Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Class Convention Work
Our Class Constitution written by Faith, Lexi & Paige

Our Class Flag created Jacob, Daigen, Sean & Kaddy

Our Class Welcome Poster (in progress) created by Delia, Silvio, Ken & Lilly

The Class Handshake/Chant is unfortunately top secret. Only members of the class are allowed to be in the know. It was created Sam, Chase, Olivia & Isaiah

Our Class Mascot Peter the Pandicorn, created by Austin, Vinnie, Hailey, RJ, and Issabel

Monday, September 22, 2014

Goofin' Around



A little silliness while putting together pinwheels!

Sorting Spelling


Regular practice sorting spelling words helps students notice patterns in spelling that they can apply to other words.

5M Highlights:
·       I enjoyed meeting many of you at Back to School Night last night! I have attached the handouts that I gave out last night to this Friday Report if you were unable to attend.  If you were unable to attend and would like to set up a time to come tour the classroom and meet briefly with me, please contact me.
·       We have had another week of practicing our routines and procedures. The kids are really getting into the swing of things now! We have had several truly productive and successful Language Arts and Math Workshop times.
·       On Wednesday, we attended our first whole school Community Meeting. Some children were awarded perfect attendance awards for last school year, fifth graders welcomed kindergarteners to Skillin School with a shiny new green Skillin pencil, and the community took a moment to pause and admire the Pinwheels for Peace Project.
·       Students continued work in their small groups on the Class Convention Projects. The constitution team is finalizing a document to share with the group, the mascot team has sculpted the most amazing Pandicorn, the poster team has been working on the perfect habitat for the Pandicorn, the handshake/chant team has created the most amazingly intricate set of steps, and the flag group is doing their own creative interpretation of the Pandicorn.
·       Last week during Writer’s Workshop we spent time brainstorming and drafting ideas of how to retell Fairy Tales in brand new ways. This week after reading My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother by Patricia Polacco for inspiration, we drew on stories from our own lives for ideas.
·       In Math Workshop, we continued work on Place Value by examining the patterns that exist when you move to the right and left in a number. We used M&Ms to attempt to picture how much ten times more or less actually looks like. We also looked online at the Mega Penny Project, a cool project some folks made to help others visualize large numbers. 
·       At morning meeting this week we played lots of games to help practice the skill of noticing. We watched a cool movie clip showing a theater group doing the most amazing giant shadow puppets, played Coseeki and What’s Changed, and practiced noticing interesting words and phrases in the morning message.

  • Maybe last year you remember hearing about the Skillin Skyhawk Challenge or the Paint a Poem Challenge brought to us by the Skillin Challenge Committee. This group seeks to present us with interesting whole school challenges that work at improving student problem solving, perseverance, and community building. This year’s first challenge has just been unveiled. The question is…can we give Skillin School a hug? In other words, if every student and staff member at Skillin School holds hands, can we wrap all the way around the school? Our class has begun thinking about whether or not this might be possible. We are to vote sometime next week and then at the next fire drill, we will try it out! What a fun way to get kids thinking about measurement, perimeter, and estimation. What do you think? Can we give Skillin School a hug?       

Friday, September 12, 2014

Week of 9/8 - 9/12

5M Highlights:

