Friday, October 9, 2015

Stories, observation, mandalas and more!

Hello Families,

I am thankful for another lovely week together.  The students are really internalizing our routines and are getting good at deciphering what behavior is appropriate for which times of our day.  This is a very caring group of students!

Here are some things we did this week:

Story and title ideas from Monday-
Kellan, Analee and Brian have been working on a construction area story (with help from a few other friends over the many days) and today they dictated the story that they had illustrated with the 3-D materials.  Here it is:
Once upon a time there were four little elephants and Eye-patch was a gazelle that was traveling with them. Eye had one giant eye and one tiny eye. The four little elephants were traveling from boat to boat at the beach. The four little elephants were jumping on the boats. They were trying to get to the chicken place. It's called the Restaurant Named Chicken. A shark came and made a hole in the boat so the elephants jumped in the air and they each were inside separate bubbles.

The shark was a magical wand and bubbles were coming up to make the elephants blow to fall in the giant pile of chicken at the Restaurant Named Chicken. Grey, the shark was trying to eat them because it's a Great White Shark. The bubbles popped in the chicken and the elephants are waiting in the chicken.. They are trying to get out. It's slippery 'cuz there's a bunch of bubbles on the ground. The elephants blew their trunks and then they flew with a lot of air. They blew themselves out onto the ground;. They're sticky. Their magic in their trunks wont' be able to come out, since they're so sticky.

Then a wizard appeared. The wizard, Abra, had accidentally made the shark. It was a good wizard. It had a magic wand and it turned the wand into a shark. The wizard needed to take the stickiness away from the four little elephants.

Eye, the gazelle, was looking for the four little elephants. The gazelle is right near the elephants. The pizza place was way big, bigger than the gazelle and then he jumped and saw the four little elephants who were behind the pizza place.

The wizard is trying to get the shark to turn back into his wand. The four little elephants helped the wizard get the shark back into the wand. The elephants have magic. Their trunks have magic in them. They blowed the magic out onto the shark and then the shark turned into the wand again. And then the four little elephants got the wand back to the wizard.

All of those four elephants and Eye went to the chicken place and they had four batches for their elephants and one batch of chicken for Eye. It tasted good. Afterward, they had some ice cream. Then they traveled back home to the beach. The wizard was watching over the elephants because he liked them.

The end.

In Revisiting Meeting, we brought the story to the class to get their thoughts and ideas for a title.  Here are some of the ideas that the group generated, and also a few comments in there.  This was a great way for the group to think about what makes a title interesting, and also how a title can or does not go with the story you are about to read...  We plan to do more with this in the coming months as we continue to investigate parts of stories and elements that make stories more fascinating.

Title: Possibilities: 
Chicken Soup
The Little Elephants and the Wizard
The Magic
The Magic Elephants
The Great White Shark, (Analee: Since the shark is not in it that much, it doesn't make sense fort he title)
The Magic Wizard and The Magic Elephants
The Elephants and the Wizard
The Chicken (Reese: That would just be a funny name, because there's not only chicken in the story.)
Eye-patch and the Elephants
The Bubble and the Four Elephants.

What title would you offer that would be fun, interesting and match this story?
Do you have any ideas that might make the story more clear? (please feel free to write an constructive comment at the bottom of our blog!)

Morning Message Words!

Each morning we use the message to test various reading skills.  This week the group looked at how to attack a word that you plan to sound out.  Students modeled bravery in taking on this task.  After our class worked together to help others sound out words, I wrote them on a card and we have been looking at them again each day, so that they may begin to become sight words we know.  Here are the words the group investigated this week!

What sentences can you make up using these words?  Is there any silly sentences that you can come up with using as many of these words as possible? (And still make sense!?)

Investigating Various Flower Shapes-
The class is sharpening their drawing and observations skills with many types of activities.  This week we received various kinds of flowers, so I used this as an opportunity to notice that the stereotypical circle with petals all around it is just one small variety of a flower's shape.  We discussed slowing down, looking closely and also being positive about your first tries.  We are trying to remember to see our first try as a discussion where you talk about what worked and what you might do differently in your second try.  This supports the students to feel success and to be analytical in their growth.  The room was so quiet and had a beautiful energy as the students created their first tries!

Their work shows such variety in the shapes they tried out!  Each one is inspiring- I may have to try to draw more flowers to practice, too!

Number Mandalas!
At Open Choice Time I introduced another way to make a mosaic.  This time is it more like a mandala because I asked the students to choose one number they are going to be working with and to get that number of each of the kinds of the blocks they will use.  The kids are enjoying using the cuisenaire rods this way.  They are also having to look closely to see where the piece is in relation to the others so that each space of the mandala matches.  Here are some of the students'  work so far.

ST Math:
Has your child told you about ST Math?  This is a program we use to help students make connections with many mathematical concepts.  It feels like a game to the children, while reinforcing and teaching new skills and concepts.  Most of the students have memorized their password, which is actually their first memorization task in the game.  Now the students are beginning the first games which support them to connect to quantity, the number symbol shapes and also planning ahead/prediction.
I wonder what your child has said to you about this?  (We currently go to the learning lab on Tuesdays and Thursday before school is over.)

Another sweet thing we began this week- Our 5th Grade Buddies!
Each class has a cross class connection with another class on campus.  Ours is the 5th grade!  This week we planned questions to ask and met with them in the multi-purpose room to talk with many of the 5th graders to begin getting to know them.  Soon we will partner up, so stay tuned to hear more about our Wednesdays with the 5th grade!

Well I hope your weekend has been a nice one.  I am hoping to get out to the beach and also do some more painting (and maybe start the last step in my nieces quilt!)  Take care, Jennifer

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