Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another great day in Room 240 (are you sensing a pattern here?). Here’s how it all went down:

After Independent Literacy Time and Morning Meeting, we had Reader’s Workshop. Today we finished up analyzing another of Eloise Greenfield’s poems, called “Fun.” It’s (as you might imagine) a fun poem to read – it’s about school. Ask your child all about it. During the lesson we talked more about “lovely language” and “inviting images” in the poem, as well as the theme. We also saw how Eloise used onomatopoeia in her poem, and indenting several of the lines. Hopefully, these two techniques will begin to show up in the kids’ poems as well. Then the kids had independent reading time and buddy reading time while I met with reading groups. While they were reading, they were looking for examples of onomatopoeia in their just-right books. At the end-of-workshop share, then, we complied a list of all of the words that they had found (such as zoom, bang, whoosh, boing, bam, etc.).

After Reader’s Workshop, we had a song (again, with the Down by the Bay – I need to teach them some more songs, I think…). After that, it was on to Writer’s Workshop, in which the kids finished up their found poetry. They will be including their found poetry in the writer’s Celebration that we will have as we finish our poetry unit.

After writing, the kids went down to the cafeteria for lunch and then out to recess. When we got back up, we finished the High Rise Private Eyes book (The Case of the Desperate Duck) that we began yesterday, just in time to head down to the gym for class with Mr. Hill and Mr. Peterson. They went outside, but I’m not sure what they were up to, exactly.

When we got back to the room, we had Math Workshop. Today we continued our study of addition facts, by making little books with facts that add up to 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The goal was to get the kids thinking about adding past 10, but also to have them see the patterns that emerge. They will bring the books home tomorrow.

Our Math Workshop went a bit long, so we had a bit less time for Science Lab. After a computer video malfunction (a really cool video on a cool site called brainpop –which we will watch tomorrow, so don’t show it at home tonight… ☺), we talked about the four things that electricity can make (heat, light, motion, and sound). After the kids brainstormed as many things as they could think of that use electricity, we sorted them into a chart according to the thing that is produced.

After all of that, it was time to pack up and head home!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One fine day in Room 240 again – here are the gory details…

After Independent Literacy Time and Morning Meeting, we had Reader’s Workshop. Today we worked on the scrambled Eloise Greenfield poem from yesterday – most of the kids were able to finish a poem – really interesting to see what they came up with, and how it differs from what Eloise actually wrote. I also introduced another poem for our Author Study today – “Fun” – once again written by Eloise (at this point, she seems like an old friend and writing mentor for us!). The kids also traded books in the Just-Right Bookbags and had Independent and Buddy Reading time while some of them met with me in Reading Group.

After reading, we had a song – a nice little number called “Mr. Knaus Has Got a Pig on His Head.” Ask your child to sing it for you…

Then it was on to Writer’s Workshop. The kids used the page from a non-fiction book that they selected yesterday to start a “Found Poetry” poem. They crossed off all of the “non-poetic” words in the text, and then used the lovely words that remained as the basis for a poem. They are turning out quite nicely.

After writing, it was time for lunch and then (outdoor) recess. When we got back in and up to our room, we read another Poppleton book for Read Aloud (this was the first one in the series, called Poppleton). Then it was time to head on down the hall for Media with Mrs. Hennen.

When we got back to our room, it was Math Workshop. Today I reviewed all of the pairs of numbers that make ten (10 & 0, 9 & 1, 8 & 2, 7 & 3, etc.). Ten we talked about how to use the “make ten strategy” to add numbers that go past ten, such as 8+5. The kids then went off to apply the strategy to solve word problems in their workbooks.

After Math, it was on to Science Lab. We’re still studying electricity, and added a buzzer to the electrical system (they have already ‘discovered’ how to make alight bulb light, a small motor turn, and a switch to work). The problem that we left off with today was trying to get all of the devices to work at the same time, with the switch to turn them on and off. We’ll get back at that tomorrow.

After all of that, as usual, it was time to pack up and head home!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome back from break – I hope that it was a good one for you. Seems like a long time ago that we were in school, but it also seems like we never left.

