Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Week- Enjoy the time together!

Hello Families,

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  I hope it is a really special time together and you get plenty of moments to remember what you are greatful for!  I feel I am greatful for so much.  More on that later...

One of our journal prompts this week was: What are you thankful for?
The students made such thoughtful entries.  I thought I would share them all here.  Does it give you any ideas of the specifics of what you are greatful to have in your life?

I also shared some of my appreciations with a surprise game on Thursday.  I wrote appreciations for the class and hid them around the room as a hunt.  As each student found two, then they came to the middle to be available for those who wanted help in finding some.  This correlates really well with much of our accademic moments, in learning how to give help or tips without giving the answer.  The class did a great job in making this moment sweet and meaningful and in helping others feel the success of finding some, without taking it over entirely.  (There are still many around, as I made more than two per person, just in case, and we had many absences that afternoon, too!)  Finally we came together and the friends read alound one of the appreciations so that the class could be appreciated for all their abilites that really help our class work well together and make it so fun!
My appreciation: That it wasn't hard to come up with more than 50 different things to be thankful for, just in class alone!

Another journal topic came after we researched why bugs are even important.  We are learning a lot about arthropods, but what are they even for?  This website gave a pretty succinct explanation!

Another random website is for jokes:
It can be an art form to learn how to tell a joke and do it well.  How does your family share their humor?  Do you have special nights like game night or any family rituals around telling silly stories?

Here is the link for where I found my joke for today's silly meeting.

We use the ritual for Silly Meetings for many reasons, one, because it's fun!  But also to learn appropriate avenues to share humor and to talk about what kinds of humor makes other uncomfortble or even laugh.  This is another place where we practice speaking up when you are uncomfortable, which I hope eventually will translate on the  yard.  Today we talked about that uncomfortable laugh that sometimes happens, and being able to perceive whether your joke really worked, or others were just uncomfortable by it.  It was brought up that humor where someone gets hurt or could potentially die, may not make others feel comfortable.  But this is of course tricky as this humor is highlighted in movies a lot.  Thus, the Silly Meeting is an avenue to bring up these types of discussions and talk about it to help the students reflect on all they are taking in.  I encourage you to try this out at home!

(The two rules we have, here at school, for a Silly Meeting are: Your humor cannot hurt other's feelings or hurt anyone physically- which comes up often with slap-stick humor!)

Our month is over, which means five friends took home the songs and poems. Many friends were able to recite them today, and I wonder if they were able to do so at home?  It is tricky to get the cadence and rhythm to help your audience feel the message of the poem or enjoy the recitation.  We are practicing this always!  And doing it on your own adds a level of challenge!

We had two days of photography this week and I am so excited to see how interested they are in it, and also how well they are internalizing the tips we have reasearched!  We looked at a large majority of these article links (found on this one page) in the last few weeks.

The students have combined their analytical skills for poster desing and sumi-e composition concepts and we see many overlaps with these forms of expression.  I created a page on this, which is in the weekly email, but I thought I woudl include thier brainstorm as well! (from all our research alone!)

We also had a photography expert in, which happens to be Bayley's mum, Abby!  She shared her journey as a photographer, tips, terminology and then answered our many questions- as we just love to interview others!  We were lucky to have an expert "in house".  ;)

Another expert was our Experiment family!  This week Malakai's dad came to show us the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar.
We talked about how these ingredients turn into other materials when they come together and they are very unstable and don't want to be together for long, so they separate.  The students also want to test how those ingredients would react if they were not in the tube shape (inside of the "volcano").  
Would they still "explode" upwards?

Then we journaled about these questions-
What did you observe?
How would you explain what happens when baking soda and vinegar mix?
What questions do you have about how real volcanoes work?

We did a few different kinds of math experiences this week:, we worked with tangrams, number lines and also we are continueing to practice the concept of doubles. (3+3, 6+6, 7+7, etc. ).  

We played a new game called Star Count, which is from the book by Peggy Kaye, which I have mentioned before.  Grouping and multiplication is so interesting to see and understand and it is important for the students to have different visual ways to see mathematical concepts!
 First Graders: You might ask your child how to play and play it together!

Math talks- they are sharing new ways to solve the problem and growing in their ability to expain their thinking!  This week I saw them often use the strategy of getting to a "friendly number" or a number which they are used to manipulating or know a lot about.  They are using thier skip counting awareness along with this skill.  As always, practicing skip counting up to higher numbers with ease is a great thing to be doing at home or in the car!

Spelling Words- First Graders chose more this week, as they will have more time over the break to challenge themselves.  I also created a silly illustration to help with two words that have been stumping friends: Where and There.  Do you notice what they noticed?

And finally, we said good-bye to one of our Student Teachers- Erin, as her semester is over.  This was the secret project we were working on and the students gave really thoughtful messages.  There is an eb and flow of how people come and leave our lives, and today was a reminder of how nice it is to stop and remember what others do for us each day. 

I also want to make a shout out to Alycia, our other Student Teacher (who will be with us for a tiny bit longer) who was such a support as Emma was home sick. Feel better, Emma!

Wishing you a week full of family, laughter, reading, writing, games, enjoying nature, quiet moments, relaxation and learning new things! (among so many other things, I am sure!)
 Lots of love to each of you, Jennifer

I will end with two bonuses!  One is something that flew into our house the other night while Jason was at the bbq!  The other is a find Clare brought in on Friday!

PS I appologize for the errors, as I know I am rushing to get out of here before 5 and also this program has no spell check to offer the luxury of an alert!!!  Please excuse the mess!


  1. Thank you so much, Jennifer, I see you guys had a very busy and fun week, it is so great to see all these pictures, we really enjoyed it! Happy Thanks giving from the Ralstons.

  2. I LOVE YOU JENNIFER AND I HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD TIME AT THE WEEKEND. (Typed by Veronica.) Sounds like you all had a great week! The photography looks fun, and I love the appreciation notes. Jennifer Ott-Rol

  3. What a fun week you all had!
    Ryan feels very proud about the poem he brought home :) he wanted it on his room's wall so he can see it everyday!
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!