Friday, February 18, 2011

A little bit of Catching Up...

Hello Cowpokes' Parents!

So glad to find some time to blog today.  Here are a few pictures from one of the (many) snow days, and some snaps from the Valentine's Party...

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We have a lot going on in class right now.  First of all, this was the month for birthdays!!!  Happy February Birthday to...
Ashton (2/3); Caden (2/10); Clover (2/17); Jude (2/28)

We've also begun Principal's Math Club.  Each Thursday the kids are given 30 math problems of addition and subtraction, sums to 18, to solve.  They are allowed to use manipulatives and it is not timed.  We have done this twice and those that have gotten the PMC award are...
Zoe, Jordan, Mason, Ashton, Haleigh, Jude, McKenzie, Kristopher, Marisa, Ella

We also have a new student!  Welcome Haleigh Miller, all the way from Pennsylvania!  She joined us on Wednesday and has been an easy addition to our class. 

In the Classroom...
In Science we are a couple of weeks into our six weeks oceans unit.  We are integrating the unit throughout the subject areas.  This is my favorite unit of study!  And best part of all...we're going to the Aquarium on March 9th!  Thank you to the moms who will be accompanying us as chaperones.  (I've turned my list in to the office already or I'd list your name!)
In Math we are covering counting like coins to $1.00 and telling time to the hour and half-hour through the end of the month.  Money sent in will be returned at the end of our unit.
In Literacy we are continuing Reader's and Writer's Workshop.  We are also learning the five parts of a friendly letter and will soon be visiting some children's literary classics like The Little Red Hen and The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Notes and Reminders...
--If you haven't already done so, please send in your child's Field Trip money and permission slip.  I can send a new one home if it has been misplaced.
--We are in need of paper plates, both large and small, and paper bowls for some activities in our oceans unit.  If you would like to donate them, they would be greatly appreciated, BUT IT IS NOT REQUIRED!!!
--No school this upcoming Monday, February 21st
--Thursday, February 24th is Multicultural Night
--Friday, February 25th is the due date for the Six Flags Reading Program
--Tuesday, March 8th we are signed up for the Spring Book Fair.  I will get you the time at a later date.

Happy Trails :o)
Mrs. Chamberlain

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Updates

Howdy Cowpokes' Parents!

This month has come and gone so quickly!  We have had a very productive month.  I finished reading assessments and I am so thrilled with the progress I'm seeing in the kids.  Thank you so much to each of you for being involved with your child's education, and for taking the time to read with him/her each night.  Your dedication and child's hard work is really paying off.  In guided reading groups we are reviewing reading strategies like looking at the picture cues, getting your mouth ready with the first sound, skipping the word and coming back to it, and thinking about what would make sense.  I noticed during assessements that while reading words is becoming an easier task, comprehension is still lacking.  (Remember, it doesn't matter if you can read the words if you can't understand what they mean!)  As you're reading with your child, make sure you're talking about the story.  We're working a lot this month on story elements like characters, setting, problem, and solution.  These lead to great discussions about the book and help build comprehension.  

Our kids are doing a great job recognizing shapes around them including circles, rectangles, squares, and rombuses (rombi? LOL).  They are also able to identify 3-D shapes including spheres, cubes, rectangular prisms, cylinders, and cones.  Next week we will start to identify and count like coins. 

Next week we will celebrate the 100th Day of School on Thursday, February 3rd!  If you have any 100 piece puzzles that you would be willing to let us borrow (not keep) please send them in on Wednesday, February 2nd.  I will send them home after school on Thursday.  I would also like have the students bring in sets of 100 to sort.  It would be best if their items could fit in a small ziplock bag. 

Notices & reminders....
--Don't forget to put your child's name on all of their winter items like hats, gloves, coats, and scarves.  Our lost and found grows larger every day!
--Please be sure to be initialling your child's RED folder every night, as well as emptying it's content.  Also, Thursday folders should be returned signed and empty.

Happy trails! :o)
Mrs. Chamberlain

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

Howdy Cowpokes' Parents!!  I hope you had a wonderful and restful vacation.  I feel like the first week rushed by for my family, and the second week was nice and relaxing...just in time for it to be over!!  I was ready to come back and see our kids, and they seemed ready to be here as well.  I missed their sweet faces!!

