Monday, April 20, 2009

A Visit from Leslie Helakoski

Each year we are blessed to have a guest author visit our school. This year it was Leslie Helakoski. Lucky for us, we were able to celebrate two of her books in the last couple months.

In March we had Big Chickens as our Book of the Month. What a great story about these four chickens that are scared of everything until the end of the story when they become four brave chickens once they had chased off the wolf. This is a story that many children can relate to since they too may feel like a big chicken when they are doing something new. You can see our class conclusion of this story in Big Chickens - the Untold Story. In April our principal chose the book Woolbur. This is a story about a sheep who is not like any other sheep. Woolbur has his own way of doing things! His parents worry even though grandpa continues to tell them not to. By the end of the story, Woolbur is leading the flock and therefore not so different. This is a great book for anyone who has never fit into the "flock" and has his/her own way of doing things.

Throughout the day, Leslie talked to each grade level about her life as an author. The first graders learned about the struggles and triumphs she has had as an author and an illustrator. She discussed how the first publishers loved her work but hated her illustrations but she has never given up. She continues to write, edit, and learn through each book. She also engaged all the children as she read both of our Book of the Months aloud. At the end of the day, kids were allowed to have personal books signed by Leslie herself.

We hope that Ms. Helakoski enjoyed our school as much as we enjoyed her!

As the end approaches...

At Chets Creek the end of the year is crazy as I am sure it is for all teachers. There are many things we do to help us and our children prepare for the last couple weeks and get ready for the next year. Recently our first grade team met with a group of second grade teachers to review what they do at the beginning of the year. This helps us make sure that our kids are as prepared for the upcoming year as much as possible. We look at things like assessment practices, skills block, math strategies, etc. We are also required to complete a Work over Time Standards Board. This board contains at least one students' work from August to April that shows his/her growth in an academic area. This year we chose to put up two students work that reflects their writing growth. It always amazes me to see how much they have grown (Especially when I have had them since Kindergarten)! Over the next couple weeks we will be reviewing and completing portfolios, finishing our academic goals, and assessing the students on our end of the year diagnostic for reading and math. Only 34 more days....