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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Our week in review....

So... what happened this week in Kindergarten through Fourth grade? So many things happened!! We introduced a lot of new centers. To solidify those money skills we brought in "I Have, Who Has" with money. This center was from Jason's Online Classroom and it is a FREE download! Check it out at Teacher's pay teachers here.
Notice the jackets? It was less than cozy in our room a couple days this week.
We learned by wearing our jackets all day! Maintenance worked hard to get things back on track,
but it was a chilly morning a few times this week.
We focused heavily on Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. We also tied it together with our own classroom "dreams" to make 2015 an awesome year by making it awesome for Mount Hope Elementary School. Third and Fourth grade focused heavily on writing biographies and including some mapping skills, which are important skills for them. They were also asked to include what they admired about Martin and how they might change the world with a dream like Martin Luther King Jr. had. We practiced Kansas standards of education by using our speaking and listening skills. We presented our research to Mrs. Addis' class on Friday afternoon at 1:30. Kindergarten through Second grade focused heavily on their own dreams to change the world and wrote a speech. They modeled their speeches after Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech, telling what their dream was for making our school even better and what action they will take. Here are few photos of students presenting. I can see a great improvement from the beginning of the year until now and I know their skills will continue to increase the more they are engaged in speaking exercises.
This Firstie was a non-reader at the start of school. He read his entire speech!
He also overcame his incredible shyness and projected his voice. My teacher-heart
was SO happy and proud! 

This Firstie spoke with conviction and gave an eloquent speech!
Way To Go! 
Here are some of the centers introduced this week. Some are for Kinder and First, but I included some learning for older grades too with several "I Have, Who Has" games and some vocabulary match ups. We will continue to build on these centers throughout January and rotate in new centers in February. Taking time to teach students centers and games allows myself and my support staff to jump in with small groups at grade levels and focus on Math, Reading, Social Studies and Science skills. It also allows students to work on different skills according to ability or grade level. This is what saves us and allows us to do projects at different academic skill levels. We love centers and learning games!
Many centers came from the "Sneezy the Snowman" pack by Deanna Jump, check them out at I got a Chilly Choices sheet from The Mailbox that I can put "early finisher" activities on by grade level. It was a free printable and I printed on colored card stock and laminated. I write the choices in sharpie and use alcohol to "erase" them when I need to update. There are some other centers and products here that I will highlight and give credit where credit is due as I introduce them to students. 
Sneezy the Snowman was finally "just right" at the end of the story by keeping on the scarf, coat and hat that his friends gave him and then eating some delicious ice cream to keep from getting too hot! We had some centers that used ice cream cones and base-ten blocks for counting and learning ones and tens. We wrapped up the week by celebrating both Sneezy and our own accomplishments of giving our speeches by having ice cream cones at the end of the day on Friday! 

We also started a reading buddy activity on Friday. It is super-exciting that we have SO MANY fluent readers in our class, but sometimes it makes it hard to buddy everyone up. Some students had to just read to a classmate that read at their level and enjoy the social aspect of reading out loud. 

I felt like we had a productive week and students learned at so many levels! I am looking forward to learning more about our great State of Kansas this week! We also have 100th day celebrations coming up NEXT week (on the 27th). I would love to hear from other teachers.... do you celebrate this? What grade levels? I plan to challenge Third and Fourth on math skills and still include them in the festivities. Parents, watch your email for the opportunity to donate to our 100 days of learning snack mix! 

I have a fun idea that is built around the snack idea but I can't share it here because it has to do with our "awesome 2015" goals and I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for anyone! 

It's time to research and prepare for the week! I hope you had a great week and I can't wait to start a new one? 

p.s. I guess I need a blogging guru to teach me how to design a fun signature button and I want to hear from other teachers... do you genuinely have a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Or do you inservice/professional development like we do? 

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