Friday, September 25, 2015

Dear Families,  I had a great time talking with all of you last night! Thank you for such an astounding turnout!  I hope you left with your brain tickled and curious to know more.  To help you in your quest to know more I have added a parent resource section to our blog.  If you look on the right hand side of this blog there is a list of parent resources.  Please click on them to see the BTSN powerpoint presentation as well as the other important information. I will continually add articles of interest and other important information for you there. Hopefully that way you can keep track of it and reference it when you would like. 

Highlight of the Week

Today the three 3rd Grades had a friendship mixer.  We divided the three classrooms up to have an opportunity to connect with old friends, make new friends, and to help the teachers get to know the children better. In each room we explored what it means to collaborate and found ways to connect our ideas together.  

In Mrs. Hunger's room they made animal habitats with paper and cardboard. In Mrs. Kimmy's room they played collaborative games, and in my room we explored how to have a no talking conversation on paper with various types of watercolors and chalk.  Your child will get to have time in each room over the next 3 weeks.  This focus on collaboration is a structure we are putting in place to create a working relationship amongst the 3 classes as we eventually collaborate to write our own 3rd Grade musical later this year. Enjoy the teamwork images!

Photos of our Week

Beautiful Ask Me Abouts

What surprised you when you mixed up with the other 2 third grades?
What do you want to celebrate about your week at school?
How do you have a silent conversation on paper with a friend? 
What does that feel like?
What is your favorite thing to smell, to touch, and to taste?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Building Community/ Making Agreements

This first full week was spent getting to know one another better. We shared our loves and don't loves as we made maps of our hearts. We used teamwork on the low ropes course. We explored the wetlands and visited one another's wonder full places. We harvested tomatoes, beans and herbs from our garden and worked together to make tomato sauce that we ate together to celebrate our first full week! 

It was a week full of fun, connection, curiosity and building the way we want to be and feel like together. We ended the week by finalizing our classroom agreements through creating collaborative drawings that helped us to talk about the rules that make us feel safe, willing to take risks and learn. The children decided the most important way they wanted it to feel was like home. 

Here is our list of agreements...

Ask me abouts:

What was something wonderful you saw, heard or tasted in the wetlands?
What did you taste in the tomato sauce?
Who did you sit with at lunch?
Who did you play with at recess and where?
How did you decide what agreements your class should have this year?
What is your wonder full place that you are writing about in class?
What are you looking forward to about next week?

To see tons of photos from our week click below.... Remember to look at the photos with your child.  It is a great way to get them to share stories with you about what we did this week!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

First Week Highlights

Dear Families,

I wanted to share a little about our first 3 days and what to expect next week. The children have transitioned smoothly into RM 36 and appear happy and comfortable!  Hurray! I couldn't be more delighted by their enthusiasm to jump right into new routines, a new teacher and, a new community of peers.  They all deserve a relaxing weekend!

Today I sent home the children's homework binders because they were begging me for them.  Inside the only thing they need to show you is the Survey About Places We Love. This is for the children to interview you.  They should ask you the questions and write down your responses.  It is due next Friday, Sept. 18th.  The children also have a reading log that they are welcome to fill out this weekend but, are not required to. We will begin some small homework assignments next week.  Homework will be assigned on Monday and due that Friday. Please let me know if your child needs any modifications to the homework or has any questions. I am flexible.

Window Into Learning 

Often I will share snippets from our day.  Sometimes those snippets will be about one child, a few or maybe from everyone.  The reason I am sharing these snippets is because I think they highlight something important about what we are all learning as a community. And the reason it might be focused on one child or a small group is because I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.  All of the children are capable of the examples I will share. I, on the other hand, am not capable of being in 18 places at the same time so what I capture is limited to that moment in time. My hope is that through these examples you will gain a better understanding of your own child, as well as the learning community your child is immersed in and benefiting from.

