Daily Schedule

Saturday, October 20, 2018

This Week in Review - October 15 - 19

                                     This information is also found in Walter's weekly email:

After a no-school day on Monday, students were excited to get back into the swing of things on things on Tuesday. It was a very brisk day, but sunny – the perfect day for a Fall nature hike with our naturalist at County Farm Park, Kelsey. While we were there, we identified many different types of leaves.

In our math group, we are continuing our work through 1001 Things to Spot in the Sea. Students are finding that it takes careful work with the materials, and double-checking with their figures to make sure that each page is counted correctly! We also used our number sense skills to make a good estimation, in hopes of winning a prize! If we guess the number of candy corn contained in a jar at the Dexter Creamery, we may win cups of frozen yogurt! There was a picture of the container posted on their Facebook page, so we each studied it, talked about it, and came up with our best estimation. Wish us luck!  Edit: 1057 turned out to be the exact amount - our estimate was 980. So close!

After reciting and illustrating this week’s poem, a rather lovely one called “The Blackbird,” students looked through all of the poems they have illustrated so far. There have been seven, since this is the seventh week of school. Each child picked out “their best work” to be included in their portfolios. This feeling of pride and self-reflection is an important part of the portfolio process. It also teaches children to be critical curators of their own work, and encourages them to do their “best work” more often. We will do the same with our writing pieces (Memory Books) in a few weeks.

In Science, children played pollination tag! Each child decorated a sheet of paper – one side was a flower with a cotton ball middle (the pollen), and one side was an apple. They held up these pieces of paper with the flower side showing when they tag game started. Two children were the taggers (or the pollinators) – If they tagged you, you needed to give them your pollen, but you could still keep running. If you were tagged a second time, you had to flip your piece of paper over so the apple side showed and sit down. The game ended with all the flowers were pollinated.

Our third EB was this week – in my EB, the Fairy Tale Feasters went up the beanstalk with Jack to meet the Giant. On the way, they made some delicious beans and golden eggs!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Books and Authors We are Currently Loving

I thought I'd share a few books and authors we are currently enjoying very much in the classroom and during library read-alouds. Our chapter book, Winnie the Pooh, is great for snuggly longer reads, but sometimes a great picture book is just what the doctor ordered. We also love to have books to enjoy on our own or with friends during quiet reading time. Here they are:

* Practically ANYthing by Robert Munsch. I think I have everything this guy ever wrote. The stories are not "great literature" or anything, but they are rollicking good stories to read aloud to a group of young children. They demand to be told again and again, and usually have lots of parts where the audience can participate. Storytellers love Robert Munsch stories - in fact, I heard my first one at a festival, being told, rather than read. We are already planning to do a Readers Theater presentation of a Robert Munsch story at a Friday Morning meeting in the spring!

* Practically ANYthing by William Steig. These stories ARE great literature. William Steig is just an amazing author who never writes "down" to children - his books are full of rich and glorious language. It's amazing to me that he wrote his first children's book at the age of sixty - there's hope for me yet! I've used these in the classroom many times to study story structure - and maybe we will again this year - but mostly we've been picking them up and just reveling in them during library times. Oh! The adventure! Danger! Heroism!

Finally, this isn't about a particular book series or author, but the children have really been enjoying our books on CD this year. Our old system finally conked out and I got a new one from Amazon that was delivered just today. This was good news to all, as we have lots of new books and CDs from our recent Scholastic order that were begging to be listened to. Listening to CDs while looking at the words in books is not only a sweet way to share a book experience with 3 of your best buds, but it also hones reading skills in a real way.

And there you have it - just three of our current favorites. I'll keep you posted as children discover more and more delights as the year goes on.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fall Nature Walk with Kelsey

In 2002, Richard Louv wrote a book called Last Child in the Woods. Have you read it? In it, he talks about how disconnected from the natural world many of today’s children are. Louv argues for a return to appreciation of the natural world, and speaks to how it teaches children science, increases creativity, and supplies the world with future advocates. It is so therapeutic for attention deficit, depression, and obesity.

We are so lucky to be next door to County Farm Park, “our” park. We are also very lucky to be close to Kelsey, who is the naturalist who has worked with us over the past several years. She has been talking our groups of first and second graders three times a year to discover and re-discover the land as it travels through the seasons. Kelsey is also great about working in our themes whenever possible. This time, it was easy – nature exploration was a “natural” tie-in!

These are NOT nature-deprived children!

Since we’ve been working specifically with leaves in recent days, Kelsey took us on a tour of some of the beautiful fall trees. We identified several leaves – silver maple vs sugar maple, oak leaves, and the northern catalpa. Learning different terminology, like lobe and sinus, is fun for children and makes them feel like real scientists.

If you are interested in learning more about the book cited, and about things you as parents can do, click here.

Friday, October 12, 2018

This Week in Review - October 8 - 12

                                This information is also found in Walter's weekly email:

This was a rare week in the 1st and 2nd grade in that we stayed close to home! We kept busy working on our various projects and the routines we have established.

On Monday, for our Exploration Theme, our naturalists collected various colorful leaves from our playground. We pressed them under very heavy books to make them dry and flat. Then, on Thursday, with great anticipation we unveiled them and spread them all over the library floor. Children picked out 5 or 6 of their favorites and spread Mod Podge on both sides, put covered wire through them, and hung the wires up. Our “installation” is very reminiscent of the Rebecca Louise Law room in Toledo – she would be so proud! (Please check both art pieces up – ours is in our front porch area, while Grace’s students’ is on their metal structure in their room.)

Our weekly routines continue with our two Special Readers, Evan and Kalyan – their first turn to shine. 

We also worked on our skills in reciting a poem (all by myself, all together, and with a partner), illustrating the poem to reflect its meaning and mood, listening to our chapter book, solving mystery messages, and writing in our memory books. Our spelling is coming along nicely as well, with Spelling-Go-Round on Monday, and the spelling challenge on Friday. Shaving cream made for a fun addition this week!

In math, we continue working and playing with our broad theme of number sense/place value. We are up to the ten-millions place in our high-number game, and we also have started a book project using 1001 Things to Spot in the Sea (see previous blog post).

In Science Lab with Shan we reflected back on what we learned last week when Rebecca Murray visited. Children wrote and drew thank you notes in the form of a little “all about bees” book. 

Also on a science note, we are learning more about our wiggling worms by the day-to-day care of these wonderful little creatures. They seem to love apple cores and mushy bananas.

EBs continue this week – in my EB, children continued on the adventures in Fairy Tale land with Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We made and packed a picnic (potato salad, deviled eggs, bread, and fruit), and headed off with a blanket to grandma’s house.  

How can school be such fun?