The Story~Star Connection

October 10, 2013

The children are involved in our first reading theme: CHANGES. We kicked off the unit with a whole class story, Scaredy Squirrel. Scaredy Squirrel is a timid creature who lives in his little nut tree and is afraid to ever leave it. Let's just say that, Scaredy Squirrel finally learns to embrace change only to discover that all along he has been a flying squirrel. The story~stars love, love, love this story. We used it to identify the common elements of a fictional story like characters, setting, problem, solution, and theme. We also started reading in small groups and visiting literacy stations as well. All of our small group stories are connected to the theme of Changes. Our class read aloud: Because of Winn Dixie celebrates the way a little dog brings big changes to the life of the main character, India Opal Buloni. Ask your young reader how Opal's life has changed since she found Winn Dixie.

I continue to monitor the individual book choices and reading momentum of each child. I am most impressed with the way the story-stars are learning and growing as independent readers. They come to school with just right chapter books and talk about their books at morning meeting & with friends. Furthermore, their written responses to their reading in their homework packets is demonstrating unique reading thoughts, thorough explanations, and serious writing skills. BRAVO!

Writing

We learned how to write sophisticated sentences. Sophisticated sentences include interesting details, specific examples, and wonderful word choices. I modeled how to think deeply to develop a sophisticated sentence. The children then worked with a partner to develop a sophisticated sentence. Each set of partners published their sophisticated sentence into our class power point which we presented to the class.

We read One of Three by Angela Johnson as mentor text. The children are currently creating their own One of Three stories filled with sophisticated sentences about their family life.

Math

Unit 2: We have been busy solving number stories with change diagrams, difference diagrams, and part/total diagrams too. We are using the partial sums algorithm to add 3 digit numbers and partial differences to subtract big numbers. We have played a variety of math games from Finding Differences to Roll to 100 to Beat the Calculator. Math games are a great way for us to practice our math skills! We have taken the time to discuss and foster good habits of serious math learners - focusing on and following teacher examples, asking questions, sharing mistakes so we can learn from them and maintaining the "eye of the tiger" when it gets a little bit hard.

Science

We bid farewell to our feathery friends - the chicks. Thank goodness, no one cried when they left this year. The chicks taught us about the beauty of nature, the life cycle of the chick, and how to be careful and serious observers of science.

We are also investigating the life cycle of our class tree throughout this year. We selected the red maple tree in the middle of the courtyard, gathered around it, and recorded many scientific observations about it. We measured its trunk and branches and wrote about in our notebooks too. It's a treat to study the tree and watch it change throughout the seasons. We get to see it on the way to lunch each day and we're looking forward to investigating it further.

Buckingham Buddies

We met our first grade buddies from Mrs. Kogen's class. They came to visit us! We interviewed our buddies and took turns showing them our feathery friends. It's fun to finally be the "Big Kid Buddy"!