Friday, January 30, 2009

Level C Reading Level

This video was taken in class during our literacy station time in Reader's Workshop. The student is on an Independent "B" reading level and this is a "C" level book from her independent reading bag. This is her Instructional reading level so she needed some guidance to read the text. She uses her reading strategy paper to help remind her of the strategies she should use when reading. Please help your child practice using the strategy paper they brought home when they read their book-in-a-bag each night. Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hello University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canda)

We have been asked to mentor pre-service college students who attend the University of Regina. They will be following our blog for the next few months. They will be leaving us comments, and hopefully they will also tell us about themselves. We are excited to share what we know about teaching with them. Below is a video we made to tell them about our wonderful class.

Kindergarten Mentor Video from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.

Stinky Shoe Attributes

If you had visited our room on Wednesday you would have noticed the different smell when you opened the door. Then you would have noticed that no one had their shoes on. All of the shoes were on the table. Each child had one of their own shoes, then another one of their friends shoes. You would have also heard excited voices talking about the attributes of the shoes they were comparing. The students were looking for the ways the shoes were the same and different. They compared the length, size, color, and purpose. Tonight have your child compare two different shoes at home. See what attributes they comment on. See if they know what the word attributes means.

Alphabetical Order

During Skills Block over the past week, we have been learning how to put words in alphabetical order. We started the lesson out simple by just writing 6 words on cards. We used the first 6 letters of the alphabet. The students picked it up quickly and became pro's. Our next step was to pick random letters from the whole alphabet. This was a little more difficult for them. They learned strategies that would help them like using the word wall, or saying the alphabet softly to myself to help. This morning we moved it to the next step by using 6 words all starting with the same letter. The students learned to look at the second letter to put the words in order. Quiz your own child at home to see how they do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Letter Combination Poem

Each day either during Skills Block or Reader's Workshop we read the Letter Combination Poem. The students are encouraged to use this poem to help them decode words they do not know.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Employee of the Year

We are so excited about Grandma (Barbara) Ellis being chosen as the Employee of the Year. It is nice to keep it in the family. I am so proud to have a Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year as family members. When you see Grandma Ellis when you are picking up your walker, make sure you congratulate her!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



Today in class we had a lesson on gravity. We learned that everything around us is influenced by gravity. Gravity pulls everything towards the middle of the planet. It also is the reason why the planets are round. Ask your child to tell you about our experiment with the tissue box, block and paper.

Fieldtrip to the Movies

What a great day we had. It was so much fun to go to the movies with over 100 5 year olds. Thank you to all of the parents that were able to go with us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Bully Buster" Week

This week is "Bully Buster Week" at Chets Creek. Our Foundations Team is a group of teachers who dedicate their time to design activities that educate our students on what it means to be a good citizen. This week will bring awareness to "bullying" and students will learn how to deal with this important subject. Below is a list of activities that the children and teachers willl participate in this week.

  • Every student will write on a paper brick about bullying.
  • A "Bully Wall" using the student bricks will be displayed on the wall in the dining room.
  • Chick-Fil-A Night from 6:00-8:00. Our fabulous business partner is donating proceeds from this family night to our school. Any CCE students who goes to the counter and says that they are a "Bully Buster" from Chets Creek will get FREE Ice Cream. Chick-Fil-A Rocks!!
  • WCCE will show students role playing about bullying each day during the morning announcements.


  • All Faculty, Staff and Students are encouraged to wear the color blue to school to join together to fight the "Bully Blues".
  • "Bully Buster" assembly in the dining room to tear down the brick "Bully Wall".

Wow! It sounds like a great week to fight bullying.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Seven Things You Don't Need to Know About Mrs. Cothern

There are many blogs that I follow and read on a regular basis. Our standards coach at Chets Creek is Suzanne Shall and her blog is one that I make a point to take time to read. I was so interested to read her post about the seven things that most people don't know about her and then I got to the end of her post to find myself tagged to publish a post to share seven things about myself that most people don't know. I don't think that there is a whole lot that people don't know about me, but I will give it my best shot.

1. I am a native of Jacksonville. I was born, along with my twin sister (Donna) at St. Vincent's Hospital. It wasn't until 4 hours after my sister and I were born that our mother learned that she gave birth to twins. Oh yeah my brother (Steve- Mrs. Ellis' husband) was only 16 months old at the time. YIKES!

2. I graduated from Fletcher High School where I was voted "Most Involved" by my class. I was in the Spanish Club, Theta Club, Senior Women, Yearbook Staff, Future Teachers of Tomorrow, and Captain of Varsity Cheerleaders.

3. I have had several jobs including: cafeteria server, receptionist, check out clerk at Publix,

2-year old daycare teacher, and test proctor at Florida State University (Go Noles!!).

