Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Party

Thank you to everyone who helped at the Winter Party, especially Mrs. Deno who didn't even
get to come! The children had a wonderful time making snowflake CD's, decorating their picture frames, and playing relays and Giggle Belly. The fruit parfaits were very delicious. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable break from school, and is able to spend time with friends and family.

Peace and Joy to All!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Did you know that no two snowflakes are alike? Yesterday we read the book Snowflake Bentley and learned some facts about snowflakes and the man who dedicated his whole life to studying them. Afterwards the children made their own "snow" crystals using Borax and water. They created snowflake frames using pipe cleaners and then placed them into the Borax solution. Today when the students arrived at school, they found that their pipe cleaners were covered with crystals, and look like snowflakes. The children have also been creating paper snowflakes out of paper and are displaying them on our windows in our classroom.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Catalog Shopping

Today students learned a new Menu Math Game called Catalog Shopping. In this game the children choose some things to "buy" in a book order. They cut out the pictures and glue them into their math journal and write down how much each item costs. We discussed how to line up the numbers and decimal points when recording the prices. Then they practice adding the amounts with a calculator. Many students said they were interested in playing this game at home too. You can easily use any catalog or newspaper flyer to do this game at home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Money, Money, Money!

We have been studying money in our class. We have lots of foreign coins that the students have been examining. Mr. Leraris has donated coins from his recent travels to our class coin collection. Other students have brought in their collections as well. We have money from many different countries including Mexico, China, France, England, Switzerland, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Poland, and many others. Of course, we also have been practicing counting money during math workshop, and the students are interested in taking a trip to a local bank after the holidays.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hedgie the Hedgehog

We are on a mission to find Hedgie in our Author of the Month books. We are reading Jan Brett's books this month and one of the distinguishing features in her stories is that she draws an illustration of a hedgehog in most of her books. Students are eager to figure out which books have Hedgie and which books do not. Today we read The Umbrella, and many children were pouring over Jan's illustrations during study hall. I was fortunate to spend the day with Jan last year as the winner of her annual "Lunch on the Bus" contest and she shared many insights into how she creates her books and pictures. Usually she travels to the location where the book takes place. Perhaps you can join your child on his or her adventure to discover Hedgie in Jan's books.

Miss Smelser, Caroline (a former student), and Jan Brett

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh the Things We Can Think!

Our class has been using their brains a lot working on thinking skills. Thinking skills include such things as puzzles, analogies, chess, logic problems, patterns, brain teasers, etc. Our current focus is analogies. An analogy is a comparison between two items. It points out the similarities or likenesses between things that might be different in all other respects. Analogies cause us to think analitically about forms, usages, structures, and relationships. I have noticed the children have improved in their ability to see relationships the more we practice. For the moment we are focusing on picture analogies, but will move towards simple word analogies by the end of the year. Students will continue to practice and build upon these kind of thinking skills as they progress through the STRETCH curriculum in each grade.

Students have also been using LTOnline to play games that use thinking skills or logic. We will be using the ditrict website more often in the coming weeks. Look for more information to follow.

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