June 19, 2014

Our last full student day was so much fun as we ended our year together with fun outdoor games and watery activities.  Here are a few pictures from the day... hope you enjoy!  (We also had a super fun surprise when our friend Marley came back for a visit. The kids were so glad to see their old friend!)

June 4, 2014

June Newsletter

The June newsletter has been published.
You can access the entire document by clicking on this link:

May 18, 2014

Word Wall WOW!

Dear Parents:
Please click on the Word Wall tab above to read more about this week's word-wall words called "Chunky Challenges."  Your child will be assessed on these words on Friday.  Please also make sure you and your child have a regular routine for practicing all the word-wall words taught over the entire year.  The cumulative list is on the word-wall page and you can find all the words there.  

For the remainder of the year, your child's weekly assessment will consist of using known words to spell rhyming words that share the same "Power Part."  For example, instead of being asked to spell rain, your child may be asked to spell chain.  To be successful at this, your child will need to independently figure out which word-wall word rhymes with chain and then use its power part (-ain) to spell chain.  This is an important part of becoming a second-grade speller, so please support your child as needed... not only these last few weeks of school, but throughout the summer months as well.  Thank you!  :)  

May 3, 2014

The Mall Is Open!

Last month, the children learned the basic principles of economics during our social studies unit.  They discovered the difference between goods and services and now understand what it means to be a producer, a seller, and a consumer and the relationship between the three.  To make the unit more interesting and include a "real-world" connection, we decided to plan the whole unit in a way that would culminate in a classroom "mall."  Knowing we would eventually be shoppers, we also integrated math by teaching the children about money... coin names, values, and combinations.  

We started out by showing the children several different products they could produce in their factories.  As teams, they decided which item they wanted to produce and set to work being producers for several days.  They learned about quality and consistency and later talked about pricing their items for sale in the classroom mall.

Team Spidey makes flower bouquets in their factory.

Team Thor gets creative making fun pencil toppers.

Team Ironman colors and paints pretty bookmarks.

Team Hulk works hard to produce play-dough in various scents... lemon and peppermint...
(and unscented, just in case you're sensitive).

A week later, the children were ready to learn about how to set up a store.  They brainstormed and agreed upon a store name and made signage for their store, including advertisements listing the price and showing how the item is used.

Kate, Mason, and Austin set up their store.  They are selling pencil toppers for 10¢ each.
Notice their advertisement they agreed on... "Buy one, get one free."  Cute.

Angelina, Sean, and Isabella are getting their bookmark store ready.  Deciding how to display your goods is very important work.  :)

"The Flower Shop" is open for business!

And Team America is selling "America's Cool Bracelets" for only 10 cents.  What an awesome deal!

Isabela and Grace made quite a bit of money selling their flowers.

Over the last several weeks, the children earned money for responsible behavior and for completing various tasks.  They kept their money in homemade "wallets" (envelopes) and exchanged smaller coins for larger coins at "the bank" once a week. (Nathan served as our banker... thanks, Nathan!)  Here, Bryson takes out the money he needs to buy one of the products in the mall.

Juan looks for the coins he needs to buy a bookmark from Team Ironman's store.

Isabella waits to see which bookmark Mason will buy.  Hmmm...

Wow... the "Butuful Bookmark" store is very popular.  (Check out their advertisement they made.)  The girls are busy with customers like Grace and Nathan.
At only 5¢ per bookmark, no wonder they're so busy!

Josiah sells Kate a few flowers from "The Flower Shop."

And the ladies at the bookmark shop are so sweet!
They even personalized Isaiah's bookmark for him to give to his mother.  :)

When you get a chance, sit down with your child and scroll through the pictures with them.  Ask them to tell you what they learned and what they enjoyed most from this integrated math and social studies unit.  What fun!

Presenting our...

Several weeks ago, we started an amazing reading unit of study about overcomers... literary characters who exhibit great strength to overcome unique challenges and contribute to their community or world in big ways.  We transitioned into learning about "real" overcomers from history and the children worked in teams to research the lives of:

• Jane Goodall
• George Washington Carver
• Sally Ride
• The Wright Brothers and...
• Christopher Columbus

The writing connection for this unit culminated in each of the children making their own biography poster to highlight important facts about these overcomers.  The criteria for the project included:

• a character map with at least describing word and evidence
• two WOW facts
• three relevant vocabulary words
• a "before and after" feature explaining their impact on the world

Take a look at a few pictures highlighting the work they did on creating and presenting their posters.  During the presentations, their peers evaluated their work and recorded their new learning.

Delaney shares her biography of Sally Ride with Isabella.
Isabella waits to share hers about George Washington Carver.

Isabela listens as Kate teaches her all about Christopher Columbus.

Grace just finished talking about the Wright brothers.
Now it's Juan's turn to tell her some amazing facts about Jane Goodall.

Teacher-Kate teaches the class about Mr. Columbus and his brave explorations.

We learned many interesting facts about George Washington Carver from Angelina.  It's bad for the soil to have the same crop planted year after year.  Mr. Carver suggested replacing cotton crops with peanut crops and then spent years experimenting with peanuts to see how many products could be made using this food.

Sean rates Kate's project and then records what he learned.

Taylor checks off everything on the rubric for Kate.  Good job, Kate!  :)

Our field trip to...

Last month, all the first graders visited the Dakin Dairy Farm in Myakka to learn all about how milk gets from the cow to our table.  Take a look at a few of the highlights from our day at the farm!

This is where all the "ladies" hang out when they're not being milked.
Their beds consist mostly of sand because it's the cleanest and softest material for them.

Time for the milking to begin!
Lilly, Delaney, Nathan, Mason, and Isaiah have a front row seat for the show!

Then it was time to feed the babies.
Taylor makes friends with a little calf.

Go piggies, go!  Blue wins!
(That was actually a little more aggressive than I care to remember.)

Sean and his mom gather their seed, dirt, and pot... time to plant!

Time to make butter!  Josiah hands off the jar of cream to Bryson.
The boys take turns shaking the cream until it turns into butter!

Being a dairy farmer is very hard work!  Time to relax.  Zzzzz.

Bryson, Gregory, and Zachary... having a great time!

Grace, Kate, and Isabella sit and wait for the hayride.
Where is that tractor?