October's Character Education Trait is Responsibility and unfortunately I had to have quite the serious talk with students on Tuesday, after I returned from being away at the XCountry meet on Monday. Many of our students behaved irresponsibly while I was away, and irresponsibility can take many forms. It can be as serious as running around the classroom playing tag or wrestling with other students and being unsafe, to something less serious but just as irresponsible, as laughing or encouraging those being silly and rude. On Tuesday morning we had a community meeting and students wrote examples in their Writing Journal with the prompt "I am not responsible when ...". Please talk with your son or daughter about the classroom expectations, especially when a supply teacher is in. I explained to the students that I love to volunteer and take part in many aspects of our school community (Cross Country, Eco Committee, Basketball, Track & Field etc.) but I can't go to these events and be absent from school if when I come back, we have to spend a large part of our day problem solving. Thanks for your support.
*Please see our announcements page for more info re: responsibility and how you can encourage your son or daughter at home - Thanks Safe and Caring School Committee!
We read aloud Water Dance and talked about all the 'Willy Words' used to describe water. What do you think water is?
A new poem we added this week is called 'Autumn Leaves' - ask your son or daughter about some of the 'Willy Words' in it too!
* Willy Word Choice is one of the six trait mates that we'll meet this year in Writer's Workshop, he's one of the Six Writing Traits.
Students are working on their stamina at our Daily Five Centres, so far we worked for 11 minutes on the first day and then 14 the next! Students will have the chance to practice and rotate through each of the five centres before we start 'for real' :) Check your mailboxes soon for an all call for volunteers! One of our stations is 'Word Work Games' where students go to play bingo, memory etc., but every game has a literacy component to it. If you're available mornings from 9:00 - 10:10, please keep it in mind! Once a week, once a month, as much or as little as you can do, we'd appreciate it.
We watched a film "The Four Seasons: Daily and Seasonal Changes" and learned about cycles (like day to night, spring though to winter) and how these cycles can affect living things (plants, animals and humans). Afterwards, students wrote in their journals "A Cycle is ..." and gave an example - so many ideas were shared on the carpet! Ask your son or daughter if they can think of an example of a cycle.
As the grade 1 students continued to conduct their own surveys and collect data, this week the grade 2s began analyzing data that had already been collected. Grade 2s also started their culminating task as we near the end of our unit, "Planning a Halloween Celebration". I gave the grade 2s the task of helping me plan a party - what food should we eat, games should we play, or costumes should we wear? Students thought of their own question and were asked to gather data in an organized way; the following day they took that data and displayed it in graph form (picto or bar). Next week, we'll anazlye the data to answer some questions and to see what they found out!
We also depicted data this week in a really fun and creative way - read below about our Jack O Lantern Glyphs!
To answer questions about data play with Math Data Game for Kids THIS IS MY FAVOURITE!
To create your own, play around with the Data Grapher and create some of your own graphs! Tip: Use Bar and Picto graphs :)
Congratulations to our grade 2 participants! What an amazing morning we had Wednesday :) The grade 1s came out for a bit to cheer on our classmates and to see what the bike rodeo was all about. Grade 2s had to go through THIRTEEN different stations; stopping safety, steering around obstacles, going in a straight line - even sign recognition. As the 2s kept biking, the 1s came inside to watch Franklin Rides a Bike. Then, we did a Retelling in our Writing Journals - start from the beginning (problem), tell us about the middle (details) and don't forget the ending (solution)! As students retell stories, it's important that they include character names, the setting and lots of details - they have to imagine they're telling the story over again, to someone who has never heard it before! When the grade 2s came back, it was their turn to write in Journals, but they did a 'How To", explaining all the steps of "How to Ride a Bike". Much like retelling, it's all about giving details, from start to finish. (*differentiated activities because of different curriculum expectations).
Friday afternoon we had some parent volunteers come in to carve pumpkins with us for the HPAS Halloween Party's pumpkin walk! We got really gooey - it was a lot of fun:) As we took turns carving, we also worked through a Jack o Lantern Glyph activity. At first, I read the instructions aloud and students had to use their listening skills to follow along with the activity. For example, "If you have 0 siblings colour your eyes black, if you have 1 sibling colour your eyes green ..." or "Draw one rib line for each year that you are old". After we went through the whole activity, I put the instructions up on the Smart Board for students to check and edit their work - did they listen well and follow along with the instructions? Check out our Jack O Lantern Glyphs in the hallway and see if you can find your son's or daughter's pumpkin :)
After Reading Todd Parr's "The Thankful Book" students used the sentence starter on the Smart Board "I am thankful for ..." and had to remember to include the word because in their journal entry. As they write they do their Five Finger Check - 1) I use capital letters in the write places 2) I use punctuation 3) my word wall words are spelled correctly (the 100 Most Frequently Used Words List) 4) I have proper spacing 5) I can reread what I wrote, and it makes sense! (e.g., the printing is legible and I can sound out all the words).
