Saturday, March 23, 2013

And the Winner is...

We have read many great books this school year!  In order to choose a Wassbery Award winner I narrowed down our read-alouds to two chapter books...School Days According to Humphrey and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Then students went through a thinking routine called Tug of War.  First, turn and talk partners worked together to write why each book was a great book on a sticky note.  Next, we sat at the carpet together to share our thinking.  Through this process, students were required to explain their thinking.  A child's opinion of one book may have been changed by hearing the various "tugs" of a particular book.  Then, turn and talk partners had a conversation about each book, deciding which one was their favorite.  Finally, partners worked together to write their thinking why the book they chose was a great book.  Eight partners chose The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and four partners chose School Days According to Humphrey.  A couple of examples of student work are below.

Visible Thinkers

This week we have tried a few new thinking routines in Room 8.  First, we tried Compass Points in computer lab.  I told students about our class blog and told them I plan to have them post comments to some of my posts on the blog.  I asked them to share their thinking on this idea of posting their thoughts on our blog.  The Compass Points routine has a set of four questions that students were asked to respond to.  I asked the class to respond to at least two questions.  I thought the students did a pretty good job posting comments to the blog for our first time!  I'm anxious to see how much our thinking improves by June.  Take a look at the "Compass Points" post and your child's comments below.

After reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, I asked the students to "step inside" the character of Edward.  At the end of the story, Edward is reunited with his original owner, Abilene, after many years of separation.  The Step Inside routine asks students to think about the following: What does your character think?, How does your character feel?, What does your character see?, and What does your character do?  Students needed to think beyond the end of the book and write about what they thought Edward would be thinking, feeling, doing next.  Below are a couple of student examples.


We survived Unit 8 of Everyday Math!  I know this was a difficult unit for most students.  The students learned many concepts they aren't developmentally ready for yet.  However, the ground work has been laid for third grade!  At this point students should be able to identify the following:
1. A fraction must have equal parts.

2. The "top" number of a fraction is the number of parts shaded and the "bottom" number of a fraction is the total number of parts.

3. Shade a specific fraction, such as 4/10.
We also learned A LOT about fractions of a set.  If you have a set of 12 cookies, students should be able to identify 1/2 of the set and 3/12 of the set at this time.  They have not yet mastered identifying 1/3 or 1/4 of a set of 12, and that's OK at this point!

Secret Readers

Thank you Mrs. Anton, Mrs. Carlier, and Libby!!  The students look forward to finding out who the secret reader is each day and really enjoy hearing the great books you've read aloud!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Compass Points

E = Excitements.  What excites you about this idea?
W = Worries.  What do you find worrisome about this idea?
N = Needs.  What else do you need to know or find out about this idea?
S = Suggestions.  What suggestions do you have at this point?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Room 8 Update

Reader's & Writer's Workshop
We began our Poetry Unit of Study in both Reader's and Writer's Workshop.  First, we brainstormed what we already know about poetry.  We discussed how you can hear the music in poetry.  Students also learned to pay attention to line breaks.  Understanding line breaks will not only help students read poems the way they are meant to be read but also help students write poems.  I also showed students how to mark text in order to read poetry aloud fluently.  Finally, students learned a couple of ways to write a strong ending to their poems--ending with a sound effect or a strong feeling.

Math Workshop
We have continued to learn more about fractions.  This week we focused on equivalent fractions and fractions of collections.  Students also learned how to play Name that Number.  We played with the deck of cards and on the iPads.

Social Studies
This week we started Chapter 6.  I introduced the chapter with a video clip showing how crayons are made, and students completed a "See, Think, Wonder."  Students have learned how an assembly line can make work faster.  We also learned how goods are transported.  We will finish up this chapter by Tuesday and take the chapter test on Wednesday, March 20.

Secret Readers
Students listened to Diary of a Spider and Horton Hears a Who...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Room 8 Update

Reader's Workshop
We finished up our Character Study Unit this week.  Students' character projects turned out great!  They are displayed in the hall.  We tried a Visible Thinking routine called Headlines.  Students wrote a headline to capture the most important aspect of his/her character.  The headlines are displayed along with the characters.  Students also completed their Character Study packets.  We discussed how characters change over time.  We also investigated our characters by making inferences.  On Friday, students dressed as a character from a book.  Some of the characters in our classroom were...Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy, Greg, Henry, Jack, Thea Stilton, Kai, and Jade.  Students wrote clues about the character they were dressed as to see if others could guess who they were.  We also met characters from Miss Pronovich's and Mrs. Kellett's room.

