Wednesday, January 30, 2013

100th Day of School and PTO Fundraiser

Wass PTO Fundraiser

Our classroom theme for the basket is Family Movie Night at Home.

We are asking that each family make a cash donation to help us create this basket. The suggested donation begins at $10 and we will gladly accept larger donations.

Donations should be submitted in an envelope which is clearly marked with your child’s name and PTO fundraiser.

After the donations have been collected, we will purchase gift cards to create our basket display.

If you have any questions about the gift basket, please contact Ayesha Potts ( ).

Thank you in advance for your support!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Classroom Update

Reader's Workshop
This week, we began the reading portion of our author study. I have been modeling Kevin Henkes as my author of study.  Small groups of students read and researched mentor authors to learn more about them and their stories. Our authors are: Jan Brett, Patricia Polacco, Mo Willems, David Wiesner, and Tomie dePaola.
We study authors to learn more about why they write and learn about their craft. As readers, we can enjoy and learn many new things about our authors through reading and analyzing their stories. Students spent reading time this week getting to know their author and recording books that they have completed in their author study reading logs.
Writer's Workshop
We continued learning more about Jonathan London as a writer. We read Dream Weaver, Hurricane!, and Pigsty this week. Students pointed out things Jonathan London did in his writing that stood out to them (we call them noticings). We discussed what purpose our noticings had in the books. Students shared ideas they had to include in their own writing. Students are encouraged to try something the mentor author did in their own writing. When I was conferring with students about their writing, I noticed many students trying onomatopoeia (sound words, like pop), repetition (important repeated words), and dialogue (conversations with talking marks).
Math Workshop
We completed Unit 5 of Math Workshop this week. Students learned about symmetry. Students completed shapes to make them symmetric and shared ideas of things they knew that were symmetric, like people! In computer lab, the class practiced their math fast fact skills on Math Magician.
Here is a math practice website for more help at home:

Sheppard Software

Math Magician

We continued the wind portion of our Air, Wind and Weather unit of Science. Students used three straws, a cardboard triangle, a cardboard trapezoid, and tape to create their very own wind vanes. The class predicted where the wind vane would point. Most of the class guessed that the wind vane would point where the wind was going, but a few students stated that the wind vane would point where the wind was coming from! We took the wind vanes outside in the chilly weather to prove that the wind vanes pointed to where the wind was coming from. Students learned that wind vanes point in a certain direction, but do not tell us the wind speed.
Social Studies
We continued our Geography Unit of Social Studies. Students created definitions for landforms. We identified and drew mountains, deserts, plains, valleys, islands, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Students listed things that might be found in certain landforms and what they would look like. Students constructed and labeled landforms flip books.

- Report Cards will be sent home on Monday, February 4th. Please promptly sign and return only the envelope.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Classroom Update

Reader's Workshop

Good readers ask questions before, during, and after a story in order to better comprehend what they are reading. We discussed the difference between thick and thin questions. Thin questions are about the story and thick questions dig deeper into the story. We read Curious George and asked questions about why he is so curious. We read The Lotus Seed and asked questions before, during, and at the end of the story. On Friday, we read about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and discussed ways that he made a difference.
Next week, we will begin the reading portion of our Author Study. Small groups of students will read and research mentor authors to learn more about them and their stories.

Writer's Workshop
We began the writing portion of our Author Study. Our mentor author is Jonathan London. He is the author of the Froggy series, along with Puddles, Hurricane!, and Wiggle Waggle. Students are noticing things that Jonathan London does in his writing, like rhyming and using onomatopoeia (words that are sounds). Students are working on a small moment or writing seed idea. They are encouraged to try something that Jonathan London uses in his writing, like rhyming words, onomatopoeia, repeated words, or making words like their meanings.

Math Workshop
We are wrapping up Unit 5 shortly. We will finish geometry on Tuesday, review on Wednesday, and take the Unit 5 test on Thursday. We will begin Unit 6 the following week, since we have no math on Friday (which is a half day).

Students learned about 2D and 3D shapes this week and how they are alike and different. Students built the shapes with rubber bands on geometric boards. They noticed how many sides and corners each shape had.

Students used toothpicks and mini marshmallows to construct 3D shapes. It is really important for students to see and understand the difference between 2D and 3D shapes.

