Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reading Workshop

Students have started several new series in the last week for Reading Workshop.

~I have one group working on Henry and Mudge. They are convinced they will be able to read all of the books in the series and take a quiz on them.

~Several students are reading the Magic Tree House books and traveling to far away places like the moon. They have passports to fill out for each adventure that will help them understand the stories better.

~Another group is reading the Beverly Cleary book Runaway Ralph. It is the sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Their focus is on vocabulary and critical thinking about the text.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weather Scavenger Hunt

Today for science we went on a Weather Scavenger Hunt. We looked for items on our list such as "where rain has washed away soil" and "something that could be carried by the wind." Students are really enjoying the fact that we are able to do more lessons outside due to our lovely recent weather. I think it is supposed to rain this week though, so we may have to enjoy what we can now.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sidewalk Spelling

Today we practiced our spelling words outside with sidewalk chalk. It was a beautiful, albeit windy day. We have been working on homophones the last couple weeks. Next week will be our last one, and then we will move towards indiviualized spelling lists for each child. They will be able to choose some of the words on their list, and I will choose others based on what I am noticing in their writing. Any words they miss will be automatically added to the next week's list.

This is a picture of a student standing inside one of his words. He told me he was standing in a hole. (The spelling word was hole.) I thought it was clever. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009


Whirlicopters are like little paper helicopters. Students made 3 different ones and we designed several experiments to test their flight patterns. We learned about variables and how important it is to be consistent. There were so many things that could impact the results of our tests. We explored the effect of various copter materials on descent time, and set up and conducted scientific tests using a control, making predictions, observing and recording tests, and drawing conclusions.

This is always one of the students' favorite activities, and I know they really enjoyed this science lesson.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Club: School Improvement

As I have mentioned earlier, students participate in Friday clubs this time of year. I decided to do a club on school improvement, and I have a couple of students from my class in my club, as well as others from first, second and third grade classrooms. Here are some pictures from week two. We are working on the courtyard this week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hold and Fold

Today we worked with shapes some more in math workshop. Students were given a square piece of paper to manipulate and transform into other shapes based on initial folds we did together. The point of this lesson was to help students become more familiar with shapes they don't use all that often, as well as to help them understand that some familiar shapes do not all look exactly the same.

We were able to revisit vocabulary terms such as congruent, parallel, angle, corner, side, and rotate. We also reviewed prefixes and number word roots like penta, hex, and tri. Students discovered shapes that were different such as the pentagon and trapezoid, and realized that as long as the shape met the basic requirements it could still be the same shape and look different. For example all hexagons will not look the same, but they do all have six sides and six corners.

We did a lot of discussion today and students were encouraged to justify their answers and share how they discovered the different shapes. I was able to observe their willingness to take risks, and how inventive and flexible they could be in be with their work.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hello Red Fox

We read the Eric Carle book Hello Red Fox for our author study, and as usual the children loved it. It is a story of a birthday party that shows that things are not always what they appear to be. This book is filled with characters that change colors before your eyes--a green fox turns red, a yellow butterfly, purple, and many, many more. It uses an optical illusion phenomenon called complimentary afterimage

Here is a link that explains what is happening and why we see the opposite colors when reading the book.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Analogies & Friday Clubs

Today we worked on analogies in class. Analogies are all about figuring out how things go together or are related. Thinking skills you can develop through analogies include reasoning and
information processing.

Students also went to their first club meeting today. Yesterday they were able to choose their top three, and were assigned an activity for the next month. Clubs will meet each Friday with a teacher, assistant, or parent volunteer, working with a small group of students from different classrooms and grade levels. Examples of this year's clubs include board games, card games, building, tea party, Spanish, sign language, and more. My club is about school improvement, and we will be working on cleaning up around the school, planting flowers, and creating a rock garden.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Geo Shapes

New games are always fun to play, especially when they are a part of our new unit on geometry. This game had students working together to be the first team to complete two shapes on their game board. Every team had a circle divided into fourths, as well as an irregular shape to fill with other pieces. Students had to make decisions about how to obtain new shape pieces for their section and which ones to discard after each turn.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Reading Tent

Students who pass a Reading Counts quiz can opt to sit in the reading tent on the same day. Only two students are allowed inside at any time though. This has been a fun new treat for the students, and they are enjoying it a lot.

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