Monday, October 24, 2011

"Today was a different kind of day."

First of all, thank you for coming to our Student Led Conferences last week.  Friends were really excited about getting to show families samples of their hard work.  It was great hearing all the goals friends and families were making.  It will be exciting to see how much they grow from here on out!  

There is so much excitement going on in our community that sometimes days feel a little bit different.  It's a good thing we are getting good at being flexible with our schedule (especially with all of the half days we had)!  Last Friday was an especially different Open Choice Time.  Instead of going to our usual work areas, we had new Games all around our class.  These games helped us practice our math, language, and social skills. 

We introduced Math Scrabble, which was a big hit for many friends!  After selecting two number tiles, friends would match the amount of manipulatives and add them up to find the total.  This gave us practice using addition and equation symbols, along with number writing practice! 


High Ho Cherry-O! was another favorite game for friends.  This gave us practice in counting, subtracting, and adding cherries  to and from our tree.  Also, it gave us a chance to remember how to take turns and problem solve if there was some confusion in how to play the game.

Other games that helped us get practice in taking turns and problem solving, as well as communicating with our friends, were Memory and doing puzzles.  Working in small groups can be tricky for some friends, but it is a great opportunity for us to learn important social skills such as using your words, listening to other friends' ideas, and contributing to a group effort.

We also got some practice in reading, sounding out, identifying letters, and writing their shape with our Boggle game!  Friends were really excited to find that they are becoming readers and writers!  Friends took turns pushing sounds together and creating their own words using the Boggle cubes.

We rotated three times during our Game Day, so every friend got a chance to play different games.  These different kinds of days can be filled with fun and lots of work!

Love, Gaby

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is my work clear?

Many of our friends have been taking the time to explore the Observational Drawing Area of our classroom.  After going through the Observational Drawing Album, friends select an image that speaks to them and they study the shapes of the lines before they ever put pen to paper.  Here, you see Emerica as she works on adding careful lines to her Observational Drawing of a dolphin, and Justice who practices shading in his Observational Drawing of a rhino.  

Gaby:  Is there anything you see in the picture that you haven't drawn yet?
Emerica:  His body.
Gaby:  Can you see his body in the picture?
Emeroca:  No.
Gaby:  You can stick to just drawing the parts that you see in the picture.
Emerica:  Ok.

Justice:  What do I do now?
Gaby:  You can ask a friend for feedback to make sure your work is clear.
Justice: Ok.

As their work develops, friends are noticing that an Observational Drawing is more than just a quick sketch of their own interpretation of the shapes and lines that make up an animal.  We are really slowing down and noticing that there are many details that help make an illustration clear to others. After taking a closer look and identifying what else they see in the image, along with asking their peers what they could add to make their work more clear, friends are able to recognize which lines to add next.

How can asking friends for feedback help our work change? Can you guess what feedback these friends received to help deepen their work?


Love, Gaby

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy October!

Good evening!

It's so fun looking back and reflecting on our week as I construct these blogs.  It's really exciting to see all the different ideas that we all have!

This weeks' weather was quite exciting for our class.  We discussed a bit about the winds we were feeling and how it affects our surroundings.  We even made connections with this months Songs and Poems that deal with the wind and leaves falling!  On our Rainy Recess days together, we enjoyed working on puzzles, new group games, and reading together.

A lot of us are practicing sounding out words and becoming writers. We've really been getting good at writing messages to new friends and family members.  Also, we are still getting to know each other, so some friends have started administering surveys in class.  Questions vary from what kind of pet do they have, to what letters do they have in their names.  We're gathering lots of information!

A special thank you to Keighley and her family for bringing a new tool into our class to share with us. We are always trying to practice getting good at working with friends, so these new Sight Word tools were a great way for us to stick to that plan.  Friends worked together as they sounded out words they recognized and spelled out words that they were less sure of.

We ended our week with a new investigation:  How does the nose work?  What questions do you have about the nose?  Some of our questions were answered after we watched a video about the nose.  Check it out!

We did Journal/Experiment Switch and wrote about our ideas and questions about the nose.  Then we even got to test our own noses with a group exercise facilitated by Salem's mom, Natasha.  Friends were asked to sniff the contents inside of a paper bag and try to identify what was inside, and then match it with the corresponding picture.

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Thanks for stopping by and for all of your support!

Love, Gaby