Daily Schedule

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Have a Wonderful Summer!

Wishing every classroom family a fun-filled and relaxing summer. Thank you for a truly lovely year.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Importance of Traditions - Creating Classroom Identity, Memories, and Community

Over the years teaching here at Summers-Knoll, little traditions naturally get created. Some stick around for just a couple of years, and some seem to be woven in for good. While our themes and projects keep things fresh, the little trips we take or special treats we have - these are things that children count on happening and look forward to with great anticipation. It becomes part of our identity, in a way - and by sharing these special events, we become closer somehow.

Today, a 5th grader came up to me and said, "I miss being in your class." I thanked her and said that was very sweet of her to say so. She added, "Yes, for two reasons. One, you were always very kind to everyone. and two, you let us have peppermint gum when we wrote." (Then she not too subtly asked me for a piece of gum, which was denied, but I still hope her compliment was somewhat genuine.) So, even a tiny ritual like giving the students a piece of peppermint chewing gum during writing workshop time becomes part of our special identity, and something that may be remembered years later.

Other traditions that have "stuck" - shopping for material at JoAnn Fabric Store and making our own pillows, berry picking, Read to Feed, Flea Market, the Raptor Project ("Bake Sale for the Birdies"), the cookie cottages before winter break, making our own spring cleaning spray, Poem in Pocket tea party, and so much more!

This morning we had one of our favorites - the annual AUCTION! Each child spent their $80.00 classroom auction bucks with a lot of gusto - and now our classroom is a lot cleaner, and your houses may be a little messier. But just one more item for the children's "memory banks." I hope they remember so many, many wonderful things about first and second grade - these are such sweet years, aren't they?



Saturday, June 9, 2018

Learning about Braille - Thank you, Roger Chard!

The last time Nels’s “mormor” and partner Roger came to visit, Roger read a special book that was printed in Braille. He was also kind enough to supply each child with a sheet of special paper with the Braille alphabet, plus all of our names printed out. This was enough to spark SO MANY QUESTIONS from our curious students! How was this done? Did it take a long time? What kinds of machines were used? Where they expensive? And lots more besides.

Roger and Maurita were kind enough to promise another visit, this time bringing some of the materials and machines used to print in Braille, and also to demonstrate how Roger often listens to books. We listened to text at various speeds to learn that we could, with practice, train our ears to gather information at a faster pace.



We learned the first boards and slates had 34 cells in a line. They were pretty heavy and kind of clunky to carry around.  After looking at that one, we then saw this little one - only 28 cells, and it doesn't need a board.    
Here Roger is showing us a manual Braille typewriter. 
We also saw several books, include one volume of the dictionary. The complete set has 72 volumes!

After they left, I read a sweet picture book to learn even more about Braille, and about the young inventor/innovator named Louis. This charming book called Six Dots, written by Jen Bryant, is a lovely addition for my shelves – I’m happy to have an excuse to purchase it. It was exciting for the students to see the very boards, slates, and styluses that Roger had us handle illustrated in the pages of the book! And I think children always love to hear about inventors who were children themselves. In the author’s note, Bryant states: “In the past several centuries, no one so young has developed something that has had such a lasting and profound impact on so many people.” It really is remarkable.


Many, many thanks to Roger and Maurita for another wonderful visit. We hope they come back again next year!

Final Day of Math Class - Always a Crackin' Good Time!


Our culminating event for our probability studies was the much anticipated "egg roulette.” This was originally inspired by Jimmy Fallon, and the way he and some of his guest stars have done battles over the years with hard boiled and raw eggs. On Thursday, I showed one of these clips to my math students with Jimmy and Anna Kendrick. (You can watch it by clicking the link above!) Over the years, this has become a way to celebrate the final day of math class. It is always a lot of fun. Many thanks to Jason for taking some great pictures!

We started with twelve eggs, blown out and cleaned. Four of these eggs had flour put in them. All eggs looked the same, so you couldn't tell by looking which was which.

The children took turns smashing an egg on their head. Before doing so, we figured out together the percentage chance of them getting a "floured" one. For instance, the first contestant, me, had a 4 out of 12, or 33.33% chance of getting a messy head. The children decided it was POSSIBLE, but not very likely. And, whew! I did escape unscathed.






After each time, we discussed if the chances of getting a loaded egg had increased or decreased. Then we checked the percentage, and BLAM! Another egg cracked! 

Math class has been so wonderful this year - these children bring their A game to school each morning. They're bright, hard-working, and ALWAYS ready for some fun. They made me laugh every single day, and I became a better math teacher because of them.