Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Lion's Den Debuts at December Arts Show

Liliano and Kiareliz greeted our December Art Show guests with programs and the new edition of The Lion's Den. Over 100 students from K-8 are showcased through their writing and visual arts products in this edition of The Den. 
Get your copy today for only $3.00 in the Library at Orchard Gardens.

The Giving Tree Keeps on Giving

Buy me here!

Every December I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to every library class including electives and we create a new giving tree. All students and staff are encouraged to write a message of loving, caring, giving or sharing to someone special in their life. Someone who is like a tree in that they stand tall for them whether they are perfect or may sometimes make a bad choice... this person is a person that loves you without conditions and loves you as much on a Monday as any other day of the week. The messages stay on the tree until June as a reminder of the people that matter in our lives and are always there for us. You could hear a pin drop when I read it to my 7th and 8th graders this year. For some of them it will be the last time I read the story to them - the first was when they were in Kindergarten!

Leaves from old maps
Shel Tree
In addition to reading the book, we watch the original movie narrated by Shel Silverstein and a short adaptation of the original. Each year we share something special about the people that love us unconditionally and represent our "tree." We also compare the different media for storytelling and our own different understandings of the story as we grow older. The December 2016 Tree is made with leaves from damaged book pages.

Previous trees include theDecember 2015 tree made from old maps, the December 2014 tree dedicated to Shel Silverstein on the 50th Anniversary of The Giving Tree done in the illustration style of Silverstein; our multi-colored leave tree from December 2013 dedicated to Nelson Mandela and a traditional green tree from December 2012.
Mandela Tree
Green Leaves

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Lion's Den available at December Arts Show

My 7th/8th grade Yearbook Elective students are working on putting together the new edition of The Lion's Den, Orchard Gardens Journal of Literary and Visual Arts. The Lion's Den captures a snapshot of the work being done in our school, K-8, over the first 4 months of school. Writing and art work is submitted by students and staff and then juried and curated by the elective team. Staff may also submit work.  Over 100 students are represented in every edition of the journal .

Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, 2016

Media Elective students participated in the Hour of Code a global movement to introduce and excite students about the basics of coding and computer science. ALL of the media students learned to animate their names in a programming language called "Scratch." More than half of the class also entered the citywide contest with their animations. Watch the video below for more information and try this link to build your own skills. I'm really proud of the perseverance that my students showed to learn and figure out different elements of programming their unique expression of their name. I hope we have some citywide winners, but even if we don't, all of my students have won by participating in this event!

All About "Me"dia Posters on Display

Students in the 7-8th Grade Media Elective created a poster collage that represents who they are and what is important to them. Using a variety of words that describe them cut from old magazines, a computer-generated word cloud that the student created, a picture of a person that influences them and a creative pose or two students put together a product that reveals what makes them special. Students can use their posters as they write their high school applications. 

Standards addressed are many - but here's a couple!
Information, Media & Technology Literacy Standard
Students will draw on a variety of sources, (in this case a variety of magazines, a word cloud, a picture of a person of influence, and word stickers), to generate, evaluate, and select items (words) to turn into personally meaningful products.

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Curious About Curiosity!

Buy me here!
Buy SPACE SAND here!
My first graders wondered what it would be like to really live on Mars after reading the First Graders From Mars series by Shana Corey. We continued our discussion of the Solar System and watched the simulated landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. We then read the nonfiction text Mission to Mars and learned that Neil Armstrong who wrote the foreward for Mission to Mars was the first person to walk on the MOON! In Mission to Mars we learned what living on Mars might be like and we ended the unit with an experiment with space sand. Ask your child if they plan to to travel to Mars someday!

It All Makes Sense!

Buy me here!

Buy me here!
Ms. Gray's students have been studying parts of the body and making connections with the five senses through picture books with me. Some of the books we've read over the last eight weeks are pictured or listed below. 

Other featured books in this unit include;
I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
The Ear Book (Dr. Seuss Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners) - Hardcover - First Edition, 44th Printing 2008 by Al Perkins
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Books) by Perkins, Al (unknown Edition) [Hardcover(1969)] by Al Perkins

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

You're Invited!

Don't miss the December Arts Show!

Wednesday, December 21st

4:30 p.m. Stroll the art galleries

5:00 p.m. Performances in the auditorium by the OG Band, Theater, Dance, Strings, Chorus and Piano students.

The Lion's Den and other Orchard Gardens novelties will be on sale.

F is for Friend

Buy me here!
Bear wants to read, write and think quietly. Goose wants to do everything that bear is doing until thinking makes him hungry. Goose goes off to make a snack and brings more than a few treats back to warm the heart of his favorite bear. Students LOVE this story and are intrigued as goose tries to copy everything that bear does. We talk about what makes a "splendid" friend and students draw pictures of their friends. Other stories to try:

Buy me here!
Buy me here!
Buy me here!

You Don't Like Green Eggs and Ham?

Buy me here!
For Letter E we read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. "E" for "egg."  You just might like green eggs and ham but you have to try them. We read Green Eggs and Ham and watched a video. Students discussed things that they didn't like but then they tried it and they liked it! Our students are very DARING eaters and many of them like spicy food, especially spicy pepperoni on pizza! Sam teaches us that sometimes you just have to try something to see if you like it. If you don't like it today, maybe you will like it when you get a little older. Read the book and watch the video with your child today. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Do you like my hat?

Buy me here!
For Letter D we read the classic Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman. Our story word is "DOG" but there are so many other important early reader words; in, out, over, under, big and little as well as number and color words! 
I enjoy the sophistication of our readers when they giggle and wonder if the yellow dog will ever like the hat that the pink dog is wearing. You can enjoy the entire story with your child below.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Color Words for Letter C!

Buy me here!
LEMONS are NOT YELLOW by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a great introduction to color words that always captures my students imagination and interest. The cut outs on each page artfully display the outline of objects that are first displayed in a wrong color and then reveals them in their correct color. Students follow up this activity by making a color word page for the Alphabet Journey book. I highly recommend checking out other books by Laura Vaccaro Seeger on your next trip to your local library or buy them from your favorite bookseller.

Word Jars and Word Games!

Grade 2 Library Media students are increasing their vocabulary as we continue to read Donavan's Word Jar. We all learned about a dictionary, "a collection of words in a-b-c order" and used the dictionaries to play a fun word game. Many students have also started working on their own Word Jars. The challenge is to fill your jar with as many words as you can of different must be able to read the word and use it in a sentence! Pictures to follow!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tera, Star Student?!

Buy me here!
In Episode Four of First Graders From Mars we learn that the bossy and mean student Tera is actually a hard worker that needs to learn how to work better with others. Ms. Vortex the teacher assigns a group project and Tera begins by ordering her friends around. Tera receives a time out and does not get a gold star for the day!  Will Tera learn to work better with others? Will her friends forgive her? Ask your 1st grader how the story ends and if you have a chance go to your local library branch and borrow these wonderful books for another read at home.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nice Hands in K0

Buy me here!
My youngest strand students, K0, have been doing a unit on parts of the body. We began the journey with I Call My Hand Gentle by Amanda Haan. "This is my hand, it is special." After we read the story we trace and decorate our hand pictures.