On Tuesday morning we had an outdoor classroom and took a walk, noticing all the different fall leaves; their shapes, sizes, textures, colours etc. Each student collected three leaves to bring back to the class and we let them dry over night. The next day, the students practised sorting leaves in their table groups and then, as a whole class we sorted according to colour. But before we did, we used OK Google on my smart phone to pick some more creative labels for our sorting rule. Rather than red, brown, yellow, green and purple we picked cardinal, chocolate, golden jade and violet. After we sorted as a whole class on the carpet, each table group had another responsibility, to count the leaves and organize them in such a way that when the reader looked at their work, it was simple and easy to tell how many leaves they had altogether. In effect, they were using words (the colour labels; number words) images (the leaves themselves) and numbers (tagging each leaf with a number label like 1, 2,3; writing a number sentence like 7+7=14; writing the final number somewhere visible, like with a big defining circle around it). Students used W.I.N.ing strategies to show their work! One group even decided to draw a ten frame, place the leaves inside and then with the remaining four leaves, they placed them in a straight line just to the outside of the frame with a number sentence of 10+4=14 ... so proud! On the third day, we looked at all the data we had collected and worked together to organize it into a graph!
Now, this data management lesson took a bit of a turn when the kids wondered, 'how do the leaves change into these different colours'? We took a break from our Social Studies to leap into Science (even if Living Things is scheduled for 2nd term!). I signed out books from the library and we watched some films on the Smart Board, Real World Science, Plants and Seeds and found out that it has something to do with chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Ask your son or daughter if they can explain it to you!
We watched and discussed Franklin Helps Out, Mama Bear's New Job and did lots of book browsing through our themed book bin family/school/community. As we browsed students came up with a lot of wonderings that we'll delve deeper into over the term (one of my favourites - how do teeth really fall out?!).
Swim class! We had another successful swim class - everyone participated! *If your son or daughter ever forgets to bring their suit, they can always borrow one from the HPAS Swim bin; we have some gently used suits that students can use, take home to wash, and then return for the next forgetful one :)
**If YOU have any gently used suits that your little one has grown too big for, please consider sending it in for our shared bin. Thank you muchly!
Rainy Days: *If it’s raining in the morning, students are asked to proceed to their classes for early arrival at 8:45 am. We get started with some Bookflix or Storyline Online on the SmartBoard while everyone filters in. Please send indoor shoes to be kept at school in our red ‘shoe bin’! It’s that time of year when students wear rain boots J
Word Work - we learned the procedures for how to use our spelling materials; how to set them up, how to use them, and how to tidy them up. We realized that it's important to spell our words correctly when we're writing, because we care about our ideas and the people who will read them. Spending time practicing our spelling (and our printing!) will help us to become not only better spellers, printers and writers, but also better readers! Our new Scrabble Scramble “Say Cheese on Class Photo Day” – how many new words can you make?
A second Word Work activity we started was “Give me Five” – choose five words that you KNOW how to spell, copying from the Word Wall, a book, a poster in the room, our daily schedule etc., and take the time to print them properly on our printing paper (no capitals, proper sizing etc.) Once they’re printed, choose one word and use it in a sentence.
Star Wars Reads Day was a great success! It helped us launch another Daily Five centre, Read to Someone. Ask your son or daughter what EEKK! means and the steps to follow to be a successful reading buddy. And what are the three Ways to Read a Book? Read the words, read the pictures, retell a familiar story.
Books we watched and read this week:
Bookflix: Bear Has a Story to Tell (under Animals & Nature), My Neighbourhood (Family & Community)
Storyline Online: I need my Monster
Class Picture Day, Say Cheese
I Just Forgot (all about responsibility, October’s Character Education Trait)
The Night Before Thanksgiving
Wind in the Willows – a year has passed and it’s summer again! Toad is still obsessed with his shiny motor cars so Rat, Badger and Mole have decided to move in to Toad Hall and help their friend realize the err of his ways.
During a Writer’s Workshop this week we talked and wrote about our needs, wants and how places in our community provide services. With the sentence starter on the SmartBoard “When I need ___ I go to ___” students worked in their writing journals. The second day, we used the same sentence starter but students worked on achieving an individual writing goal “My sentences start with a capital; My sentences end with punctuation; I spell my Word Wall Words correctly; there are spaces between my words; I can read my sentence and it makes sense”.
We continued to work with data this week, starting by taking surveys with simple yes or no answers (Do you like dogs?), then moving into multiple options (Do you walk, bike or drive to school?). We played some sorting games on the carpet and built ‘human picto graphs’ as we labeled different spots on the carpet, for example lunchroom, home, daycare and students lined up to show where they usually ate lunch.
The Overall Expectations for Data Management:
organizing objects into categories using one attribute (grade 2, two attributes);
collecting and organizing categorical data;
reading and displaying data using concrete graphs and pictographs (grade 2, line and bar graphs);
We used the Feelings Flash Cards by Todd Parr to act out emotions, focusing on facial expressions and body language. How would you look if you were: confused, exhausted, silly, frustrated?
