Wow, Drop Everything And Read has been really fun so far! We were lucky enough to have three readers today; Mr. Debaz, Skokie Mayor VanDusen, and Mrs. Brin all read wonderful stories to us today! Another parent is scheduled for next week. Please call or email if you would like to come in sometime.
Today was the first day of our new math chapter (chapter 5; adding three digit numbers). Unfortunately I had a meeting during math, so I didn't get to meet my new students or teach on the first day. I did, however, give a bit of homework, just to get good habits and procedure established. I gave a soduko puzzle. If your child has me for math and is frustrated by this homework, please know I am only asking for an attempt. I don't know exactly how much instruction or strategy-talk went on, so it's fine to help by giving a few more numbers, or suggesting a way to think about the puzzle.
Oh, so glad I thought of this; we are not having a spelling test this week, although there will be a Treasures Weekly Assessment. So don't worry if you don't see a spelling list in your child's bag tonight. With a four day week, and so much going on with DEAR I just felt we needed to take a break from spelling for this week.
Also, we have a Super-Hawk Assembly on Friday afternoon. Seven awards will be given out for each classroom; respectful, responsible, safe, reading improvement, math improvement, no-bully award, and the principal's charm. If your child is to receive one, I will send an email to you by tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5:00pm. I'm sorry to be late about this information, but I have a very hard time choosing. I know very well that every one of those kids wants an award - and believe me many of them have really been working hard and deserve to be recognized, but that is not possible. It is very difficult for me to decide, I know there are bound to be tears...
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Last week we learned all about his life and his beliefs. We read several books and watched a video about his life. We focused on his dreams and connected that to our dreams for the world. Students wrote about their big dreams and five ways they can help make those dreams come true. They did a wonderful job truely thinking about how they can make a real difference in the world. Their work is on display outside of Room 1. :)
This week will be DEAR week. That stands for Drop Everything And Read! Below is a list of activities:
Tuesday, January 22nd: Decorate Doors & Mystery Book Puzzle
We will begin our week off strong by starting our Mystery Book Puzzle! During the week we will put together three separate large puzzle pieces of a “mystery” book cover. There will be one for each grade level. Students will have the opportunity to guess what the “mystery” book title is. We will also be decorating our classroom doors to showcase a specific author or book theme!
Wednesday, January 23rd: Staff Character Day, Readers Theater & Guest Readers (occurring throughout the week)
Volunteer to read! You may be a guest reader any day this week! Please arrange a specific date and time with your child’s teacher. Our students will be entertained by their teachers today! Teachers will be staring in their own Readers Theater productions while dressed as their favorite character in a book!
Thursday, January 24th: Pajama Party and Cake Auction 6:00-7:30 PM
This event is for Madison School students and younger siblings (if they can sit still and listen to a story). An adult must accompany children at ALL TIMES. Children are invited to come back to school in their pajamas and listen to teachers read bedtime stories! After listening to 3 different stories, a special book will be presented to Madison students.
Teachers have created cakes based on their favorite books! Come bid on your child’s favorite cake and help us raise money to buy books for the LMC. This year we will also be holding a raffle for 2 cakes! Raffle tickets will be sold for $1 each and can be purchased in advance and at the Pajama Party!
Friday, January 25: “Mystery” Book Puzzle Revealed
Our week concludes when our mystery book puzzles are revealed, students that correctly identified the books will be put into a random drawing to win a prize! Charms will be given out for successful DEAR week participants! We are looking forward to an amazing week!
Room 1 is very excited to participate in all of the great activties. A special thank you to all of the guest readers that will be coming in this week.
Thank you to the Pappas family for taking care of Toby this weekend. I know he is having so much fun spending time with them!
This week room 19 we learned about place value and understanding digits and their values. We also created stars inspired by the book"Draw Me A Star" by Eric Carle. We will be hanging them on our classroom door for DEAR week. So please stop by the class on Thursday night for the pajama party and see our book cover door inspired by Eric Carle.
Today, Room 10 learned how to use sequence words to tell and write a story. Since our literacy unit is centered around food we used a real life expereince to practice this skill. Take a look!
Today we used our thesauruses - that's a weird word to pluralize - anyway I put the kids into partners
Just as an aside, let me tell you that I almost always choose sticks to partner the kids, I always worry that if I let them partner that feelings will be hurt. They all act as if they are upset that I'm putting them into partners, but I'm sure that there are plenty of kids that are relieved about it. It is also true that most kids choose their best friend in class and that often they don't work together as well as they play.
Back to the thesaurus: so the kids are in partners and they have a thesaurus to use. I call out and write a word on the board that I want them to look up. They have to find it and record two synonyms and an antonym. I started with the word "crowd". The pairs got busy right away, all on task and excited, like only second graders can be, but it turns out that some of the thesauruses they had didn't give an antonym. Each pair reported out their synonyms; mob, swarm, group, faction...I asked if they knew what these words meant. It took a minute for them to smile and say, "CROWD!". We tried for antonyms, that was less exciting; alone, by myself, person...I was pretty upset that some children's thesauruses don't list antonyms! Then we looked up, "Big" - an easy one, and then "Outcome". This was a tough one; many did not know what it meant, and even after finding synonyms, they were not clear. Through examples it finally became clear. Last, I asked them to choose their own word together and look it up. That turned out to be fun. Some chose vocabulary words, some paged through and chose a word on a random page. In any case, I think it was a really fun experience, and that actually using a thesaurus was more engaging than a a page in their workbook could ever be!
