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Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday

We don't have school today so it appears that I will get my 5.4.Friday post done on Friday! Big accomplishment for me! So hop on over to Doodlebugs to read about everyone's five random things from their day or their week. This is my favorite way to post about our week!

 1. We spend a lot of time at school this year. So when my Punky wanted to know when we could carve a Jack-O-Lantern at home, well, we just squeezed it in on Monday night. She still loves pulling all the guts and goo out of the inside and scolded when I tried to "help." Next thing I knew, she was carving that bad boy.... by herself! And no appendages were severed or injured, so all is right in the world.

She says he looks funny. I say he looks amazing. 

 2. This little guy was not reading or writing at the start of the school year. Our para said she helped him with the word "could" and the "others." He sounded out the rest. (I wonder if maybe he got help with "things" also). But this is a huge victory and celebration for this first grade reader/writer! Yay!
I can't figure out how to turn this. I got it turned in iPhoto, but it loads onto here sideways still. 

 3. Kicking off the election project. Students are talking about what makes a good leader in the first photo.
 We "assigned" parties by having them draw counters out of a bag and we had an equal amount of two colors = two major parties and a lesser amount of another color = independent party. Then parties had to decided what they were all about, what their names were, what their slogan was and what their symbol was. We had many, many candidates running for primary elections. Students of all grade levels got into the campaigning as shown below. This little Kinder did a great job designing and creating buttons and also wearing his support on his shirt!

 4. I attempted to dress up this year. I have not been this excited for Halloween for a very long time! I am El Skippito Friskito, the great sword fighter (aka... Skippyjon Jones). We played learning games and practiced math facts and did some silly sentence writing to practice those grammar/sentence structure skills.

My assistant/life-line/para/couldn't-do-it-without-you, Ronni, and I ready for day of fun and frolic.

A whole class photo. One little learner is absent today.

Abe Lincoln showed up today. I love this creative use of the mustache
given out at the party.

Howdy pardners, this little guy was very much from the old West today! 

Pink mustaches.... who knew?! A flapper and a zombie

Even Fourth graders were getting into the spirit

Look at that sweet face. :)
I'm curious to hear about everyone's rules and regulations regarding Halloween. I know some schools don't do anything to acknowledge the day, some have short parties at the end, some encourage dressing up as book characters, and some go all out. I would say that my class went all out this year. I do, however, sense something different in the future. I think there is a point when you decide to "roll with it" and realize that kids are excited and not so focused on school. We did do some revising and corrections this day, but mostly we reinforced skills that have already been taught.  Learning happened but not in ways that would add to student or teacher frustration, realizing there could (would?) be a high level of distraction this day.

I don't want to forget about the fantastic parent volunteers that made for a nice and fun party in the cafeteria! Thanks for much for causing this to run smoothly and creating those fun activities for our class! Hats off to you! We had pumpkin bowling, a craft, musical chairs and snacks/goodies! What a lot of fun!!

We ended our big day by going to the nursing home and the assisted/independent living home. We visited with the folks that live there and showed off our costumes. Students young and old got into the spirit. I feel more character training coming on here. I will do more pre-class-trip preparing next year and encourage students more to interact with the people we go to see.
The windows made it hard for me to get a good picture, but this is
the whole school at the end of our costume parade. 
After this we walked back to the school, stopping in at the city office. We got back to school just in time to pack and up and talk about what we learned that day!

Happy Halloween. Be safe and be responsible. And happy long weekend to Mount Hope Elementary students!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Five for Friday

This week went by so fast! Yesterday we did not have students. I ended up being late arriving and early leaving.... I had to get a tire repaired in the morning and my daughter and I had Doctor's appointments in the afternoon.  Which means I did not get as ready I would like to be and I'll have to go to the school again today. *sigh* We had a late, but now I'm linking up with my favorite weekly linky, Five for Friday, even though it's Saturday.

 1. First grade practiced different ways to make ten. I forgot to take a picture of the tens rods we made this week. We made "rods" using pipe cleaners and pony beads to help with math facts within ten. Kindergarten is also working on facts within ten and they also made the 10 rods, so they can make "friends of 10."

 2. We start keyboarding practice this week. It was really frustrating for a lot of my students. But we'll keep practicing and it will get easier/better. Here's the free practice site we went to.

 3. Last weekend I read an article about a one column rubric. So I am trying it with my Fourth grade research project. I put three columns but the approaching and the exceeds columns are blank for note taking and the expectation or meets expectation contains the expectation the student must meet in order to be considered as meeting my expectation. When students' work is in the approaching column, the notes will help them bring it up to the "meets expectation" column. I will continue to write a note and hand the work back until it comes up the expectation column. I know that I am not the best rubric maker because the expectation seems clear to me, but it's not always clear to my students, therefore I'll keep making rubrics and revising them. I use Rubistar to make rubrics. How do you let students know what your expectation is? If you have a free Rubistar account, you can see this rubric by using this id: Rubric ID: 2475974.
4. Fourth grade began working on a research project. We've been studying pumpkins, but Fourth grade is ready for some new excitement. So.... in keeping with a fall/creepy theme, they could choose from Spiders, Owls, Bats, or creepy crawlies. Two students chose bats, and one chose owls and the other chose spiders. Interestingly enough, the student who chose spiders says that he has arachnophobia. I am scared of certain types spiders. Wolf spiders in particular. The biggest factor that freaks me out is the that they jump at you. Not to mention that they get very big. Eeks! 

