Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Classroom Notes

Greetings,

Team 20 has had another very productive and busy week.  We wore our Team 20 t-shirts on Monday, creating a blanket of yellow and red in our room, down the hallways, and around the school.  A big thank you to parent helpers!

We had our first meet-up with our buddies in Mrs. Logue’s first grade.  We also continued our Outdoor Classroom study, observing the world around us.  Photos of buddies and Outdoor Classroom are included in last week’s Photos From Our Week on our classroom blog.

During Language Workshop, kids are continuing their Summer Episode personal narrative in writing, working with a partner to revise and edit their work.  Alphabet posters for our walls and independent reading are going strong.  Many kids are opting for audiobooks…listening while reading the words in the book.  The Multnomah County Library has a tremendous selection of downloadable and streaming audiobooks.  Again, reading the words while listening to the audio is key for this reading approach.

Spelling and vocabulary practice is now underway.  Kids are able to work through the spelling practice packet at their own pace.  The four different activities have a day listed at the top of the page to help kids think about pacing and distributed practice, which are key strategies for this sort of learning.  We used a basketball analogy to talk about distributed practice, saying that it is sort of like practicing free throws a little bit every day as opposed to a whole lot only on one day.  Kids have time each day for spelling practice during workshops.  They are also welcome to work on spelling at home.  The packet is due each Friday when they take their spelling test.

In math, we have been working on problem solving and using strategies to solve questions like “How tall is Mr. Mark?"  Kids used their personal knowledge as a strategy saying things like, “I know that Mr. Mark must be taller than 5’4” because that’s how tall my sister is.”  “He must be shorter than 7’ because he’s not in the NBA.”  “I would estimate that he’s around 5’11” because that’s how tall my dad is.”  Kids used their strategies to problem solve the height of my four month-old daughter, Norah Lee, saying, “I was 20” when I was born, so she’s probably taller than that.”  “She’s shorter than three feet, because that’s how tall my three and a half year old sister is.”

For read aloud, we finished Shiloh.  Marty finally got his beloved dog and came to understand mean ol' Judd Travers in a new light.  "Nothing is as simple as you guess."  We began reading my personal favorite, Lizard Music, by Daniel Pinkwater.

We also had many conversations about “self-discipline” this week.  Perhaps the kids are starting to understand the advantages associated with self-discipline! 

On Tuesday we added a new member to Team 20, Mr. Brent, who will be joining us daily for a portion of the day.  Here’s his introduction:  “My name is Mr. Brent, and I am a teaching candidate from the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and my favorite subject is History. You may have seen me around Lewis Elementary, leading kindergarteners from Ms. Dana’s class to and from specials or out on the playground at recess. I will be spending the majority of my time at Lewis Elementary in room 1, but I am excited to be joining your classroom throughout the year as well. I look forward to meeting all of you in the classroom this week. Sincerely, Mr. Brent”

Lastly, does anyone have a 10 or 20 gallon fish tank that we could borrow for a science activity that is a couple of weeks away?

Please follow us on Twitter @LewisRoom20 and at LewisRoom20.blogspot.com for regular updates and photos!

Mark

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