Friday, May 27, 2016

Getting ready to publish our animal book- and other news!

Hello families!

I will try (I always do, but then it's hard not to share their great ideas!!!) to keep this short as I want to get the weekly email to you.  This week was very full with extra meetings I needed to attend that took a lot of extra time from my usual schedule of getting things done in a timely fashion.  And I am working on the class book- YAY!  So excited about the work they are creating for this and for them to see their work published and in a beautiful format that honors their hard work!

Speaking of this idea- it's the last weekend for the students' sunflowers to be up in Birdrock- I will take them down the last day of May!

Social Studies:

One of the things we did this week on the topic of Social Studies is I shared that I got my first Post Crossing post card in the mail!!!  Yay.  I am having to look this up to see exactly where it is from... it is in German, so maybe I can get some help!  Here is the link that will give you more info about what Post Crossing is, if you are interesting in doing this as a family this summer!


We are now trying to share our clock reading skills in two ways- one by looking at a clock with hands and identifying the time, and the second, but looking at a written time and identifying how the hands would be positioned.  Many students like the back and forth of the pattern of doing these two things and really enjoyed the challenge.  I have been challenging the children to share what they do know- even if they are unsure of reading the entire time, very often they can identify the first step- the hour.  This has helped many friends realize their confidence and to even begin to make attempts at the second portion- the minute hand!

Language Arts:

Please see the reflection page I did on the students creativity with my prop provocation- where they used new props to inspire play outlines.  I can't wait to see how the different groups interpret and act out these story lines!  Come into class to see  the four play outlines in person, if you'd like!

Each student has also been meeting with me to share words and phrases to craft their own poems using the four styles we have studied- Haiku, Acrostic, Diamante and Cinquain.  It was so neat to see how students have this ability!  For the acrostic poems, what really helped them was to go through the dictionary and hear words that begin with the letter that they need and then they were able to identify words that could work in the context of the animal topic they had chosen!  I cannot wait for you to see these and read the book we are publishing!  (See my email about important ordering info!!!)  The above class group shot was taken for the book!


The poems are all created using the research we have done about our main animals the students shared they are interested in... zebras, lizards, wild cats, dogs and birds.  It has been neat to see how their poems really do reflect the information they culled during the research phase.  So neat!

Also the drawings and paintings that are accompanying the poems have generated other awareness and inquiry.  For instance when the students are trying to draw the animals legs, we have been noticing how they bend and which way- and discussing how this might be based upon the running needs of that particular animal.  The students have also been trying to be as realistic as possible with their drawings, especially since many of the friends who are writing about birds are explaining the use and need of the various beak and feet shapes.  Students are realizing if they spent time expressing the sharpness of a bird of prey's beak or talons, then they wanted to ensure that this was reflected in their drawing!  This made giving and getting feedback super important and helpful in this process!

Well, as usual there were so many beautiful moments that I didn't share here, but this was a little glimpse.  I also feel like the students are excited to keep their book work a little close to their jackets, since they like the idea of surprising you!

I will be doing a blog entry on the final songs and poems, when I get the chance.  Come on in to check them out sooner, if you would like!

A final note: the students are starting to feel and realize how little time we have left together.  I shared that I will be having so many mixed feelings (excited about the celebration feeling that POLs brings, excited about summer, sad to say good bye to them, excited for them to have a new teacher, sad to miss them over summer, excited for my journeys this summer, etc!).  I feel it is important for us to speak about, honor and notice our feelings as we go into transitions.  Please feel free to email me if there is anything going on for your child!

Take care and enjoy your three-day- weekend!  Love, Jennifer

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Fun-filled week!

Hello Families!

So much to share, so little time.  Clara is doing such a dedicated job planning her teaching days and on those days I have been working on some special projects with the kids on the side, and also doing end of the year assessment. Some of this blog is written by her to share as much of the kids' experience!  Uploading photos is taking long, so I may put less in this week...

Enjoy reading this with your child!  Love, Jennifer and Clara

Learning about animals!
This week we learned more about these six animal types: Wild Cats, Lizards, Dogs, Fish, Zebras and Birds.

We looked at adaptations on their bodies- for instance birds' beaks and feet types and on fish in this video:

And here's an interesting one we didn't look at:

Friday experiment:
Will it Sink or Float? Students were given different objects (wax, fabric, wood) to predict what will happen to them. Students are practicing making hypotheses.  After writing down their predictions, kids were able to test their ideas.

Language Arts:
We learned two new poem formats: the Diamante and the Cinquain.  See the reflection page I created about this in your weekly email!  Friends are beginning to use the four formats we know to make their own animal poems!

Students were given a writing prompt, a story starter.  They were able to use their creativity and imagination to add to the story. Check out their journals to read more about the story.

The kids are making new connections while trying to learn how to tell time.  It is exciting to see friends realize they can do parts or the whole of being able to read a clock!  We will continue practicing all of the skills that have to work together to make bring confidence in this ability!

Here's the Clock Hands brainstorm they created about what they know so far, before they began practicing...

Students also practiced skip counting by 2's. Each child had two rocks, we took turns putting them down. As kids were placing the rocks down, we kept track on the count on the board. We counted to 26. Students noticed how they had to add 2 to get to the next number.  Also they saw how the ones place is increasing by 2.

We did a little activity with our Animal Day to help the students connect with the number lenghts and what that looks like in reality.  Many of the kids enjoyed seeing exactly how long each littler lizard was...

Social Studies:
This week we went to Canada!  Students were really amazed  learning about  the Niagara Falls. Most of them said they want to go visit. Another place kids thought it was interesting was the Hotel de Glace. It is a hotel that is fully made out of ice!

Social Awareness:
Please see your weekly email about the interesting needs and wants discussion that the students held.  Here is the group brainstorm that they created.  What would be on your list?

Enjoy your weekend!

(Here is a photo of something I might finish this weekend- a knit blanket for my new niece using wool from my late grandmother's stash...)