Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Everyday Math Update

This week is a big week in that we have finished the 13th and final lesson of Unit 1 in Everyday Math. The purpose of this first unit was to help children become comfortable with a cooperative-learning environment in which they work together to build mathematical concepts. Another purpose was to introduce and establish routines that will be used this year and in the grades to come. You probably noticed that the unit also reviewed various mathematical concepts introduced in Kindergarten.

On Friday, I plan to send home your child's homework papers from Unit 1. Sometimes there will be corrections made to their work. Usually it's just a matter of flipping a number that is reversed. Feel free to have them self correct "flips" when you check their homework prior to sending it back to school for future units.

I will also send the Unit 2 Family Letter home today. Please note that at the very end of the letter there is a specific explanation of every Home Link for Unit 2. Being able to see the answers often helps parents to zero in on just what it is that we need you to help your child practice. Always keep in mind that the homework part of Everyday Math is important and the coaching you provide is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reading Workshop

Your children will have the opportunity to read books in three different levels during each week of this school year. I would like to explain the differences between each.

Their INDEPENDENT level books are the easy to read titles they will work on alone in class. Each of these has a booksheet that goes with it. The booksheets help the children stay organized and focused. We bundle these up and send them home at the end of each month. A reading book in this level will soon be sent home every night to read for fun.

The books students will read with me in their GUIDED reading groups are written at their INSTRUCTIONAL level. These are challenging and will offer me a chance to see what strategies the children use and exactly what I need to teach next. (I try to choose a book that will offer one challenging word on each page.) If a child is stuck on a word, I will prompt him or her to use strategies that will help with that particular word. There is also a mini-lesson that arises out of the reading and helps prepare the students for the next level.

The book that each student will read on our classroom ibook or on my ipad is called a SHARED title. It is read as a read-along. There are patterns that emerge that the children will identify and which, ultimately, will help when they chime in with the reader.

PLEASE CELEBRATE YOUR CHILD'S SUCCESSES and realize that the books they begin to bring home next week are supposed to be easy and fun. Remember, they soon will be working on more challenging material with an adult who can determine what the next teaching step is and who will assess their progress weekly so that each is able to move through the levels as quickly as possible.

Coming Very Soon: A Harvest Activity

One way or another, we are going to take part in a first grade harvest activity on Friday of this week.  The original plan was for us to visit the Yarmouth School Garden to learn more about the foods that we eat in our cafeteria.  That trip will be canceled if it rains.  Not to worry!  In the event of rain, one of the activities--corn shucking--will be brought to Rowe so that we can learn more about corn, harvesting and preparing local food for Friday's lunch.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wanted: Monarch Caterpillars



Has anyone seen monarch caterpillars around town?  Our caterpillar viewing station is ready and waiting for donations!  We'll also need a bag of milkweed leaves.   Thank you for helping in our search!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

FYI


Grace Shi invited every student in our class to her birthday party.  I believe that she may have forgotten to include her name on the card.  I hope this helps clear up any confusion. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bunny Hop


Tonight our students will bring home a game called Bunny Hop. It allows the children to practice counting up and back on a number line.

Directions:

1. Each player needs a number line and a bunny marker. Players take turns rolling the die and moving the bunny the number of spaces shown on the die.

2. Both players hop to the carrot--20--by rolling the exact number. Then they hop back to the bunny's hole--0--by rolling the exact number.

3. The first player to get to the carrot and back to the bunny hole wins.

Please encourage your children to talk about the movements, making statements such as, "The bunny hopped 4 spaces from 6 to 10."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Me Bags

On Monday, the students from Room 109 will bring home an empty Me Bag. A Me Bag is simply a paper bag that has your child's name on it. You'll also notice a number 3. The 3 is meant to remind the bag owner that he/she needs to bring 3 items from home that will help to describe a bit more about himself/herself to the class. Anything goes as long as it fits into the bag and is not valuable!  It'd be great if the bags could come back some time before the end of the week. We'll try to look at 5 each day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day Two

My warning to the class this morning was to put their seat belts on because Everyday Math was going to be jammed with activities.  The warm-up involved a whisper/shout count by 1s and then jobs were assigned so that we could begin to learn to collect data as a daily number routine.  We played a whole class game called "Monster Squeeze".  (Tomorrow morning we'll play the same game with pennies instead of monsters.)  

