Goodbye September, Hello October! Weekly Learning Goals 9/28-10/2

Fun Friday Math Centers! Math Duel App and Mobymax.com are some of our favorites!

Fun Friday Math Centers! Math Duel App and Mobymax.com are some of our favorites!

One month down!  Where did the time go?!  In the past month, we spent a log of time setting up our routines and getting used to our daily schedule.  I think we FINALLY have it set! I want to take some time to explain to you what life in our room looks like on an average day. Take a peek at our schedule below:

9:15-9:30- Morning Meeting- During this time we are learning how to greet each other in a new language everyday!  Ask you child how to say hello in any of the following languages: Romanian, Hungarian, Russian, French, Italian, Sign Language, Hindu, Swahili, Spanish, German, and I’m sure I’m missing a few!  We are up to 13 different languages!  We also take some time to “check in” with each other during this meeting to set the tone for a successful day.

9:30-11ish- Language Arts- During this time we have 4-5 mini-lessons and go to 4-5 centers.  I follow the Daily 5 approach to teaching.  This allows for short periods of focused learning (mini lessons lasting about 10-15 minutes) broken up by time in centers practicing our Language Arts skills.  Each day we will have a mini lesson in each of the following areas- spelling/vocab, grammar, reading strategies, and writing strategies.  Our centers focus on the skills learned in the mini lessons as well as reinforcing skills we’ve learned previously.  We have centers that focus on Word Work (vocabulary), Listening to Reading, Reading to Self, Reading to Someone, Guided Reading, and Working on Writing.  The work done in centers is done continuously throughout the week and only graded on Fridays.

11ish-12 and 1-1:30- Math- We begin each math lesson with a common core review that asks students to practice a variety of skills.  After we discuss that we move on to the day’s lesson including a short video to introduce the concept, guided practice and independent practice.  Our math class is divided by recess and lunch.  After we return from lunch and take our bathroom break, we do some math centers.  During this time, I will work with students who are struggling with the concept in small groups while the others are practicing the concept in a variety of ways (ipad apps, mobymax website, etc).

1:30-2:15- Science- By far one of our favorite times of the day!  We will conduct experiments, read about science concepts, and interact with different apps and web sites throughout the year during this time.  We are currently wrapping up our first area of study- matter.  We will also be studying the following areas this year: Ecosystems, Life Cycles, Weather and Climate, and Engineering and Design.

2:18-3:00- Specials

3:00-3:30- Social Studies- This year our focus is on the elements and interactions in a community.  I am hoping to have a few guest speakers from our community come in to help explain how we all play a part in making our community run smoothly.

Whew!  After seeing it all in writing, it’s no wonder I’m exhausted at the end of the day!  As you can see, we work hard ALL day!  That being said, we do have fun too.  We have recess daily before lunch to make sure we’ve worked up a healthy appetite.  We also do alter our schedules a bit on Fridays to allow for fun math centers (more game oriented with some sneaky learning built in).  I tell them daily we work hard, but we will play hard too throughout the year!  Speaking of hard work here are our learning goals for this week as well as some resources to help you support learning at home:

Reading:

This week we will be reading the story, “Kumak’s Fish.”  We will be continuing to work with the concept of Sequence, or order of events.  In addition to this we will be completing our first full writing piece, a friendly letter to a teacher that student’s would like to thank for teaching them something in the past.  All letters will be “mailed” to the teachers on Friday.  Our grammar skill this week is classifying sentences as declarative (statements) or interrogative (questions).  The presentation below will help you to review this concept at home:

Our spelling concept this week will focus on using base words to help with meaning.  Our spelling words are: using, getting, easiest, swimming, heavier, greatest, pleased, emptied, leaving, worried, strangest, freezing, funniest, angrier, shopped.  While I do not give traditional spelling tests, students are tested on their ability to explain the spelling concept for the week on the weekly test.  I will be trying something different for homework this Thursday to help better prepare students for the weekly reading test.  Stay tuned!
Vocabulary words this week:
Gear- noun.  the equipment or clothing needed for a particular activity.
Parka- noun. a warm, heavy jacket with a hood
Splendid- adjective.  very good, excellent
Twitch- verb.  to make small, jerky movements
Willow- noun.  a tree with narrow leaves and thing branches that bend easily.
Yanked- verb.  to pull with a sudden, sharp movement.
Math:
We will be working on estimating and rounding this week.  This is a difficult skill for students to comprehend.  The short video below demonstrates how I teach them in class (minus the silly rap).  We have to fully get rounding before we can start estimating.

Science:

We will be completing our unit on matter this week and taking a quiz on Thursday.

Social Studies:

We will be working with how to read and interpret graphs this week.

