Saturday, March 24, 2018

Maine Maple Sugaring

     Our classroom was brimming with excitement Friday afternoon as we were treated to a fabulous hands-on learning experience, courtesy of Odin and Alexander, 4th graders here at Yarmouth Elementary.  Odin and Alexander spent time teaching us all about maple sugar season.  They began by reading a picture book, teaching the details of maple sugaring - the process of sap collection and making maple syrup.  Once they finished the story, the boys shared the numerous tools they brought along used in maple sugaring and demonstrated how to tap a tree for sap.  Finally, we traveled outside to a maple tree Odin and Alexander had chosen to tap with our class.  With the help of Mr. Gleason, we tapped the tree and were absolutely thrilled when the sap began flowing from the tap immediately!  VERY EXCITING!!
     We plan to check our bucket, with the guidance of our 4th grade friends, early next week.  A very special thank you to Odin and Alexander for taking the time to share their expertise with our class!
     Many of the kids were excited to learn more about Maine Maple Sunday, scheduled for Sunday, March 25th.  Below, please find a link, outlining the many festivities planned across the state to celebrate this New England tradition.

About Maine Maple Sunday

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Fabulous Afternoon with Miss Kat!

The kids had a wonderful Friday afternoon sculpting arctic animals with local artist Kat Gillies.  Be sure to ask your child all about this engaging, hands-on experience!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reading Workshop

     The kids were busy filling their book boxes with fiction texts this week, as we launched a new unit in reading.  In this unit, titled "Bigger Books Mean Amping Up Reading Power," instruction focuses on three important foundational skills: fluency, literary language, and tracking longer stories.
     This week the focus was on fluency.  Now that children are reading substantially longer books, practicing fluency is especially valuable, as it is key to comprehension.  The kids learned that rereading, especially out loud, is the best way to change the reading voice inside their heads.  "Reading with a clear, smooth voice inside one's head is a key to reading better, stronger, longer, and with more understanding." (Lucy Calkins)
     The kids were reminded to use all the clues the author provides to read with their best reading voice.  The kids practiced scooping words in phrases, noticing punctuation, using dialogue tags, and paying close attention to the characters and matching their voice with the appropriate tone.  I am pretty sure that our minilesson on dialogue tags was the favorite of the week!  Be sure to ask your child about this fun activity.
     Next week, my instruction will shift to providing kids with the tools they need to tackle the figurative language they are beginning to encounter in their books.
     I continue to be absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm the children have for books and reading.  I am especially impressed with the growth in their reading stamina since September - something to be proud of for sure!  Bravo!