Great day in Room 240 today – here’s the lowdown:

After Independent Literacy time and Morning Meeting, we had Reader’s Workshop. As you know, we are in the middle of our Author Study Eloise Greenfield, a famous poet. Today we reviewed the poems of hers that we have already read, to get back in the poetry swing of things. Then I gave each of the kids a page that had all of the words from her poem “The Man in Red,” but scrambled. They each cut out the words and tried to rearrange them in an order that made sense, trying to think like a poet. It was a hard thing to try, and there were some very clever uses of the words. Tomorrow we’ll compare their work with what Eloise actually wrote!

After reading, we had a song (Aiken Drum). Then it was on to Writer’s Workshop. We had basically a continuation of Reader’s Workshop. Today I taught the kids about “Found Poetry.” The type of found poetry that we are doing (there are many) is to look at a non-fiction book and cross out the “unpoetic” (unnecessary) words, and then use the words that remain to construct a poem. It’s really pretty cool, and makes nice poetry, actually. We worked on one as a class, and then the kids each chose a page from a non-fiction book to use tomorrow to make their own found poetry (we had to carry over the choosing until after lunch because the wanted some writing time for their own poetry too).

After writing, it was time for lunch and recess, and then back up to the room to choose a page for found poetry tomorrow. When everyone had their book and page, it was time to head down to the gym for class with Mr. Hill and Mr. Peterson. The kids went outside, and did a long run and the 50 yard dash, from what I heard after class.

When we got back up to our room, it was time for Math Workshop. Today we worked on solving addition and subtraction word problems. Our particular focus today was on figuring out whether the problem calls for you to add or subtract, and then making a solid plan for solving the problem.

After math, it was on to Science Lab. Today we added another gadget to the electricity unit - a small motor. The kids worked on making a circuit that included a switch to turn the motor on and off. When they got their circuit up and running, I gave them shapes to spin on the end of the motor, as well as circles that were divided into halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, and sixths to color in and then spin on the motors to see how colors mix. It was fun – the kids made a ton of “discoveries.”

After all of that, it was time to pack up and head home!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday – meetings after school took up all of my time. At any rate, it was another great day in Room 240!

After Independent Literacy Time and Morning Meeting, we had Reader’s Workshop. Today we read another poem by our new poetry writing mentor/friend Eloise Greenfield. The poem is called “Reggie,” a sweet poem about a girl who misses her brother during the summer when he “moves out” to play basketball across the street all day long, only returning home to eat and sleep. We talked about “lovely language and inviting images” that Eloise used in her poem, as well as tried to tease out the theme (what she was trying to say or get us to feel, as opposed to the plot, which is what happened during the piece). Tomorrow we’ll talk about the structure of the poem – how she used line breaks and indentation to help her poem “sing.” The kids then went of to read their books, both with a buddy and independently. As the kids are meeting with me in reading group, they are reading Eloise’s poetry as well.

After reading, we had a song (Down by the Bay, again…), and then it was on to Writer’s Workshop. Today the kids learned about taking a huge idea that they feel strongly about (huge like a watermelon) and then find a small moment, detail, or object that they can write about to show their feeling for that idea (small like a seed). It’s a big topic for the kids, but they’re starting to get it. They have written some very cool poetry thus far!

After writing, it was time for lunch. But after lunch today, we all came back up to our room for the ice cream party that the kids earned by having 100% participation in the Read-a-thon. Ice cream sundaes can make for a bit of an active Read Aloud, but it was all good. For Read Aloud, we read two Poppleton books – this one and this one. After we finished the second book, we headed up to the art room for class with Mr. Fairbanks.

When we got back up to our room, we had Math Workshop. We continued our discussion of telling time to the nearest 15 minutes. The kids each had their own little clock to manipulate. After the kids had a good chance to practice with the clocks, they each made a time book, in which they recorded some of the important times throughout their days.

For Science Lab today, we did another experiment with electrical circuits – we added a switch to the system (which looks like this). First the young scientists had to figure out how to make the lightbulb light using all of the components (battery, lightbulb, switch, and three wires). Then they had to figure out why the switch works. We had some interesting discussion, and finally ‘discovered’ that electricity needs a full circuit to work!

