First Graders Sequence With Dash

First grade students have been learning the concept of sequencing by programming Dash robots.  Students first learned how to take care of Dash and handle him so he won’t break.  Then we dived into the definition of sequence and why it is important to program Dash in a specific order.  We used examples of making a jelly sandwich, brushing our teeth, and retelling a story to understand sequence.   While Dash will run any program the students created, the focus of the lesson was continue to progress along a path and earn more widgets.  Students have been enjoying the Dash very much and after a few classes they are very good at programming Dash.



Bedtime Stories

Students returned to school Friday night to listen to bedtimes stories in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  We originally planned to host Bedtime Stories on Dr. Seuss’ actual birthday, March 2.  The weather did not cooperate, and we happily had a snow day!  We had several teachers, including Mrs. Wright, our principal, read some of their favorite stories to the students.  The students came in their pajamas, all ready for bed with blankets and pillows, too.  Students listened to some oldies like Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan.  Some books became new favorites such as Elmore by Holly Hobbie and Happy Dreamer by Peter Reynolds.  It is fun to share stories with students at all times of the day and night.

Mock Newbery Club Concludes

Our fourth Mock Newbery has come to a close.  The students, read all six books, discussed them online using Schoology, and voted.  We gathered together today for the grand finale.  Students met each other in person, shared snacks (including cake and Tang!) and learned which book they voted to win.  And the winner is…. I Love You Michael Collins with 19 votes.  Hello Universe (the ALA Newbery award winner) garnered 17 votes.  It was a very close race until the final vote was tallied.

The students enjoyed everything about the Mock Newbery.  Well almost everything.  Some students had strong feelings against a few books.  And that is what the Mock Newbery is all about- reading books you might not have chosen on your own.  Some students found new genres to read.  Other students found new friends at the celebration.  All students had a great time throughout.  We are already thinking and planning how to continue the inspiration for reading this year and which books we might consider for next year.

Santa Makerspace

This week my kindergarten and first graders had a lot of fun creating traps for Santa.  We started by reading How To Catch a Santa by Jean Reagan last week (a personal favorite because the story has such great voice!).  Students talked about what they would ask, tell, and give Santa just like in the book.  Then this week students got busy making their own creations.

Students had some choices:

  1. work with a partner or alone
  2. what supplies to use (among those provided)
  3. What the trap would look like

Some things students did not have choice on.  All students were given the same set of supplies- mostly donated recyclable items and leftover craft supplies.  A quick trip to the dollar store yielded the cute Santa paper cups and more chenille stems.

  1. 1 tube
  2. 1 paper cup
  3. 1 egg carton
  4. 18 inches of aluminum foil
  5. 1 yard of curling ribbon
  6. 3 sheets of construction paper
  7. 5 pipe chenille stems
  8. 3 yards of masking tape

Students could trade me for additional supplies needed.  A frequent request was more masking tape.  Some would give up a chenille stem, others a curling ribbon for more tape.  Students were also given only 15 minutes and most students finished before that time.

Then came the sharing, and that was the most enjoyable part for me.  Listening to these young children talk about how they would catch Santa was so fun.  Many ideas involved catching Santa’s hand or foot in a trap that includes a pipe cleaner.  And, of course, cookies figured into a lot of traps!

Students learned how to barter or trade when they wanted additional supplies.  They collaborated with others while sharing supplies.  They created their own idea and had a great time.  Students were so proud of their Santa traps.

The Gift Of Reading

This holiday season I thought I would try something new to generate excitement about reading.  I chose 50 new library books and wrapped them up and put barcodes on them.  I also added two labels to help students remember to save the unwrapping for home and to return the book.  I put them in boxes identified for grades kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade.  Then, at the beginning of each class I explained the box of books to students.

  1. Students may choose to take a wrapped book as one of their checkout items
  2. The student has to wait until they get home to unwrap the book (to add to the anticipation)
  3. The book must be returned after Christmas

The response has been overwhelming!  I have already replenished the K-2 box after only two days.  (We have had half days for the last few days for parent/teacher conferences so the older students have not been in for class).  Students’ responses ranged from hoping they did not get a princess book (from a boy) to they can’t wait to get home to unwrap the book.  My hope is that the wrapped book with start a conversation with the child’s parents about the joy of reading and the joy of gift giving (and receiving).


What an Amazing Book Fair!

We just completed our first book fairs today.  What an exciting time the students had previewing books and shopping all week long!  We held two very successful family events as well.  One was last Thursday evening, and the other was today to coincide with the PTA Science Fair.  Our families, faculty and staff, and community purchased over 930 books from our book fair which translates into over 178,000 minutes that students will read.  We are so grateful for our generous community that recognizes the value of books in the home and classroom.  Thank you to everyone who supported our fair.  Here are a few pictures from the week.

Students Read, Dogs Listen

We have dogs from Therapy Dogs International (TDI) visiting our library again this year, and we are so excited!  TDI has a reading program called Tail Waggin’ Tutors. The first visit with the dogs was on Thursday, September 28, and the second was just last Thursday.  These dogs listen to some of our students read books to them.  This program encourages student reading confidence, generates positive feelings about reading, and is just so awesome!  Students visit dogs individually so they have one on one time with the dog and bring their own book that they are reading with them.  The students are so excited about reading to the dogs and the dogs are excellent listeners. Students have been selected to read to dogs every fourth Thursday of the month.  We look forward to more visits from our dog friends this year and thank the dog owners for volunteering their time to be with us.