Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Week Full of Beautiful Presentations!

Hello Families!

What a beautiful week!  My heart was overflowing with love for you and your children!  Their presentations of learning have been so amazing.  Each and every child has challenged themselves to make this experience their best effort.  And all of this is on their first P.O.L. try!  Inspiring! 

I want to thank all of you family members for creating the time to come in for these special moments.  I can feel how proud the children are of their accomplishments.  They are so excited about all of their work and it comes out every day. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of what wonderful people this class is full of.

 Thank you!

And to top off the week, I was just brought it a lovely basket of new books that many of you purchased at the book fair and donated to our classroom.  SO EXCITING!  Thank you so much for your generosity and thoughtfulness!

I wish you a lovely long weekend!  See you on Tuesday!  Love, Jennifer

Monday, May 23, 2011

Come Enjoy the Book Fair!

Hello families!

This week the book fair has begun at school.  Don't you just love these original posters that the kids made?  What creative ideas our class has! 

The fair is in the lower commons right next door to our classroom.  Today your children got to preview the fair and wrote down some wishes for their home library.  I also created a class wish list so that if you would like to donate a book for all of us to enjoy, you could. 

If you would like to send money and an order form along with your child, we have shopping hours tomorrow.  If not, then please feel free to come in an enjoy the book fair at your leisure after school this week.  Thank you for supporting our school!  And thank you to all the parents who organized and are running our book fair.  It is so nice to have such involved families.

This might be a nice time to think about your family's reading plans for the coming summer months.  Most of the friends are ready to be reading easy reader level books.  They should be practicing with easy stories with a bigger font to continue their learning and to gain confidence as a reader.  Having some of these level books at home can be great because they often like to read books continually until they feel that they have mastered them.  I see this a lot at school, and that feeling of excitement of having read a book on your own is magical.  (The duration of a library check out can be just the amount of time needed to feel like you have mastered a book from start to finish!)  And, as usual, it is important for your kids to continue to hear you reading to them daily as well.    Both of these types of reading are great practice for different reasons. 

Also, last week I made little notes for the kids using a new kit I bought myself recently.  I was indulging in a bit of fun memories from my childhood, do you remember these?  The kids were asking where I got this kit (West Elm on sale...of all places!) and if I could put it up so they could look into having one at home some day.  The kids were very interested in how these work and also in the mathematical motion of the outcome design. So interesting.

Here's what it looks like...

Well this is just a mid week mini post to get you excited about the book fair.  I hope it is fun to see what kinds of books are out there and what interests your children are sharing in their choices. 

Enjoy your night!  Love, Jennifer

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We've Got Talent!

Hello families!

How are you this week?  I am well.  There is so much that is coming up in the next weeks.  I just cannot believe that the school year is almost over.  The kids are thinking about this a bit, with our presentations starting and also with planning what type of culminating event they would like to have.  They are creating such rich work and are so proud of their abilities.  It is lovely to see.

This week we had many friends share in our school wide Talent show.  I was so amazed and impressed by these kids' ability to overcome any jitters and try out performing.  Each act was unique and special.  I know the kids felt great about their accomplishment.  It was special to be able to experience this together.  Here are a few shots.

Last week's inspiration from Olivia has lead to many finger crochet chains.  The kids are having a great time continuing them so many are VERY LONG!  This has lead us to want to measure them.  The kids are testing their understanding of the basics of measurement and how standards work between any item you are measuring.  What unit of measure do you choose, inches or feet or yards?  How do keep track of how many rulers you used?  How do you go about adding up the quantities you are collecting?  This will be our work in the coming weeks as children continue to bring in their long and fabulous creations.

I realized that I haven't put on any of our recent mandalas.  Here are a few.  The friends are getting more intricate and are creating such balance with their ideas.  They are counting to make sure their work reflects their drawing draft.  There is a lot of adding and subtraction and making connections with quantities when they have to figure out the answers to these questions:  How many circles do I have so far?  How many do I need?  How many do I need to get the rest of how many I need?  Natural math problems to solve.  Very neat to see.

Also, we planted more this week.  Stephanie, Henry's mum, brought us an herb starter kit.  And Madeleyn's family gave us some forget-me-nots.  When we read the directions we were talking about what humidity is.  The kids did a great job explaining this in their own words.  Now we can see the humidity in the dome as the seeds sprout.  So far we have seen 11 sprouts after only a few days!  Thank you for the experience!

Another big thing we were talking about this week is how to prepare for the POLs.  We brainstormed together some basics for five cue cards.  These topics are:
1) What to say when you are starting your presentation
2) What was hard in your work?
3) What did you learn?
4) What did you learn about yourself as a person?
5) Possible final sentences to say at the end of your presentation.

Each friend has conferred with me on what piece of work they would like to present.  Then we are taking chances to practice with a friend.  Some friends are thinking about the strategy that many presenters use, which is a list of key words that can help them remember what they were going to say.  As this is our first more formal style of presentation, this is a learning process. 

We are using this experience to practice, to think about how we plan things and to reflect on ourselves as learners.  Today Tayler started us off with our first presentation, and she did so well using a big, hearable voice and explaining her work.  I know each friend will show their own personal style in their POLs.  We look forward to a special week.  If you haven't signed up for a time to come in for your child, please email or sign up in class. 

Thank you for sharing your children with me!  Love, Jennifer

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can They Fly?

Hello Families!

This week blogger has been read only at times, so I am finally able to post this!  Here it is:

The presentation bug has begun in our classroom! I think it was inspired both by our upcoming Presentations of Learning and the talent show. Last week we saw Aryav show his work about circuits and this week Olivia wanted to show the class how to finger knit. (I am sorry that I didn't get photos this time, my camera wasn't working...!) She did such a slow and specific job that it was clear and understandable. The others were very intrigued by this and many chose to spend their relaxation time trying out this new skill. The repetitive action is truly relaxing! Thank you to Olivia for asking to show her skill!

We also watched a few videos this week, about peacocks and chickens, to help us answer the question about whether they fly. looking at these two videos, the kids were identifying what they did see: flapping, fluttering wings and a solid jump. This lead us to wonder whether they could fly long distances. Many children identified elements of weight and length of tail as being elements that might make it hard for them to be able to fly long distances. Most friends felt that though the videos show what looks like flight, they still think it wouldn't be realistic for these birds to migrate long distances... What do you think?  We plan to read more about these birds in our animal encyclopedia.>1=LKVR5&FORM=LKVR

Finally, I want to post some more of our exciting and amazing math equations. As with much of our work, it's not just about math. The children often use story elements and a real world context to connect to their equation. And their drawing skills, as well as peer critique methods, are really helping their work come along. What creativity and precision!

I hope your child enjoys sharing about their work! Love, Jennifer