Monday, February 28, 2011

Awesome Achievers!

I am so proud of our awesome achievers in the classroom!

Over the past few weeks Kindergarten has been making the transition into First Grade curriculum and assessments. Currently Kindergarten is completing math work on the first grade level as well as completing the accompanying assessments. Next week our 6 Kindergarten students will start the first grade reading curriculum as well as continuing their work with weekly word families and sight words.

Our First graders are also achieving above and beyond. Over the month of March 1st grade will finish their math curriculum and then move into the second grade curriculum focusing on an in-depth study of addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Currently in math both grade levels are studying time. We just finished our clock reading unit and will move into calendar time and elapsed time this week. Students will learn that the calendar reminds us of specific dates while is also keeps track of much larger units of time like a week, month and year.

Science is extra exciting with a hands-on experiment planned for this Wednesday. We are studying living and non-living objects and their characteristics. We have made lists of objects predicting if they are living or non living. We will discuss the most common characteristics of living things and their non-living counterparts. In our upcoming experiment we will look at the relationship between some living and nonliving items and conclude this unit on Friday.

Our new and improved literacy program is having more success than I could have ever thought possible. Recently I had a student who, at the beginning of the year, did not seem to find joy in writing ask me, "Can we have writing again this afternoon?" He went on to confess that writing was now his favorite subject. Below is a slide show of what our Writer's Workshop looks like.

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Students are using their own creativity and personal experiences to express themselves and what they know through writing. The children choose their own topics to write about as well as their genre. I suport this process through mini-lessons and teacher conferences with students daily. After they publish their works they have the opportunity, twice each month, to present their works and share them with a real audience, our class, just like any other published author would do.

In reading our modified Daily 5 is really increasing student choice and some fun hands on activities. Just this week we are adding a new word work into the mix where students practice their spelling words and typing skills on the computer. First graders are using Microsoft Word to type their spelling words as well as using magnetic letters, pipe cleaners, and molding dough to build and practice phonics. I have also seen an increase in independent reading stamina, the length and focus given to reading a particular book. Comprehension has increased through this personalized reading and skills lessons taught weekly.

I am so incredibly proud of all of the students in the classroom and the achievements they are making daily. I am excited to see them continue to grow and learn through the last 12 weeks of school and prepare them with the solid foundation necessary for their next grade level.

Miss Ellis

Here is a look into some of the fun 100th day counting activities that took place during my Odyssey Hiatus.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Odyssey Hiatus is Complete

My blog updating hiatus is over! This past month I finished up my after school Odyssey of the Mind club when we took part in the Magic Center Regional Competition. Odyssey of the Mind is a wonderful hands-on program that is gauged to increase problem solving and creative, critical thinking. Students participate in solving longterm and spontaneous problems. This program allows participants the opportunity to think outside of the box and use personal expertise and expression while learning life long problem solving skills.

Currently Samsula does not have a team for students grades K-2 and we would like to make this happen in the future. Anyone can coach, even parents! If you want to know more or are interested in Odyssey, check out their website.

I would like to take this time to congratulate my team on their 3rd place achievement at the Regional Magic Center Competition held in Orlando, Fl. Way to go team!