Friday, January 14, 2011
I hope you are having fun today learning about bears.
Here are a few websites to visit.
1. Bears of the world: http://www.bearsoftheworld.net/
2. Pandas: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/PhotoGallery/GiantPandas/default.cfm
3. Polar Bears: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/polar-bear/
4. Brown Bears: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/brown-bear/
Now let's visit some other fun websites.
A. Polar bear puzzle:http://www.first-school.ws/puzzlesonline/animals/polar-bear.htm
B. Goldilocks and the three bears puzzle:http://www.first-school.ws/puzzlesonline/fairytales/goldilocks-and-the-three-bears.htm
C. Giant Panda puzzle: http://www.first-school.ws/puzzlesonline/animals/panda.htm
D. Brown bear puzzle:http://www.first-school.ws/puzzlesonline/animals/bear.htm
Thanks for coming to school today and learning about bears with me. Mrs. Wells will be back Tuesday and we can tell her everything we learned.
Wednesday, January 12, 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.
- Nurtures an interest in reading. Giving a book as a gift is one of the most effective ways of getting a child to develop an interest in reading. Kids, in general, are excited about the idea of unwrapping a gift and seeing what it can “do”. A carefully chosen book has the potential to become “the best gift ever” from a child’s point of view and to lay the foundation for a lifelong interest in reading. If the parents of the baby or child you’re buying the gift for haven’t started reading aloud yet or don’t read very frequently, your gift gives them a great reason to start. Which is why a book makes a great baby-shower gift as well.
- Books are rarely outgrown. Have you ever heard of a book that doesn’t fit a baby anymore? The beautiful thing about books is that they can be re-read hundreds of times, put away for weeks and then enjoyed again. Books can be shared with and passed on to siblings, cousins and friends. They are great for taking along on road trips or to the Doctor’s office. Many kids enjoy their baby books and picture books well into their preschool years. They find different ways to interpret them or different uses for the same book. A book about baby animals which my daughter enjoyed as a little baby is now her favorite whenever she wants to play a ‘zoo game’.
- Books serve as inspiration for other interests. I stare in awe at some of the amazing illustrations in children’s books. For a child who has an interest in drawing or painting, these books would be great not just for reading but for artistic inspiration as well. There’s so much more to reading a book with your child than putting words and letters together. You can help them learn a language, a new skill, about other cultures or countries. So when you choose a gift for a baby or child, keep in mind that with a book, there is a chance that the impact of your gift will last more than a few minutes, and probably a lifetime.
- Books can reinforce an ongoing interest in a hobby or subject. If your child is already into dinosaurs trains, trucks, stars, bugs or cartoon characters, a book on the subject will help him expand his learning. Have you noticed how very young babies enjoy books about babies or with lots of different human faces? It’s what they’re familiar with and so, what they like to see more of. For older kids, there’s no easier way to get them to sit down to read with you than to bring home a book about their latest favorite topic.
- Books – the unbreakable gift. Let’s face it. No parts to go missing. No batteries that die. Nothing that breaks. Isn’t this reason enough to consider books as gifts? Of course, you don’t want to put this to test with a brand new glossy chapter book in the hands of your active toddler. For very young babies and kids who haven’t outgrown the tendency to tear out pages, board books and cloth books are probably best. But, mostly, books tend to be hardy gifts that last years and are used by more than one child.
- Books are easy to find and carry. If you don’t know the child or the family too well, a book is a safe bet as a gift. First, because, they’re fairly easy to find and select. Just go to a local bookstore or browse an online collection. Books are generally arranged according to age and topic so, you should be able to decide on one fairly quickly. If you do know the child and his interests well, then, things couldn’t be any easier. Simply spend a little time browsing books in his area of interest and pick one(or a few) that you think he may enjoy. And in case he already owns it, getting a book exchanged is a breeze in most stores. I’ve found that in a time crunch, buying a book is quick, fun and almost always, the right choice for a gift. Besides, they’re compact, easy to wrap and take along to a party.
- Personalized children’s books make the most wonderful gifts. I’ve written about this before and it’s worth another mention. When you know a child very well, be it your own child, a niece or nephew or a friend’s child, consider a personalized picture book. There are several different ways you can do this, starting with creating a simple photo book of memories. You could do this yourself or order it at one of many different websites and stores that offer these gifts.
Students returned to a normal media center after Bookstock Book fair ended. We continued with our instruction with grade levels to support their objectives.
Fifth grade continued with learning about Sacajawea and her contribution to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We are continuing to complete the lotus diagrams the students are using to organize details and information pertaining to their journey.
Fourth graders used the media lab to research key words on a trivia board. We are learning not all web sites are created equal. We are also learning we do not need to type in a full question for answers...only pertinent "key" words. This has been a true fact finding experience.
Third graders were introduced to the book, Baloney, written by Jon Scieszka. We reviewed fix-up strategies and how they are used when we are reading aloud or independently. We used the book to put our fix up strategies to work. After we made predictions to what some of the words might mean, we re-read the book and checked our answers. Several of our fix up strategies included: picture support, re-reading, context clues, read ahead, word chunking, etc.
Second graders continued on their mission of enjoying several of Janell Cannon's books. This week I introduced the book Pinduli. This book is great for making connections. (Does the movie, play, book, Lion King come to mind?) We used nonfiction books to research several of the animals mentioned in the book, also reinforcing our DDS (Dewey Decimal System).
First grade read the book Redbird at Rockefeller Center. We also made a connection with Dr. Seuss books. This book is told in rhyme and is about a tree that was cut to be the tree decorated in NYC's, Rockefeller Center. However, when it is cut, the main character is sure a little redbird was in the tree. You will have to read yourself to see what happens...it's magical! Several predictions are made by students which is just what I planned.
Kindergarten students enjoyed the story Library Lion, written by Michelle Knudsen. Imagine a real lion visiting the library at storytime each day! However, rules must be followed. This is a heartwarming and comical story of a librarian who loves having the library come to visit. Her assistant is so focused on the rules the lion feels compelled to leave. Children will easily see themselves in the wild lion, which yearns to explore and enjoy the library but worries about the constraining rules. What a book to use to discuss the library's main focus...becoming life long users of information....