After all of that, it was time to head home!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another fantastic day in Room 240 – here’s the skinny:

After Independent Literacy Time and Morning Meeting, we went down to the gym for a Rope Power presentation by the Burroughs Rope Power (jump roping) team. They will be performing/competing at Washburn HS tomorrow night at 6:30, if you’re interested. It was really good – the ids have obviously put in a lot of hard work. They had some really interesting tricks!

When we got back up to our classroom, it was almost lunchtime, but we were able to sneak in a shortened Reader’s Workshop. Today we re-acquainted ourselves with our new author “friend” – the poet Eloise Greenfield. I read one of her poems to the kids, and had them listen for and identify what we call “lovely language” and “inviting images” in her work, in the hope that the kids will translate her quest for “word madness” (words that excite the reader) into their own writing.

After reading, it was already time for lunch and recess. After recess, we had Read Aloud – and we finished our current Jigsaw Jones book (everything turned out fine, you’ll be happy to know… ☺). Our schedule was mixed up today, due to the Rope Power presentation, so instead of going to gym as we normally would have, we had the Writer’s Workshop that we missed in the AM. Today we talked about putting line breaks in poems, and how they control the rhythm of the poem, and “make it sing.” We looked at two different poems, written first in prose, and then broke them up into distinct lines to give the poem voice and make it sing. Then the kids went off to make their own poems. They created some really brilliant poems – I can’t wait to share them all!

After writing, we moved into Math Workshop – we are beginning a min-unit on telling time. Today we practiced with the old, tried-and-true Judy clock – we will be working on telling time to the hour, half hour, and quarter hour. Start asking your child what time it is (with a non-digital clock!).

After that, we packed up all of our stuff, and went down to the gym for class with Mr. Hill and Mr. Peterson to end our day. From there, it was straight out to the buses and home!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just a quick post today - my computer is not working well.

Basically, we had the Read-a-thon closing ceremony all morning (great fun - I'll have video and pictures up, hopefully, on Monday).  After lunch we did Science Lab - electricity experiments again, and then Friday Fun.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another great day in Room 240!

After Independent Literacy Time and Morning Meeting, we had Reader’s Workshop. Today I introduced the kids to our newest author study – Eloise Greenfield. She is a poet, and has published all sorts of books, from fiction to non-fiction and biography, and from picture books to chapter books to poetry. We will focus mostly on her poetry, which is wonderful. The kids will be reading her work in Reading Group with me, as well as a whole class. Today, after learning some facts about our new friend and mentor Eloise, I read two of her poems to the kids – "Lessie" and “Honey I Love.” Both are from her book called Honey I Love. We also talked about how Eloise always tries to find precisely the right word to write – and when the kids went off to read, they looked for examples in their books of how the author looked for just the right word to tell the story.

After reading, we went on to Writer’s Workshop, which is really an extension of Reader’s Workshop. Today we talked again about seeing objects “with a poet’s eye” – to look at something commonplace and see it in an uncommon way (like Eloise describing her neighbor spraying her with a hose on a hot day as a “flying pool”). After we brainstormed a list of things in the room that would be good to look at with a poet’s eye, the kids used their poetry journals to record their observations. They were really great, like this one – I have a big, thick textbook in the room, and one of the kids saw it as “a huge, thick word cake, ready to be eaten.”

When we finished with Writer’s Workshop, we got ready for lunch, and headed down to the lunchroom, and then out for recess. When we got back up to the room, we read some more of our Jigsaw Jones book for Read Aloud, and then went down to the gym for class with Mr. Hill and Mr. Peterson.

When we got back up to our room, it was time for Math Workshop. Today the kids played two games with a partner – one was addition practice, and the other was subtraction practice.

After math, we had Science Lab. We tried to make sense of the experiment that we did yesterday – how to get a light bulb to light up with a wire, a D cell battery, and a small light bulb. We were left with this question – why do we need the wire to make it work? Why can’t we just hook up the light bulb to the end of the battery, since we figured out that the electricity is in the battery? We’ll try top sort out that question tomorrow in Science Lab with another experiment.

After all of that, it was time to head home!