Friday, February 25, 2011

"You Belong with Me"

This week's sharing was your favorite song. The students brought in a variety of songs, and a few even chose to sing them independently without music! Another friend played us a song on a guitar! This morning a student brought in an I-touch and played her favorite song, "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift, to the class. They all started singing along! I captured a bit of their singing just in time...

George Portraits

6D completed their George Washington portraits- didn't they do a terrific job? (See the below shutterfly album.)
After drawing the portraits the students learned how to shade different regions of their picture using crayon. The darker shaded regions are in brown, the light regions in peach. The students then cut out their portraits, glued them onto blue paper, added a black jacket, doiley (to illustrate his ruffles) and cotton balls for the hair.
I want to frame each one!

Completed George Washington Portraits

Click here to view these pictures larger

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dr. Greg Mortenson

Today in class, we listened to this book

and learned about Dr. Greg Mortenson.
High in the Pakistan mountains, Dr. Greg's story as an activist begins after a long and arduous climbing expedition. Upon losing his traveling companions, he grew weary and tired and accidentally stumbled upon a small village named Korphe. The villagers warmly welcomed Dr. Greg and nursed him back to health. In thanksgiving, Dr. Greg wanted to thank the village for their kindness. He came back to the United States to gather money and support. When he returned, he worked with the villagers to build a bridge and a school.

The 6D students decided to add Dr. Greg Mortenson to our activist wall because he found a need to help others. By building a school and a bridge in Korphe, students now have a place to learn. Dr. Greg is also continuing to raise awareness about education throughout the world.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today Dr. Woodworth visited 6D and 6B! He is a brain doctor at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Woodworth brought in models of the brain,

read us a story about a "brain in the rain,"

and shared brain candy with us (it was a delicious treat)!

Thank you, Dr. Woodworth- we enjoyed this time together!

Magic E

Today we watched the magic E videos on my long vowel post (from last week). The students really enjoyed watching them. We brainstormed a list of short vowel words that, when silent e is added at the end, change to long vowel words. We each chose a short vowel word (and it's silent e counterpart) and sang the change- watch the below video to see us hard at work!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Upper and Lowercase H!

Our handwriting letters of the week are Hh and Rr. We practiced forming the letters with our bodies. The first picture is uppercase (can you see the "bridge" in the middle?) and the second is the lowercase (notice the round hill for lowercase h).

Later this week we will review these letter formations using playdough.
(PS. Could you tell we were tired when these photos were taken?)

Mrs. Armstrong Will Travel to Switzerland

Calvert School offers its faculty travel opportunities in the form of a grant program, money of which is donated by the Garrett family. These Garrett Grants have an application process and a curriculum piece, and this fall I proposed a trip to Switzerland. The idea for this trip stemmed from a faculty-required reading book a few summers ago.

In this book, the author, Leonard Sax, addresses what he assesses as the five factors leading to unmotivated boys in today's society. In Chapter 1, Sax speaks of changes in schooling. He references how today's kindergarten experience is similar to the first grade of thirty years ago. In reaction to this, Sax highlights a special type of school, called an outdoor school, where during the the early years of their development, children will spend an entire year (or more, depending on the program) learning and experiencing life outdoors. This environment allows their senses to develop in a greater capacity (there's no time for television, video games, or computer simulated toys). The children use their imaginations to their fullest by incorporating nature and natural items into their everyday play. Outdoor schools are very popular in Europe, and are quickly catching on in the United States. In fact, an outdoor school called Cedarsong Nature School in Washington state has received a lot of recent media attention (click here to watch a news video). Their program is very similar to those in Europe.

The idea of visiting such a school seemed not only exciting but worthwhile. After all, I do not often utilize the experience of nature in a profound way in my 6th Age curriculum.

After the application process was complete, I received the exciting news that I would be traveling to Zurich over my spring break! In preparation for this trip, I contacted and will be visiting The Lakeside School, situated on the east bank of Lake Zurich. This school, along with many others, has an on-site trailor available for extreme weather days. When I spoke to a teacher from the school about what to bring, she simply stated, "WARM CLOTHES!"

