We all have many but significant moments in our lives that we enjoy sharing with others. Sometimes it is the moment of celebration such as a winning goal, a first lost tooth, learning to ride a bike, or time spent with family and friends. Other small moments, such as a broken limb, a lost pet, or the strike out that ends the game, can be more challenging. Regardless of whether or not each small moment is something to celebrate, it is an important story to tell.
Sharing the small moments in our lives has been the focus of our Writers Workshop instruction during the first part of the school year. Students have been learning not only to identify these important moments, but also to share their experiences by engaging the reader. Students have also been focused on adding voice to their writing by incorporating details, emotions, and dialogue that connects and relates their story to the reader.
Through Writer’s Workshop, students are truly excited about the writing process, developing amazing pieces of writing to share their stories. Their focus is on content and idea development. Recently many classes have celebrated this accomplishment through publishing parties that allow children to share their writing with others. Throughout the year, you will have an opportunity to read and listen to their stories while seeing their progress as proficient writers.
Donna Dankner and Pamela Bator
From Mrs. Patino in the library:
I am very pleased to be the new Library Teacher here at Green Meadow! It is a great advantage that I already know the staff and most of the students since I was the assistant here for the past six years and I am looking forward to another great year with your children in my new capacity.
The library looks a little different this year with the addition of our brand new computer lab! A big thank you to all who put in many hours of work to make it happen. The 3rd graders have been the first to try out the new computers, using our online catalog system, OPAC, to search for books in our collection, and all grades will be learning computer skills throughout the year.
The library class structure is also different this year. Each class comes to the library once a week for a 30-minute literacy lesson or a computer skills lesson and also a 15-minute period in which they can select and check out books. As always, books are checked out for a two-week period, but they may be returned in one week or sooner, if they wish. When books become overdue, I send out notices every two or three weeks. The notices are just a reminder to return books and payment is not expected at that time unless the book is lost or damaged. Please help your child to find a safe place at home to keep their library books so that we may cut down on losses. Kindergarten students keep their books in their classrooms until springtime, at which point they will begin to bring them home.
I have seen the kindergarten classes only a few times so far because of the Monday holidays, but we’ve discussed friendship after I read selected Henry & Mudge stories to them, talked about what we love about fall after reading Leaf Man, and also learned about fables after reading some of my favorite Leo Lionni stories. Also, ask your children to tell you who Mr. Bear is! In first grade, we’ve discussed safety tips after reading Officer Buckle and Gloria, worked on cause and effect with The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, and discussed story elements such as main character, setting and plot after reading Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse. In second grade, we have worked on predicting skills with Strega Nona, made our own little books just like The Library Mouse, and worked on dictionary and encyclopedia skills. In third grade, we started with learning about autobiographies, and then moved on to Greek Myths, Tall Tales, and Fables. Hopefully, your children are enjoying their time in the library!
News from Mrs. Smart’s Kindergarten Class:
It is hard to believe we have completed our first month of kindergarten. In this short period of time most of the children have transformed from anxious little five year olds to relaxed students ready to learn. Some arrived scared and timid while others arrived confident and boisterous. The first couple of weeks they learned 20 new names, rug manners, how to line up, how to play with, share, and put all the toys away. They learned how to walk in a quiet line down the hall, eat lunch in a huge cafeteria, play with others at recess, and to share the attention of one teacher with their other 19 friends. Some of these new skills were easy and some were difficult; however, most of the children have settled in and are ready to begin the kindergarten journey.
Our first unit was based on the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. The children learned and practiced the math positional words by placing the sun “above” the coconut tree and the ground “below” the tree. They made piles of coconuts “between” coconut trees, and wrote the alphabet “before” and “after” the tree, all very important directional words.
The children began their reading instruction by learning the three ways to independently read a book: 1. read the words, 2. read the pictures, and 3. retell the story. The children are able to read to themselves for 12 minutes. While the children are reading, the adults in the room work with small groups on reading skills.
Writing Workshop started a few of weeks ago. The children are learning to write using the sounds they hear in words and by drawing and labeling pictures. They are going to publish their first story on Friday.
All and all, we have been very busy in kindergarten and we have just begun.
Dates to Remember:
October 4, 2011 PTO Meeting 7:00 PM
October 6, 2011 Picture Day
October 7, 2011 Early Release, 12:30
October 10, 2011 No School, Columbus Day
October 11, 2011 Professional Day, No School