Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snowman Math

     The kids have been busy "building" snowmen during our math time.  This project allowed the children to see the connection between repeated addition and multiplication.  The kids used playing cards and their great math thinking to create a snowman.  They flipped a card and recorded groups of three based on the number they flipped.  For example, if a child flipped the number 5, they recorded the fact, 5x3, and then recorded five groups of three.  They solved the fact by using repeated addition, 3+3+3+3+3=15.  Finally, the kids used the class snowman poster to determine what body part to add to their very own snowman.  The children were extremely engaged in this activity as they worked to see how many turns it would take to complete their snowman.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Nonfiction Reading

     We recently launched our nonfiction unit during Reader's Workshop.  To begin this unit of study, I filled our meeting area with a variety of items, including a globe, a rocks/minerals collection, a human ear model, a microscope, and a photograph of "long ago" Yarmouth.  I shared that to begin this brand new reading unit, their job was to "read" our meeting area.   I encouraged the children to "read" whatever they saw in our meeting area that might tell them about our upcoming unit, to study the details and then put these details together to grow their knowledge of what the unit will be about.  The classroom was brimming with excitement as the kids became detectives, collecting information to solve the mystery of our next reading unit.
     Throughout the first several minilessons,  I have used charts, photographs, and diagrams to encourage the children to do the important work that nonfiction readers do: pay attention to details, and put parts of the text together in their minds.  I shared that readers of nonfiction books do an "extra-brainy, intense kind of thinking"; that nonfiction readers pay attention to details and think, 'How can I put together what I'm seeing to grow my knowledge of this topic?'.
     During these first few minilessons, the kids became fascinated with photos of "long ago" Yarmouth.  I used this as an opportunity to extend their learning with an activity that quickly became a big hit!  Each morning, I posted a historic photograph of Yarmouth on the whiteboard.  I encouraged the kids to pay close attention to the details in the photograph to grow their knowledge about the town of Yarmouth.  On the following day, I posted a present day photo of the same location, with the help of the Yarmouth Historical Society website.  The kids were extremely engaged in this activity, pushing one another to collect many details to grow their knowledge.  Be sure to ask your child what they learned about the Village Florist on Main Street...and what this building was once used for.
     We will continue with our nonfiction unit for the next several weeks, focusing on how to best use text features in nonfiction books to learn more about the topic.
     I am currently in the process of assessing and updating each student's reading goal set earlier in the school year.  Your child's new goal will reflect the work we are doing with nonfiction texts and will focus on strengthening his/her skill set in this genre.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Small Moment Stories

     As some of you may have already noticed on Friday afternoon, children have begun posting their "published" Small Moment story into their SeeSaw portfolio.  Over the course of the coming week, every child will have an opportunity to add their story to SeeSaw. 
     Each student selected one story written during our Personal Narrative writing unit to "fix and fancy" up, and eventually publish.  This involved working to edit their piece for both content and mechanics, adding and correcting when necessary.  During this time, they conferenced with both myself and a partner for feedback, working to create a piece that reflected their very best work.
     Once editing was complete, the children began to practice reading their piece fluently, showcasing their "talking reading voice."  The kids are now working on recording this writing piece and posting it into their SeeSaw portfolio. 
     The children should be very proud of their finished products, as they worked extremely hard to: create a beginning that hooked the reader; add details to help the reader make a picture in their mind; show not tell ("a smile spread across my face," instead of "I was happy"); provide a sense of closure in their ending; use appropriate capitals and punctuation; and apply what they have learned during word work time to their everyday writing.
     We are looking forward to beginning our next writing unit later this week, which will focus on nonfiction writing.