Room 108.  The story is a play about animals and birds that are having difficulty deciding which group is better, while a confused bat struggles with his identity as either a bird or an animal.  The story was a great opportunity for students to practice oral reading and fluency skills.  In the pictures, you will see each student made their character out of construction paper and taped them on popsicle sticks to use during the performances.  The final picture is a shot of our "Storyteller" sitting next to the day and night scenes that were created collaboratively by all students together. 

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.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Swinging Ahead...

The upcoming weeks in Room 108 will be full of student projects that demand student thought, preparation, and application, among other skills.  Two major projects, in addition to the poetry theme mentioned in the previous post, include the planning and construction of a skyscraper and a travel log students will fill out as they use self-made passports to take virtual trips around the world!

Skyscrapers are a fascination to many around the globe.  Living close to Chicago makes these gigantic constructions more than just a ponderance of one's imagination, rather a reality of everyday life.  Given the close proximately of architectural feats such as the Willis [Sears], John Hancock, and Trump towers, a project has been started in collaboration with our 4th Grade Buddies, to learn about, design, and construct individual skyscrapers to create a Room 108 Skyline!  PBS has a great website about skyscrapers and has served as a support for the planning of this project.  I posted a video below with a collection of the world's tallest skyscrapers.  Some of the buildings have yet to be constructed completely.  Students were asked to use these designs as inspiration and research for the architectural rendering of their own models.

Check back for future posts about student passports, virtual travel around the globe and The Great Ball Game.  As part of our social studies learnings about cultures and citizenship, students will spend time exploring different geographical corners of the globe.  There's so much out to explore!  If you have any suggestions for destinations or kid friendly travel sites, please share in a comment below.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Time in April

April is poetry month and there is no better way to get into poetry than to read it... and write it!  There are plenty of ways to get started with both.  Poets like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky are two household names in Room 108 and their books are available in our school library and the local Oak Park Public Library.  Other great authors are out there too!  Scholastic has a great poetry website to get you and/or your child exploring the wonderful world of poetry.  Keep your eyes open for student poetry and poems!