Friday, September 23, 2011

Back to School and our many interests...

Hello Families!

Thank you so much for making our Back to School afternoon so nice.  It was great to see the kids explaining the different parts of the day as they watched the slide show, showing their work to their parents and also telling their parents who all the students are in our class.  These kids have so many great ideas and are already becoming a lovely group of people who are so willing to help and collaborate.  I feel like they are going to make this a fabulous year!

Today we had a rainy morning.  This may be why we had so few friends come to school.  With only 13 friends here today, we made the day a little different.  We took the time to begin learning other skills, kind of like a club day.  Friends voted on what they wanted to start first (sewing, wire or watercolor) and sewing won. 

Today's activities included:

Identifying the parts of how a pie graph works.
What can color do to give information?
What information does the circle tell us?

The math challenge: making new ones and solving old ones. 
How do you write an equation? What are the parts? What makes it readable?
What strategies did you use to solve the math challenge you chose?

Following directions and identifying directionality through sewing.
What side is the thread on?  What length do you want your stitch to be and how do you make this happen?
How much thread do you have left, is it long enough for your next stitch?

Surveys: defining your questions and how using tallies effectively.

Adding to yesterday's journal entries on horses, sharing thoughts, knowledge or questions.
What are key words that go with our agreed upon topic?
What are the writing norms we need to follow so others can read our work?

Remember, our school policy about "no meaningful homework" is partly because we believe family time is important.  So if you find doing these activities at home is making life stressed, that is not what we wish for. We always hope learning will be fun and we wish you lots of important family connection time, so please make your homework decisions according to what works best for you as a family!

If your child is interested in homework, or likes to extend these activities at home, then these are great ideas to get you started. The children have also been creating -er and -ing poems and many say they'd like to do this also. So many ideas!

I hope you are have a lovely weekend!  Thank you for sharing your creative thinkers with me!  Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting Organized!

Hi families!

How are you?  We have so much work going that we are working on structures for you to find out what they are up to.  Today we created a work in progress board for friends to keep track of what they are doing and what they want to do.  This has helped them do this without me!

There are so many things I could write about, it's exciting.  I will keep this short so I can push "publish"!

We got our math challenge wall started last week.  Friends write up math questions for others to investigate and solve.  This week friends put up multiplication challenges and we talked about grouping.  For example 7x2 is 7 groups of 2 or 2 groups of 7.  The kids have been realizing this is pretty neat.  Here are some images:

We have also been talking about our classroom management.  We are forming many brainstorms of ideas that work for our class, or things that will help us while we work.  Here are a few:

There are so many things to agree on, to figure out and to do to create our dynamic community.  We are hard at work on all of this.  I hope you can make it to our Back to School night to see what your child is up to.

Also, have you met Sandra?  She will be our Helper Teacher, as the children call her, for times when I will be in other teachers class to mentor them.  I hope you get a chance to meet her in the coming weeks.

COME ON  THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22 any time from 3:30-6pm!

Have a great night!  Love, Jennifer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beginning Explorations

Hello Families!

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable surprise three day weekend!

Today was  our first Explorations day.  Our two classes this session are Musical Theater and Stop Motion Annimation.  It should be a fun experience!

The first class worked on rhuthm and counting by fours.  The groups really kept each other on the beat.  The second class took this time to get to know a camera and to test different styles of camera angles, taking shots to see how they will come out.  We are so excited to see how these great classes unfold!

I will write more soon, but just wanted to share the class topics they will be exploring this session. Have a great week, Jennifer

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yay! We're At School Together!

Hello First Grade Families!

How are you? I am great. I have LOVED getting to know your children more during the last two days. I feel like this is such a fun, bright, friendly and caring group of people. They are doing such a great job being open to getting to know new people.

Already I can see we have some great brainstormers. If that isn't a word, I think it should be. And our class photo would be there in the dictionary defining it. :)

This week's brainstorms so far:

~Recess: Ideas on what works when we are playing on the yard as a class and with other classes (We have this posted outside of our class for reference when we need it)

~Interview Questions that will help us get to know our friends

~Future activities that they came up which included finding out our classmates' birthday and creating a time capsule

~Synonyms for the word "mellow": calm, quiet, peaceful (and "shush" was a sound that they felt epitomized the feeling)

Today we also began talking about Fiction and Non-Fiction. This helped us begin to care for the class and organize our life together, since we need to know where to put books so we can find what we need and want. We practiced together with a small group of books the kids had used and needed to be re-shelved. The kids were very into this and picked up on the difference quickly. There were a few books that were less clear to differentiate that didn't stump our group! At one point Levi said, that was a fun game!  Sometimes any old fun thing can seem like a great game!

The kids are in the process of finishing up two key pieces of work that they began yesterday and today. One was to find something in our room and write and or draw information that would help others know how to use it. And the other one they said they wanted to keep a secret as a surprise to you. All I can say about both of these is that they are challenging themselves to make their work their best and to make sure it's clear to others. It is neat to see each of their creativity and thinking abilities.  And some friends even were ready to share their work with the class!

Today we also had a surprise treat offered by the 5th grade. They had a 150 pound watermelon which they filled with fruit to feed the school! The kids thought this was pretty neat.

****A final wish:  Please make sure to ask your child if they would like to bring in photos of their family to share or of your summertime experiences. We will take time Thursday and Friday to share these.

I hope you are having a lovely week! Love, Jennifer