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Armstrong Elementary School

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As avid readers, we continue to learn ways to talk about our books. Our characters can be more than just happy or sad! Today, we spent time learning about searching for just-right words to describe character feelings. The characters in our books feel big feelings, like excited, glad, confused, thrilled, curious and frustrated. Using precise language helps to develop vocabulary and capture shades of meaning found within our books. As we read, we mark these places of strong emotion with post-its, so that we can later discuss these feelings with our reading partners.

Picture power

As our books continue to get harder, our repertoire of reading strategies increases. Moving through text levels, books begin to tell more about things that are happening and what thshe characters are doing. We extra strengthened our picture power to further support the type of reading that we are doing. This looks like saying EVERYTHING that is happening in the picture before actually reading the page.
Interactive writing is one of the cornerstones of our word study. In this, the pen is shared between teacher and students, as we work together to construct the message, identify all of the necessary sounds and their corresponding letter patterns, insert proper spacing and incorporate any other developmentally appropriate conventions. In discussing the type of pie that our class would like to submit for the Armstrong pie contest, we decided to work together to create a list of pies. The class met on the carpet with whiteboards, markers and erasers in hand. With each type of pie, we worked together to sound it out and write it on our whiteboards, while one person recorded it on our chart. Authentically incorporating interactive writing into parts of our day makes it bounds more engaging and meaningful.
 
After all of our hard work, we took a vote and the verdict is in: we will be making a buttermilk pie!
One of the most valuable relationships we have in our class is that with our reading and writing partners!  Two are better than one. At each step of the writing process, we can collaborate with our partners, getting valuable feedback, compliments and tips about the things that writers do. Here, a set of partners is looking through a friend's writing, using a narrative writing checklist to help decide what aspect of writing to work on next. After some discussion, they decided on the next way that this friend will continue to grow himself as a writer. Working in partnerships during the writing process increases our metacognition, helps further develop oral language and strengthens relationships in the classroom.  We love our writing partners and the way they help us grow!

Pattern Books

In Writing Workshop, we have been working on writing our own pattern books, reflective of the types of books we are reading in Reading Workshop. Patterned books have words that repeat on each page and can sometimes have a little twist at the end. Through writing patterned books, we have been working on writing conventions, such as word spacing, sight word spelling and capitalizing the first letter of the sentence.
One of the methods that has helped us best understand our teen numbers is gaining an understanding of what these numbers are made up of, through number nicknames.  12 is not a 1 and a 2, but rather a ten and two.  The nickname for this number would be one ten two - a complete set of ten and two more.  If the nickname for 12 is one ten two, what would the nickname for 18 be?  What about for 24? Such conceptual understanding of a base ten number system will support our understanding of addition, subtraction and place value.  
It's ok to not always feel ok!  But can you talk about it constructively?  Most Kindergartners are not yet equipped to identify what they feel and why they feel the way they feel.  These are learned skills!  We worked together as a class to create a tool that can begin to help us talk about how we feel in productive ways.  Rather than yelling at someone, we can verbalize how we feel and what we need to feel better.  Instead of shoving a friend when we feel frustrated, we can tell them what we feel and identify what we need from them.  Problem solving conversations overheard this week include, "I feel lonely because I miss my mom.  I need a hug," and, "I feel frustrated because I didn't finish my work on time.  I need a compliment."  Building such prosocial communication behaviors will continue to strengthen our classroom community, as we grow in our relationships with each other.  Being known is the pathway to being understood.

Uganda School Responsibilities

Our room was filled with excitement this morning when we got a video from our friends in Uganda!! After they saw some of the things that we are responsible for at school, they made a video to let us know of the things they are responsible for. We found many similarities, like practicing numbers, putting things away and lining up, as well as many differences, such as taking off shoes at school and bringing your own cups for porridge. We are so excited to open up our worlds a little wider and continue to connect with our friends across the globe.
As we were coming in from recess, something caught our eye in the lost and found.  Our classroom was abuzz of talk about the jacket in the lost and found.  Could it be Dr. Moran's??? Should we tell him???  We decided to take matters into our own hands and let him know.  We cancelled our afternoon read aloud and moved on to the task at hand - telling Dr. Moran we found his jacket.
 
Authentic opportunities for writing are some of the most powerful.  Incorporating writing into our real life wonderings makes children excited about writing and drives home the point that writing is used to communicate ideas.

Storybook Parade

Today we celebrated the end of our first Reading Workshop unit! After weeks of reading storybooks, all of our hard work culminated with a parade around the school. We each chose our favorite storybook, practiced all of the things we have been learning, made posters and marched around the school, proudly displaying our books. Our parade ended in Mrs. Robertson's room, where a few students showed off their very best reading for the 1st graders and we were paraded out with a tunnel. We celebrated, paraded and proclaimed to the world: WE ARE STORYBOOK READERS!
There are MANY ways to show a number!  We have been using ten frames, rekenreks, tally marks, objects and our hands to represent various numbers.  Today, our numeracy became digitally dangerous when we worked in partners to make PicCollages for the number 6.  Afterwards, we compiled all of our collages to see some of the other ideas that our classmates had.  Click HERE to see some of the ways that you can show the number 6.