I should probably warn you that I read the book, Yes Day to our class.  It's a ridiculous story about a boy celebrating his annual "Yes Day" with his family.  In the story, a boy's parents can only say, "Yes," to all of his requests.  A few of our students now hope to start a "Yes Day" tradition at their homes. (Sorry!)

At the beginning of Writer's Workshop, I read four short titles from the Tom and Pippo book series.  Pippo's facial expressions in the books are hysterical but the real reason I like to use these texts is because they help children to realize that many authors do not write about big events.  Some of our most talented writers detail the small, everyday events that take place in all of our lives.

Toward the end of the day, we started to work on a classroom paper quilt as part of a community building activity. Many later shared that this was their favorite part of today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day One

Day One was busy, busy, busy! We read a story titled Yo!  Yes?  It's about two boys who met and ended up playing together even though one of them was very shy. Later, we read a story about a teacher with first day of school jitters and yes, I did admit that I had had the jitters before school began today!  I'll try to post most of our READ TOs on the Shelfari bookcase found on the sidebar section of this blog.

Tomorrow I will send home the second letter for Unit 1 in Everyday Math. The program starts out slowly. Today we talked about our Math Concepts board which I also call our Numbers board. Then we discussed classroom jobs. Many of the jobs tie in with math data that we collect and organize daily. There was a little bit of time to explore our math tubs during our rainy day morning recess. The numberline is reviewed tomorrow through a fun game that some may have played last year. It's called "Monster Squeeze".

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Birthdays At Rowe

Six children in our class have September birthdays.  As a result, I thought I'd better blog as quickly as possible about the new Rowe decision to celebrate classroom birthdays in ways that do not involve food.  Please take a minute to read the following paragraph from Ellen Honan's newsletter that further details the thoughts behind this decision.

"Along with specific allergies, we must also consider various other medical conditions and nutritional needs of our students. This year we are requesting that food not be sent in to celebrate your child’s birthday. Each teacher will honor your child’s special day with a classroom celebration that will not involve food. There will be times throughout the year when we will celebrate with healthy snacks, but we have made a school decision to eliminate food for birthdays. We thank you in advance for respecting this request."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thank You And A Little More!

Thank you for breaking away from your summer/work routines to join me in welcoming your children to Room 109!  Isn't it amazing what one little visit to a classroom can do?  I believe that we were able to help to take the edge off most anxious feelings that may bubble up for your children over this last weekend before school starts.

My only regret with such an overwhelmingly high turnout is that I was unable to chat with children and parents as much as I am in the habit of doing.  Therefore, I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you a bit about myself.

I have taught most recently in grades one and two in Freeport but have also worked as a Reading Specialist in Naples and Bridgton, Maine.  Early in my career, I taught first and second grades in Londonderry, Vermont and later as a middle school content area Reading teacher in Springfield, Vermont.  I honestly feel that my greatest professional honor is to receive siblings of former students and it is, therefore, my hope to see many of you in the years to come.

On a personal note, I live with my husband, Jim Lincoln, in South Freeport.  Our daughters, Tara and Molly, have gone through the Freeport School System and have completed college.  Tara has recently finished a Masters in Library Science and is presently working in Boston.  Molly has just finished her undergraduate degree in Spanish and will be teaching in Spain this year.  Our dogs, Keza and Lola, are ten-year-old sisters who love summer because we are able to give them so much attention.  We fully expect the "Monday Mopes" to begin next week when they realize that the school year has begun and they are, once again, left to their own devices for the entire school day!

I hope this information about me helps a bit.  As a parent, I vividly remember how odd it seemed to turn my daughters over to people I knew so little about.  Thirty-three hours a week is a long time.  Please realize that I am available to answer questions you may have.

Sincerely,
Terry Lincoln