Sunday, March 1, 2009

Third Grade Character Ball

This is a photo of the third grade character ball in action. Students rewrite their favorite fairy tale, produce, direct, and act it out. Invitations are sent to parents. The character ball for third grade was being conducted while the rest of the school participated in Read Across Highcroft. Next year we will coordinate the two and I would love to follow up with a "Fairy Tale Bowl."

Week of February 23 in the Media Center

It has been a very busy week at Highcroft. We celebrated Read Across Highcroft on Friday, had a Character Ball in third grade, and it was Crazy Hair Day!
Dr. Seuss books have been flying off the shelves in preparation for Read Across Highcroft. The teachers go to different classrooms to read and do activities in order to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. March 2 is Theodore Seuss Geisel's read birthday. If he was still alive he would have been 105. My favorite book I read to classes is Thidwick the big hearted moose. He has such a big heart but is taken advantage of by many different animals who begin to live on his horns (antlers). Of course he remembers that all horns fall off each year so new ones can grow. We also accessed to read about his early life, his career and how he became the author of so many books. After learning more about Dr. Seuss...we visited the "playground" online. Click on the above site and see for yourself! Oh, the places you'll go...

It's Valentine's Day!

My favorite Valentine's Day books.

A Valentine for Ms. Vanilla by Fred Ehrlich
Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox
I Like You by Sandol Stoddard
I Love You the Purplestby Barbara M. Joosse
If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
The Best Thing About Valentines by Eleanor Hudson
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing
The Very Special Valentine by Maggie Kneen
Today is Valentine's Day by P. K. Hallinan
Valentine's Day Is by Gail Gibbons
You and Me by Martine Kindermans
You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love
Valentine School Parties by Wilhelminia Ripple

February 9 - 19 in the Media Center

Fifth graders enjoyed the story of Patrick McDonald, The Gift of Nothing. This small book with very little text is packed with humor. It is a story of friendship between a cat and dog. We continued our quest for knowledge using the computer lab in the media center.

Fourth grade continued with the Danny the Champion of the World video. We compared several of the events of the movie we have seen so far with the text. There were many changes when the book became the movie. We used a venn diagram to plot our discoveries.

Third grade continued to learn what it means to have courage. This week we watched a short video about Helen Keller who became blind and deaf from having a fever for so long when she was only 18 months old. We discussed different diseases and how we are protected against several of them now with the discovery of antibiotics and different vaccinations. Helen was most couragous and had a wonderful companion to help her throughout her life. Her name was Anne Sullivan. She also attended college and lived a very full life.

Second graders continued to delve into Bill Peet's books. We read a short humorous book titled Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts. Scaredy is afraid to venture out of his comfort zone and is prepared for anything...almost. We applied this knowledge to the book written by Bill Peet titled Merle the High Flying Squirrel who never leaves his oak tree in the city. He wants to venture out west and does so in a most unusual way. We compared the similarities of the squirrels within the two books and discussed how connections are made.

First grade enjoyed Tomie DePaola's most famous book, Strega Nona. Poor Big Anthony does not pay attention! This gets him into a most unusual situation...until Strega Nona comes to the rescue. We discussed how stories have a beginning, middle and we retold the story in our own words...the beginning...the middle....the end. Ciao~

Kindergarten classes are learning the differences between fiction and non-fiction. We looked at non-fiction books about dinosaur digs with fossils. then we enjoyed our fiction story titled, Can I have a stegasaurus mom? Please! We followed up with a game of musical books. While I sang the students walked around tables with both fiction and non-fiction books. When I stopped, I shouted either "fiction" or "non-fiction"...the students were to choose the correct type of book. They are brilliant!

Another Fantastic Week at Highcroft

Kindergarten classes have been reading about Olivia and her antics. Of course she never gets worn out and she hates napping. We also discovered her favorite color is red, she loves ballet, and tries her best to imitate the masterpiece at the museum.... on her wall at home..."time out"...So far we have read Olivia, Olivia forms a band, and Olivia saves the circus.

