Brilliant. Just brilliant!

I may have mentioned this before, but WHEW, time is flying!  We are two full weeks into our second quarter, and I have seen SUCH huge growth in these firsties!  Every day I see them applying skills, using their “math talk,” and building their schema through the connections they make both within and between content areas.  I am so proud of how far they’ve come – and it’s only November!

Here’s a peek at our learning from the week:

In Reader’s Workshop we learned how our schema can help us before we read by allowing us to tap into our prior knowledge and make predictions about a text.  We already begin to make connections from text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world.  After hearing an article published by a chemist, we learned that we often need to have schema for topics already before we can understand a new thing we want to read.  We learned that people can build their schema by asking questions, reading, doing research, going to museums, watching videos, and watching TV (like Animal Planet or PBS Kids!).

DSCN1804We explored this idea by making a chart of everything we already knew about wolves in fiction storybooks.  Children gave examples of tricky wolves, like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood who tries to disguise himself as a grandmother in order to eat the little girl, or strong wolves, like the Big Bad Wolf of The Three Little Pigs who could knock down houses just by blowing on them.  Then we read Bad Boys and compared our schema to the wolves in the story.  We talked about how the schema we had from reading books helped us to make predictions about the wolves we might meet in Bad Boys.


Later in the week we drew pictures and thought about a time we had lost something.  We discussed how we felt when we lost that item and how we felt when we found it again.  We metaphorically surrounded ourselves with our schema of loss by literally surrounding ourselves with our pictures of our lost items and read Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems.  The children explained how their thinking about their lost items helped them while they were listening to Knuffle Bunny.  They were all able to empathize with the main character, Trixie, who lost, and later found, her prized stuffed rabbit.


In Writer’s Workshop we have been working on the writing process.  Two firsties published their very first writer’s workshop pieces – pieces that have been through the whole process from brainstorming to drafting to revising/editing to writing a final draft to publishing and illustrating.  I know several more stories are in the final draft stage, and will be published soon.  They will be displayed in the room as the stories start rolling in!  We have been working on taking a story through that process together before breaking to work on our own projects.  We created a thinking map about our character and chose a setting, problem, and solution for the story before adding details and organizing our thinking into a good beginning, middle, and end.

DSCN1803We then moved our ideas into the drafting stage.  It took us three days to complete our first draft, a testament to the hard work that goes into crafting a quality story!  We made a few revisions and will be ready next week to write our final draft and ultimately display our published class story in the room.

In Bible this week we learned all about Peter.  We discovered that God gives us great leaders like Joseph or Moses, but they are never perfect and make mistakes often.  We read the story in which Peter follows Jesus onto the water during a storm, but becomes frightened and loses his faith and footing.  We learned that if we focus our eyes on Christ, we can do anything He asks of us; if we don’t, we get distracted by the world and sink.  The children began creating boats using paper plates and popsicle sticks.  They will attach all the pieces together on Tuesday.  🙂

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In Social Studies we’ve been learning all about timelines and building our schema about past, present, and future.  The children have created timelines of their lives, including making predictions about what they think they will be doing and what they will look like in the future.  They have compared and contrasted past, present, and future changes in communities, schools, toys, and daily American life.

In Math Workshop we explored patterns in shapes and numbers.  We used pattern blocks to cover larger shapes and described the shapes’ attributes, sorted dominoes by odd or even numbers of dots, used pattern blocks to create, name, extend and record patterns, built number sentences, recognized patterns in counts by 2s, 3s, and 5s, used number lines to add and subtract, practiced telling time to the half hour, and used “frames-and-arrows” diagrams to decipher rules for changing numbers.  WHEW!  That is a busy week in math!

DSCN1782 DSCN1781 DSCN1779 DSCN1777 DSCN1774 DSCN1770 DSCN1769Our new Author of the Month is Cynthia Rylant.  The firsties remember her as the author of the Henry & Mudge series they visited when working through their Henry & Mudge book in Kindergarten.  We have many Henry & Mudge books in our classroom library, but this month we are focusing on her more advanced works.  This week we read In November, a poetic nonfiction story about different things that happen in the fall.  The firsties noticed right away that the illustrations were very different than the type of illustrations made for Henry & Mudge.  They realized that Cynthia Rylant does not use the same illustrator for all of her books!  She chooses an illustrator based on his or her style, matching that style to the style of the story she is writing.  Brilliant thinking, firsties!

We made beautiful fall leaves using the colors Cynthia Rylant described in In November.  I’m thinking those will be up on display in the hallway next week.  We just need to make a tree on which these changing leaves can grow!

Remember that on Monday CCA will be closed in observance of Veteran’s Day.

Come out tomorrow morning and walk with the mayor!  Don’t forget to wear something red or your CCA gear!

Have a blessed long weekend!










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