October 27, 2015

Go Noodle! We're hooked!

Oh my word...we're full on obsessed with Go Noodle! 
Have you heard of this site? It's so cool!  I can't say enough about it!

Go Noodle is all about quick, crazy engaging activities that are designed for kids in Kindergarden through grade five. They get kids up out of their seats and moving to hilarious songs and activities.  

The other great thing about Go Noodle is not only do kids get the activity break they need, but there's a Math and Literacy boost too! Kids and grown-ups participate in games and activities where they get a full body and mind workout!  

Here we are participating in our first Go Noodle activity called "Cat Party". 

Check out Go Noodle yourself here! Moms and Dads, you can even sign up for a free account for your child and they can go noodle at home! 

October 25, 2015

A week 7 round-up

We had a terrific and busy week last week! 
As I predicted, we ran out of time.  I wanted to spend some extra time with the kids focusing on thin and thick questions as they relate to the stories we read. I wasn't sure everyone fully understood the difference. 

We came up with our own kind of formula for differentiating between the two.  We decided that thin questions are those questions that don't really help you understand the story any better.  They're kind of like, "Who cares" questions.  Thick questions, on the other hand, really help you to interact more fully with the text. Once you get your answer to a thick question, you might even start piecing the plot together or be really excited to get back to the book as soon as you can.  

We're using a story I wrote myself as a mentor text over the next few weeks. It's called "This is NOT a Halloween Story" and I wrote it to fulfill a number of curriculum expectations all at once.  It was a hit last year and my students this year seem to be enjoying it as well!  

If you read the excerpt from the story below and then the questions that follow, you'll see that some questions would lead to useful information and others are more of those "nice to know, but that doesn't really help me" kind of questions. Click on the picture to enlarge it.  
Why do they like cheese and crackers?
What kind of car does Victor's father drive?
How do you play flashlight tag?
These questions are important, but they won't really help the reader better understand the text or interact more fully with it. 

Questions such as: 
Why do the kids play outside at 3:00 in the morning? and What happened to Victor?  will provide answers that help the reader make predictions, meaning, connections and think about the story on a higher level.  We call these thick questions.  

We're going to continue our work with this story for the next week or so because there are many rich reading, writing and word-study activities that can we can pull from it. 

In Math, we spent a lot of time last week talking strategies and key words. We also reviewed fact families, which are also called "related facts".  We'll have one more day of review on Monday for the Math test and then I think students will be good to go on Tuesday.  

We plum ran out of time for Fun Friday (I know...who does that?) but we're really excited for *drumroll please* Marvelous Monday!  ←great name huh?  

I have a super-cute pumpkin craft to do with the kids and it's going to be a great way to start our week!  Be sure to come back and check out the photos!  

October 20, 2015

It's ready at last!

Our Back to School News Report is ready! 
Were you wondering what to do on your next coffee break? Well, the kids in Room 208 have the answer for you! Take a listen to our fantastic and aren't-they-so-fluent news report!  
Please excuse the fluctuating volume. That's my fault. You may need to adjust your set.  

October 19, 2015

Week 7 has arrived!

I think we have two weeks worth of lessons this week. I really do.  Can I seriously keep them 'til 6:00 every night?  You send dinner and we'll carry on learning.  

We're focusing on many new things this week and next, but we're also being mindful of some on-going goals. Specifically, I'm talking about conventions in our writing. This includes, punctuation, spelling, did I choose the right form of the word, did I use capitals correctly, etc. We're also talking a lot about how hard it is for readers to understand the author's message if they get bogged down in trying to decipher words.  And the big challenge is for students to find those errors on their own. We're also talking about making our work look "smart" and that means it's neat and easy to read. 

In reading, we're talking about fluency. I'll use the two storybooks in the photo below to demonstrate all the different ways good readers show fluency.  

Have a look below to see the six habits of fluent readers.  

Looking ahead to next week, I'm thinking we'll have our first Math test on Tuesday.  I'll post a Practice Test and checklist later in the week that can be downloaded and printed.  

Please click on the photo below to get a more detailed look at what we're up to this week! 

October 18, 2015

Do you know Crankenstein?