XCountry – congratulations to our first timers, Julian, Findley, Gabriel H and Duncan! We had a great day at Ashbridges Bay, running with other grade 1 boys from across the South of TDSB. A great way to celebrate Fun & Run Club J
NEXT week is Galina's last week :( She has been an amazing asset to our room 102 community and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors! We'll have a little farewell celebration on Thursday the 16th.
The warm weather may be a bit unseasonal, but the grey skies and shorter days are definitely signs that the seasons are changing. This week we integrated the science (Daily & Seasonal Changes) and language curriculum throughout our Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops. After reading Fall Changes students were asked “How do you know it’s fall?”. We worked together on the carpet to brainstorm ideas with a sentence starter written on the Smart Board “I know it’s fall when …” then they chose one of the 5 senses, see, hear, smell, taste, touch. They then write in their Writing Journals, copying the sentence starter off the white board and completing it with their own ideas, or ones that had been shared by their peers. Ask your son or daughter which senses they use to discover the fall changes!
During our language block this week we also started learning about our Daily Five literacy centres, a literacy structure that allows for differentiation in the classroom. It is an integrated literacy instruction and classroom management system, which includes five literacy tasks (Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, Word Work) that teache students self-regulation and independence. This week, we started with a Word Work activity called Scrabble Scramble. When students choose the Word Work centre, they go to their Word Work Folders in their cubbies, choose a new worksheet and the materials that go along with it, then get to work independently (this week, we did it as a whole group). To play Scramble you read the sentence that is posted on the window in the classroom “See the Fresh Fall Leaves”, copy it into your worksheet, then use the Most Frequently Used Words list at the table (and your own schema!) to write NEW words with only the letters found in the sentence. The next part is an integrated math task – what’s the point value of your new word? If you spell ‘have’ that’s 4+1+4+1= 10 points! Pretty easy but lots of fun.
We watched two Toronto Public Library Tumblebooks (email me for login info for at-home use!) this week. One is a Drummer: “This lively concept book shows that the world around us is filled with things to count. Three are the dim sum carts filled with yummy treats, eight are the candles on a birthday cake, and ten are the bamboo stalks growing in a garden. Many of the featured objects are Asian in origin, but all are universal in appeal. With brilliantly colored illustrations, an ear-pleasing text and an informative glossary, this truly multicultural book will make counting a fun part of every child's day!”
Counting Coconuts: “Monkey has gathered a huge pile of tasty coconuts. Before he can enjoy them he must count them. He discovers counting in sets is the fastest way to complete the task.”
The big idea from counting coconuts (counting in sets, like, 2, 5, 10) helped us with our Data Management work this week. Galina taught our first lesson on taking surveys and collecting data; she had a survey sheet for us titled ‘how are you feeling today?’. It listed all our classmates (by their work cubby #s) and offered them 5 choices, happy, sad, angry, tired, other. On our first day students collected the data, on the next day, we organized our data into a chart called a picto graph – because it’s easier to understand the data when it’s organized, just like when you’re counting in sets! A picto graph has two axes, along the bottom axis we list the emotions and along the vertical axis we list the # of students. Once we tally up all the data for each emotion, we draw little pictures as symbols above each emotion. Check out thisinteractive Picto Graph online for more info and to create your own at home.
For Drama this week, students were challenged NOT to use voice, only facial expressions and larger body movements to show emotions. We read Todd Parr’s The Feelings Book to activate our schema and get our ideas flowing. Then, I re-read the book as students spread out around the room and acted out each emotion. “Sometimes I feel lonely” Some kids crouched into little balls, some crossed their arms, others laid down on the ground, and there were lots of frowning faces. “Sometimes I feel proud”, lots of tall standing, shoulders thrust back and heads held high with smiles and wide open eyes! Try playing this game at home too! *Recognizing facial expressions and body language can help us understand other people’s feelings when trying help a friend, solve a problem, end an argument etc.
We had our first swimming class this week and it was so awesome! Emily and Jessica were really clear about the expectations: we go into the change room, take off our clothes, leave them in a neat pile on the bench, then put on our suits, shower and bring our towels/shoes/caps/goggles/earplugs out to the pool deck. The best part, everyone participated in swim J The grade 2s who had done this before, showed our grade 1s how to slide into the pool and touch the bottom (everyone can in the shallow end). Then, some of our grade 1s wore life jackets, but they all got into the water together! Emily and Jessica did short lessons on blowing bubbles with your face in the water, kicking with your feet when you hang on to the side of the pool etc. Afterwards, we got out really early because we weren’t sure how long it would take us to change back into our school clothes. Oh my goodness – was I impressed! They went in, they changed, they came out! There was no wasted time, playing or being silly in the change rooms, which means, next time they can use that extra time as free play at the end of the lesson. They followed the three easy steps: suits off, clothes on, out to lunch!
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.