Although there's been a whole lot of rain falling, we are still shining! Our scientists have been hard at work investigating soil and testing out the sand, clay and humus components with a ball, smear and settling test. This week we will put what we've learned to the test and analyze a MYSTERY soil to decide what it is made of. We have also been observing our containers with and without worms and things are getting pretty interesting. We are happy to report that our worms are alive and active and things are happening and changing in the worm containers and things are getting pretty disgusting in the containers without worms. Just ask your child for an update!
What do you think is more catastrophic, being burried at the bottom of the ocean or burried in a garbage landfill? Seems pretty grim, but in the book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Edward found himself experiencing both. All three second grade classes are reading the book. We did a mash-up of classes and stated our opinion about which is worse. We heard different ideas and some of us were even persuaded by other points of view that we changed our opinion.
When life gives you a rainy day, jump in puddles. We were fortunate to get outside on a rainy day before the small pond on the playground was drained. Oh to be a kid again, next time I'll have to wear my rain boots and join-in on simply enjoying life! There's nothing like a child's laugh and smile!
Today I asked the students to go on a scavenger hunt and find a school supply that has been ruined. Within 20 seconds, each student had a least one item...
After spending weeks establishing our Agreements and Guidelines, one being "We will take care of our classroom and supplies," we are well into October and find ourselves revisiting this guideline on a regular basis. Let me begin by stating that our classroom has many "self-directed" individuals. Individuals that do what is expected and live by the guidelines we established as a class. Unfortunately, the students that are continuing to interfere with our learning continues to hinder our right to have fun. In the past few weeks I have thrown out more markers and glue sticks due to poor treatment. Pencils have been broken into pieces and items tend to go "missing." When students are looking for our stapler and another student reports that they saw two classmates throw it behind the cart of folding chairs in the hallway, writing time is interrupted, instruction stops and class time gets wasted.
We have a combination of brand-new supplies and items that I have had for years. During our last birthday celebration, Angelica held a deflated earth due to it having punctured hole. We got brand-new white boards this year that have been scraped and written on the non-erasable side. Expo pens are pushed in and can no longer be used. Believe me, I can go on and on...
I am writing you this because it makes me think of several things.
1. This has got to stop.
2. I am constantly revamping my classroom management and pulling out all sorts of tricks to establish a more cohesive classroom community. I know there are things I can and continue to adjust on my end.
3. I have been working with the class and am reaching out to you to help with "our kids." This continues to be a problem and talking about this expectation at home can help reinforce positive outcomes at school.
4. It makes me connect with my experience in Zambia this past summer when I went to Dwankhozi school and worked in classrooms that had very limited resources. This is a great way our partnership allows us to learn from one another. My trip there leads itself into a very teachable moment for our students. At Dwankhozi students covered their paper notebooks with newspaper or plastic bags to make them last. They did not have supplies on hand. When we went into the classrooms to do a project and had a couple packs of colored pencils to pass out among the 50-or-so students, they were generous with sharing a single colored pencil with his or her classmates. The students valued that they had an opportunity to get an education and the camaraderie was admirable.
I'd like to thank you in advance for taking the time to speak to your child at home about the concerns we've been facing in class. The students are pretty aware that class is pretty fun when we're working as a team. We left school today agreeing that when they see something go amiss, it's not (necessarily) our job to tell a teacher, but to be a friend and help prevent any further damage. In turn, I am recognizing students that are doing what they're meant to be doing and sending them off to make choices of their own because they have shown they can be trusted. Today a fourth grade student stood in front of the school at Monday Morning Meeting and shared with us how he was a student that didn't listen to directions and was often a big distraction in the classroom. He decided one day that his behavior didn't make him happy. He recognized the problem and decided to change who he was. He wanted to change his reputation and start gaining friends and trust from those around him. That took a lot of courage to make that choice and share his experience.
How BIG is your BRAVE? That is our school theme for the month. Sometimes doing what is right takes a little bravery.
It's hard to believe that this was only a four-day week because we were busy! I think we'd all agree that our two prime events to report this week involve worms and a rabbit.
We started investigating soil in science and when you have soil, you have worms. We observed worms and then discussed what happens to organic things when they die and fall to the ground. What happens to nonorganic things? In pairs or groups of three, we set up models using containers with all things the same: soil and organic and non-organic matter. One thing was different: one container had worms and the other didn't. We are going to observe the containers over the next few weeks and see how they change over time.
