Thursday, April 28, 2016

Celebrating our Book Reviews

A special thank you to families for making our "Book Fair" such an authentic experience for the children earlier this week.  They had a fabulous time "selling" their favorite books to an audience!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Exploring the World With Google Cardboard

The kids had a FANTASTIC time yesterday exploring the world with Google Cardboard.  I have included a few pictures and some information from our technology teacher, Cathy Wolinsky, below.

I hope you all have a wonderful April break!

On Wednesday students at YES had the experience of using Virtual Reality (VR) viewers to visit places around the world and in space using Google Expeditions. Here are links to more information about the day:
Cathy Wolinsky
Instructional Technology K-4
Yarmouth Schools
Yarmouth, ME

Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Character Project

     The kids have been hard at work on a culminating project to our reading unit, "Characters Face Bigger Challenges and So Do Readers".  They began this project by selecting a fiction "just right" book with a main character.  The children became detectives as they tracked the main character throughout the book, closely watching what the characters were feeling, doing, thinking, and saying.  When the child felt that the character was doing, feeling, thinking, or saying something that was very important, that was an indication for them to stop and jot on a Post It.  On the post, the kids used an adjective to describe the behavior and then supported their thinking with evidence.  For example, "Nancy Drew is thoughtful because she offered to help her friend clean up after lunch."

     They collected these "stop and jots", all focused on the main character, throughout their book.  Once they completed the book, the kids removed the posts and added them to a poster.  This allowed the kids to easily see patterns in their character's behavior.  The kids learned that patterns in a characters behavior are called Character Traits.  Character Traits are words used to describe how characters act during certain situations or what kind of people they are.

     The kids then used the character trait chart (see above) to sort through their "stop and jots", highlighting and tallying the words on the chart that they had used in their posts.  For example, if a child had 3 "stop and jots" that described Nancy Drew as curious, then they would place 3 tally marks next to "curious" on the chart.  The kids quickly realized that the words that were highlighted and tallied accurately described their main character.  These adjectives became the character's traits.

The kids entered the trait words they had highlighted on their chart into a Wordle.  If a character had 3 tally marks next to "curious" on the chart, then the kids typed the word "curious" 3 times onto the Wordle document.  The size of the word in the Wordle changed based on how frequently a word was repeated.  In looking at the Wordle above, the personality traits that most describe the character Ruth are curious and friendly, based on this student's data.

Finally, the kids created a watercolor art piece to accompany all their fantastic character detective work.  The kids should be extremely proud of their work on this challenging task!  I am thrilled with the level of comprehension the kids are showing in their reading!  Bravo!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Let's Celebrate with a "Book Fair"!

     The kids have spent the past several weeks working on Review Writing.  As a culmination to this unit of study, the children have been drafting a review of their favorite book.  They have been working hard to include the following in their pieces:  an introduction that "grabs their reader's attention", a brief description of the book (without "spilling the beans"), a description of their favorite part, a bit about a character in the book (including text evidence to support their views), and a conclusion.

     It has been absolutely wonderful to watch the kids grow as writers over the course of this unit.  The kids are extremely proud of these reviews and would like to invite you in to share in a celebration of their terrific work.  On April 27, at 9:00, we would like to invite you into our classroom to participate in a "book fair", where we will showcase our favorite books and reviews.  We hope you can join us!

     During our Book Fair, the kids will set up their desk space to display their book, review, and a poster they have created.  I would like to invite the children to bring in a prop that connects with their book in some way.  For example, bringing in a small stuffed hamster if you had chosen a Humphrey book.  Please understand that this is optional.  If your child chooses to bring in a prop, please have them bring it to school by Monday, April 25th.

     Please feel free to email or call if you have any questions.  We look forward to seeing you on April 27th!