We continued the Wind portion of our Air, Wind and Weather unit of Science. Students experimented with bubbles and noticed how the wind carried away their bubbles.

We built an anemometer to watch how fast the wind was moving. We used 4 small cups, 2 straws, a cardboard square, tape, and a wooden block to hold it. Students noticed how fast the cups were spinning when there was no wind, a light breeze, moderate wind, and strong winds. You can also watch wind speeds using a pinwheel. Students built their own pinwheel out of paper, tape and straws to watch the wind blow them.

Social Studies
We started the Geography Unit of Social Studies. Students identified landforms. Students learned a landform song to help them remember mountains, deserts, plains, valleys, islands, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

- Monday, January 21st - NO SCHOOL for MLK Jr. Day
- Friday, January 25th - 1/2 day of school for Teacher Workday 12:15 dismissal

- Thursday, January 31st – Science Night 6:30-8:30 p.m. – A Matter of Slime!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Student Birthdays

Just a reminder...

Students' birthdays are wonderful to celebrate at school. It is so great for a child to have his/her special day to celebrate! The school policy on private birthday parties is that if you are inviting the whole class you may pass out invitations at school. Also, if your child is a boy and you are only inviting boys to your party, you may bring invites to school. As well as, if your child is a girl and you are only inviting girls to your party, you may bring invites to school.

We are encouraging non-edible treats like a pencil, a sticker, a bookmark, or a class book. The idea is to keep it simple, yet special. :) A student in Mrs. Kellett's class (nextdoor) brought in a soccer ball to donate that the whole class signed.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Classroom Update!

Welcome back! Hope you had a wonderful break!

Reader's Workshop
Good readers make inferences and predictions when they read in order to better comprehend what they read. We inferred the meanings of words by using pictures, using our schema, the words in the text, rereading, thinking, making connections, and listening to the ideas of classmates. We read the story Where Are You Going, Manyoni? and inferred the meanings of unknown words. Students made predictions before and during the story The Royal Bee. We discussed what they predicted would happen and why they thought so. Sometimes readers need to make inferences when the author does not make things clear to the reader. Students had to make inferences about the character, Solomon, in An Angel for Solomon Singer. Students used the text and the pictures in the story to learn more about Solomon so that unclear parts in the story make more sense.

Writer's Workshop
We reviewed writing about a small moment. Small moments are true stories that happened to us. Students started off by rehearsing the story they were getting ready to write to a partner. Their partner listened to see if the story made sense and if more details were needed. Next, students got a story planning sheet and drew six scenes from their small moment from break. Then, students started their rough draft and used a revision checklist to look over when they thought they were finished. Finally, students wrote the final draft of their story into a small booklet with detailed pictures.

Math Workshop
In Unit 5 of Math Workshop we have been learning about geometry. This week students learned about points, line segments, parallel and non-parallel lines and shapes. Students learned the importance of naming points. We learned about quadrilaterals and quadrangles and how they have 4 sides or 4 corners. Students are working on naming geometric shapes. Students sorted shapes by the number of sides and named the 2-D shapes.

We finished the air portion of our air, wind, and weather science unit. We wrapped up air by having a balloon race.

 Student each had one balloon and had to pump it up with air. We had two stations set-up next to each other so we could race balloons. Each station consisted of two chairs attached with string. A large Ziploc baggie was taped to a straw that went through the string. Students had to hold their pumped up balloon (pinched with their fingers) inside the baggie and let go. Each child was able to race their balloon with a classmates balloon. They watched the air travel out of the balloons pushing them from one chair to the other chair.

Students did the Chalk Talk Visible Thinking routine with the question of What is air? For the routine, students had to access prior knowledge and ask questions. Students were unable to talk during this routine, instead they wrote down their ideas on one sheet of paper that was passed around the table. This routine gives thinking time to students and ensures all voices in the group are heard.

Have a great weekend! : ) Miss Eckardt

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reading Snowballs

You will see a sheet of reading snowballs in your child's red folder tonight. After your child completes an entire book (at school or at home) they can fill out a snowball. We are working on building a whole snowman, so we will need a lot of snowballs! I will keep extra copies of the snowballs at school and here are extra snowballs (below) to print off if you need them at home. Our goal is to have an entire snowman build by the end of January, so keep on reading! :)