Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Winter break was truly a winter wonderland. I haven't seen that much snow since I lived in New Jersey. We began the year off on a great start.

Fifth graders began by discussing New Year's resolutions...a promise to do something this coming year. We decided to choose an academic goal and a personal goal we would work on throughout the rest of the school year.

Our fifth graders will be off to middle school, some the beginning of July, others in August. We viewed a video about classroom survival skills and how to be successful as a student. It really is about responsibility and committment. I also shared a true story about a fifth grader that almost failed, he was called the class dummy. His mother made him check out books from the library and complete two book reports each week. In seventh grade he had earned a new class title, "smartest kid in school." Later he earned a scholarship to college and went on to medical school. You might have heard of Ben Carson??? What a great story...If you would like to read his autobiography, the title is "Gifted Hands."

Fourth graders listened to the biography of Wilson Bentley, or Snowflake Bentley. We learned a little bit about his life and his book of snowflakes. After going to the computer to do some research about snow, snowflakes and his life, we will move on to evaluating websites next week.

Third grade students were introduced to another hero, Helen Keller. We read A picture book of Helen Keller, did a picture walk through the book titled My life in pictures by Helen Keller, and discussed how medical care is different today. We also learned how she was able to learn different words by having her teacher, Anne Sullivan, sign in Helen's hand. Later in class we chose a partner and tried to duplicate the same technique. It was difficult. We could actually talk and ask our partner to "sign" again. I had an old Weekly Reader book written in braille for students to explore.

Second graders finished up their unit on Janelle Cannon's books with her book titled, Verdi. Verdi does not want to grow up. We compared our everyday duties with our parents. Many students really like their life now as youngsters, although most cannot wait to get their driver's license. Watch out everyone!

First graders read a biography about Tomie dePaola. We learned where the biographies are kept in the media center and how they are shelved. I tied in the Caldecott honor book (for the winners are announced Jan 10), Strega Nona. We discussed noodles and pasta, learned about the different shapes of pasta, and enjoyed reading aloud Strega Nona. (Big Anthony does not listen!)

Kindergarteners retold the story of the Gingerbread Man. We discussed the beginning, the middle, and end of the story. Afterward we talked about making connections. Next, I read Snow Dude, by Daniel Kirk. Several students made the comment that Snow Dude sounded like the Gingerbread Man....BINGO! A CONNECTION!!!! Yes, I love it when a plan comes together.

When reading, make connections! It helps with comprehension.

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell