Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nice Hands in K0

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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. 

Letter B - The Berenstains' B Book

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My kindergarten students find out what broke baby bird's balloon in this B-word BONANZA of a book by Stan and Jan Berenstain. During the read aloud I challenge the students to recite some of the b word repetitions, "big brown bear, blue bull, beautiful baboon, blowing bubbles, biking backwards..." It's great fun. Check out the video with your child below.

Try Your "Martian" Best

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My first graders read the 3rd Episode of First Graders from Mars, Nergal and the Great Space Race. We learned that everyone can't be the best at everything but you should try to do your best.  Jayden from Ms. Miranda's Class shared a story of how he learned to ride his bike without training wheels. He didn't think he would be good at it but his sister helped him and he can now ride his bike without training wheels. Mayara said, "all you have to do is just try, try your best." Some people are good at drawing, some people are good at running and some people are good at following directions...but we all are trying to do our "earthling best!"

Sunday, October 23, 2016

You're Invited!

Stop by the Library and visit our Annual Scholastic Book Fair. The Fair begins Friday, January 6th through Friday, January 13th. Books may be purchased during your child's normally scheduled Library Class and after school. The Fair will be open everyday after school until 5:00 pm. You can preview the Fair here. All proceeds go to restocking our library shelves.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Our Journey to Mars Continues

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In Episode 2 of First Graders From Mars, The Problem with Pelly we get to know Horus's friend Pelly.  Her family moved to Mars from the Moon Phobos and Pelly feels different when the class makes plans for a special visitor. Tera, another classmate, doesn't help by claiming that a picture Pelly draws of her family is "weird." Pelly questions whether her "fluffernobbin" is normal and wishes she could be "normal" like the other kids with "tentacles." Our students quickly identify the mean words of Tera and connect with sometimes feeling different from others. Our story ends beautifully and we all find out that what makes us different is also what makes us special. I love reading this story with my first graders.

Letter A

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We read Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss! The Lion, Tiger and Dog challenge each other to see how many apples then can put on top of their head - up to ten. We count to ten forward and backward and it's a fun book to read with a group.

In the book I am making with your child, they have a page that requires them to put 4 apple stickers up on top. Ask them about the book and show them the fun little video below as a surprise!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kindergarten Students Journey Through the Alphabet!

In library my Kindergarten students (K1 and K2) take a journey through the alphabet as they explore a variety of picture books from A-Z. Picture books are unique in that they combine art with stories and are an introduction to reading. Every picture tells a story and children get excited when they make connections with their world through the stories we read. I start our journey with a silly Dr. Seuss book, Dr. Seuss's ABC, to assess where the students are in their ability to sit and listen during a read aloud and their understanding of letters. Our last book of this project is The Alphabet Tree where students discover that “letters make words, words make sentences and sentences make stories.” During the school year your child will be introduced to over 26 books many of which they will cherish for years to come. Their culminating project is a book that captures all the books we’ve read during the year and other activities they’ve done in the library. The book is yours to keep! Check back on my blog to see what your child has been reading and read it with them. A great book can be read over and over again. Surprise your child by watching and singing this with them!

Second Graders Are Collectors!

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Orchard Gardens Second Graders already know quite a bit about having a collection. Prior to reading our first chapters of Donavan's Word Jar by MonaLisa DeGross we shared items that that we collect; rocks, shells, dolls, wrestler action figures, toy cars, teddy bears, marbles and more. We then met Donavan and his classmates who also collect things like marbles, buttons and stamps - but none of us were like Donavan, the main character of our story, who collects WORDS!

Inspired by the word NUTRITION on his morning cereal box, Donavan begins his journey of collecting words. In this unit, your child will enjoy increasing their vocabulary, learn basic research techniques and presentation skills as they share and discover the important world of collecting. Students may bring ONE item from their collection to class to share. Visit the Smithsonian Kids Collecting Site with your student to learn more about the value of collecting.

First Graders Journey to Mars!

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Ms. Miranda, Ms. Fowler, Ms. Quinn and Ms. Westa's students are traveling to the planet Mars with Ms. M. We begin our journey at Mariner Valley Elementary School where we meet Horus a new first grader. Horus is excited about first grade but that changes quickly as he find out that first grade is very different from Martiangarten (kindergarten). Horus is excited, sad, mad and finally happy! We talk about the different feelings Horus has about school and make connections with this character as we share our own thoughts and feelings about first grade.

During this unit students will be introduced to the solar system, the planet mars, the Mars space rover Curiosity, character traits and comparing fiction with non-fiction books. It will be quite a trip that forms the backdrop for books we write about ourselves. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Introducing 7/8 Electives in Yearbook and Media

Both my 7/8 electives*, Yearbook and Media, started the school year by learning how to create a word cloud. Creating a word cloud is a great tool to activate prior knowledge, work on their vocabulary and get to know each other. Students had to use 25 or more words to describe themselves. All of our middle school students will be writing essays about themselves and will need to be able to answer the question, "What can you tell me about yourself?" when writing their high school essays, applying for their first job or on high school interviews. 100% of my students were able to create a word cloud!

What's Next? Our Clouds will inform the creation of a mixed-media All About Me Poster for media students and a Meet the Staff Poster for yearbook students. In Yearbook Elective students learn how to use the Yearbook Software as they design their poster. In the yearbook software students learn how to use borders, backgrounds, clip art, text and image nodes.

Students in my 7/8 grade Media Class work on combining a minimum  of 4 different media elements to make a poster about themselves. They use their word cloud, words they cut from a magazine, a picture of themselves that they did a special pose for and a pop culture person that inspires them.

*7/8 electives meet for 3 - 50 minute periods every week.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.6 & 8.6
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.

We End the Journey Trilogy with Return

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Return, the final book of the Journey Trilogy was released this past August and it did not disappoint. Mr. Cipriani's Class, like most of my classes that read the trilogy, devoured the opportunity to hold all three books, look for more details and practice telling the story themselves.

Sharing wordless picture books are an important part of our library class for new and emerging readers. Check out Reading Rockets for more information on Sharing Wordless Picture books. Also check out the book trailer for Return!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Our Reading Journey Continues with Quest!

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This week most of my K-2 classes continued with Book 2 in the Journey Trilogy -- Quest by Aaron Becker. The second book picks up right where the last book ended with the girl, the boy and their purple bird riding the bike they created. It starts to rain and they take cover under a bridge in the park. There is  a large wooden door - a secret door - under the bridge. Their quest begins when the orange King appears and asks for their help before he is taken away by the "evil soldiers aka bad guys!"
We discuss the meaning of a quest - a journey with a purpose! The kids "are searching for something like pirates search for treasure," says Kelmary. Enjoy the book trailer with your child, they will fill you in on all the details of the story!