First Graders were introduced to the wonderful author and illustrator Tomie DePaola. We began by reading a small biography about his life. We learned his favorite holiday is Christmas, he loves to cook, and he began early in his career by designing Christmas cards. We followed up with a book he wrote and illustrated titled Tom. Tom was Tomie's grandfather who owned a grocery store where he worked as a butcher. Tomie plays a trick on his best friend in the book. It's hilarious until he finds himself in the principal's office.

Second graders learned that true people are behind the animated movies produced by Walt Disney. Bill Peet worked with Walt Disney for more than 27 years where he served as head animator. He has worked on Song of the South, 101 Dalmations, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo...just to name a few. We followed up with a story titled Big Bad Bruce, which was written and illustrated by Bill Peet. Big Bad Bruce was hilarious!

Third Grade found Wilma Unlimited to be inspirational! Not only was she stricken with polio and told she would never walk again, but she overcame her illness and became the fastest women in the 1960. Wilma's life growing up was unbelieveable.... What an exciting book. Our biography section is really being explored.

Fourth grade is beginning to finish Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. We have found that Danny really does have an exciting life even though he lives in a small caravan with his father that owns a gas station. Of course, Roald Dahl is a master storyteller....we will follow up with the video I was lucky enough to find which was only released in the UK.

Fifth grade students are learning about key words and are using google this week to look up questions relating to fine arts. This supports assignments which are ongoing in the classroom. We are learning to be efficient and evaluating web sites in the process.

It's Groundhog Day!

Will Mr. Groundhog see his shadow? Supposedly he did and we will have six more weeks of bad weather. While you are all snuggled up inside, here are some great books for you to read.
Gretchen Groundhog, it’s your Day
This wonderful story by Abby Levine captivates children with the story of Gretchen Groundhog's first time predicting the weather on Groundhog Day. Kids especially like the support emails that Gretchen receives from other shy groundhogs throughout history.

Gregory’s Shadow
Author Don Freeman, best known as the ingenious creator of Corduroy, weaves a charming tale of the separation of shy Gregory and his faithful pal Shadow just prior to their Groundhog Day appearance. A great read-aloud book!

Punxsutawney Phyllis
The storyline of Punxsutawney Phyllis is endearing, and especially encouraging for girls -- telling them that it's OK to be different and they are capable of doing anything they want to do. But the exquisite illustrations of Jeffrey Ebbeler are what really make this book stand out from the pack

It’s Groundhog Day!
Whimsical characters and an action-packed plot keep young readers entertained in this hilarious story about the kidnapping of Godfrey Groundhog and his ultimate escape in time to predict the weather on Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil and his Weather Wisdom
A delightful introduction to the famous Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and the science of weather and weather predictions. Lots of neat weather facts plus a great story on self-esteem

The secret of the first one up
Dare to question the standard Groundhog Day weather predicting shadow ritual with this charming book by Iris Hiskey Arno. The captivating character of Lila groundhog introduces children to hibernation and Groundhog Day, and the story is accompanyed by beautiful illustrations

Geoffrey Groundhog predicts the weather
Kids are sure to laugh at Geoffrey Groundhog's creative solution when he finds himself unable to see his own shadow one Groundhog Day due to all of the lights, reporters and cameras. A hilarious look at the commercialization and media-hype surrounding Groundhog Day.

Fluffy meets the Groundhog
Looking for a Groundhog Day book for your young beginning reader? This book in the Hello Reader series tells the tale of a classroom guinea pig who takes the place of a shy, but real-life groundhog for the Groundhog Day festivities. Perfect for 1st and 2nd grade readers.

Andrew Groundhog meets his Shady Shadow
Author Peter J. Welling shares a story of how Groundhog Day came about with the help of a Scottish groundhog and his amusing shadow. Children will even learn a few Gaelic words!

Substitute Groundhog
Just before Groundhog Day, Groundhog day comes up with the flu! This whimsical story details his search for a substitute, as he thinks about the qualities that make a groundhog perfect for the job. Kathi Ember's illustrations are equally as charming as this well-written book.

Taken from at