Fun Friday was a lot of...well...fun! 
We had a great time learning about how good writers write very detailed sentences that paint a picture in the reader's mind.  

We read the hilarious storybook called "Crankenstein" by Samantha Berger and then worked on this craftivity.  We did this particular writing activity together, but next Friday, the boys and girls will write their own sentences. It's good to first establish what great sentences look like before asking kids to generate their own.  Once they know what's expected, it's a bit easier for them to focus their thinking and get that pencil moving!  

The task was to come up with three great sentences that would be examples of other things that bug Crankenstein. You see, the storybook is all about the different things that get on his nerves and make him, you guessed it, cranky. 

If you haven't read the story, it's really quite funny and so relateable. It's perfect for teaching children about text-to-self connections. 

October 15, 2015

Everything went right today! (except for one thing)

I'll be honest...the thing that went wrong today was my fault. I didn't mark the Math quizzes and instead reveled in the coziness that is independent reading time in my classroom. I was supposed to mark the quizzes while the kids were reading, but I couldn't resist. They all looked so cute and cozy reading in their various poses and spaces that I needed to sit back and take it all in.  It was pretty special.

Today they were all about the furniture. I love it when then tell me the classroom feels like home...makes my heart melt and DEFINITELY makes asking Mr. M to lug up all that used-to-be-in-our-house-furniture to Room 208 worth it. 

We're *this close* to finishing up our first class novel. It's called "There's a Boy in the Girl's Washroom" and I've read it a zillion times and it never loses its sparkle.  Tomorrow, we'll start working on a reading activity that will help the boys and girls dip their toes into the world of providing evidence for their ideas and opinions.  This "laying of the groundwork" will help students to prepare for both EQAO and future adventures with expository writing.  

We did indeed have a quiz today (see picture below). Everyone is in good shape in terms of solving problems of this nature. One area where home practice would be beneficial is subtraction problems that use big-time regrouping (e.g. 800-145).  

And that's that! It was a smooth day, with lots of great learning! Looking ahead to next week, I'm thinking that many of the activities and concepts-to-be-learned that I had planned for this week will carry over.  I do tend to over-plan and until I can keep your kids 'til bedtime, I have a feeling this will be a common statement here on the blog.  

October 14, 2015

Reviewing our skills with Kahoot!

Have you heard of Kahoot? I started using it last year and it's one of my favourite learning tools! 

Kahoot is a great resource for helping students (and grown ups too) review skills. There are a zillion other uses for Kahoot, but right now, I'm using it to help my students learn about adjectives and nouns, along with determining which form of there/their/they're to use in a sentence. It's highly engaging because it is so interactive.  

It also gives me a chance to address a whole host of digital responsibilities with my students. And because students are sharing the iPads, they also have an opportunity to collaborate with their classmate as they venture through each Kahoot quiz.  

Have a look at the video I made below to check out Kahoot for yourself! After the video, head on over to their website to create your own Kahoots! 

October 13, 2015

Week 6 is here!

Week six is a short one, but a great one! 
Click on the photo to see what's in store for the kids in Room 208. We still have some work to do from last week and I'm sure all I have planned for this week will spill over into Week 7, but I do enjoy sharing with blog visitors what I'd like to accomplish with my students this week.  

They say teaching is the only job where you steal from home and bring it to work and that certainly is true when you check out our new reading nook.  
We renovated our home a while back and these chairs and table no longer "fit", so to speak. They look great in room 208, that's for sure! 

October 10, 2015

Howdy Partner!

We had such a great time on Thursday with our Fall Y'all theme day! 

The boys and girls started the day by working on a boot-stompin' folder that focused on adjectives and compound words and using a Venn Diagram to compare Spring and Fall. I was really, REALLY impressed with some of the similarities and differences students came up with! The great thing about this folder is that the fun continues on Tuesday because we're not finished it yet!  

In addition to writing about our missing horses, we a fun game call Zip,Zap, Zop around the virtual campfire and enjoyed eating "Cowboy Crunch". We also got a kick out of reading "The Gingerbread Cowboy" and we're quite surprised by the very un-Disney ending! Ha-ha! 

Our campfire even had nature sounds and crackling wood!  

