Classroom Notes – April 15, 2015

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This week we kicked off our Spring geometry unit by playing a fun game called Last Shape In Wins. It sounds simple, and it is, until you try to outwit your partner to be in the position to place the last piece. Along with this game, which uses our four basic pattern blocks -triangle, rhombus, trapezoid, and hexagon, we are creating pattern block puzzles by arranging the same pieces in various ways to fill a shape. Then we are comparing how many pieces each pattern takes, noticing how and why it varies. This is a fun unit and nice break from the paper pencil math we have been doing lately.

Our lead story this week is called Tippy-Toe Chick, Go! This week our story focus is on the problem and solution. We will be using the sentence form “Somebody, Wanted Something, But, So…” to summarize the story. We will also be using the narrative writing form “First, Next, Then, Finally” to write about the plot. Both of these are great ways to help your child at home as well. Simply ask them to use either form to briefly retell the story.

We are putting the finishing touches on the All About Books and will be reading them with Teacher Dana’s kindergarteners later this week. Having a real audience helps to motivate the kids to do their personal best! Then they will be coming home. Finally, we have been working hard on our second Art Night project. We’ll keep that one under wraps for a while, yet.

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – April 7, 2015

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This week we are reading the silly story Henry and Mudge and Mrs. Hopper’s House. Henry and Mudge is one of my favorite early “chapter books.’ The kids enjoy them too. Our word work focus is the /oo/ sound in moon, and the suffixes    -ful and -ly. We are also learning to match up cause and effect sentences, as well as listening and looking for them in our reading.

In math we are working on third quarter assessments – revisiting our ever growing bank of mathematical skills. The kids are doing a great job showing what they know! We will be starting a geometry unit next week. The kids will have a chance to work with 2- and 3- dimensional shapes.

Work on All About Books continues during Writer’s Workshop. We have experts on many things- from Arizona to turtles, deserts to Minecraft. After editing them with a partner we will be sharing these gems with Teacher Dana’s kindergarteners!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – April 1, 2015

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Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful time on Spring break. It’s always nice to have time with friends and family. We were lucky enough to  spend a little time in the snow and sun. Now, it’s back to work! The first two weeks of April we will be wrapping up our third quarter units with some assessments, and then we will be gearing up for Art Night in May!

Our main selection story this week is Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. A fabulous example of both personal narrative and cut paper collage art. Our purpose while reading this story is to take a closer look at how Peter’s emotions change throughout the story. We are looking at what actions, thoughts, and words the author included to help the reader better understand the character and story. We will also be working on compound word and the many long u sound spellings (ew, ue, ui, oo).

In math we will be wrapping up our penguin unit with a few final activities, counting by 2’s, and working on solving some story problems. Next week we will be moving into our Spring geometry unit.

In writing we will be working on our All About books, focusing on editing our work for correct sight word spellings, as well as punctuation and capitalization.

If you haven’t visited the new classroom twitter site I encourage you to take a look for daily pictures of classroom happenings at https://twitter.com/SJamesbarry.

Cheers!

Ms. Jamesbarry

Classroom Notes – March 17, 2015

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Our class trip to the Rice Rock museum was a great success. The kids were amazed by the many different kinds of rocks and crystals the museum had on display. They also enjoyed picnicking in the museum’s garden, but most of all, the kids had a great time choosing a special rock from the rock pile. With so many to choose from it was challenging to find the right one. We shared our finds when we got back at school. It was great fun to see what each child chose – big, small, crystals, agates, smooth, rough, heavy, light…

We are wrapping up two units this week – our science unit on Rocks, Sand, and Silt and our Penguin Math unit on measurement. We have had fun learning about and comparing six different species of penguins. We were amazed to learn that smallest penguin, the Little Blue, weighs only 2-3 pounds compared to the largest penguin, the Emperor, which can weigh up to 100 pounds! We also had fun observing and experimenting with rocks, sand, and silt. We learned at lot about how to classify rocks based on their size.

This Thursday afternoon we will be attending a preview of the Lewis school play Jack and the Three Sillies. These performances are always fun. Tickets are on sale in the office and online if your family is interested in coming back Thursday or Friday evening to see a public performance.

Lastly, I have started posting pictures on a Twitter account  at https://twitter.com/SJamesbarry. Subscribe and check out daily classroom happenings.

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – March 9, 2015

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Alas, we will be heading off to the Rice Rock Museum early on Friday. Thank you volunteers! Thank you for answering my call – I couldn’t do it with out you. If you are packing a home lunch – please consider packing it a paper bag and other recyclable trash to help with ease, space, and lost items. Thanks!

We are having great fun as scientists this week. The kids are actively observing, screening, and identifying river rock. Their task is to figure out what actually makes up the material known as river rock. They are screening it and identifying the materials, as well as hypothesizing how it came to be that way.

In math, we continue our investigation of penguins by documenting each penguin’s height and weight, as well as other special identifying attributes. This week the kids will also start creating a bank of penguin questions for an upcoming game of Penguin Jeopardy. Each group will be responsible for writing several questions on an assigned penguin.

We have started focusing our writing on All About books. The kids are picking topics that they know a lot about – Room 3 experts, so to speak. Chatting with your child about ideas and topics that are of interest to them will help them be more successful.

Finally, I am looking for volunteers to help with some prep work. The upcoming Spring math curriculum includes a Farm unit which requires a lot of prep work. I would love to get some volunteers to help cut out some of our necessary pieces. Using the paper cutter at school is probably easiest, but taking the work home is also an option. Let me know if you are interested and have the time in the next month to work on this. We will need the pieces by mid-April. Thanks!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – March 3, 2015

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Happy March! Our rock unit is in full swing in the classroom. We have observed, sort, described, and thoroughly examined our volcanic rocks and river rocks. In addition to our classwork and upcoming field trip the kids can start, or add to, a rock collection at home. This is optional, fun extension to our science unit. We will bring our rock collections in the week of March 16 – 20th to share with the class. We will be observing, sharing, and comparing them. The rocks will come home and won’t be “experimented” on, but please make sure nothing too special is sent in just as a precaution. I would hate for a favorite rock to go missing.

In math we have learned about our first penguin, the Rockhopper. The kids were surprised to find out how small it is – only 18 inches high and 5-6 pounds.  This is much smaller then most of us imagined! We have a lot of weight comparisons to make between the various types of penguins and it would be helpful to have a scale in the classroom. If you have an old scale we could borrow for the next few weeks – let me know! Thanks!

The kids did a fantastic job on their first spelling test last week! Keep up the great work! Now the key is to make sure we are remembering them in our writing!

Our Rice Rock Museum trip is next Friday. I still have room for 2 chaperones. This is a wonderful trip with some amazing rocks to view.  We need plenty of hands-on-deck, so to speak, to make it successful. Please let me know if you are able to come ASAP. Thanks!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – Feb. 24, 2015

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We had a fantastic time on our field trip to to see The Jungle Book at the Northwest Children’s Theatre. It was filled with traditional Indian dances and fantastic performances, including one by a former Lewis student!

We have been exploring the world of rocks. We have conducted two experiments so far. For our first experiment we rubbed two rocks together and found that we could create rock dust. Next we put the rocks in water and were amazed that some of the rocks gave off bubbles, and that we could now see some colorful details. We used our “Rock Word Bank” to describe our rocks today – using adjectives to tell about their shape, color, size, and texture.

This week we are reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. We are exploring how the main character changes throughout the story, as well as the themes of the story. We decided two possible themes might be that anyone can be an artist, and that you should believe in yourself. We are also doing our own dot paintings inspired by the book.

Finally, the class will have their first spelling test on Friday. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Ms. Sarah