Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Literacy Connection

Each year at Chets Creek we have our Literacy Parade and Carnival. This is a week long celebration of Fall and Literacy. We begin the week as each class submits a pumpkin (s) that resemble a book. This year our class submitted "It's a Small World" to go along with our class theme. The students painted a large pumpkin that resembled the world and then each child decorated an small pumpkin at home that resembled him/her.

The last two weeks in Oct.the Kindergarten classes begin working on a Pumpkin Unit. During this time the students are learning facts about pumpkins, writing about pumpkins, making food with pumpkins, using pumpkins for math, and being scientists as they investigate pumpkins.

The culminating event for us is the day of the Literacy Parade and Carnival. Each Kindergarten and First Grade child dresses up as a literary character and parades around the school with his/her book for the older students. This is an exciting day for them as they all feel like a star!

After we finish the parade, the students return to their room for fun stations throughout the day. That evening our school has their big carnival. This includes a trick or treat around the bottom floor of the school and then carnival food and activities outside. This is a great family night as well as a good time for parents to get to know other parents in the class.

Although the day is long, our Literacy Parade and Carnival are what makes our school different than most. It is apparent that our teachers and children embrace the opportunity to celebrate with all the families that make up our "family" at Chets Creek. It really is a place where dreams do come true!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It Really is a Small World After All...

This week our class will begin a year-long experience of communication with 5 other schools around the country. Throughout the year, our class will be meeting other children from different states and learn what school is like where they live. We begin by creating a journal about our class, what our day is like, include pictures of things that happen in our class, and write letters to the students. We will send our journal along with our "travel buddy" (which of course is a jaguar beanie baby named Jag) along on the journey for other classes to enjoy and take pictures with as well. Our first school will be with Marlene Srock's class from Minot N.D. What is amazing is that I lived in Minot N.D. for 4 1/2 years and both of my children were born there. After learning that this was my first class to journal with, I knew that this was going to be a wonderful experience for my kids. Our travel buddy Jag will visit the following places from Oct. through the end of April. Here are the great places we will get to know:
Minot, N.D.
Midvale, Utah
Craig, Alaska
Farmington, MN
Brooklyn, NY

I look forward to keeping posts about this new experience. Stay tuned for further details as the year goes on! It really is a small world after all!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Technology in our class

If you walk into our classroom today you would realize that it is nothing like school was when we were children. Technology is everywhere. Over the last couple weeks, our classroom has become a place where learning is taking place through many different types of technology. Here are some examples of how we are using new strategies and tools to teach our children:
* We no longer need the TV in our room as our morning broadcast is sent through the VCR and the projector.
* Read alouds can be share easily with the whole class when it is projected from the Elmo through the projector. Here is an example of us reading "Caps for Sale".

* Skills Block can be taught using websites projected for the whole class to see and participate or to share a document that the whole class is working on together. This is an example from our nursery rhyme unit where students are sounding out the words and we are labeling the items in the Little Miss Muffet rhyme. There is no longer a need for an overhead.

* Our closing in Writer's Workshop is able to be seen by the whole class when it is shared through the Elmo.
* Student work can be saved from the Elmo to the laptop. This work can then be sent to parents, posted on a blog or website, or saved for future use. What a great way to put together a portfolio of a child's work at the end of the year for parents to see what type of growth has taken place.

* Math strategies can be taught with the Elmo and saved into the laptop. What a great way for parents to see the type of work that is taking place. Here is a sample of work from our pattern unit in math. Students are able to share the patterns in the closing of our workshop.

* In Science we are able to show websites that have video clips, see pictures at a closer look, and even do activities such as sorting objects and making observable properties. Here all students are able to help sort objects by the number of sides each piece has.

* On top of all that we still have our stand alone computers where students are able to work on academic websites to provide reinforcement for individual skills he/she may need.

As you can tell, learning in our class is full of content and fun at the same time.