Thursday, April 20, 2017

Partner Reading

Today, we had the opportunity to share some good books on the Solar System together in partner reading.  We took turns reading from the same book and the students had three different books to choose from.  Not only did we learn more about the solar system; we also learned how to use fluency and proper phrasing when reading out loud.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning more about the solar system

We learned more about the solar system yesterday.  We used globes and flashlights to understand the earth's rotation and how that affects our days and nights as well as our seasons.

Iditarod Voicethread

Listen to what the students learned about the Iditarod in our Voicethread.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Family Newsletter

Dear Families,
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed the sunny, warm weather!  It is hard to believe that we only have this week before our Spring break, which starts on Monday, April24th!

The students continued learning about the Solar System last week.  We continued to explore shadows, which encouraged the children to think about the sun and the earth's rotation in space.  We used flash-lights and the children created shadow puppets.

We also created a paper gnome, which we placed in a sunny spot in our classroom window.  As a class, we are tracking its shadow.  The children also brought home their own paper gnomes for tracking shadows.  This is voluntary.
Lastly, we created a mural for the classroom showing the phases of the moon.  We will continue our explorations and inquiries about the moon this week. 

We watched some videos about a Canadian astronaut named Chris Hadfield so we could learn more about space and the lack of gravity in space.  Here is a link to some of his videos which I placed on our wiki.

The students continued reading non-fiction books in our reading groups last week.  We will switch over to fictional stories in the upcoming week, focusing on various comprehension strategies for deeper understanding but also fluency as we will start a new unit on poetry in writing.

First grade mathematicians are working so hard on the concepts of equality.  They are currently learning that two expressions can be equal in number but not necessarily the same.  For example, 3+1=2+2 in numbers but if we look at these parts in terms of unifix cubes, crackers or any visual model, they do not look the same.  Ask your child to explain.  
First grade mathematicians also explored 3D shapes through various stations as well.  Half of the class brought home modeling clay for further explorations at home.  The other half will bring home their modeling clay on Friday this week.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Look at our habitats

Look at our African savannas now!  We discovered this week that all they needed was time (and patience), water and sun!  They will go home on Friday.  I hope you can continue to care for your savannas, deserts and tropical rain forests at home...who knows, perhaps these grasslands can get a special spot in your Vermont grasslands?  

Friday, April 7, 2017


We "built" our African habitats this week.  Students who wrote reports about animals in the grasslands used potting soil to grown grass.  Notice how the soil is flat to represent the flat landscape and how the grass seeds are clumped together to reflect how the grasses grow.  Students who researched animals in the desert built dioramas using sand, which they shaped into small hills to represent the dunes.  Lastly, students who studied animals in the tropical rainforest used a shoebox to contain the various layers of the rainforest, represented by paper towel tubes and lots of green paper! We also put animals and plants inside our landscapes using paper and popsicle sticks.
We will attend to our grasses in school until April vacation as we're continuing our explorations about what makes the grass grow......

Family Newsletter

Dear Families,
This week went by so fast!  We had so many exciting things happening and it is nice to finally get some more Spring-like weather, even though it means rain and indoor recess.....

This week, the students continued reading non-fiction stories in our reading groups.  They learned how to be thoughtful about the new information they're learning and how we can jot down this information in effective ways to help us with comprehension.  We used post-it notes and graphic organizers.  We will continue this work next week as well.
The Iditarod reading logs ended and the children brought home Iditarod reading certificates and bookmarks inside their Friday folder today.  Prizes will be handed out on Monday for those children reaching the half-way mark and for those who finished the entire race!  Since we extended the reading race for another week, I could not hand out awards until all reading logs had been handed in, so we will wait until Monday.  The kids were very flexible about this.
I sent home a new reading log today.  We are currently studying the solar system and this new reading log reflects that in the icons.  The reading responses are similar to those used during the Iditarod.  As before, these logs are voluntary.  I also packed the traditional Harmony Reading Log.  Thanks for supporting reading and writing at home.

The students finished their African animal reports this week!  I am so proud of their hard work. For the next few weeks, the students will write on a variety of genres, primarily relating to science and various reading responses.  Stay tuned for more information.

Science and Moon Journal:
Your child brought home a Moon Journal in his/her Friday folder today.  We hope that your child will observe the night sku 3-4 times a week and write a few sentences about what he/she notices about eh moon.  We also hope your child will draw a picture.  I shared my daughter Emilie's moon journal from her elementary school and we noticed that she wrote a few sentences, used labels and colors in her pictures and asked many questions about her observations.  These Moon Journals can stay home until their due date, April 21st. Thanks for supporting science learning at home as well.  Let me know if you have any questions.

I hope you have a great weekend and get a chance to enjoy the warmer weather!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Working on book covers and Aidan visiting

Last week, my son Aidan spent part of the day with the class after a doctor's appointment for a fractured hand.  He helped us in math and literacy.  We also started working on our non-fiction book covers.

Family Newsletter and Iditarod Update

Dear Families,
Yesterday afternoon's Kid Iditarod Race was a huge success!  The weather cooperated and we even saw the sun as the children raced across our fields behind our school.  They worked so well together in their teams, completing all 10 check-points.  Thank you to those parents who took the time to join us and man the stations.  We could not have done this without you!
Here are some pictures I took.  more will follow as we compile the hundreds of pictures and videos we usually get from this event.

The teachers on harmony also decided to extend the Iditarod Reading Logs for another week as many children felt inspired to finish more.  We sent home another packet with your child's Friday folder.

Next week in writing, the students will continue their work on African animals.  We will continue our writing conferences and the children will finish their covers for their published work.  We will also start building our representations of the habitats. Stay tuned for more information and pictures.

Next week in technology news, we will also start our google slides about our African animals.  We will be able to work on these from home as well (for those who want to) as they are linked inside our emails as google apps.

Have a great weekend.