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.