Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Butterflies all over

2nd grade has been watching caterpillars turn into butterflies as part of their unit on life cycles and today they released them. Hopefully we will see butterflies all over!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

US Research for first Glogs!

Fifth grade classes from Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Hennis' rooms have been researching states and regions of the US using WorldbookOnline, websites, state books, and other sources. Of course we are citing our sources as we go and using the Big 6 research process while we gather our information.
Using links off the Destiny homepage
Using websites and WorldbookOnline
So glad they still use print sources too! We talk about text features to find information and also about backing up information you find online with trusted sources.
So, what comes next? Glogs of course! We are very excited to try this out - I learned about it at the technology conference I went to a couple of months ago. Students will be taking the information they learned about their assigned regions and sharing with the class. Each student will then choose two regions to pair up and create a post about why they would or would not get along well together and why. This might be because they are similar in many ways or because opposites attract, but students will have to approach comparing and contrasting in a new way. You can see an abbreviated example I made to show the kids using Canadian provinces here. We are excited to see how they like it!

Cinquains, Haikus, and more - oh my!

First graders have been working on poetry lately so I have been reading poems with them from books such as Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Big is Big and Little, Little, but my favorite to read with them right now is Dogku by Andrew Clements. I love his novels for kids to start with, but this is such a great way to teach kids about Haiku without confusing them altogether! We talked about rhythm and beats and syllables in haikus before we read it since a haiku has 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Then, as we read, we checked his haikus for the syllables too so by the end they knew the rhythm and numbers for a haiku. The kids were set loose to write their own. It could be about anything, but of course I suggested books, reading, or the library as possible topics!! See some of the examples they came up with below - not all follow the perfect syllable scheme, but close and they had fun doing it which is the important part!

Earlier this week, with another class, we attempted cinquains. After doing a class example easily, I wanted the students to try it and they wanted to also. This one was not such a success, but we were a little rushed with time also. Next time, we need to have a little more time, but I think this poetry form is also great for first graders! Anyone know a good book for example of cinquains for kids??

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recycle What?

Mrs. Skolaris' class has been working on researching how various things are recycled as Earth Day approaches on April 22nd. Each student chose a topic to find out how it was recycled and what types of items it was made into using books and online resources like Webpath Express and NetTrekker. This included paper, cans, plastic bottles, computers, cars, and more. Now, they are working to create commercials about each topic to run in the school. They are having a last working on the commercials and got some good exposure to research skills including how important it is to have questions about your topic to answer, not just a vague topic. Using the Big 6 steps, defining your task and questions is the first step and is invaluable. We can't wait to see how the commercials turn out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Spring Book Fair

THANK YOU all for helping us meet our book fair goal once again. The profit from the book fair will be used to purchase more books for our library and we hope you were able to add to your home library in the process.

2010 NCCBA State Winners Announced

The votes are in for the state and the winner of the 2010 North Carolina Children's Book Award Picture Book with 26,940 of the 136,895 votes is:
And the winner of the 2010 North Carolina Children's Book Award for Jnuinor Books with 2,820 of the 16,312 votes is:

Thanks for voting!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Who knew so much went on out on the farm?

With Kindergarten last week, we talked about farms as they are about to have a field trip. Some kids knew a tremendous amount about them and some knew next to nothing. It surprised me though how even the kids that could name sheepdogs as a farm animal did not know what a barn is called. They all just call it a farm, even the big red building is a farm. We looked at some non-fiction books about farms and talked about what is on a farm, why it is on a farm, text features of the books, and so forth, then I had the students close their eyes, picture their own farms and draw the elements they would have. Now, these pictures were wonderful because I love kid art, but what I discovered was that it was not what they drew, it was what they contained. By this, I mean that they would tell me stories about the pictures that went so far beyond what they drew - there were whole other stories going on in the barns for example. They would draw a few things, but tell me all about inside the barn chickens were laying eggs, cows were being milked, horses were living, etc. They got much more that I would have known just from looking at the pictures and reminded me to talk to the kids too as they work. See some of the great art below.

The Giving Tree and more

This week is Young People's Poetry Week and since it is Book Fair week also, we did poetry with first grade last week instead. We focused mainly on Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein and read a selection of poems, The Missing Piece, and The Giving Tree. The kids loved it of course as they are both funny poets and they especially liked The Missing Piece. They also liked seeing the boy in The Giving Tree grow up but I think the main points of that book are lost on kids that young still as they don't appreciate the full message yet. However, I still think it is an important book to read several times over one's life and think about who we give to and who we take from. Sometimes it is something so simple that we can give to make someone's day brighter - a smile, a hug, a card. Just noticing them is sometimes all it takes. We should remember that with our students.

Geronimo Stilton!

Don't forget Book Fair is here! Come this week and shop and support our school. Thursday night is Family Night from 5-7 pm, pre-order a pizza, come shop, and meet Geronimo Stilton from 5:30-6:30! Bring your cameras and take a picture with him. See you there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring 2010 Book Fair is coming!

Book Fair is coming once again! We will be open during school hours Monday April 12 - Friday April 16th. Family Night will be Thursday, April 15th from 5-7 pm. Preorder pizza with the letter coming home in the Wednesday folder or just come and shop! Students will be completing wish lists as will teachers, so look for those and help build your classroom libraries. See the details here -  and come shop with us and support our school library at the same time!