One of the highlights of the week was our spontaneous Science Talk Friday during Morning Meeting.  Ben and Aaren had set up an experiment in the garden Thursday with some dried and fresh scarlet runner beans and were surprised by what they found.  The following is a transcript from that conversation.

Ben- Here's what we did yesterday... we put the brown seed in jar of water to rehydrate it. We
put the green seed in jar in sun to dry it out because we think they are the same kind of seed.

Aaren- We were surprised- the one in the water grew! The one in sun shrank and it is all wrinkled!"

Ben- The brown one absorbed the water! We didn't think that would happen! We thought it would turn green like the one from the pod. Why didn't it turn green?

Aaren- The green one shriveled up bc it didn’t have any moisture.

James- The hard one shriveled up bc sun evaporated all the moisture, it didn’t shrink the skin so it went wrinkled, the one in the water needed it to grow and the water couldn’t get out of the skin.

Catherine- I am wondering if you put the hard bean in the sun will it go to same size? It was smaller or shriveled up like the green one. Will the green one will grow to be full size if put it in water?

Ben- At the end the one that grew didn’t sprout anything all it did was it grew and it cracked and something might come out.

Jonathan- I think it might be a mexican jumping bean. They have moths inside so the moth might come out.

Ben-That the one that grew, the one Ms. Baker gave us in our gift bags, is the same as the beans we picked from the garden!

Flynn- I am guessing that it shrank bc it didn’t have any water, the other thing I know, the water made it grow until it had enough water to come open. Here is how seeds work...they grow and then break and then a stem comes out and then comes the roots and a leaf and then the seed turns into dirt.

Lily- I think we should cut it in half and see what’s inside.

Aaren- I want to open it up and see what is inside.

Ben- I don’t want to crack open the seed bc we could let it keep growing.  I want to see what happens next. Then we could figure out what to do.

Catherine- I would like to know how much it expanded.

Ben- What if we cut a part and see if a part will still grow?

Victoria- Plant it and see what happens!

This talk is an example of what we talk about at OES as inquiry.  The children are demonstrating what it means to explore an idea, create a scientific experiment all in collaboration with one another.  Warren Berger, the author of the book, A More Beautiful Question, writes... "Children have an innate sense of wonder that comes naturally to them.  How do we keep this going?  After studying questioners in the design world, innovation world, business world... I've discovered they go through this process of solving problems in which they ask; why, what if, how?"  

Here is a talk from Berger about the art of questioning that Mo Copeland shared with the OES faculty and staff for our opening day meeting. 

If you look back through this conversation you will see that it begins with a why question.  Ben asked,
"Why didn't it turn green?" Then many of the children posed what ifs. Then Victoria ended the conversation with the how... "Plant it and let's see what happens!"  So, that is exactly what all of the children did. They got up from that conversation and put 18 different experiments into action.  Look at the following slide show to see the range of possibilities.

Click here...
 Bean Experiments

As the year progresses this inquiry process of figuring out the right why question to ask, brainstorming the possible what ifs and figuring out how to set about finding our solutions will be at the heart of all of our major projects and your children, together, on the 3rd day of school already showed me that the natural inclinations that Warren Berger talks about are alive and well.  The children are ready to dive in and actively embrace learning with one another. What a thrilling first week!I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with them!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Welcome to the Start of 3rd Grade 2015-2016!

Dear Families, Here are some images from our first day!  We had a great day getting to know one another and figuring out all of the new routines of 3rd Grade, as well as the construction related new routes.  

Your children brought home 3 sheets of paper today. One is a game we played to get to know one another, one is a reflection they wrote to share with you, and the 3rd piece is a book order form for our author visit with Ben Hatke  on Sept. 24th from 1-2pm.  Please return the book order form only if you want books.  

Send in a favorite book, a photo of your family, and a photo of a place of wonder for your child to leave at school. We will be using these as soon as they all arrive.  Thank you!

Next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I am offering get to know you conferences.  Please email me if you haven't already signed up for a time and would like to.

Stay tuned to see more of what is happening in Room 36!

Click this link to see our First Day Photos