Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy New Year!

It has been a busy start to our new year in Room 5. I hope you all had restful and relaxing winter breaks and are as happy to be back at TCS as I am! Over the past few weeks we have had a mixture of days dedicated to transitioning back, assessments and Great Artists. The children have done an amazing job with all of the transitions and I am looking forward to focusing on Great Artists for the next few weeks!

The children and I just finished the last book of our Toys Go Out series. We have enjoyed spending our afternoons joining Lumphy, StingRay, Plastic, Sheep and many other characters as they learned about friendship and conquering their fears. Thank you again R.L and family for providing us with the series. 
During word study the children learned about the th and sh digraphs. To help remember these sounds the children learned that when the letter h (who is very happy, helpful and has a lot to say) comes up to the letter t (who is always teasing and is not the nicest of letters) the letter t puts his tounge on his tooth and makes the th sound. Later, the letter h approaches the letter s (who is very studious and silent) and it startles her so she puts her finger to her lips and says shhhh
In Reader's Workshop the children have been working on reading independently for 10-15 minutes each day. During our assessment days I was able to formally assess everyone and determine their current reading level and which reading strategies they are using, and those they can continue to strengthen. They all have new books in their book baggies and I am looking forward to supporting their development. 
Great Artists:
We began our Great Artist study by filling out the beginnings of our KWL chart. The children were asked to tell me what they knew about Charles Schulz as well as what they wondered about him. Their responses are now on display on the white board in our classroom. Knowing what the children wonder about our artist will help to guide our study, while making it more meaningful and engaging for your children. 

 In the fall, the class came up with a free choice art activity called Copy Draw where one child will draw something and give directions to another friend who is copying their picture. I found this activity to be very TCS and have stolen the idea for our independent artist time. Above are examples of the children playing Copy Draw with Charles Schulz. 

On Tuesday, the children used the monitor to follow a How To Draw Snoopy tutorial. After following the step by step instructions the children discussed whether or not this method of instruction was helpful to them. Most of the class preferred their Copy Draw technique while others enjoyed the step by step instructions. Above are two examples from the How To Draw Snoopy Dancing tutorial.
During Writer's Workshop the children are familiarizing themselves with the idea of comics and comic strips. To introduce the Peanuts comic strip to the class I have been removing the text and allowing the children to create their own story lines. The children have enjoyed creating stories that follow the sequence of the drawings, while having to make sense as well. I have enjoyed reading what they come up with!
Every week the children write both a Weekend Prediction and a Weekend Report. During this time, the children are encouraged to write independently while applying the skills they have been working on during word study time. Last week they were introduced to the Magic 5 of Writing. After each Weekend Report and Weekend Prediction, the children will check their writing to see if the have done each of the items on their Magic 5 checklist. At this point in the year, the children are only required to check and see, but as the year continues they will be held more and more accountable for each of the 5 responsibilities. 
The children have been busy creating and exploring the world and works of Charles Schulz. I am really looking forward to this study and cannot wait to see how everything develops and turns out. Below is a sneak a peek at your little artists in action.
V.V working on his Woodstock rub

An example of one of your children's Woodstock rubs

An Artist in Action, drawing Mr. Schulz

S.Y. working on her Woodstock rub

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