September 24, 2017

Social Emotional Learning: 

During our class meetings we discuss how mindset is such an intricate part of our learning. One quote I have hanging in our classroom follows:



The children continue to work on their multi-digit addition and subtraction skills to solve problems involving elapsed time, picture graphs and bar graphs, and perimeter.

Problems the children are currently working on involve real-life situations where they need to find the beginning time, the end time, or the elapsed time. These problems are complicated because the children are expected to set up the problem and then solve it based on the information given. Also, the problems involve computation of both hours and minutes. Next week, the children continue to work on multi-digit addition and subtraction as they analyze different graphs. They will solve one and two step problems involving picture graphs and bar graphs.

Social Studies:

Our Native American Unit kicks off this week with a look at the different Biomes the Native Americans lived in throughout the USA. The first few days the children will look at the different environments across our country to determine how they believe the Native Americans lived/survived. Later in the week, they will begin studying specific Native American Regions. They will be investigating their food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and location.

Wednesday 9/27/2017: The Spirit of the Eagle Presentation:

During this presentation students will learn how the Western Sioux people lived in their nomadic style of life. They will learn tipi etiquette, gender roles, decoration, the education of children and more.


Writing: The children started brainstorming “seed” ideas for their personal narratives. First, they brainstormed important people in their lives, along with stories about how they were impacted by them. Next, they will be brainstorming significant places in their lives. The purpose of these brainstorms is to help the children hollow out “seed” stories from their lives.

Words Their Way: Tomorrow is the beginning of the second week of study. Each night the children have homework to review their sorts. Please check out the homework tutorials linked here.  Please make sure they are physically maneuvering their words as they do the activities when applicable. They also need to be saying the words as they move them into different categories. The words need to sound the same and look the same in order for them to meet the criteria of the category.

Reading: I have been reading with each individual child to learn about them as a reader. I just started pulling different flexible groups last week.


At my daughter’s open house, her teacher gave us this research about how much daily reading affects reading achievement. Although, we all know the importance of daily reading, I thought these numbers were very impactful. I require children to read every night for 30 minutes. However, it is difficult to hold them accountable at school because I’m not there to see them read or read with them. The reading lottery tickets are a way to encourage children to read each night but this is not a full-proof system.  I know some nights get so busy and reading can slide right off the plate (like it does in my house with my own children) but it’s important to make sure your children are reading on the weekends and maybe a little extra on the quieter nights. Our partnership in this area is so important!


September 9, 2017

We did it! We have the first 2 weeks of school under our belt. We have spent a lot of time learning the routines as we build our classroom community. Below are some updates on what the children have been working on.

Team Building: Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 7.45.08 PM

Throughout the last 2 weeks, the children have participated in some team building activities.

One challenge was to create a podium to display our small school mascot, Victor the Viking. They had to build a podium that stood a foot tall and could withstand the weight of a small stuff animal viking using 100 index cards, a foot of scotch tape, and scissors. They had to come up with an idea together, that they felt would meet the challenge.


The children have been working on developing a growth mindset around math by using Jo Boaler’s Inspirational Math curriculum. The lessons teach children how to work well in groups, and how to look at numbers in different ways.  It also exposes them to different types of mathematical thinking, and a chance to link numbers, shapes, words, and algebra in an engaging way that requires the firing of different brain pathways.

I have also been introducing the children to different math games that they will be playing in our first unit of study and throughout the year.

Later in this upcoming week the children will begin work on our first unit of study.

They will be:

  • learning/reviewing telling time to the nearest minute
  • representing elapsed time on a number line
  • reading a table to solve elapsed time problems
  • graphing and answering questions about the graphs
  • measuring the perimeters of polygons using know and unknown variables



The last 2 weeks I have been observing and listening to children as they read and helping them fill their book boxes with ‘just right’ books.

During one observation I completed an engagement inventory. An engagement inventory is essentially a kid watching tool. I recorded what I saw for an entire independent reading period. I saw when a student reacted to a text.  I saw if a child finished reading one book before starting a new one.  I saw when a student became disengaged from a text. Engagement inventories help me understand what kids do as they are reading such as avoidance behaviors, distractibility, or signs of engaged reading.

“Without engagement you’ve got nothing.”
–Jennifer Serravallo

Words Their Way:

I have been guiding the children through our classroom routines and activities involved with the word study program. I will continue to engage children in the purpose of these activities as they practice different ways to sort the words and begin to see the connection between the sounds and patterns of the words.

We will formally start the program the week of September 18th. This is when parents will see the sorts come home for daily homework.


The children decorated their writer’s notebooks for inspiration. They are beginning to map out things that are important to them. Each day this week the children will have about 10 minutes to write about topics of interest. This is in preparation for their personal narrative unit, which they will start next week.


In science we began working on our Weather and Climate unit. This unit has been divided into two segments. The children are working on the first half now by making instruments to measure and observe different aspects of the weather. In class, the children are practicing reading thermometers and collecting temperature and climate data from Glenview. Next week, each child will be given a unique places in the world to collect data from for the school year. At the end of the school year we will use the data collected to communicate different weather and climate trends based on the Earth’s position and geographic features.  This is such a fun, hands-on unit.

Some important dates coming up in September are as follows:

  • Monday September 11, 2017: Reading MAP testing
  • Wednesday September 13, 2017: Math MAP testing
  • Thursday September 14, 2017: 5:00 pm – Ice Cream Social
  • Monday September 18, 2017: School Picture Day
  • Tuesday September 19, 2017: 6:30 pm – Math Night
  • Thursday September 21, 2017: No School