This week in the classroom...
In Math we have been studying geometric shapes, both 2-D and 3-D.  The kids have had a good time trying to verbalize the difference!!  We've talked about the difference between a regular movie and a 3-D film, as well as examined a pop-up book in contrast to a flat book.  Then we've explored real-life 3-D objects and counted faces, edges, and verticies. 
In Literacy we have read a lot of fun winter books.  We've reviewed parts of a story and recorded the beginning, middle, and end of The Biggest, Best Snowman on a snowman that we each created.  I know our kids are crossing their fingers for a snow day next week after all these discussions of snow!  We've written about our vacations and each child has had the opportunity to share their writing at Author's Chair.  I've begun reassessing their literacy levels and will my goal is to begin meeting with Guided Reading Groups the week of Tuesday, January 18th.
In Science we have begun to identify different bodies of water.  We've discussed the difference between salt water and fresh water, as well as different activities you could do in each. 

Reminders & Notices:
  • We will be going outside regardless of weather, so please check weather reports each morning and dress your child/have your child dress appropriately.  Also, please write your child's name on every article of clothes that could go missing!  Hats, gloves, scarves, earmuffs...
  • There is no school for students on Friday, January 14th & Monday, January 17th we're off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 
  • I would love to get a good collection of 24 piece puzzles as well as a few bigger puzzles.  If you have any you're looking to unload, I will happily take them!!  They can be new or gently used, provided they still have all the pieces!!  Thanks so much :o)
Happy Trails!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Hello Cowpokes' Parents!  Have ya missed me? :o)  What a month November was for me!  Between Halloween and Thanksgiving break I feel like I was pretty much never at work!  My son Tucker was sick for almost a full week, and then I had strep which knocked me out for quite a bit.  I am happy to report the Chamberlains are making a full recovery!  But hello, it's already December!   I can't believe how quickly the year is passing us. 

Mrs. Jones, our student teacher, has done an amazing job with our students.  Next Friday will be her last day, and we will be so sad to see her go.  She is going to be a wonderful teacher and her future students will be lucky to have her. 

Though I hate for Mrs. Jones to leave, I am ready to get back in the saddle with our kiddos!  We have such a wonderful class -- each of your children are so special!  I am excited to be with them full time again. 

In the classroom...
In Math we will continue to work with place value and identifing tens and ones.  We are also working to solve for missing addends and subtrahends.  
In Readers' Workshop & Integrated Social Studies we are looking at books about communities and goods and services.  We are examining the idea of the world being a community and how we are a part of it, and how cultures and customs differ.  This is a precursor to our upcoming "Holidays Around the World" unit that is always so much fun.
In Writers' Workshop we are continuing with writing our own stories, and our focused lessons are on the revision prcess.  We are learning how to be a writing teacher to our friend when we have a peer conference.
In Science we are studying the sun and the moon.  We have had some lively discussions about our solar system!  It's always interesting to get a six-year-old's perspective of the universe!

Notices, Dates, & Reminders:
  • Saturday, December 4th: The Boals Honor Choir will be singing at Merry Main Street at 7:35.
  • December 6-10: Inclusive Schools Week. 
  • December 7th: "Warm Up to a New Friend" (wear warm ups); Mooyah Spirit Night; Staff Caroling around the neighborhood
  • December 8th: "Shine for Boals" (wear white day)
  • December 9th: "I am 'Blue-tiful'" (wear blue day); Chick-Fil-A day; 6:30 3rd Grade Performance
  • December 10th: "Boals Unity Day" (wear your Boals shirt)
  • December 17th: "Snow Ball" Winter Party, 1st Grade @ 2:00
Just a reminder, we will go outside for recess even when it's really cold, so please dress your child accordingly.  Also, put their names in coats, jackets, mittens, scarves, etc. 

Thank you so much for all the contributions to the Angel gifts!  I know there are two kids out there that will really appreciate your generosity. 

Happy Trails,
Mrs. Chamberlain

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Quick Update from Room 208...

