Thursday, January 19, 2012

Penguins, Mittens, Centers and Book Buddies OH MY!

By way of follow-up, I wanted to share our Penguin schema chart AND our recorded observations about what Penguins "are" "can" and "have".  I love this activity as it really pushes kids to think about the learning we've done by reading so many books and watching clips online and synthesize it into smaller chunks of information.  

As usual, I like to allow the kids to use their "kid writing," but we're ramping that up as well.  My expectation is that those who can really stretch those words out to add all the sounds they think they hear and/or use the resources in the classroom to help figure out how to spell something.  It's obvious if you make it big, that we're all across the board in this skill...but EVERYONE is making progress and I LOVE that!
 For the past two days we've read two different versions of "The Mitten".  We read the one by Jan Brett and then the one by Jim Ayelsworth.  We talked about what it means when an author 'retells' and/or 'adapts' a story.  Then, each student created his or her own version of the mitten.  The only parameters were:  each mitten could have no fewer than five animals and no more than ten and students had to label their animals.  As usual, I am NOT disappointed in their creativity!  The juices were FLOWING in our classroom today:

 And, the kids are SO excited that we've begun using our easel!  Here are some of their amazing creations so far.  I just cannot look at these pieces of art and help but wonder WHY some people want to cut the arts out of schools!  Children need to learn how to express themselves.  AND what stories are behind each of these creations?  I'd venture to say there are pages and pages just waiting to be written in most of their heads!
Check out some of the center work that we did today...

We LOVE to listen to stories

 And we're learning to play with the ActivBoard more.

We rounded out our day with a visit from our 4th Grade Book Buddies.  What a GREAT visit we had while we shared a snack and books together!

Do you know what I REALLY love about our buddies?  They are like an extension of our Learning Garden family!  Whenever we see them in the hall, our K kids get SO excited.  And when we hear their names on the morning news celebrating line behavior and/or lunchroom behavior, the kids in the Learning Garden CLAP and CELEBRATE too.  And I'm told the reverse is true with the fourth graders as well.  If there's one lesson the whole human race could stand to be reminded of, I believe it's the power of community!  We must learn to reach out to one another and celebrate who we are together--and these kids are simply catching a glimpse of that.  And it brings us pure joy to watch it.

Happy Friday and Happy LEARNING!

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