Classroom Notes – May 4, 2016

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This week we are reading two nonfiction pieces about early inventors. The first is a biography about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone. The second is a Scholastic News article about Ben Franklin and his invention of the lightning rod. We are working on the skills of identifying the problem and solution, and identifying factual information in a piece of writing.

The kids are finishing up their All About writing projects. They have been working hard for the last two weeks at planning, writing, editing, and illustrating these books. They will be available for viewing soon.

In math we are finishing up our mini-geometry unit with some shape riddles. We will begin our last unit The Farm next week. This is a very hands on unit and any extra parent/grandparent support is helpful. We will be working Monday – Thursdays from 2:00-2:45 if you have a free afternoon throughout the month of May. Hope to see you soon!

I will be sending home docent sign-ups later this week (once I’m back from this sickness!) There will be 4 time slots – 20 minutes each (6-7:30). We will be reviewing our work and preparing for this important job next week. It is always such a fun night – the kids just love dressing up and showing off their amazing work!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – April 27, 2016

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This week we are exploring basic fractions. We are cutting imaginary sandwiches and pizzas into halves and fourths. The kids had many great observations including “you can cut it horizontally or vertically and you still get halves” and the “fourths are smaller than halves even though the number 4 is bigger than the number 2.” We will be working on this all week and then we be on to our last unit of the year – the Farm unit. This final unit focuses on money, place value, and mapping.

Our main selection this week is a nonfiction piece called Simple Machines. This is an interesting piece that introduces the lever, inclined plane, axle, and pulley. We used a strategy of “one important word” to help us focus on the main ideas and details of this nonfiction piece. Students picked one word from each section that helped them to better understand the important information- for example, heavy helped us to better understand that a crowbar, a kind of lever, can help move a heavy object. The kids did a great job with this strategy.

We continue to write our All About books. We have written an opening “definitions” page and started work on a  “kinds of…” page. Next we’ll delve into more details about our topics. We have been working hard to get some art work ready for Art Night, as well. I will be sending home details about being a docent next week. Save the date Thursday, May 12th – it will be a fun night!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – April 19, 2016

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In addition to working with various pattern block games, we are exploring solid, or 3-dimensional, shapes this week. We are looking at “nets” (the configuration of the faces of an unfolded shape) and predicting whether or not they will fold up into cubes and pyramids. Solving these spatial puzzles is a lot of fun and the kids are enjoying it.

In writing, we are working on All About pieces. The kids have chosen a topic they know quite a bit about – enough to write a small book. After reading several examples of All About books we charted the features that we noticed that helped organize this genre. We noticed that they sometimes: sound like a narrative with a lot of facts; ask questions of the reader; have labeled diagrams; and pictures with captions. The kids have each chosen a topic and started webbing the details they plan to include in their book. Next we will plan the order of our sub-sections and start writing our books. Illustrations and editing will come last.

In literacy, our spelling pattern this week is the /oo/ of book and the /oo/ of pool. We are sorting, word searching, and alphabetizing. We also worked on retelling the story Dot and Jabber and the Acorn Mystery.

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – April 12, 2016

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We have some new critters in the classroom! On Monday we started our mealworm study by each adopting two mealworms. We settled them into their habitats and fed them some potato and bran. For the next 6-8 weeks we will observe these insects as they go through their life cycle. We will be drawing and writing in our science journals to document the changes we see week to week.

We also started a new math unit this week in which we will work with shapes and their defining attributes. We will be identifying, naming, sorting, and comparing and contrasting shapes and working to define their defining characteristics more thoroughly.

In literacy, our main section this week is the story Mole and the Baby Bird by Marjorie Newman. We are working with the /ou/ sound (as in ouch!) and writing letters in the voices of the characters Mole or baby Bird. We will also be reading some nonfiction pieces on insects and ants. We will be working to find the main idea and key details, as well as using visuals and vocabulary.

Finally, we had to cancel our art installation last week. We will be rescheduling with the artist soon and will be in need of a few volunteers to help out. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks!