5. On a personal note.... last weekend my daughter was home from college and we got family pictures taken on Sunday. Here is one of the previews. I got the disc last night. I can't wait to start ordering pictures!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday Letters (on Monday)....

I am playing hooky today. Well... my college girl has been on fall break and goes back to school today. I didn't want to commit to two hours of commute driving and then another three hours on the road for college girl. :/ So... I am trying to just relax and realize that a sub can handle my students for a day. Ha. That is not really like me! But I spent a lot of hours working on being ready yesterday. That's my excuse for not getting my letters posted! But better late than never! You can read/join Michelle's Sunday Letters at Big Time Literacy!

Dear Student,
We will miss you terribly. I know some students doubted me at the beginning of the year when I said we are a class family, but now you and they know for sure how hard it is to say goodbye to a family member. We wish you the best in your new school.  All of us want good things for you, but the truth is, our class family has a hole in our collective class heart because you are not coming back to our class.
Your family at school

Dear Children,
I know I am a distracted momma, and I apologize for that. I just want you know that I being your mother is my saving grace. I am so pleased with the wonderful people you are maturing into. Spending time with you yesterday for family photos was a proud moment for me.
Full of Pride,
your Momma

Dear Students,
I am proud of you, you've come a long way in 8 1/2 weeks. I love coming to school every day and seeing you. I can't wait to see what you learn in your next project. You are going to grow and stretch in the next nine weeks. There are so many standards to meet to be ready for the infamous state testing.
Contemplating ways to stretch your minds,
Your (young to teaching) Teacher

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Five for Saturday, it just doesn't have the same ring as Five For Friday

Five random things from my week. Monday was both a wrap up our apple research and learning and begin pumpkin learning. Here is how our week went down....
Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read about everyone's week or day!
1. One of the things we did with apples was research different ways to make applesauce. On Monday morning we chose a recipe to follow for the crockpot. We cut up apples donated by Mr. Martens, we added cinnamon and some sugar and water. We added less sugar than our recipe called for, but we could gotten by with a lot less yet, it turned out very sweet, almost like dessert. 
This is right after the apples were fully baked. 

Beginning the mashing process.
Almost completely mashed. Yum! 

 2. We visted P&M Pumpkin ranch in Moundridge. We had a great time and got a good pumpkin lesson from Ms. Jamie and Ms. Rachel before heading out into the patch.
This is a nice, big, orange pumpkin

Ms. Rachel telling up about apple gourds

Choosing a pumpkin

Double chute slide.... This was probably the students' favorite thing.

The play area had a tire swing

In the peddle area.... on a trike

There were also two peddle cars
There was a nature trail and corn maze as well. Students asked a lot of questions and we got a lot of information about pumpkins and gourds on Tuesday.
 3. Each student got a small pumpkin to bring back with us. Some students chose perfect pie pumpkins, some chose the little cannon pumpkins. One Wednesday we did pumpkin investigations and estimated the weight, height, and circumference of our pumpkins. Then predicted if their pumpkins would sink or float. Unfortunately the sink we used would lose water as fast as we filled it (see how the faucet is running in the photo). The water level would get really low and students pumpkins would actually sink in the low water, so we'd run water (again) to see if it would float. More students predicted that their pumpkin would sink than float.
 4. Fire prevention day! Friday was all about fire prevention! The fire fighters came and presented and talked to us about fire safety. We got to see a fire fighter put on their gear in less than one minute (this doesn't include the air pack and face mask, they are allowed another minute for this). We got to see firefighters in full gear. Then we talked about how to show what we know about fire safety and make posters showing what we had learned about fire safety.

Students are holding up the fire fighter jacket to feel how heavy it is. 

Working on posters.

Making sure to add detail and color

We presented our posters to the fire department and did "likes and wonders" at the fire station,
with fire fighters giving their likes and wonders also. 

Ayden presenting his poster.

Looking at the fire truck and equipment to end our day.

Students and fire fighters in front of one of the trucks. 

5. The K-4 teacher from last year brought every student (and staff member) a cinnamon roll yesterday. We ended our day with these giant, gooey treats, and then our end of day meeting where we tell what we learned today! Some students thought this was even better than going to the fire department!

Students are getting their goodies that the firefighters left and getting ready to tell about something they learned today.
It was a whirlwind week again and disappeared much too quickly. Next week will be another week of learning more about pumpkins, writing and following "how-to" instructions, and so much more! The school year has gone by so quickly thus far and it never ceases to amaze me how time flies.