I always think that it is fun to take one picture in front of our calendar each month... Later, when parents look back through the memory books, The difference in each child’s height from month to month is always fun to see, especially when comparing October to May... They grow so much during those few months!

We have really gotten into science content and literacy concepts this last week.

Our I Can read selections were the nellie edge books: i can read colors, and I can read more colors, and also the song I can sing a rainbow.

Using the theme of colors we worked on how to predict text using Prior knowledge “This book is about things that are green. Do you know any things that are green? What about things that CAN be green, like shirts and popsicles and walls?  could some of those things be in this book?”

Then, we moved on to predicting based on what you know about a series because you have already read one of the books in the series. “This book about green is part of a series of books. read the other titles with me, red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, white.  We know that the green book starts out with the sentence I see green... I wonder how these others start?”

Even later in the week we were looking at what i call “the hard parts” of a text. “what do you think the author wrote on this page? (beach scene in blue book) they had lots of ideas: A River is blue. A lake is blue. the sea is blue. the ocean is blue. a pond is blue. then we went back and looked at the word... it starts with a w... what could it be? from here we go to using beginning letter and beginning sound, but we also talk about how when you read a text you read the words that the author wrote... but when you write text you get to choose the words. what are you going to wrote in your journal today? what color will you choose? what items will you choose?

Most students have been pulled out more than once to read one on one to someone - just to check whether or not they were grasping the concepts above. They got to choose a color book to read with an adult.

I hadn’t started doing any actual “word work” with them because I tend to start the year by giving them at least a couple of weeks where i can use all of their writing attempts as assessment. they have written daily, often more than once a day. we have started our reading writing workshop journals, our science journals, and our Quick Write (q.w.) journals. i tested them on letters and sounds in September... but what I really want to know is whether or not they have any concept of how letters and sounds work and why we need to know them. are they writing any beginning sounds? are they only using magic lines? are they playing it safe and only writing about a cat each day because that is the one word they know? are they writing strings of random letters or even numbers? Do they get something done or are they so off task that they don’t have anything to show for our writing time? This initial observation is crucial to me so I think that I may watch longer than other teachers but i don’t want them becoming word oriented.

In handwriting we have only done name tickets and the O dance...  I still have a few who must not be practicing with their name tickets at home each day because they still don’t have their names down. Most are ready to start their last names and some basic sight words. We have done I and a because those are the tricky ones since they are letters but also words. I did do a number writing assessment (i think of it as a pre -assessment) and also an alphabet writing pre-assessment.

It takes me a long time to get to know the kids as well as i do, which is hard on the ones who came in with advanced skills, however, in the long run I end up being able to differentiate the curriculum  at the end of october each year because it takes that long for me to be able to train the class to do what i want them to be doing while i work with small groups or individuals. We had our first really productive, quiet, work times this past week so we are making progress!

Science reading, writing, and observing has included learning about spiders, flying squirrels, and rabbits, of course... this next week, they will discover that everything we have done so far is leading up to our study of creatures of the night.

in math, we have finished “free exploring” all of the basic manipulatives, so they know how to use them. They have all learned a shapes and counting game (an introduction to tangrams) and also a probability game called “Ladybugs and Spiders.” They know how both math lessons and math centers will work and i have pre-assessed almost all of the new core curriculum concepts. A lot of our math this next week will  be tied into the mural we start making for our night creatures.

hopefully that gives you a feel for the curriculum that we did last week. (I figured that you were tired of hearing about what we were working on as far as behaviors!!)

We have our first week of lunch duty this coming week...  That means that I will be having some of our students take their first turns at serving food, monitoring clean up, washing tables, and putting the lunch cards back.  I always start by asking the students who are well, and who have proven that they can listen, follow directions, and follow through on a task without getting silly because it is a big honor to be servers, and every cafeteria helper gets a treat on friday as payment for their work. The two servers, and maybe even the 2 monitors, get free hot lunch each day of the week that they work. Students with severe allergies shouldn’t wash tables or serve food, but they could be either of the monitor positions because monitors don’t touch anything.

The trash/recycling monitor is the hardest job because there are different bins for silverware, liquids, milk cartons, plastics, and trash. It is also a much easier job for someone who is tall enough to see over the bins! : )

ALL students will get to do some of the lunch helper jobs during the year. we have lunch duty every 4th week from now on. If you are free to come and join us for lunch any day this coming week we can always use the extra help as our kids learn their jobs.

Finally... the cat project below was not an art project (at least not in my mind!) it was a direction following and fine motor preassessment.  I was truly amazed that they came out as well as they did... there were lots of directions, so even though i modeled each step several times i was still impressed that so many of them could follow me. If it comes home, then you know that it wasn’t an art project because all art projects go into their art portfolios.

I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend and enjoying sharing your child’s I can read book.

You and your family are welcome to finish coloring pages together - this book should be special  so use it as often as you can.


October #1, Jumping into curriculum