Cheers!

Classroom Notes – April 5, 2016

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We have had a fun week so far. On Monday our Right Brain Artist Karie Oakes worked with the class to glaze our butterflies. These beautiful critters will be installed in the Lewis Learning garden. We are looking for a few helpers to come by school this Friday, April 8th from 10:00 – 12:00 to help glue legs and perching sticks to the butterflies, and then to help install them in the garden. It will a great way for these fabulous first graders to leave their mark at Lewis! Let me know if you are available to help for an hour or two (kids could come too, if needed).

On Tuesday, Ms. Redmond brought LittleBits to our classroom. LittleBits are electronic building blocks that connect to power lights, fans, spinners, and more. The kids collaborated, created, problem solved, laughed, marveled and beamed with pride, as well as came up with some fabulous creations such as the Nose Tickler.

In between all of this fun we have been working on third quarter math assessments, writing and editing a letter from Antarctica, and working with pronouns. On Thursday, we will have a visit from the Friends of Trees organization. We will be learning about the trees on the Lewis grounds and making paper. We will be making paper from 9:00- 10:15 and could use a parent helper or two. Let me know if you are available and interested! (It really takes a village this week…)

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – March 30, 2016

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Welcome back! Spring is here! We have a busy week planned. In math, we are learning about the chinstrap and emperor penguins and playing a host of games to practice our adding and subtracting skills. The games focus on strategies for doubles, making teen-numbers with with of 10’s and 9’s, as well as recognizing double-digit numbers. Ask your kiddo if they can remember the Doubles Rap.

In literacy, our main story is called Tippy-Toe Chick, Go! In it an unlikely character has a clever idea to help solve a problem. We are working on our 5 Finger Retelling skills (character, setting, beginning, middle, and end) as well as the /ow/ and /ou/ spelling pattern. We are also reviewing some of the earlier spelling patterns that we have worked on throughout the year.

We have a 3-demonstional art project in the works that will be displayed in the glass-case in the north hallway in April. We are having a lot of fun with this project.

On Tuesday, we had a visit from Ms. Redmond and Ms. Kathleen. The kids looked for signs of spring and insects in the garden, and worked in teams to create a strong solid figure with toothpicks and gummies. They had a great time and worked so responsibly and respectfully with their partners in planning and building their structures! Bravo!

Finally, next Monday, April 4th, our clay artist Karie Oakes will be back to help us glaze our butterflies. On Friday, April 8th, (no school – teacher planning day for report cards) she will return install these critters in the garden. We could use a couple of parent helpers for both days. Monday April 4th – 12:30 – 2:00, and Friday from 10:00-12:00. Friday’s time is still flexible – let me know if you are interested in helping either day!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – March 15, 2016

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It’s a busy week! On Monday our clay artist Karie Oakes came to work with us. We hand-built butterflies out of clay. We learned some new vocabulary (slab, coil, slip) and some new techniques. Everyone was very successful and had a great time! A big Thank You to Bella’s family for their help on this project! We will have a second session in April to glaze our beautiful creatures. We will need a few more helpers – so look for the sign-up after Spring Break.

On Tuesday, we had a great time at the Rice Rock Museum. The museum was amazing! We saw rocks from outer space, rocks that glow, rocks with fossils, gem stones, petrified wood, and much more! Before heading back to school, each student got to choose a rock from the museum’s rock pile to bring home. Back at school we shared our rocks with each other and why we had chosen them.

On Wednesday, we will learn about a two more penguins – the Little Blue and the Gentoo. We will be comparing and contrasting them, as well as measuring their lengths and weights. On Thursday, we will see Ms. Redmond and Ms. Kathleen in the morning for gardening and technology, and in the afternoon we’ll see a preview of the Lewis school play A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream. Don’t forget to get your tickets. It’s a great way to kick off Spring Break!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

For pictures of classroom happenings: https://twitter.com/sjamesbarry