The Gower Gazette

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In The News... Apr. 1, 2016

This week I have done a lot of reflecting on how this year has gone and just how much the kids have grown. They truly amaze me and I cannot express just how proud I am of their efforts and what all they have accomplished so far. One skill I have been working hard on with the boys and girls is being able to work together in cooperative groups that foster collaboration. We really struggled with this at the beginning of the year, but over the course of the year (this quarter especially), the kids have really developed this skill and LOVE to work together and to collaborate about the topics we are focusing on. They have various learning styles and have challenged me as a teacher to find new ways to actively engage them that allow for their strong personalities to come out and for them to share their ideas openly. I am so thankful for this challenge as it has helped shape me into a better teacher. I have been excited to search out new ideas and to plan lessons that foster their creativity. On Thursday, Mrs. Miller came to our room to observe. She had so many great comments to share about the excitement in the room and the great work the boys and girls were doing as they worked collaboratively to write their group Fairy Tales. These fairy tales are coming along and the kids are adding lots of details to their stories that are really bringing them to life. I cannot wait to share these with you. We are having a blast working on this unit.

We are wrapping up our research on the Bald Eagle. The kids have been so totally engrossed with this and excited to observe, explore and share what they have learned. They recorded some great observations in their Observation Journals and have enjoyed seeing the eaglets with their parents. This week, we used some of our Daily 5 rotations to continue our research on these magnificent birds. For Read to Self, the boys and girls used Pebble Go again to read more about the Bald Eagle and discover why it is our US Symbol. They also watched a video that shared even more info on this great bird and then they recorded any questions they still had about the bald eagle on a question board. We are going to submit their questions to the DC Eagle Cam group as they have contacted me to schedule our chat session (how exciting)! At Read to Someone, the kids read a non-fiction text on the Bald Eagle and then recorded information that they learned as well as completed a main idea and supporting details sheet to target our reading objectives. They used text features as they read to help them build on their learning. At Work on Writing they worked on the Write About It app to write to share interesting facts about the bald eagle. Today we began working on taking all our information that we have gathered from last week and this week to create informational cards and posters on the eagles. We will also create a Glog (online poster) that I will share with you once it is complete. As for the rest of the Daily 5 stations, the kids continued to work on their written comprehension through Listen to Reading. They used the barcode scanner to hear a non-fiction text about spring and then responded to a written question. Work on Words never changes as the kids continue to target individual needs through the use of the iTouches that allow them to practice essential reading skills and focus on their sight words.

As you know, written comprehension is a BIG focus this time of year. We are using the first 10 min each day to focus on this through the use of RAP. We are analyzing writings and producing responses to questions to ensure that we can create an answer that is detailed and supports our thinking. This week we focused on a realistic fiction book about city falcons. The written comprehension question was very tricky as it called for the boys and girls to make inferences. This is often very difficult for first graders. We looked at a response that basically said the book did not say how the people felt. We talked about how the book didn't really say and the response that we analyzed responded with the fact that the book did not specifically provide the answer. I introduced them to the word inferences and what it means to infer (ask your child to tell you what infer means). We watched two interactive videos this week that helped us gain a better understanding of this concept and how to use the pictures and the words to help us infer what is happening or how someone is feeling. The kids really seemed to get this and did a great job Friday working with a partner to make a detailed response to the written comprehension question. We had a great discussion as we analyzed each partner's response and discussed whether it did or didn't RAP. The kids are also working on RAP during guided reading groups and with their book buddies. On Friday I conferenced with the kids individually and together we analyzed their own writings to see if they Restated the questions, Answered ALL parts, and Proved their response with evidence from the book.

In math, we wrapped up fluency with addition and subtraction this week and our main focus was understanding the connection between these two. The kids are getting quicker and quicker at solving these problems. Next week we will move to understanding the equal sign and working on addition problems with multiples of 10.

We also finished our Rock Unit in Science. Our last experiment focused on what happens when you add water to unwashed sand and allow it to sit for a couple of days. The kids made some great predictions and were surprised to see that Silt formed in their vials. They were even more amazed to discover that silt is a type of rock that is smaller than sand. Next week I am going to bring in my rock collection from mining in the mountains so the boys and girls can explore them.

We are STILL in need of chaperones for our field trip on Apr. 12th. Please consider joining us at The Museum of Life and Science. The kids have a much better time when they can break up into small groups rather than large ones during this trip. It enables them to explore more of this awesome place. If you are able to tag along please send me an email.

The Baby Bengal Bash is on Fri. Apr. 22nd and we need your help to cover the Ring Toss Station. We are looking for 3 to 6 volunteers to sign up for a 30 min block. The kids can help with this station as well. Please click the link below labeled BABY BENGAL BASH and sign up for a time. I told the kids if their parents signed up they could earn a prize =)

I will also be at this awesome event and will be getting a Pie in the Face at around 5:45; you know you don't want to miss that!!!

Saturday school is never cool, but we survived it and even had some fun! Y'all take care and have a great rest of your weekend.

~Ms. Gower


  • Field Trip- Make sure you have turned in your field trip forms and paid the fee so that your child can come along with us on this awesome trip. Also, if you did not turn in a lunch form you will have to pack your child's lunch on this day as we have turned in our lunch count to the cafeteria and cannot place anymore orders.

  • Baby Bengal Bash- Sign up to help volunteer for this awesome event. Just scroll up this newsletter and click on "Baby Bengal Bash Sign Up". We need 3 to 6 volunteers to run the ring toss station. You only have to volunteer for 30 min. Please help if you can!

WSES- Embracing the Needs of Every Child!

"Be the kind of leader that YOU would follow!" ~Unknown