  • I am so enjoying getting to know your students. This week I learned that many are artistic, several are interested in Greek Mythology, one loves to tell knock-knock jokes, three to want to be veterinarians, and so much more!
  • The group is coming together as a team quite well. This week we began working on our Classroom Constitution Projects. One group of students is working on writing a constitution that can govern us. Another group is in the process of building a class mascot for us out of clay. A third group is designing a welcome poster for the classroom door. Additionally a group is creating a class flag that will symbolize our unique groups. Lastly, one group is working on a secret class handshake/chant so that we can always recognize our own. These teambuilding activities help the students to feel connected as one large team. Please visit our classroom website in the next few weeks for pictures of the finished Constitution Projects.
  • Have you ever heard of the elusive Pandicorn – half unicorn/half panda? Well, this is what the kids have voted will be our class mascot this year. We spent some time thinking and talking about the qualities of the magical pandicorn that we would want to emulate. Here is what we came up with so far…careful, playful, magical, and strong.
  • Ask your student to tell you about our first read aloud book, Loser by Jerry Spinelli. The kids are loving this book and beg daily for “one more chapter, please!” The book is full of opportunities to discuss how we are all different and how important it is to appreciate these differences.
  • We have begun Math Workshop this week by practicing how the workshop model works. We start each workshop with Shared Math. This is a chance for kids to share ideas and talk about math strategies. This is followed by a lesson from the teacher. The last component is lab time, where students are working on a variety of things, including practice, games/activities, and projects. At times they will work independently and at times in small groups. So far the kids are excited about the opportunity to have some choice in their learning.
  • In addition to Math Workshop, we have also practiced Language Arts Workshop. It is similarly organized in that we do some shared reading, have a lesson, and then have lab time. This week our goals have been to do a few reading assessments, including a Book Report and a Developmental Reading Assessment. These two assessments are designed to let me know what they kids already know and can do. In addition, we have been working on building a writing community. This entails beginning to collect ideas for writing, meeting writing partners, and building the trust it takes to be a community of writers.
  • Can you believe all that we have packed into a week?! Please visit our classroom website to see pictures from the week. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Week of School 2014-15

5M Highlights:
  • Welcome back! We have had a wonderful first week back. Your children have done a great job following our #1 rule – Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. 
  • We have had three main goals this week: 1)To get to know one another, 2) To learn the procedures and routines that help our classroom run smoothly, and 3) To do some assessments and organizational work to get us ready to learn. 
  • Thank you all for the thoughtful input you have given me on the Parent Surveys. The faster I can get to know your children, the better I can teach them. 
  • By now you have seen your child’s black Planner/Reading Log.  This will come home nightly with a list of homework.  It will be initialed by me and I would like you to initial it as well.  After a few months if I see that your child completes quality homework consistently, I will let you know that your initial is no longer required. 
  • Homework expectations for fifth grade are 50 minutes or less.  If your child is consistently spending more than 50 minutes per night on homework, please let me know.  The expectation is that your child reads at least 15 minutes per night and should log this reading on the weekly reading log. I ask for your help in holding your child accountable for this reading and for being honest with the minutes logged.  I am willing to be flexible with this required reading. If your child plays soccer on Wednesdays, for example, and your child would like to read double on Tuesdays or Thursdays to make up for not reading Wednesdays this is ok with me.  I would not, however, like to see your student waiting until the end of the week to do all his/her minutes. 
  • I do have a classroom website that you can access through the Skillin School website.  I am fairly good about keeping up with my blog, calendar, news, pictures, etc… I do understand that not all families have internet access, so these Friday Reports are a good source of weekly information. 
  • Please do not hesitate to contact me via email, notes in planners, or phone calls before or after school with questions or concerns.  Maintaining open lines of communication is very important to me. 
  • Today we enjoyed a band demonstration put on by Mr. Furman, the band teacher, and some former Skillin students. This demo was meant to give students an idea about what instruments they could play in fifth grade band. Many students are very much looking forward to joining the school band. Participation in band is not mandatory. If your student chooses not to participate, he or she will be working in the classroom toward other academic goals. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to school! Hopefully all of you have received the letter I wrote to you this summer and now know a little bit about me.  I am looking forward to getting to know each of you even better. This week we have had three main goals: 
  1. To get to know one another.
  2. To practice routines and procedures that will help our classroom run smoothly.
  3. To take some assessments and do some prep work to get ready to learn.

About Me

My photo
I live in Cape Elizabeth with my husband, two daughters, and our cat Nessie. Our family loves to spend time outdoors together, camping, hiking, and gardening. Another past time of mine is triathlons. I have completed nine triathlons, including one Half Ironman. I loved swimming, biking, and running 70.3 miles! You might also find me cozied up with a good book in my free time. I have been teaching for 10 years in a variety of grade levels. Fifth grade is my favorite! The kids are capable of so much! I can't say I have a favorite subject to teach, but love getting students to think deeply. I enjoy getting kids to think critically and be creative in all subject areas. I often use simulations and project based learning to do this. Teambuilding and working on social skills in another major goal of mine. Teaching kids to work effectively together and use good communication skills will help prepare them for life after school.