4. I Like to think that I can enjoy the ocean and snorkle like the rest of the world, but the truth is, I am very bad at it. My husband loves to watch me make an attempt so that he can laugh at me. I have gotten better at it over the years, I just need more time on vaction in the islands to get lots more practice.

5. I was almost named Susan Elizabeth. Because my parents did not know that they were having twins, they had only one name picked out. My sister was born first so she became Donna Lynn. When my mom decided on Susan Elizabeth for me, my dad and the nurses said that it was not a twin name, so it was not long before I became Deborah Lea.

6. I once ran around a hotel trying to find Elvis Presley. True story, I was in the third grade and Elvis came to Jacksonville. I went with my mom, sister, and grandma to see him in concert. My grandma was so crazy about Elvis that she took us to his hotel to try to find him. We did not run into Elvis, but we did find a few members of his band. Thank you, Thank you very much!

7. I was never a fifth grade patrol. I went to Seabreeze Elementary school and I was the President of the Student Council. After running for president and winning I was very happy but a little sad because I always wanted to be a patrol.

I would like to know seven things that I don't know about the following people - I tag...

Maria Mallon
Dorry Lopez
Lauren Morgan
Angela Phillips
Rick Pinchot

Happy New Year

Wow! We had a great Monday. The boys and girls came into the classroom ready to get to work. They had lots of stories to share about their winter break. They certainly are a busy bunch of kids. They were also interested to know what we did over the break. We told them that we spent most of our time with our families and each other. We shopped and ate and played a little too. We even got all dressed up with Mr. Cothern and Mr. Ellis and rang in the New Year together. We went to a big party with lots of friends. Can you name this famous athlete in the picture with us?

Seven Things You Don't Need to Know About Mrs. Ellis

Suzanne Shall tagged me for the Seven Things You Don't Need to Know About Me meme by Anne Oro and Bill Genereux . This is a blog post I have enjoyed reading on the blogs I follow. There have been many things I have learned about the women I work with. I hope to share with you a little part of myself.

1. I lived in seven different places growing up around the country. I was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, then moved to Minneapolis Minnesota, Phoenix Arizona, Louisville Kentucky, Miami Florida, Lafayette Louisiana then finally Jacksonville Florida. My father was a computer consultant.

2. My husband flew first the F-16 then the F-15 with the Florida Air National Guard for 13 years prior to flying for Fed-Ex.

3. My first job was at Penny Patch, a vegetable stand at the beach when I was 16. Since then before I started to teach I worked at 2 different surf shops, was a very bad waitress at three different restaurants, opened mail at Prudential, checking groceries at Publix, secretary for 2 different building companies, a nanny and data entry.

4. I grew up singing, dancing and acting in musicals. I have played the lead roles in Grease and Oklahoma.

5. Up until this year when my children entered 8th and 6th grade, I fed them breakfast in bed every morning before school. I felt it started their day out in a relaxing and happy way.

6. My brother, sister and I had to do "chores" every morning before school growing up. One of us cleaned the bathrooms, one vacuumed the whole house and the last one did the dishes. To this day, I HATE to clean house.

7. I am the biggest klutz. I am always bumping into things. I drop things all the time. I cut corners on the wall too close and hit my shoulder on them. I have no idea how I can wear high heels everyday to work.

I now tag the following people to share seven things.
Laurie Thomson
Julia Lewis

Wordle Meme

Wordle: CE

Over the holidays our friend and principal, Susan Phillips, tagged us by means of a meme to try creating a Wordle. Yeah, we didn't know what a meme was either - still not real sure we understand it - but it's kinda like a chain letter with questions. A Wordle is like a collection of important words from a blog or piece of text - what seems to be most prevalent in your writing - and it's cool!

Here is how to create your own:Wordle Meme:

1. Create a Wordle from your blog's RSS feed.

2. Blog it and describe your reaction. Any surprises?

3. Tag others to do the same.

4. Be sure to link back here and to where you were first tagged.

5. Create different Wordle clouds of your blog's RSS over a period of time. Do it once a month for the next year to capture the spiritof the times.

We were surprised that the word bead is so big. But I am sure it goes with the rekenrek since the rekenrek is made of beads. And everyone knows that Mrs. Ellis loves the rekenrek. It was also fun to see the word students highlighted. Our blog does focus on how to help the students and parents, so this was not a surprise.

As the meme mandates we are tagging the following to try it out!

1. Laurie Thomson and Julia Lewis

2. Rachel Bridges

3. Julie Johnson and Rachel Happ

4. Nina Thomas and Laura Stewart

5. Beth Stresen-Reuter