Writer's Workshop
Rather than using paper and pencil this week, we used iPads everyday for Writer's Workshop.  Students worked on publishing their Pigeon stories as a Keynote Presentation.  They learned how to create a new slideshow, save images and insert into their presentation, insert text, change fonts and colors.  Students had fun creating their Keynote Presentation, and they did a fantastic job!  I'm working on a way to share these digital stories with you.

Math Workshop
We finished up Unit 7 this week.  Many students still have trouble finding the median for a set of data.  They remember the median is the middle number, but they forget to first put the set of numbers in order from least to greatest.  We will continue to work on this in class.  Look for your child's Unit 7 test in his/her homework folder on Monday.  We began Unit 8 Thursday.  I will upload the Unit 8 Family Letter by Monday afternoon.  Students will learn a lot about fractions throughout Unit 8.

This week we reviewed onomatopoeias--words that sound like the sound they make.  Some examples students came up with include: buzz, pow, ding, pop, woof, crackle.  We also took a sound walk.  We walked through the inside of the building and around the outside, listening and recording sounds we heard.  The next day we tried a Visible Thinking routine called Hear, Think, Wonder.  I recorded five of the sounds we had heard on our sound walk under the "Hear" column.  Then students worked in small groups to complete the "Think" and "Wonder" columns.  They brainstormed together to answer two questions--"What do you think is going on?" "What does it make you wonder?"  Some of the best thinking came together at the end during our whole class share.  One of the sounds we think we heard was a chainsaw.  Students many trees were cut down, who is cutting down the trees, why are they cutting down the trees, what will they do with all the trees (build a treehouse, make paper, use it for wood chips for playgrounds).  The thinking routine helped students dig a little deeper and extend their thinking.

Secret Readers 
We had two special secret readers this week.  A big thank you to Julian's grandma and Katie's mom for visiting our classroom this week!  The students enjoyed listening to the stories you read aloud.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Challenge Requires Perseverance

During Math Workshop, some students often finish their work early.  The early finishers are expected to try the math challenge from "the drawer".  Today's challenge was a word problem that had a group of boys stumped.  I listened as they said, "I don't get it."  After a few rounds of "I don't get it," I thought I should intervene.  I explained to the boys that I was not able to solve the problem after reading it the first time or even the second time.  Solving word problems such as this one requires a little perseverance.  I walked the boys through the steps to solve this problem.  I modeled how it helps to reread the problem and draw a picture.  If you feel like your child needs a challenge, work on problems like the one below to get them thinking!

Counting Cookies
There are a total of 52 cookies on 3 plates in my kitchen.  When I take away 14 cookies from the first plate, there are still 7 cookies left on the first plate.
There are 12 cookies on the second plate.
How many cookies are on each plate?
Solve the problem.  Show your work and explain how you solved your problem.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Room 8 Update

Reader's Workshop
This week we started our Character Study Unit.  Students and I worked together to pick a story character they would like to study. They have focused on their character's appearance and personality this week. We have also looked more closely at our character's relationships with other personalities in the books we read. As a class, we are studying the Pigeon character from author Mo Willems. The students and I work together to complete a page from the Character Study packet before completing a page on their own about their character.

Writer's Workshop
We have finished our Authors as Mentors Unit. Students chose a personal narrative from their writing pieces to publish. They've rewritten their personal narrative as a final copy, including revisions and detailed pictures. To go along with our Reader's Workshop Character Study, we have taken a closer look at Mo Willems' writing and his Pigeon character from books such as: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late. Students have begun creating their own version of a Don't Let the Pigeon _______book. I've already heard several great ideas!

Math Workshop
This week we focused on complements of 10, doubling, and halving. I also worked with several students in small groups on two-digit subtraction with regrouping. Please help your child practice this skill at home if you notice they're having trouble. We also played two new games this week--Hit the Target and Basketball Addition.

We began our Sound Unit on Friday.  In small groups, students worked together to record their thinking about sound. They rotated around the room to brainstorm ideas about the following: Sounds We Have Heard, Ways to Make Sound, and What We Wonder About Sound. I was really impressed with the students' thinking! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

March is Reading Month

On Thursday, first and second grade students got together for our March is Reading Month kick-off assembly. This year's theme is Lights, Camera, READ! We told students about all of the exciting plans that will take place this month! We also shared a couple of YouTube clips (below) to get students pumped up about reading this month! There will be NO Bookworm Homework during the month of March. Instead, students will need to complete a film strip reading log (this log went home Thursday in the yellow packet) each week to help our class reach our goal of reading 10,000 minutes by the end of the month! Happy reading!!!

MRM 2013 by

Roosevelt Readathon Flash Mob 2012: "Bright Book Light"

Roosevelt Readathon Flashmob 2013: "It's A Readathon!" (Gangnam Style)