Rabbits: We began our Global Read Aloud book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Today we connected with two schools; one in Kentucky and the other in Indiana. We had a book talk with the other classrooms using ipads and the website TodaysMeet. We all got the chance to answer questions that were asked about the book. We're only in chapter 4, but it's getting exciting and great to be connected with something beyond our classroom. It was great to connect with other kids in different time zones!
Breakfast Topic Questions to ask your child:
Have a great weekend!
* Whoops! I thought I clicked the "publish" button when I wrote this blog last week! Well, here it is now!
We welcomed October with a beautiful fall day and increased independence. We reflected on our last month together and came up with some of our favorite things we've done so far:
1. Math- ST Math, Quick Math, Trays/Games, Expanded Form, Word Form, etc. (the kids went on about math)
2. Class Cheers
3. Small Moment writing and making our characters come alive (characters say things, think things and feel things)
4. READING! To Self, With Someone and Raz-Kids
5. Spelling numbers
6. Reading Marty McGuire
7. P.E., art, music, library
9. Reading Buddies
10. MAP testing
Each morning I tell a hilarious joke to the class. Before I tell them the punchline, I have them try to guess the answer. I feel this opportunity allows the kids to think about possible play on words and puns. It's a fun way to see kids take risks and think a little outside the box. Here's a few jokes we've shared over the weeks. I'm not including all the punchlines, hopefully your child remembers them and doesn't keep you in suspense!
What do you call a pig that knows karate?
Why do cows wear bells?
What did the zero say to the eight?
How do you make 7 even?
Where do library books like to sleep?
Drum roll please….
The guidelines will be kept alive throughout the year and will give us a frame to pause and reflect and increase our awareness of the world around us. They will be reviewed and practiced over and over again.
We have been establishing our routines and having fun, well, at least I have! For more updates, ask your child to tell you more about:
It was so fun to have my "tita Ces" (Ms. Cecelia) come and work with our class on Wednesday. She was in town from San Diego and was a featured artist at the Victoria Chalk Festival. I've grown up with my aunt's talents and I was extra proud to have her as a guest artist with our kids. In class we have been studying the book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. We coupled this book study with an owl art piece keeping the bird enthusiasts in mind! The students had fun putting their own creative twist on their owls and sharing their work with the class.
The kids particularly enjoyed this time lapse she did for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premiere.
Caution: art accompanied by (clean) rap music :)
It's great to have you on board! Now that I have our current class receiving our classroom blog, I can fill you in with what we've been up to. The past 9 days have been spent getting to know one another and establishing classroom routines. We have been doing a lot of work establishing our classroom guidelines. are already experts in reading and writing workshop, started our first unit in math, have had regular class meetings and that's not all!
New book baggies and reading logs went home on Monday. Like the orange folder, book baggies are to be returned to school everyday. The goal if for your child to read at least 100 minutes a week, outside of school. Reading logs are collected on Mondays.
Parents sure have a lot of homework to begin the year! Please take this time to complete the volunteer form I sent home and the paperwork from the QAE school packet. There is also a $50.00 fee to cover classroom supplies. If you haven't done so already, please make checks to the order of QAE and send to school at your earliest convenience.
Further updates will be on the way! We will read our blogs as a class and share comments left by all of you. Please let us know you're out there by leaving comments and asking questions.
Many thanks to:
Ms. Heike for joining our class and student teaching in the winter
Mr. Jeffrey for helping us launch 2nd grade ST Math
Karen Lonergan for taking on the Class Coordinator role and keeping us updated with weekly emails
We all have day one under our belts! It was a day spent getting to know one another and going over routines, routine, routines! We interviewd a classmate and will spend the next few days introducing our friends to the class. The next few weeks will be designated to building a strong classroom foundation, one where we can all thrive and feel safe to take risks. We ended our day reading the book, On a Beam of Light, a story about Albert Einstein who asked countless questions and spent every moment wondering. While Einstein answered many life mysteries he also left us the gift of big-open questions for us to ponder. In my opinion, children are the most creative and curious beings-full of wonder. "How do you make ice cream?" "How do planets orbit?" "How does gravity work?" "How big is the universe?" "Why are legos so awesome?", are just a few wonders our students came up with today. Today was the first of many of tapping into the ingenious minds and asking big questions.