Happy First Week of Autumn! Learning Goals for 9/21-9/25

fall

I saw this image posted on a friend’s Facebook page and just fell in love with it!  Autumn is truly a magical time and one of my two favorite seasons.  I love fall and spring because the changes that take place in just a matter of weeks are just breath taking!  I am looking forward to some fall nature walks with the class to learn about the science behind the changes we see in nature around us.  Last week was amazing!  Our first full week together, our first story, finished our first math chapter, and completed our first assessments of the year.  I am very impressed with my class!  This week we are going to continue with our learning momentum by working on the following goals:

Reading:

This week we will be reading the story, “What About Me.”  Our reading strategy that we will be working on is identifying the sequence, or order of events, in a story.  You can help your child work on this at home by reading together (anything will do!  Short books, chapter books, magazine articles, comic books all work) and asking them to tell you what happened first, next, last, etc.  Below is the presentation that I will be using with the class to introduce this concept.

Vocabulary:

Carpenter- noun.  someone whose work is building and repairing things made of wood.

Carpetmaker- noun.  A person who makes rugs for floors

Knowledge- noun.  What you know

Marketplace- noun.  A place where people meet to buy and sell things.

Merchant- noun.  A person who buys and sells goods for a living.

Plenty- noun.  A full supply, all that you need; a large enough amount or number

Straying- verb.  To lose your way; wander, roam

Thread- noun.  A very thin string made of strands of cotton, silk, wool, or nylon, spun and twisted together

Spelling Skill:

This week we will be working with making nouns plural.  We will review the rules for making nouns plural as seen in the video below:

Math:

We will be beginning Topic 2 in math this week.  Our focus will be on addition and subtraction.  We will learn the properties of addition this week as well as some tricks to help us add using mental math (this may look a bit different than what you may remember the Prezi below should be helpful).

Properties of Addition (commutative, associative, and zero)

Adding using Mental Math- The Common Core Edition

Science:

This week we will be continuing our work with states of matter.  We will be conducting 3 experiments to learn more about how atoms look in each state of matter as well as how matter can change from one state to another.

Social Studies:

We will be looking at what it takes to keep a community running this week.  We will be reading about the elements of a community in our Social Studies book and creating a postcard  highlighting our favorite part of our community.

Homework:

Monday: Addition practice worksheet (please be sure your child shows their work!), Reading comprehension worksheet

Tuesday: Addition practice worksheet (please be sure your child shows their work!), Reading comprehension worksheet

Wednesday: Addition practice worksheet (mental math), Reading comprehension worksheet

Thursday: Subtraction practice worksheet (please be sure your child shows their work!), Reading comprehension worksheet, STUDY VOCABULARY

Friday: No homework, READING and VOCABULARY TEST

 

 

 

And We’re Off!!!!! Learning Adventures for September 8-11

WOW! I am so excited about this year!  We got off to an AMAZING start last week!  Here are some high lights:

Welcome to our newest Bacon Bear!

Welcome to our newest Bacon Bear!

We celebrated our first birthday of the year healthy schools style!

We celebrated our first birthday of the year healthy schools style!

Trying out our new playground equipment!  Future Lacrosse players in the making!

Trying out our new playground equipment! Future Lacrosse players in the making!

We created class rule posters

We created class rule posters

IMG_2052

We learned about being Bucket Fillers and pledged to be a Bully Free Zone this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will be doing some pretty epic things this year and I have MANY surprises up my sleeves, but it’s going to be hard to top our first class music video (while it’s a little hard to hear them, we changed all the lyrics to Whip Nae Nae to relate it to school!)

Every Sunday, while I am planning our lessons for the week, I will also update this blog.   In each update I will post our learning goals for the week along with helpful videos or tips to make homework a breeze!  We will have homework every night except Fridays.  Also, please remember to check and sign your child’s agenda EVERY DAY (even Fridays).  On the front of your child’s homework folder you will see a communication sheet that I will update daily.  They receive a sticker or smiley face for each task they complete that day: have their agenda signed, turned in any homework, completed classrwork assignments and have had a good day behavior wise.  If for some reason you see a check mark any any of those columns, please peek in the folder for a note explaining the cause.  They will either have a “Sour Note” for forgetting their homework (they can complete it and turn it in for the next day. I accept late work within reason), a “Bitter Note” for any behavior issues (I will ask that it is signed and returned to show that you received it), or an “Uh-Oh Note” explaining why classwork was not completed (this work is then added to their homework to be completed that night).

remind

 

This week’s learning goals:

Reading:

We will be learning about the different genres (types) of literature we will read this year.  Below is a short video that defines each genre for you to review with your child.   We will be creating graphic organizers in our interactive notebooks to help us study and remember these throughout the year.  There will be a short quiz on Friday to test our skills at classifying fiction or non fiction pieces of writing.

