Like many of you I enjoy using my vacation time to catch up on my reading. If you have a passionate interest in reading development I suggest, Proust and the Squid. Author Maryanne Wolf examines the brain's ability to master reading. She has a son with dyslexia and heads the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University.
Here is one thing I learned. Socrates was very against using the written word! It turns out that reading is not part of the natural evolutionary or genetic make up of our brains. Well no wonder it's difficult and no wonder children struggle to master what it took adults 2000 years to develop.
I also recommend Three Cups of Tea. I guess I am in a non fiction phase. Mortenson shows us all how one person's passion can change the lives of many. It's a familiar theme but this is a very recent story bringing education in the third world into a crisp, inescapable focus.
Hello all, we have been learning about holidays, reviewing math concepts and we posted entries on the student blog. The language arts assessment and math assessment span standards covered throughout this semester. We have been reviewing math concepts. It is very important that the children are able to explain their understanding of these concepts using the appropriate math vocabulary.
The evaluations are given 1:1 so students must be self reliant, answering questions independent of peer cues and clues. I may ask, "How are these containers arranged?" or "Describe the order of these towers." The answers should be given orally using complete sentences. For instance, "The towers are in order from shortest to tallest. " To use the word biggest would be less accurate. Students should be able to compare objects by height, weight, length and capacity. They must also demonstrate how to create equal groups of objects or explain how they know one group has more or less than another group. You can see that math is language intensive.
In Language Arts there will be a writing assessment. Students will be given a familiar topic and asked to write and illustrate. We have been using over 20 sight words on a regular basis. They will be posted as usual on the word wall. Students will be expected to sound out other words as best they can. Spelling is not evaluated except in the case of sight words. The students will be given as much time as they need to complete the task. They should try their best to use the Think, Write and Check approach. Checking includes: punctuation, capitalization, spacing, rereading to insert missing words, and neatness.
The count down is on and along with the Media Center Gingerbread hunt, house elves, and our holidays around the world next week the children are very excited. Academically we have been reviewing this week and will continue through next week followed by a comprehensive math assessment and a language arts writing assessment (tests). I will explain the content covered in my next post.
Today we were invited to join Ms. Goss's 3rd grade class. The Suttons who have a daughter in this class, came in to share their holiday tradition, Hanukkah. Mr. Sutton told stories, presented history and Mrs. Sutton distributed home made latkes, delicious! If you have never tried one, they are much like crunchy hash browns with a little onion. On display were at least five different kinds of menorahs with colorful candles. We didn't stay long to play dreidel because we had played it this week already.
We also needed to say goodbye to Mrs. Majors who has been with us over 15 weeks, five of them full time. I posted a new podcast showing Mrs. Majors teaching a lesson on patterns. The students illustrated pages in a book and Mrs. Foresman laminated the book for her. She gave each of the children a card in their cubbies and I'm sure you know how they love to get mail!
Next week please send in one or two clean but older angle sock. Grant showed everyone his sock snowman and now we all want one of our own!
In order to motivate our readers and emergent readers, I have offered to let students record their favorite books or even a leveled reader from the classroom. They may choose something easy simply to avoid making any mistakes. That's fine, I just want them to begin to record their voices. I have posted several recordings on the kidsincharge website under the 'books' button. I recently acquired some mp3 players and will be putting the recordings on the players so children can listen to other students as they read the same books.
By now I'm sure you heard all about the runaway Gingerbread Boy and Girl. They were sitting on the sill during the story and when Mrs. Briggs finished reading we looked back and they were gone! We left the Media Center in hot pursuit of the runaways. We stopped at the front desk, the principal's secretary, the assistant principal, Swanson, Mrs. Paterline and the computer lab. Special clues were found at each location.
The path led back to the Media Center where we found the two mischievous pastries seated at a table full of freshly baked gingerbread cookies. There was vanilla frosting and candy to decorate.
Following the hunt we managed to take advantage of 15 minutes in the computer lab making virtual snowflakes. The link to the site is down near the bottom of the Creek View home page. Try it!