Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Lion's Den Debuts at Art Show

Don't miss purchasing a copy of the latest "Lion's Den!" With over 100 student and staff contributors, the latest edition is filled with beautiful art and writing completed over the last five months. Cover art by Angelica Herrera, grade 7,  inspired by artist Shepard Fairey showcases themes of social justice. Talik Brimage, also grade 7, graces our back cover with his painting of Angela Davis in an homage to the political art success!of the 1970s. Only $3.00 in the Main Office or Library while supplies last.

Jon Klassen Rules!

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Over the last two weeks in grade one and my strand classes we read three books by author/illustrator Jon Klassen -- all about hats! The simple yet sophisticated drawing and stories are filled with very polite characters with hat problems! Did the big fish eat the little fish? Maybe. Did the bear eat the rabbit? Not sure, he was a bit rude, right? Did they find another hat or are they still dreaming? That's up to you. We think and imagine as we discuss possible endings and if it's ok to take something that is not yours. We also talk about sharing.You will not be disappointed if you check these books out with your child. See youtube link below as well.

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X in Box

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For Letter X we read two different texts. Our first read was The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi. The students make many connections with this story; playing with a box, little brothers, sisters or cousins bothering them and of course playing with someone is almost always better than playing by yourself! We also read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and student's showed me what their not a box would be. Thinking and imaging are two of the most important things we do all year when reading together. You can take a look with your child as well below.

Waiting for Wings!

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Lois Ehlert's Waiting for Wings is a perfectly timed read for Letter W. Many of our kindergarten classrooms have watched their own butterflies grow as they learn about the life cycle of a butterfly. It's a fast read with lovely rhyming text, gorgeous illustrations and cleverly designed pages. We make our own butterflies out of the letter W and make our own butterfly hats where we show we understand symmetry! I also read The Crunching Munching Caterpillar by Sheridan students LOVE this book! The empathy they feel for the caterpillar is matched with the excitement they have as he realizes his dreams.

Vegetable for Letter V!

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In Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert the story begins with the task of planting a garden and ends with making vegetable soup. I also include a nonfiction read about vegetables and do a fun survey with the students about their favorite vegetables. During our "Show Me" section of the class, they draw a picture of their favorite vegetable soup! All of our students make connection between apple picking and picking vegetables. A fun book to read with your child when growing your own vegetables or when making vegetable soup!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Gerald McBoing Boing?!

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My first graders continued their reading journey this week by considering what it would be like if you couldn't speak words. In the Academy Award winning movie (1950!), Gerald McBoing Boing (story by Dr. Seuss) only speaks with sounds! We read the book first and then watch the movie. This is a classic that I love to read after the "Bull that is not a Bully," Ferdinand! We make connections in both stories and discuss that EVERYONE has a special purpose. You don't have to be like everyone else as long as you are kind. Watch the Award Winning Movie with your child - it's a great story!

Summer Reading

The Summer Reading Lists are here! Developed by the BPS and the BPL, ALL of these books are available at your local library. Some schools have mandatory summer reading, but for schools that don't, the district has added a summer required reading book for each grade level that you may want to make sure your child reads.
If your child has lost their library card please send me a note and I will make them a FREE card. Also check out the BPL's Summer Reading Programs and have the best summer of reading and fun ever! The reading lists follow below. Happy Reading.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Yellow Umbrella

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April showers bring May flowers! It's a perfect time to read Yellow Umbrella by Dong II Shen and Jae-Soo Liu when we reach letter U. Students watch and listen carefully as this alluring story in a wordless picture book unfolds. This is one of two books that I use during our alphabet journey that use  music CD's (re: Letter J, The Jazz Fly). Using the CD's builds a childs' listening skills and demonstrates that there are alternate ways to interact with a story. Originally published in South Korea, this book also introduces our children to music and song from another country underscoring my library theme that "reading takes you places!"

The Story of Ferdinand

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Focusing on my theme of "reading takes you places," we travel to Spain and my first graders and strand students read The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf with illustrations by Robert Lawson. This book was written in 1936 and is considered a classic children's book. The story is about a bull named Ferdinand that would rather sit and smell flowers under his favorite cork tree instead of fight like all the other bulls. After reading the book, we also watch the 1938 Academy Award Winning Short Cartoon by Disney entitled Ferdinand. We briefly discuss bull fights and the cultural tradition of bull fighting but our discussion focus is having the courage to be yourself. Ask your child about the story, it's a winner!

Getting Ready for 3rd Grade

What does it mean to be cool? Robbie York is starting 3rd grade and he wants it to be the best school year ever. For Robbie the best school year ever means being cool.
We begin our journey by discussing my second graders feelings about 3rd grade -- some are nervous and afraid the work will be too hard. Some are wondering if their teachers will be nice. Some students have also heard that in 3rd grade you have to take very important tests.
In our novel, How to be Cool in the Third Grade by Betsy Duffey, our main character Robbie has some definite opinions about being cool as well as some very big challenges to overcome to get there. I won't post a pic of the book cover until my next post - the students are challenged to make a picture in their own mind of what Robbie and his friends might look like.* At this age students are becoming readers and they often reject books because of the illustrations. This year we have worked very hard at making pictures in our own mind of how the characters may look. Our students will recite, "don't judge a book by it's cover," as we all do, but all too often emerging readers don't allow themselves to read books because of the cover picture. This is a great book to talk about so many different themes including self-perception, school and bullies as well as would you have selected this book if you saw the cover. We are on the 4th chapter and the students are thoroughly enjoying the story. In addition to reading, there are many different skills that we learn in library class including how to select books and not limit ourselves to specific genres and covers that look cool. This is a perfect book to do just that.
*(Note: We did the same earlier this year with Donavan's Word Jar!)

We're Collectors!

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My second graders finished their unit on collections by reading two more books about collections and gave many more collection presentations! We read Let's Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans and I shared my rock collection. Did you know rocks are the oldest thing you can collect in the world?! We used another book specifically about rocks and minerals to identify my rocks and talked about how collectors label and "curate" their collections.
We also read a picture book called The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid. I also shared my button collection and we talked about the different ways collections might start.
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During each class different students also presented their collections. I was struck by how well the students presented their collections and the incredible questions that their classmates asked about their collections. Several of our classmates collect Pokemon Cards and were very knowledgeable about all of the cards that they had and how they wanted to build their collection. Other types of collections that were presented included rocks, shells, action figures and my favorite -- books!! Having a collection helps a child learn so many different skills. Collecting builds WONDER and CURIOSITY in a child. Collecting allows you and your child to build stories, do research and learn to take care of things that are important to them. Need some help? Check out the Smithsonian Kids Collecting Link here! Happy collecting!