Monday, December 21, 2015

Skating Along

We are skating along and rolling toward a mid-winter break. Really. We are really, and honestly, truly roller skating in PE. It was super fun on Friday to strap on a pair of quads and wheel around the gym. All the students were showing great effort and working to extend their skating abilities. I must say, I was honored to be wearing my daughter, Emily's, roller derby helmet. I think the loaner helped me skate better; it sure didn't hurt! Well, maybe it hurts a little when you fall.

This week is off to a good start. As you might imagine, we are trying to wrap up big projects, continue with our daily routines, and enjoy a story or two before we say so long to 2015. During our morning meeting, we talked about how to be our best selves this week. Everyone knew the positive behaviors that help make our classroom and Woodland a safe and fun place to be. Today, the students did more than talk the talk. They used their work time productively; they said, "Excuse me," and "Thank you." They took care of their own tasks and supported the work in the entire room. Delightfully delightful.

So here's a big shout out to the kind children in our room. Here's to skaters. And here's to Seconds!

Rolling Along!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Writing Toward the Finish Line

All good things must come to an end, and we have a deadline for our writing about plants. After a brief writers' meeting this morning, we have set next Wednesday as our first deadline to complete our writing and next Friday as our final deadline. Most writers thought they could finish by then while others lobbied for the end of December. (That's going out on a limb...even for plant writing.)

The last few days have been loaded with learning. As we finish up this project, we are asking ourselves how we can make our writing clear and interesting for our readers. We noticed that when we say facts in our own words the writing sounds more like us. That's interesting. In this way, we are sharing our knowledge. We are owning the information and recording it for others so they can learn. That's what writers do.

You wouldn't believe what we are learning from each other as well. Students have demonstrated how to write longer pieces, use paragraphs, use quotation marks, use punctuation marks, and how to make illustrations pop. Elegant writing abounds in Room 223.

So hi-ho, here we go sprinting to the finish line with quality writing in hand. Here's to writing; here's to writers; and here's to Seconds!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Growing Our Research

Reading and research has definitely sprouted in our classroom. We have selected our topics and have been busily gathering information. What is your child's topic? Is it on this list, or is it something different?

  • life cycles of plants
  • plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, seeds, flowers
  • interesting or unusual plants: cactus, venus flytrap, WOW!
  • trees
  • plant colors
  • photosynthesis (It's what makes a plant a plant you know.)
  • sunflowers
  • ???
  • how seeds are spread
Whatever the topic, I'm sure your child has a bushel of information to share. While we gather this information, we are also thinking about how to publish what we know so others can learn from us. We are working as researchers and thinking like writers. Do we have enough information to publish? When we publish, how can we make it all look like an organized book a reader will be interested in? These are but a few of the questions we are considering as we wrap up our plant unit.

What's that you ask? Are we singing a song about plants too? Why yes we are, thanks for asking. This week we learned and sang along to the Garden Song as performed by John Denver and the Muppets. So, here's to the Garden Song Link; here's to plants; and here's to Seconds!