Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hands on with How-To Writing

This was an awesome week of writing! These writers are eating up how-to writing and are surprising me at every turn with their inventiveness and precision. 

This week I brought in my toothbrush and toothpaste. I told the kiddos that I had never brushed my teeth before (gross) and I needed their help to teach me how. The first response was "Put the toothpaste on your toothbrush." So, I literally put the tube of toothpaste on my brush. We were illustrating the importance of detailed steps that are specific. It was funny to hear their responses and also the writing that followed this experience. 

On Thursday, Mr. Davis came into our classroom and taught us how-to surf! The kiddos helped Mr. Davis edit his piece and then we practiced in the classroom. We are so lucky to have the integration of many specialists in our building to help our learning flourish!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fabulous February

Stay up to date with our February calendar. 

Mission of Addition

How exciting that our number sense has brought us to learning about addition! We have been introduced to two friends: "Squeakel the Equal" and "Gus the Plus". By starting with equal we defined it to mean "the same" or "balanced". We discussed that in order for something to be equal both sides have to be balanced. Gus the Plus is the symbol for addition which means "putting things together, counting up." When we see the plus sign we know that he numbers are going to be put together and will get greater. 

We began this exploration by looking at combinations of five. We began to see the patterns in addition and how we have to keep it balanced to equal five. We then explored combinations of six. With unifix cubes and partners, students created different ways to show six. We then completed an awesome product which illustrates the work we did. 

While this process may seem slow, understanding these concepts is incredibly important as we continue to grow and evolve as mathematicians. 

Day one of exploration. 

Day two with our written product. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

How-To Writing Begins!

What a celebration we had this morning! We celebrated our "graduation" from narrative writing to a new unit! Coming home today will be any writing students had left in his/her folder from narrative writing. Please celebrate this awesome work with your student. We marched up, received a round of applause, and proceeded to clean out our folders all to the tune on Pomp and Circumstance (the graduation march). We then celebrate with Celebrat Good Times and a dance party before settling in to "how-to". 


We then settled in and explored some how-to books and noticed different text features like steps, labels, and real, non-fiction images. This was an awesome introduction. The conversations students had were terrific. We then started our brainstorming sheet to get our brains thinking about what we are experts on or what we could teach someone. Stay tuned for more to come!

Blending and Segmenting

Literacy and reading has really taken off on our Safari! Last week we unpacked "segmenting" (taking apart words into sounds) and "blending" (putting sounds together). Students worked at varied levels on these skills by completing a neat activity (coming home soon). This is a great way for beginning readers to show their reading skills. I would encourage you to practice these skills at home too as it is a huge part of our kindergarten phonics skill building. It is a great way to improve writing and reading automaticity. 

MLK and Sharing Dreams

In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day we learned about the history of this iconic and inspiring man in history. We discussed character traits and they types of things that MLK did for our country and for human rights. We brainstormed different dreams that we have for our world, country, school... Nothing was too big! I loved hearing the thoughtful responses. The student dreams adorn our door as a reminder that there is never a dream that we can't achieve so long as we are committed and passionate!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wood Science

Our newest unit of study in science is all about wood! After having studied trees, the next logical step would be to look at a product of trees. We began by examining five diff to types of wood: redwood, pine, basswood (linden trees), plywood (sandwich board) and particle board. We observed simaliarites, differences, defining characteristics of each example. With the help of Christy the Carpenter students used magnifying glasses to get up close and personal. 

After understanding some basic features of wood we took our experiments to the next level. First we had to find out if wood sinks or floats. To the surprise of most, wood floats! We discussed that no matter how big the piece of wood it would float with the right amount of water. Now the challenge! Using problem based learning, I gave the scientists rubber bands, paper clips, a tub of water, and three pieces of wood and within their group of three students had to problem solve a way to "sink the boat". I was amazed by the team work, collaboration and ingenuity! We then reported our results. It was an awesome experiment and adventure!  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Writers Label

This week we have begun our final narrative for this unit of Writer's Workshop. Students used a clear planning sheet to plan first, next, and last. It is so easy and transparent for students to then move into their own piece page by page. 

We have also been working on finger spaces between words, using vowels in every word, and labeling our pictures. I am so impressed with the growth of these wonderful writers!

Conferencing with a partner. 

Planning sentences. 

Lots of labels. 

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone has adjusted well to being back in action. This week has been super productive as you will see in posts to follow. As we approach the second half of the year our expectations become a little higher and our goals a little loftier. 

One thing that is changing a bit is our literacy focus. While we have begun working on Stretchy Snake we haven't quite taken it to the full "blending" and "segmenting". A major component of these skills is identifying word families. Now that we have learned all of our consonants and vowel sounds we are able to blend word families a little easier. This also lends into our next reading strategy of "Chunky Monkey". 

In math we are moving into 3D shapes, addition, and basic place value. Math has taken on a Daily 5 model lately where students select the activity that will help them with their math goal the best. During this time I am able to pull small, focused groups to extend and/or reinforce skills. 

One other major component of this month will be improving our quality work. We will be building a rubric that is transparent for students to measure his/her work. I love this time of year as I see such growth and development. 

Don't forget that in order for students to play in the snow you need boots, snow pants, mittens/gloves, hat, and coat. Also, students should bring a change of shoes as boots are tough to sit in all day. 

No school Friday 1/15 or Monday 1/18. 
Math Club 1/13 
Mrs. Marsden is out 1/22.