Friday, August 29, 2008

7th Day of School

One of the daily rituals in our room is Every Day Counts Calendar Math. During that time we talk about the typical calendar (the day, month, year, weekends, holidays). We also count how many days we have been in school. Today was day 7. While counting we discover patterns in numbers, counting by five's and ten's, more/less, and the movement through time. This is a vital portion of our Math Workshop.

We are also beginning our math diagnostic test. This test covers all basic math skills. It is given one on one with each student. They will be asked to count, order and write numbers. We are also looking to see if anyone has a basic sense of addition and subtraction.

During our work period for Math Workshop we have been exploring patterns. We have discovered that patterns are found everywhere. The students have been busy making patterns out of cubes, bears, and through movement. This weekend have your child find something around the house that has a pattern.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's In a Name

As you are waiting for our regular homework to start, you can have your child practice writing their name. You might think, "Yes, my child knows how to write their name." However it may not be exactly what we want from them. When you watch your child write their name the first letter should be capitalized, the rest of the letters should be lowercase. Have your child write their name ten times a night.

Also as your child is writing their name, they should say the letters out loud as they write them. This will help them learn their letters if they don't know them. If your child knows their letters and writes their name correctly, have them practice writing their last name. Following the same rules.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!!!

A big thanks goes to our parents who have been so generous. We have received air fresheners, packing tape, stickers, candy, puzzels, cleaning wipes, glue sticks, computer paper, crayons, and BOOKS just to name a few donations. While some of the items did have a name attached, most did not. We would like you all to know how much we appreciate our families. With your support, it is sure to be a great year!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Class

The "Rekenrek"

The boys and girls were introduced to a vauable tool in Math Workshop today. It is called a "Rekenrek". A rack of beads make up the rekenrek. The tool is designed to help students make visual images for counting. This will help the students count and represnt quantities, add and subtract numbers, and build their overall "Number Sense". As the boys and girls were introduced to the rekenrek they were asked what they noticed about the tool.

Bryce said, "There are red and white beads".

Courtney said, "I see ten beads on each row and there are ten rows".

Jack said, "There are 100 beads". Mrs. Ellis asked, "Tell me how you know". Jack replied, "Because 10+10+10+10+10+10+10+10+10+10 is 100".

This was the first time the students have seen our friend the "Rekenrek", but it will not be the last.

Hooray for School

Finally we are back at school. We quickly jumped back into our routines and got busy learning new ones. One interesting tool we used today was the document camera. During the closing meeting of our Writer's Workshop we shared every paper one at a time with the camera. It shows the students work on the screen using the projector. The students shared with their classmates what they loved about school. Some students began to write by writing beginning letters in words they knew. For example, if they loved books they would write " i l b " which would stand for I love books.

As we begin to learn new routines, there is a new routine for parents to learn. Each Monday afternoon our class newsletter and Mrs. Phillips Connection goes home on a yellow piece of paper. You should have found it in your child's Home School Folder. Please make sure you read it weekly. If you can not find yours you can always click on the word newsletter in this blog to read it.

Also our first homework assignment was sent home. The students are to completely fill up the cardstock sheet of paper with pictures of themselves and family members. They can cut out pictures from magazines or use stickers. The paper will be used during Writer's Workshop. Please put as many pictures as possible on both sides. The cardstock is due by Friday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay

Today is our third day off due to the storm. We should have been completing our first week of school. But we are still stuck at home trying to stay dry. We are looking forward to coming back to school on Monday. As Mrs. Ellis looks out her front and back door all she can see are down limbs and puddles of water.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Empty Room

Today should have been the third day of school but Tropical Storm Fay had other plans for us. Tomorrow school is canceled again. We are hoping to be back at school on Friday. It will almost be like starting over with the students. We will need to reteach all of the rituals and routines we have taught so far. We hope all of our students and families stay safe and dry.
If your child is bored and looking for something to do you can always read with your child. We talked about the "T" on Tuesday so as you are reading have your child point out any "t's" they find on the page. Also review the sound that "t" makes.