We have been busy as usual laughing and learning here in Room 208!  First of alll...
Congratulations to us for winning the Golden Keyboard for the week of October 12-15!  We were presented with the Golden Keyboard from Mrs. Jackson at Good Morning Boals on the 15th for working expecially hard in computers.  Hats off to the 'Pokes for another Golden Recognition!

Thanks to Caden's mom for taking pictures at our Safety Town Field Trip.  We had so much fun and Mrs. Bailey-Cantu took some great pictures.

In the classroom:
In Readers' Workshop we are in the midst of an author study.  We have been reading and discussing books by Kevin Henkes like Chrysanthemum, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, and Weekend with Wendell.  This is a three week study that will conclude next week.  We've added "This reminds me of..." to our list of readers' responses. 

In Writers' Workshop we continue to use the writing process to write authentic stories.  We have been focusing a lot on the revising part, using peer conferences to add details and make changes to our drafts.

In Math we have been working copiously on Fact Families.  These are a doozy to a six-year-old!  It's a great idea to work on these in a concrete way at home.  For example, pull three forks and two spoons.  Talk about how three forks and two spoons makes five, two spoons and three forks make five, five take away three forks is two, and five take away two spoons is three. 

In Science we have been talking about the contributions of Thomas Edison and expanding our knowledge of light sources. 

REMINDER: When report cards come home, please sign the envelope and return the ENVELOPE ONLY!  The report card is yours to keep. 

Happy Trails!
:o)  Mrs. Chamberlain

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm

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So Much Learning!

I so enjoyed meeting all of you for our parent conferences!  Thank you so much for taking the time to be interested and involved in your child's learning process.  Parent involvement is absolutely a necessity for student success!  I truly valued this time with each of you.

Two Huge "Glows":

First of all, our class won the "Golden Music Award" at Good Morning Boals on Friday, October 1st.  The Golden Awards are awarded by each CAMP Trainer (specials teachers) to the class that worked the hardest that week.  Way to go Cowpokes!

Another great "Glow"...we had two friends last month chosen for a "Positive Referral"!  What's a "Positive Referral"?  This is a referral to the office for doing GREAT things!  Here at Boals kids can be sent to the office for doing a great job in class, setting a good example for others, and going above and beyond their peers in character.  Congratulations to WILL & OLIVIA for being compassionate first graders that set good examples for their friends by following the directions the first time, every time, and doing their best in all things.

In the classroom...

These past two weeks have been a blur of activity!  We had great fun going to Safety Town on our first field trip last week.  Thank you to Amy Stamps and Angela Bailey-Cantu for coming with us.  Mrs. Bailey-Cantu took LOTS of pictures and has graciously offered to share them with me, so I will post them to our blog as soon as I can!  Our class was incredibly respectful and well-behaved.

--In Math we have been focusing on working with doubles facts (ie: 2+2=4); reviewing odd & even, discovering place value, and comparing and ordering numbers.

--In Readers'  & Writers' Workshop we have taken a short pause from our usual format so that we could do some fun crafts that coordinate with the books we have read.  We are talking a lot about various genres of literature, including both realistic and fantasy fiction, as well as non-fiction, or expository texts.  Mrs. Jones, our student teacher, conducted a fun lesson on fantasy fiction using the book Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm written by Jerdine Nolen.  After reading we brainstormed our own fantasy fiction farms and created them out of construction paper.  Hopefully these farms will spark our imaginations so we can turn our brainstorming into incredible stories! (I am uploading a slideshow of these pictures!)

--In Science we have had great fun exploring magnets. Students have been introduced to the concept of magnetism through hands-on stations and experiements.

**REMINDER: Your child may have been bugging reminding you that they can bring in a game on Fridays.  Students are allowed to bring in a game (NOT toy or electronic device) for 20 minutes of "Fun Friday" for students that have finished their work for the week.  (If needed, this time is used as "Finish Up Friday" to complete any unfinished work.)  Game suggestions are Monopoly, Jr.; Guess Who; Sorry; Chutes & Ladders, Connect 4, Uno, etc.

Finally, you may have noticed some jars with teachers' pictures on them.  These are for the Teacher Dunk Tank that will be at the Fall Festival on Friday night.  My sad jar is very, very empty.  If you can/desire to, please help me fill it!!  The teacher that raises the most money gets to go first, which means clean water and coveted sunlight!!