Monday, October 31, 2016

November Calendar

Please make sure you bring your coat, hat, mittens, and cool weather clothes to school everyday! Don't forget to check the calendar for important and upcoming events.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Brady and Mr. Davis

Mr. Davis, our speech and language pathologist, is a huge part of our classroom. Often I will call upon him to help us especially during writing! Mr. Davis has a friend named "Brady". Brady is a character! This week Mr. Davis came in to work with us on creating characters and expressing how characters feel when writing.

This comes at a perfect time in our writing unit. We are currently working on developing a story with multiple pages. Students are hard at work on stretching out sounds, using labels in pictures, and adding more than one event to their stories. It is an awesome process to watch unfold!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Writing tools and labeling

Earlier in the week we were introduced to our writing folders. These awesome tri-fold offices provide us with lots of information and help keep our writing organized. The students were experts at using their folders and are excited to have their own office space.

Today we learned how labels can enhance our writing. By using a very brave volunteer we started labeling a person. We talked about how if we had more detail, the better it would be and the more information the reader will have. We then took it to our writing. 

Pumpkin Science

Scientist Log Day 1:
Today we asked the question "how tall is our pumpkin?" We followed the scientific method to try to measure and make a conclusion for how tall our pumpkin is. First we observed the pumpkin and thought about what we notice. Next we made cube towers to show our hypothesis of how tall the pumpkin is. We then tested our hypotheses and found that our pumpkin is 14 cubes tall. 




Scientist Log Day 2:
Today our scientists took to the scientific method again by hypothesizing the circumference of our class pumpkin. First we talked about what circumference mean; the distance around. We then observed our pumpkin. Next we used yarn to guess how long of a piece of string we would need to go all the way around the pumpkin touching end to end. We identified the terms "greater than", "less than" and "equal to" in order to understand that sometimes we are over or under on our hypotheses. All but one hypothesis (which belonged to Mr. Jeff Davis, speech pathologist) were greater than! We then measured to get the exact string size. As scientists we are now reporting our results on the blog and hope to chat with you at home about this experiment. 

Scientist Log Day 3:
What an exciting day in the science lab! Today we tested a new pumpkin science question: Will the pumpkin sink or float? We gathered information by holding and observing the pumpkin. We then collected our class' hypotheses by going around the room and surveying each other.

We also made a large class graph of our hypotheses. The majority of our class believe the pumpkin would sink. We then tested that hypothesis in our lab. By placing our pumpkin in a giant tub of water we found that the pumpkin... FLOATS! When asked why the pumpkin floated the young scientists came up with some amazing responses! I was so impressed by their deep, scientific thinking.

We then completed our data sheet by filling in what we actually observed. We also drew a conclusion: Pumpkins float! Please ask us about our experiment because scientists must report their results!

Scientist Log Day 4: 
On Friday we took our pumpkin science learning to the next level! We cut open our pumpkin and explored all the parts of the pumpkin. After we learned the different parts of the pumpkin earlier this week we became pumpkin science experts. We used our Scholastic Let's Find Out magazine to learn about the pumpkin life cycle. We then cut open out pumpkin through rind. We reached in and grabbed ahold of the pulp and the seeds! We then observed the pulp and seeds through the magnifying glasses, used tweezers, and even tested the parts in the water. When we were all cleaned up we discussed our observations. It was an awesome/messy day!

Scarecrow Contest Info

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Buddy Bench

The Buddy Bench is now out on our Pond Cove playground! The Buddy Bench is a way for students who may not have someone to play with to find someone! A student sits on the bench and another student may notice and come invite that kiddo to play. This wonderful resource helps us continue to build community and friendships. To read more about the Buddy Bench and other wonderful things happening in guidance and around Pond Cove please check out Mrs. Gallagher's blog!

Monday, October 3, 2016

We are Scientists

Our first unit in science is "What is a science?" This guiding question ties in many important components of science that will be super beneficial throughout the year. We brainstormed what is a scientist and what is science. The students came up with terrific responses. We are narrowed it down to scientists draw and write, ask questions, notices details, counts, sorts, tests, experiments, thinks, and has fun! All of these things are things that we do every single day making us perfect scientists! We also drew ourselves as a scientist we would want to be; volcanologist, zoologist, botanist, etc. I am always so excited when the students show such an enthusiasm and energy for science!

The next piece of this unit was to explore science tools. Using four centers we got a chance to use four different science tools; magnifying glass, dropper, tweezers and safe goggles, and a microscope. They were psyched! This hands on and engaging lesson was both meaningful and super helpful to our budding scientists who will access these tools throughout the school year.

Later this week we will learn about the scientific method and start some pumpkin science! 

Daily Five Takes Shape

During literacy we love choice! Daily Five is a reading program that utilizes student choice and focused, differentiated practice. To put it in the actual words of the Daily Five program:

"Students select from five authentic reading and writing choices, working independently toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferring. These choices include
  • Read to Self,
  • Work on Writing,
  • Read to Someone,
  • Listen to Reading, and
  • Word Work.
Teachers tell us their Daily 5 classrooms produce productive, highly engaged students who are developing a true love of literacy. 

The benefits of The Daily 5 for teachers and schools include the following:
  • students develop independence, stamina, and accountability;
  • less time consumed by classroom management leaves more for instruction;
  • the framework adapts flawlessly to district-adopted curriculums and state mandates;
  • improves schoolwide literacy achievement; and
  • behaviors of independence transfer to other content areas."
[Adapted from]

Our Daily Five model always consists of a "have-to", something students must complete during their rotation. Rather than doing five rotations we do three. During this time I pull groups of students to "work with the teacher". This precious 12-15 minutes is when most direct and differentiated instruction occurs. In order for these meetings to occur and function at a high level students are explicitly taught what their job is during each of the choices. They are also taught what the teacher's job is during that time. 

To begin we discussed "Good Fit Books". A good fit book is when you like it, it fits you, and it helps you. Using the book Dog in Boots I illustrated how good fit books are a lot like good fit shoes. Students filled their book buckets with four good fit selections from our library. We also have been making our own good fit books which get added to our bucket every week. 

This past week we focused on what read to self, the most difficult of all the choices, looks like and sounds like. By using a "Ryan the Reader" anchor chart we outlined the student and teacher jobs. We talked about how this is a team and if the teacher or student isn't doing their job then the whole thing falls apart! Then we read an amazing mentor text Dex The Heart of a Hero. Through this awesome book we learned about building stamina. Stamina is building our muscles and the muscles we are trying to grow is our reading muscles! Through a little "Eye of the Tiger" and a some deep focus, we began graphing our stamina. Each day we will grow and grow and so will our graph. 

Later this week we will be introducing word work another component of Daily Five.