Monday, September 26, 2016

Morning Meetings are AWESOME!
We have really tried to adhere to some sort of morning meeting schedule, despite our mornings being crowded.  This mornings meeting was shortened, but so much fun!  We started with the greeting WHAT’S THE WORD? where kids think of a word about a subject/topic I give them and we share our answers in our community circle.  Since it was our first time doing this greeting, I had information about it on the board when they came back from specials.  It was fun brainstorming ideas and then putting them right into action during our meeting.  We then did a sharing activity called Who Remembers My Favorite Book?  In this activity, I give them a chance to think about a favorite book and a sentence that tells us why they enjoyed it.  We then share our answers and sentences and I ask a few questions like:  “Who remembers who liked a book about animals?” or “Who remembers who liked a book that’s a graphic novel?”  They then try and remember who had a book that fits the description.  FUN!  Kids had a great time and we learned about some great new books out there!  I was also able to share new books that came in on Friday (Tom Gates) getting kids even more excited about our afternoon reading time.  Yay!  Morning meetings ROCK!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What are we up to these days?

What a wonderful start to our new year.  Kids are beginning to get into the swing of our schedule and how things work in room 306.  I am having a wonderful time getting to know your kids and I hope they are enjoying the beginning of fourth grade.  We have so much to do this year and I am so excited to embark on our journey together.  Thank you so much for being such a supportive and generous village for all of our kids.  I appreciate how much you all do so very much! 

The Wild Robot continues to be one of our favorite activities.  They absolutely love listening to this book and can’t wait to hear what will come next.  They are making wonderful predictions and are learning how to write about the thoughts they are having.  It has been wonderful to see their excitement when something they predicted actually happens.  It’s pure magic. 

Here’s a label we started discussing on Thursday:
The Wild Robot is a great book, isn't it?  Write about the changes you've seen in Roz.  How has she changed?  Remember to tell us HOW she's changed and why you think she changed.  Most people change their habits, or the way they do something for a reason. 

As a class, we brainstormed some ideas about what we could write.  Talking about our book throughout our day is really a great way for them to connect and gives me a great opportunity to help them write about specific things.  They are coming up with some really great things and are backing their thoughts with evidence from the text.  YayYYyYy! 

Root Words!  We have started learning what a ROOT WORD is, and how they can help us to know unknown words.  Our first root is:  -aer
Some of the words we are studying:  aerobic, aerodynamic, aerosol, aerate, and aerie. 

Snack!  Thank you SO much for sending fruits and vegetables for our hungry 4th graders!  We had apples brought in on Thursday and they ate three bags of apples in a few hours.  Seriously, these people are hungry!  Fall in Michigan is dreamy for a number of reasons, but the APPLES are at the top of my list.  THANK YOU all SO MUCH!

Morning Meetings!  What fun!  We have learned a lot of new ways to greet one another (my personal favorite was watching them create secret handshakes) and it has been really fun listening to them share and participate in the group activities.  I have several books that I’m using from my training this summer and I am LOVING EVERYTHING WE ARE DOING!  Truly, it has been such a wonder to see them interacting with one another. 

Speaking of interacting with one anotherduring Project Lead the Way on Thursday, they learned a new game using the iPad.  It was a cool game
(see the picture, you may be getting requests for this app!) but the absolute COOLEST part of the activity was how amazing your kids were to one another.  They high-fived.  They cheered not only when THEY did something great, but when someone around them did too.  They helped each other.  They celebrated their successes with one another.  They were off the hook amazing.  BravoOoOo! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Introducing Poetry: A visit from three talented 5th graders

Poetry can be a difficult genre for kids.  Kids don’t always think they will like to write poems, but we do a lot of FUN things with poetry to help them fall for it!  Last year, I had a group of boys that LOVED to rap.  They spent a lot of time writing their raps even when they had free time to do anything else!  To introduce our poetry unit, I invited some 5th graders to perform a rap they wrote for the occasion.  It.  Was.  Magical.  The rap about a stegosaurus and a t-rex, was full of rhymes and facts about the dinosaurs.  The kids loved it.  We wrote poems about food (after they write a poem based on the lesson we have done, they are free to write more poems on their own).  They must illustrate their poems and should always give credit to poets, if they copy poems in their notebooks.  Otherwise, the rules are pretty flexible.  Of course, we will spend time learning specific types of poems, where we will follow their specific rules.  But, for right now, we are having fun and creating! 
Labels: The Wild Robot

We started our labels this week!  WOW!  What amazing conversations we had about our book The Wild Robot!  Your kids LOVE talking about books!  They were insightful and eager to share their thoughts. 

What an amazing start to writing about our reading!  We gather around the easel and as a class, talk about what we are reading.  It’s wonderful.  They had such amazing things to say and were able to come up with some GREAT things to write about!  Truly fantastic conversations come from the books we read.  We make predictions, discuss characters,  question what happened, think about what the author meant when they wrote something in particular and they are able to then discuss the book with one another after we’ve talked.  In depth discussions happen EVERY SINGLE DAY in room 306!  I encourage you to ask your kids about the books we read in class. 

Morning Meetings
We are having a great time in morning meetings. We continue to work on our schedule, but when we are able to have a full-blown morning in the morning meetingit’s wonderful.

Here are some pictures of kids doing their secret handshake from our Friday meeting!  So.  Much.  Fun. 

Greetings:  Greetings are fun, fast and friendly.  There are quick greetings which only take a minute or two, and there are more involved greetings that take several minutes.  Both are a fantastic way for kids to get to know one another.  Favorite foods, weekend plans, and hopes and dreams are only a fraction of ways we are getting to know one another!
Sharing:  This gives everyone a chance to share information about important events in their lives.  Listeners are learning how to ask questions or make empathetic comments as well.
Group Activity:  Everyone participates in a fun activity that helps us foster a sense of togetherness.  They practice social and academic skills and kids really LOVE this part of our meetings.  Yesterday, we played a game called “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” and kids begged to play it again.  It starts by someone doing a pantomime of an action for example brushing their teeth.  The person next to them asks “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and the person responds with another action, like “Playing basketball!”  Then they act out playing basketball and it continues around the circle.  Super.  Fun. 
Morning Message:  Our morning message greets them every day.  I often have a few tasks for them to complete and it sets the tone for our day.  This message gives them a heads up about what we will be working on while also giving them a consistent way to begin each day.  Also, they love the pictures I include.  J 

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