Day Number Two

Today was a very full day. Once again we started by practicing the routine of hanging our backpacks on the right hook and being responsible for bringing our lunbox and Home-School Connection folder into the classroom. We will do this everyday. After the morning announcements on WCCE, we began our Literacy Block with Skills Block. Our focus was the letter "Tt" and the sound that it makes. Next Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop followed. Our Literacy Block was interrupted by a very important safety routine. We had our first "Fire Drill" and "Tornado Drill". We were amazed as the students followed directions perfectly and learned how to "Duck and Cover" with all of their classmates.

Our morning was so busy and we earned our lunch. The dining room was great as we learned to use a baggie, chip bag, or a piece of tin foil as a little trash bag for all of the wrappers in our lunch. This makes clean up time alot easier. After lunch we enjoyed each other on the playground. We had to go back inside because the rain started to fall. Little did we know that the very same rain named "Fay" would eventually rain on our "First Week of School Parade". Math Workshop finished up our day and then it was time to prepare to go home.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First Day of School

Wow! What a great day we had today. It all started with waving goodbye to Mom or Dad in the cafeteria. Even though we had a few tears from both students and parents, it quickly turned to smiles in the room.

We started the day with learning where to hang our backpacks and lunchboxes. We have a great closet outside our room where we keep our backpacks and we bring in our Home-School Connection Folders and lunchboxes into the room.

Next we had Reader's Workshop. We talked about and charted "What Reader's Do", then the students had the opportunity to "read" from baskets of books. Next we had Writer's Workshop. The students listened to the story Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. The boys and girls shared with the group things they did to get ready for today. After the class discussion the students returned to their tables to write about what they did to get ready for Kindergarten.

One of the rituals and routines the students learned about today was how to use the restroom in our room, where to wait if someone is in the restroom and how to clean their hands when they come out. Another ritual and routine was how to eat lunch in the cafeteria. The students know which table is ours. They know to stay in their seats at all times. If they need help they need to raise their hands. When lunch is over they are responsible for cleaning up all of their trash.

After lunch, we played on the playground. Some of the playground rules we would like you to review with your child are below.
No Kindergartener can play on the monkey bars.
Slide down the slide on your bottom.
Do not walk up the slide.
Swing on the swing on your bottom.
Do not stand in front of the swings while someone is on them.

After the playground, we had Math Workshop. The students had the chance to explore different manipulatives like pattern blocks, linking cubes, wooden blocks, attribute blocks, and building circles and squares.

The last part of our day was spent in the cafeteria watching a fabulous speaker share his travels around the world on a bicycle. The students enjoyed looking at pictures of his travels.

The last ritual and routine the students learned today was dismissal. The students learned to pack their backpacks up with their folder and lunchbox. Please make sure you check your child's folder nightly for important information. Don't forget to initial the date box after reading.

It was a busy first day. The students were very tired by the time they went home. We can't wait until tomorrow. We have a great bunch of students and love every minute with them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

School Starts

As we start school on Monday
We'll join together as classmates
as the new year begins...
A year full of learning
while we become friends.
We'll share and be kind
as we work and play
And our friendship will grow
With each passing day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A New Group of Smiling Faces

It was so wonderful meeting our new students this morning. We had almost everyone attend our orientation. Some of our new students were excited and offered us a hug, while others just quietly took everything in. It was also fun meeting new parents and catching up with some of the families we have had in the past.

We can't wait for Monday morning. Let the new adventure begin!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Orientation Reminders

Here are some important items to remember from our orientation. Please make sure you have completed and returned all paper work as soon as possible. I know sometimes this feels very repetitive but we need to make sure we have the most up to date information. We would also like to have all parents email address. If you were not able to leave it for us in our room, please write it in your child's Home-School Connection Folder. This will enable us to email important reminders later in the year. Any school supplies can be placed in the baskets outside our room.

Please remember to label your child using the labels we gave you, for the first few days of school.
We need to know if they are buying or bringing a lunch.
We need to know how they will be going home from school.

Most importantly, please feel free to contact us for any reason. Emailing us is the most reliable.You can also call and leave a message at school but we don't always receive them. Finally you can write us a note in your child's Home-School Connection Folder. We read them first thing every morning.

A New School Year

As we prepare our room for the first day of school we are so excited to meet our new students. We are looking forward to getting to know them. This blog will be about our virtual tour around North America and the world in 180 days. Stay tuned as our journey begins.