For me, it was such a thrill to walk outside to greet my class at the bell in the morning and see an entire line-up of cowboy hats and western duds! Thank you so much to the Room 208 parents for supporting our theme day! 

All you need to make your own "Cowboy Crunch"! 

October 06, 2015

Please be on time

As your child's teacher, I pride myself in providing the very best learning experience for all of my students.  When children are persistently late, the entire class is impacted. 

Everyone's learning is interrupted so that the teacher can bring the late student up to speed or help them get settled. This interruption of learning and instruction means the teacher needs to modify the lesson in order to make it fit in the now shortened window of time. As a teacher who likes to plan and present dynamic and interactive lessons, I appreciate it when interruptions to my students' learning are minimized.  

Like all teachers at our wonderful school, I need my students at school on time. 

I understand that there are mornings where things go off track and being late is unavoidable. My concern here is around persistent lateness. 

My hope is that moving forward, all students will be delivered to school on time, ready to start their day and enjoy the interesting and engaging lessons I have created for them.  

October 05, 2015

Week 5...already?!

It's the fifth week of school already! Yikes! Hard to believe isn't it? It might be a short week, but it's packed full of all kinds of great learning and fun activities! 

Let's talk about Math for a bit...we haven't officially begun our first unit yet and we'll likely move into that next week. We've covered a lot of the expectations for that first unit (it's actually Unit 2 of the program), but we haven't "started" it in that official "Hey kids, it's our first math unit!"  way. 

The Math focus over the last few weeks has really been all about reviewing skills, building number sense, talking place value, along with addition and subtraction, and now most recently, problem solving. When I look over the concepts covered in Unit 2: Patterns in Addition and Subtraction, I'm feeling really good about where we are. When we do start the unit, it'll be a fast one. 

I do want to spend some time this week on addition and subtracting with regrouping. The intensive practice will be beneficial in the long run.  I'm finding this is one area where the boys and girls could use a boost in confidence. We're really going to focus here for a few days and then come Tuesday, begin that first official unit.  In addition to looking at basic calculations, I will also incorporate problem solving into our lessons.  It is essential that students can read a word problem and determine the correct operation. We'll talk about those clue words that tell us which operation to use.  

Then we have that big theme day on Thursday! We're having an "It's Fall Y'all" day! The boys and girls are invited to wear their cowboy/girl duds and practice their yee-haws and howdy-partners!  It's going to be a great day!  

Have a look at what else we're up to this week by clicking on the picture below. As usual, I'm sure I've over-planned and we'll likely be carrying things over to Week 6, but that's how I roll. It won't surprise you that my pantry is stocked with those huge Costco bags of flour and enough pasta to feed a small village.  Hey, it's good to be ready for anything! 

October 02, 2015

A very tasty Fun Friday!

We had a great afternoon today! 
It was an apple-themed Fun Friday! Because everything is more fun with partners, markers and chart paper, we solved some apple-related Math problems using the five (sometimes four) steps to problem solving we discuss in our Morning Message (pictured below).  

This was a great opportunity for me to roam the room and get a feel for where my students are at in terms of their problem solving skills. We're in great shape, that's for sure! We just needed more time and that's my fault for over-planning. I think we should have started this activity in the morning and carried it on in the afternoon, but what can you do.

These are the problems the students had to solve today.
They did theirs on chart paper.  

Early finishers were given a set of sequencing cards. The task was to put the cards in order to make the recipe for the applesauce we enjoyed this afternoon!  

You read that correctly! The kids in 208 enjoyed homemade applesauce today! It smelled positively heavenly in our class! I promised that I would post the recipe on the blog because many students indicated they would be (politely, of course) requesting that their moms make it this weekend.  If you do make it, you MUST get that Starfrit apple peeler from earlier in the week. I peeled 25 apples last night in less than 20 minutes!!! 
Get this apple-peeler!

Today was so, so  great! It was such a nice end to our fourth week together.  Who wouldn't love to hear, "This is the greatest thing I've ever tasted!"  on a Friday! That comment made my day!  

Here's a link to the printable version of the applesauce recipe (I left out the cloves this time 'round).  


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