Sunday, November 26, 2017


Another successful auction is in the books!  All of your support will help fund so many amazing things for our students.  I LOVE this school and am so proud to be a part of such an fabulous community.  You are all wonderful.  Thank you so much!
The 4th Grade is Organizing the Canned Food Drive!

The food drive will run from Tuesday, November 28th – Friday, December 8th.  The fourth graders will create posters, help collect food from classrooms, make announcements, and learning how to work together on a number of tasks.  They started their posters last week and they did a fabulous job! 
Reading Groups

In our reading groups, we are working on a variety of things.  Because of our latest writing project, we are all looking at how authors use the five senses in their writing.  What other things make books interesting and worth reading?  I am studying vocabulary with all of the reading groups too.  All of the reading groups are also working on summarizing small pieces of text.  What information is important enough to include?  What information shouldn’t be included? 
Another important skill we are working on is INFERENCING.  What do you know based on information you’ve read?   What can you figure out based on clues given? 

I can’t wait to meet with your kids this week! 
Writing – Using our 5 Senses
Our morning messages on Friday always have a video of Presley.  On this Friday, she asked them to writing using the starter sentence.  They produced amazing stories!

We also added FEELING - in your HEART to our list.

Look at how LONG his story is!  WooOoOT!

This is a really fun way to write a story.   Your kids LOVED it.  They begged to do it again, so we did!  What amazing writing was produced!  After writing a prompt on the board (or in the morning message!), kids use their five senses (along with how your heart feels) to write their story.  When I first introduced it, they had 2 minutes to write about each sense.  Then they were given 15 minutes to continue writing.  Over half of the class shared their stories.  Several kids shared their writing for the first time!  Yay! 
The second time we tried this strategy, the BEGGED to have 5 minutes for each sense.  This is a big deal. Writing is hard!  They often stop writing after 10 minutes, so asking for LONGER time to write is music to my ears.  Again, SO many kids shared their stories!  I challenged them to notice how their favorite used their senses as they read.  It was so great to hear them noticing how important these details were in our reading groups for days after our first lesson. 
Ways to encourage your kids to write at home:
Write on sticky notes.  Leave them some place they can find the note, and have them write back to you.
Write letters!  People LOVE getting mail!  Postcards are a great thing for kids to send – they are short and kids can make them on their own, or send them from places they’ve visited. 
Write a story with your child (or they can do it with a friend).  One of you starts the story, and you keep going back and forth to write the story.
Write on the mirror with SOAP!  It’s fun and your mirrors will be super clean.
A few tips:

Don’t worry about spelling when they are writing.  They need to get their thoughts down on paper first.  During the editing process, they can start to work on spelling.  I have them circle words they don’t think are spelled correctly.  If it’s a word I think they can figure out, I ask them to try again.  If it’s a word they probably won’t get right, I spell it for them.  Help them notice patterns ( - tion, -ight, etc.). 
These were such a fun activity!  Some of you may have gotten them for Thanksgiving!  The book WONDER has taken over our classroom, and we are all thrilled it has.  What a wonderful message to hear again and again!

These have been so much fun!  We've done them for all of the characters of the story!  It's interesting to see what changes about the characters over time.  Julian in particular.  

As we all know, I love reading books with your kids.  This book is always one of my favorites to read out loud.  The conversations we have, and will continue to have long after reading the book, are truly great.  They really think about what each character is feeling and can make personal connections with their own lives.  Everyone has a connection to Auggie.  Everyone has been treated poorly at some point in their lives and this book gives them a chance to talk about it.  This year, our conversations are even better.  The movie has upped the ante.  I have loved the conversations we’ve had since seeing the movie and LOVED having so many Haisley families in the theatre with me last week.  Kids were upset with all of the changes in the movie and we had some really great conversations about WHY they made some of the bigger changes.  They have all agreed, the book is always better.  Truth!

While reading books out loud, we connect with things we are learning in the classroom, but we are also practicing skills they will use when they read on their own too. Here are some benefits to listening to books read out loud:
  Reading aloud improves our classroom climate.  Everyone is listening and experiencing the same story – regardless of their reading abilities.  They can have conversations with one another about the book, and do!  They hear good literature – and we are then able to have mini lessons using the book everyone has heard throughout the school year.
  Kids will often buy or find the book we are reading at the library to read on their own.  How cool is that!?
  Repeated reading not only helps children to learn to read but also has an impact on school success. 
  I read novels, but I also read picture books throughout the year.  Picture books are shorter and are jam packed with things kids can learn while listening. 

Share YOUR favorite books with your kids!