Monday, March 30, 2015

Classroom Notes

Greetings!

The kids returned on Monday excited and ready to get back into the swing of things.  I mentioned to someone that the kids were so dialed in that I could have put anything their way and they wouldn’t have even blinked.  The time spent establishing systems and routines during the fall paid its reward during February and March and continues today.  This allows the kids high levels of independence and ownership and they’re giving me high levels of responsibility to begin the exchange.  On Monday, we did several drama activities to reacquaint ourselves with one another.  We began with a series of quick-sketches, which led into some creative dramatics in small groups.  The kids were a hoot during the “freeze frame” activity.  The sort of activities from this morning serve a vital role in shaping our classroom as a community.  They serve as a way for kids to communicate about their lives and families, to interact and problem solve with peers, to move and speak in front of others, to have fun, and more! 

Before break, the Lewis Drama Club put on a fantastic performance of Jack and the Three Sillies.  The whole school got to enjoy the show on Thursday afternoon.  I am so proud of everyone's hard work, practice, and persistence in developing their acting and music strengths!  A big thank you goes out to Ms. Tori, Mr. Colvin, and Mr. Jamesbarry, as well as the many volunteers for their work with kids to make this show possible.  Here are some photos from the Lewis Flickr site: bit.ly/lewis-drama2015-flickr.  We met with our first grade buddies on Wednesday to finish drawing our rotational symmetry quilt.  Kids delivered our completed Recording Books Project audio books to our buddies on Friday.  Team 20 kids recorded these books in our room and then edited the audio files in GarageBand with Mr. Jamesbarry.  Our buddies will be able to enjoy these books at their listening center in room 6.  Friday’s read-a-thon was a day full of reading!


This week, a major emphasis school-wide (and likely district- and state-wide) is helping kids become familiar with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing format and procedures.  We will take a practice test so kids can become familiar with the online interface, item types, and the supports that will be available as they take these tests during April.  As I mentioned in the last classroom notes, I am trying to fold the testing experience into existing classroom knowledge by situating the Smarter Balanced tests as a unique type of genre that has a related set of strategies.  The Smarter Balanced tests are very different from the former OAKS test.  Practice questions are available for you to review: smarterbalanced.org/practice-test.  Please contact me with questions, comments, or concerns.  You can learn more at the Portland Council PTA parents’ forum on testing (eepurl.com/bgLS9L), which is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 1st at 6:30 p.m. at Cleveland High School. 

Mark

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