Our Week – August 31

We are off to a great start in 3E. I hope children have been sharing some of the things we’ve been doing in class. At the end of each week I do my best to share important happenings in a classroom newsletter. My intention is that these newsletters will provide you with talking points to spark conversations about school at home. We all know children thrive best when they know home and school are connected. This is one of the ways I try to do that. I’ll send the Friday note home in paper and also post it on the blog. Over the weekend I’ll add your email to our blog so you’ll get a reminder of this digital connection. The photos there will give you an even closer view of what happens in our classroom. (The address is 3enews.edublogs.org)

Our focus during the first three days had been on learning how to work together and identifying habits that will help us succeed. We used You’re Finally Here by Melanie Watt for our central text on Tuesday. Bunny is the narrator of the book and he’s thrilled to see us, but also annoyed and even angry that we kept him waiting so long. Bunny is someone we’d be glad to have in our classroom SOME of the time, but certainly not all of the time. We sorted his behaviors into categories. There were some we’d like in the classroom and the school, and others we hope would be left for outside the school – far, far away.

Bunny asked us, “What took you so long?” and so we answered. Each of the children wrote about some of the things they did over the summer to explain why Bunny had been waiting. Those are up in the hall outside our classroom. If you’re in the school, stop by to see them. We also spent time getting to know each other by playing the name game and name bingo.

On Wednesday we spent time reflecting on how we would like to be known and what we’d like to be known for. We used Quick as a Cricket as a model for this thinking. It has been interesting and fun to see how the children think of themselves and how they describe what is important to them. I’ve done this activity a few times before and I was struck by how careful this class was in their choices. Here are a few examples: “I’m as slow as a toad. I’m as scary as a vegetable. I’m as elegant as a feather. I’m as unbreakable as my heart. I’m strong like a bull. I’m as smart as Albert Einstein…” These descriptions will be up in our classroom with first day self-portraits, first week photographs and mini-me sculptures. They will stand as a record of the start of our year.

We’ve created several graphs and charts. One graph is of favorite colors. Another is of birthdays. We’ve learned how many people and pets are in each other’s families as well. Graphing and interpreting them is a unit of study in mathematics. It is fun to explore a wide variety of info-graphics as we begin to study animals around the world. We also learned the game Tiguous. It is a fun, but challenging game because you have to use all four operations in order to win. Be on the look out for a copy of the game and rules so you can play it at home too.

We’ve been learning about the expectation for each part of our day so the children understand what they are each responsible for as readers, writers and mathematician. Soon they’ll be rating themselves with “exit tickets” so they become more self-aware and are able to monitor their focus and behavior.

By the end of today we will have completed our first chapter read-aloud, Donovan’s Word Jar. We’ve created our own word jar. Right now it is filled with the words that Donovan has been collecting. Soon we’ll add our own words as a way to notice words, build vocabulary and explore spelling patterns.

I am looking forward to next week. I can tell that we are going to quickly move into a daily routine. Your children are eager to learn and willing to work hard. While there is some chattiness, it seems to me that once they feel they have time to talk about video games and other activities during snack and lunch, recess or on the bus that talk won’t continue to impact learning time. I’ll let you know if it becomes an issue.

Thank you to everyone for the supplies. We’ll be starting our portfolios next week by creating a time capsule of sorts much like Carl Sagan saw in 1939 at the Worlds Fair that inspired him (and others) to place a recording onto the Voyager spacecraft.

Bits and Pieces:

  • We’ll be celebrating International Dot Day on Friday, September 15. That is the day the book, The Dot by Peter Reynolds was first published.
  • We will be going to The Franklin Park Zoo on Tuesday, September 19. Be on the look out next week for information and permissions slips.

Thank you for time and support to make this a terrific year.