Math:

We will be learning different ways to read and write numbers as well as reviewing place value. Good Luck getting this song out of your head!  (I’m sorry in advance for the many silly songs that you will be stuck singing this year!)

Science:

We will be doing a lot of experiments this year!  Before we can do any of them though, we need to review proper safety procedures.  We will be spending time this week creating safety posters to serve as reminders for us.

Social Studies:

This week we will be learning about how departments in the community work together to keep us healthy and safe.  Our class jobs are set up to model these community groups.  We will also be working on locating we in the world we live!  Sorry no cute video for this one!

 

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Happy New Year! The Impact of Mindset on Goals

mindset 1

New Years is a time when many people reflect back on the past year and analyze their choices in life and begin to think about how to make the next year better.  I usually set goals for myself rather than resolutions.  Resolutions are defined as the answer to a problem.  I think we can all admit that there are problems in our lives we’d like the answers to, but just making a resolution is not the answer.  I’ve made what I thought were resolutions in the past (to go to the gym more, to eat healthier, to not procrastinate on assignments, to get the laundry done quicker, etc).  These are not answers to a problem though.  Technically they are goals I’d like to achieve.  I’d like to go to the gym more and in order to do that, I will have to take steps to make it happen such as schedule time, arrange childcare, and pack my gym supplies.  I’d like to eat healthier and in order to do that I will need to shop with purpose for healthier ingredients, prepare food at home instead of getting take out, and skip out on some of those not so healthy snacks.  

This week, we will be spending some time learning about setting goals for ourselves.  We will work to set goals for both school and home.  We will think about the steps we will need to take to ensure that we can follow through on these goals and be successful.  While we are doing this we will also examine a theory in a book that I read last year, Mindset.  In this book the author, Carol Dweck, identifies 2 different ways of thinking, or mindsets.

mindset 2

 

 

 The first is a fixed mindset.  Those with a fixed mindset believe that they are who they are, can do what they can do, and think the way the think because they are born that way.  For example if you always struggled with math that is because you were born with a limited knowledge of math and once you hit that point you couldn’t learn any more.  Those with a fixed mindset believe that they are the way they are and that is that.  They will continue to prove that they are what they believe until they experience a failure.  For example, if you always believed you were the fastest person and then you were beat by someone else you would be crushed.  Your beliefs were ruined!  You would start to feel horrible about yourself.  This mindset is not wrong- but it can be detrimental to learning.  If you immediately think that you are a failure because you fail one test think of how that can impact your willingness to learn more or different ways in the future!

The Second mindset is the growth mindset.  In this mindset, people believe that they can be and do anything that they want.  It may not be easy.  They may not be able to do it right off the bat.  It may require failing a few times before getting it, but with hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to try new and different ways to achieve their goal they will eventually get it.  I have been working very hard to develop my growth mindset.  

Let me give you an example from my life.  Many years ago, I had a teacher that told me I was not good at math.  I would never be able to be good at math because I just couldn’t get it.  I started to really believe this about myself.  I thought I was dumb.  She was right, I would never get it.  This impacted my career choices.  I had hoped to be an engineer like my grandfather.  If I wasn’t any good at math though, I could never do that.  I believed this until I was an adult.  I did very well in college math classes and could do all the math I needed in real life with no problem, but I still thought of myself as a failure.  When I was hired as a teacher in Millville, I was hired to teach 7th grade math- this was a nightmare for me!  How could I teach kids if I was a failure?!  Fortunately, I was working with an amazing team of math teachers at Lakeside.  They helped me to see that there are many ways to teach concepts and that not every student gets it the first time around.  Through teaching and working hard to ensure that all of my students were given the tools and strategies they needed to be successful in math class, I changed my mindset from fixed to growth.  I watched kids struggle but not give up and cheered with them when they finally got it.  If these kids could try and try and try until they were successful, then so could I.  I decided I would never limit or label myself as one thing again.  Now I look forward to someone telling me I can’t do something so that I can prove them wrong!  I never thought I’d achieve my master’s degree (neither did some other people) but I did.  I never thought I’d be getting certified to be a principal, yet by July I will be.  Next up on my challenge list- earning my doctorate degree.  I’m not a person who is going to be limited by others opinions of myself or limitations I used to believe about myself anymore.  MINDSETS CAN BE CHANGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We will be learning about the mindsets in class this week as we set goals for ourselves for this year.  We will be signing a contract as a class to promise to aim for growth and not become fixed in any one area.  The TEDX video below explains the powerful impact of mindsets on our lives.  It is a little long, but very much worth it!

So, will you join us and grow?