Today was a great math day! How nice, especially after assessment-Monday! Actually we did have to take the end of chapter 8 assessment, but everyone was prepared and no one seemed upset or worried.
The great part came after the assessment; I promised the kids a preview for the next chapter; chapter 5. I explained that a preview was like when they go to the movies and they see parts of movies that are either already out, or coming soon. So, here goes: Making A Hundred - that's the preview. This is a similar procedure to Making A Ten that we did earlier this year. The problem is that Making A Ten wasn't exactly successful; most kids were confused by it and left that part blank on homework and tests. When I began with an example many kids were skepticle. Here's what it looked like:
42 + 395 = First we ask the question, which number is almost at the next hundred? Yes, 395 is almost there!
Hmmm, how far away is 395 from the next hundred, which would be 400?
Yes, it is 5 away!
So, because it is much easier to add with even hundreds, let's make 395 into 400
We can do this by taking the 5 away from 42, and adding it to the 395
If we do that, what will 42 have left?
Yes, it would have 37 left, watch:
42 + 395 = So we take the 5 away from the 42 and give it, or add it to the 395, now 395 can take the 5 and be 400
37 + 5 + 395 Then we are left with 37 + 400, which is SO easy, you hardly have to think about it!
37 + 400 37 + 400 = 437! And, if 37 + 400 = 437, then 42 + 395 ALSO must = 437
Isn't it easier to add 37 + 400, than 42 + 395?
Next we added it the old fashioned way, with carrying and all, and guess what? Yup! We got the same answer; 437!
The kids were now paying avid attention, I showed another example and really I could see faces light up with understanding - it was quite a memorable teaching moment. Kids were saying, "Oh, is this like what we did before with 10s?" When I said it was they couldn't belileve they ever thought it was confusing. They begged for more. They wanted it for homework - but I said no. I want to be sure they sincerely get it (notice me using a vocabulary word there??). Maybe it will be Wednesday's homework. We practiced a bit more and they tried one on their own - that's always what I call, "The moment of truth" - some of them were fine, some still a little foggy. But OH, it was so much better than the first time!
The thing I've noticed about teaching is this; when a concept is new and somewhat complicated, kids tend to shut down, just like a light switch, then turn off and it's like they're saying, "Nope, I can't - I don't get it now and I'm never going to understand. I am done." This is completely typical! But if we can let it sit there in their brains for a while, and just kind of marinate, it's like their brains keep working on it; puzzleing it out. When they have another opportunity to hear an explanation, days or even weeks later - it can suddenly just fall into place; make sense! I've seen it many times, but it never ceases to amaze me.
Good math day, right?
Here it is; the beginning of my blog as a second grade teacher at Madison School. Hmmm, so what to talk about...
Today was a bit of difficult day. We had to take several assessments - nobody like these but they provide incredible data for the team and help us make informed decisions about how best to continue teaching. Today we had to finish up chapter 8 in My Math about money. We had some review pages to practice up for tomorrow's final test on the chapter.
Then, we also had to take two pre-tests for the next math chapter, which is actually chapter 6; about three digit addition. That test data will help us group the students into the different class levels. On top of all of that we had to take our AIMs Math Computation and Math Concepts and Applications winter benchmarking assessments. These are both eight minute assessments that we take three times per year. They're great tools for us to be able to see growth over the year. These are actually the graphs we send you at report-card time.
So, as you can see, it was a tough day for room 6 today. But lest you think that assessment is all we did, let me tell you that we also began a new story for the week in Treasures. The vocabulary for the week is:
The story is Click, Clack, Moo. We have been doing very well as a class when it comes to vocabulary. The most challenging word this week is neutral. We talked about how many times we see this word paired with the word, party. We also discussed how this word relates to them at recess; how it's often best to choose to be a neutral party when two of our friends might have a disagreement!
Well, I feel like this is a valient effort for my first official blog! Tune in again soon to find out what goes on in room 6!
Happy New Year!
This past week we began a new unit in Language Arts, which is all about having fun! We focused on what makes us laugh by sharing funny stories and reading entertaining books. This theme will continue into next week as we write our own silly animal story.
We will also continue practicing long a and silent e spelling patterns, as well as review all of the high frequency words. We are also learning all about verbs! Ask about our sentence buddy project.
We also began a new chapter in math, which is all about place value. Students will be busy learning all about making groups of ten and understanding the value of numbers.
Thank you so much for your generous donations to An Orphan Smiles! The package was sent along with a letter explaining that Room 1 at Madison School is passing along lots of kindness. :)
Please let me know if you have any questions about the Six Flags reading log or upcoming DEAR week events.
Click here for a fun video reviewing verbs!
Please help us welcome the newest member of our class: Toby!
Welcome back to school everyone. I'm excited for new beginnings! We had a back to school assembly today and worked on getting back into our daily routines. We have had lots of stories to share from break and we have all been really thrilled to see each other.
-Ms. Kestler :0)
Lincoln Junior High