Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Classroom Notes

Greetings!

It was great to see all of you at Parent-Teacher conferences this week.  The kids of Team 20 have worked very hard.  It was good to share their stories and their successes.  I learned a lot.  I feel I know you and your child much better than I did at the start of the week.  Thank you!  Also a big thank you to my wife, Evie, for taking care of our girls so that I could stay at Lewis until 8:00 each night for conferences!

Having used our visits to the garden, some flowers in our classroom, and conversations about the chickadees at our feeder to study form and function, the kids extended this by making some very creative eco-critters from craft materials like wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, felt, cotton balls, paper clips, yarn, and more.  Kids are writing essays to explain how their eco-critter’s different forms fit its function in its ecosystem for an upcoming exhibit in the Reed College Biology Building.

One of our first assignments of the school year focused on decorating our classroom.  Our Alphabet Project was a vehicle for teaching the same process that kids use for their writing...that writing goes from "private" to "public." Private work is for the self and includes creating a plan, conferencing on that plan, then creating a rough draft, conferencing on that rough draft, and making some revisions/edits.  We say that public is for others and that audience helps to determine the standards of quality and acceptance.  The kids' work looks good.  Without a doubt, we are the only classroom in the nation with an alphabet above the chalkboard that includes a kaleidoscope, a mouse on a moose on a mammoth, a narwhal, Rocket Raccoon, and an x-ray tetra!  Here are photos of our Alphabet Project: bit.ly/team20-alph

In other news, we will be walking to Reed College’s Cooley Gallery on the morning of Friday, November 6th, for a gallery tour.  Reed’s Outreach Coordinator, Gregory MacNaughton, visited room 20 today to frontload what we will see at the exhibit.  Pen pal letters were mailed off to our fourth grade pen pals in Madison, Wisconsin.  During math we continued working with area models for multiplication, writing and solving story problems, and area models for division.  Kids learned about citing sources during Media with Ms. Redmond, presented about native Oregon plants during garden with Ms. Kathleen, and made value robots with our artist-in-residence, Ms. Gina.

Mark

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