Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Promise to Be Thoughtful

You may have heard that the Yarmouth Education Foundation has voted to fund Rowe's grant request to purchase and support the use of two iPads in each first grade classroom.  Did you know that our team felt both thrilled and honored to have received such good news in the very first round of YEF grant proposals?

Please realize that our teams teach with intention.  This means that we define our beliefs, align our practice and then we take action.  Therefore, we do not plan to load up on zillions of free apps (some of which are horrible) nor do we plan to create "gaming" stations when we receive the iPads after vacation.  Rather, we promise to thoughtfully align the use of iPads with our established practices.

What will that look like?  Well, I expect that our use of iPads will start out skinny as we begin to explore proper care and usage with our students.  We are already planning to expand the listening centers that we use within our Reading Workshops.   Each month I will blog about the new and varied ways we decide to use this wonderful tool.

The concept of Digital Citizenship should not begin with the issue of laptops in seventh grade.  Rather, it should begin with very tiny steps in primary school.  When you think of it, it's not often in education that we are given such an amazingly creative challenge.  I feel very lucky to have a front row seat in this adventure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

I've been thinking about a new kind of a "share" that I'd like to introduce after vacation.  In an effort to warm up the month of January, I thought we'd begin with a dialog about Random Acts of Kindness.

Everyday throughout the year, I watch first graders do kind things for one another. It might be as simple as picking up trash for a table mate after snack. Or putting a folder away for a friend who was picked up by a specialist. Or making sure that a classmate has someone to play with out at recess. Or picking something up that a teacher dropped...

To help kids realize that these seemingly little actions are actually Random Acts of Kindness, I thought that we'd start to make "I Statements" when we notice one happening. "I like it when you..." Please feel free to jump on the bandwagon and take note of what your first grader does at home to help out. My hope is that by our first Friday back, everyone will be able to share a Random Act of Kindness that happened at home and one that took place at school.

Wanted: Paper Towel Tubes

We plan to create scrolls in Everyday Math next week and will need an empty paper towel tube for each student. Please send in as many as you can! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pajama Day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Digraph Detectives

If you've been helping out with our pink Word Power Cards, then you know that we've been working on consonant digraphs. A consonant digraph is two consonants together that make one sound such as "s" and "h" together make the sound of /sh/. Because a consonant digraph makes only one sound, they only get one tap. For example, the word "sh o p" has three taps even though there are four letters because there are only three sounds to the word.

We've been working on the following consonant digraphs: 
sh - ship - /sh/ wh - whistle - /wh/ ch - chin - /ch/ th - thumb - /th/ ck - sock - /k/

Soon we hope to film our first graders tapping out words with their fingers.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

First Grade P.E. Class

Have you ever had a chance to watch a P.E. symphony?  I have!  Prior to Thanksgiving break I had the pleasure of observing our class as they spent time with Meg Pachuta.  The students entered the gym and immediately began to warm up.  Next they practiced skills they would use in a game later in the period.  Prior to the close of the class, I enjoyed watching two games going on at the same time at opposite ends of the gym.  My favorite notes in the symphony were the kind words used to celebrate partnerships as groupings changed seamlessly throughout the time I was there.  Click on this picture if you'd like to watch the P.E. class from the comfort of your home!  Try to count the number of transitions your children experience as they warm-up, listen to instruction, set-up, participate in skills work, play cooperatively and pick-up throughout this 45 minute block of time.