In addition to visiting The Lakeside School, I will also get a chance to see the zoo and the Masoala rainforest exhibit! And of course, a Switzerland adventure would be incomplete without a chocolate tasting and skiing in the Alps!

I hope to document my trip daily when I am abroad, with videos and important information. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Long Vowels

The 6th Age readers will begin learning about long vowels next week, and I wanted to share a few fun videos with you about "Magic e". Watch and see!
Video 1
Video 2

Aren't they great?

Barack Obama

We listened to parts of this story about Barack Obama today.

We learned a lot about Barack's life, including his multiple moves (he once lived in Indonesia, Hawaii, Hollywood, New York, and even Chicago!). We learned that his nickname is "Barry", and most importantly, we learned that he is our current President of the United States!
6D decided that it is important for a President to be an activist. Shouldn't this be part of their job description? We learned that Barack Obama has helped others who are homeless and hungry, and has changed laws with the less fortunate in mind.
How fitting that he has now been added to our Activist Timeline!

George Washington Portraits

6D is at the beginning stages of a George Washington portrait project. The students began by reviewing what a portrait is (any likeness of a person) and then studied this portrait of George.

6D noticed his: serious face (he wasn't smiling to cover up his bad teeth), thin lips, white wig, ruffly shirt, important uniform and round chin.
With some help, the students incorporated those ideas into the below drawings.

6D's George Washington Portraits

Click here to view these pictures larger

Math Scavenger Hunt

The mathematicians went on a scavenger hunt yesterday with Mrs. DeLorbe's 6th Age math class and Ms. Silberstein's 10th Age math class. Below is a copy of the directions.

The students reviewed their knowledge of counting and graphing with help from their 10th Age partners. They were asked to complete as many of the ten questions as possible in 15 minutes, in an order of their choosing. They had so much fun, one student even said, "That was the best math class, ever!"
This is Mrs. DeLorbe explaining the directions.

This is a group about to depart.

Here are the students on their scavenger hunt adventures!

Today we will review our answers in a large group and write thank yous to the 10th Agers. Good job, everyone!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Zero, One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Today we practiced writing our number words zero through five and corresponding numbers zero through five.

We enjoyed drawing pictures to match our numbers!

Afterwards we played number memory utilizing these numbers.

Tomorrow we will meet with Mrs. DeLorbe's math class to go on a school scavenger hunt!

Digraphs, Continued.

We reviewed digraphs today by playing a fun game called "Race to Write!"

We needed a partner, a paperclip, a pencil, and 2 crayons- one for each partner. After color coding pencils on the gameboard, we used the paperclip as a spinner. The spinner had four sections: SH, TH, CH, and Miss A Turn. If we landed on a digraph, we had to find a picture match at the bottom. We used our crayon to fill in the picture and the pencil to complete the word. Whomever had the most digraphs complete at the end of the game, won!

Tomorrow we will search for digraphs in our current story: FUN WITH FISH.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy, Happy Valentine's Day!

I have to admit that Valentine's Day is probably my favorite class celebration of the year. What teacher doesn't love to open a brimming mailbox filled with homemade valentines? The students have been practicing writing their names, so it was a wonderful treat to open each valentine in my student's best penmanship!

At the end of the day, we celebrated with a BINGO party! Mrs. McClernan was our guest bingo caller.

Thank you to all parents who attended or helped out at our party.

Happy Valentine's Day!

/SH/, /TH/ and /CH/ DIGRAPHS

We reviewed the /SH/, /TH/, and /CH/ digraphs in class by making a fold-up book. We began by reviewing the definition of a digraph: when two letters come together to make a new sound. By labeling each flap of our book with a digraph in letter form, we were able to flip it up to find a matching picture and word representation. We formulated a word list that would correspond with each digraph as well.
For /SH/, one friend brainstormed the word "shucks", and then drew a picture to represent this word. I'll admit, I was skeptical at first, but then look what I saw:

Pretty clever, huh?

The readers did a terrific job with this project! Tomorrow we will play a fun digraph game where the students will need to recall these sounds.

Valentine's Day Graphing

We graphed candy sweethearts in math today. We began by coloring in the large color word hearts on our papers with the appropriate crayons. Then, we labeled each column with a color word: Pink, Orange,Yellow, Green, Blue, or Purple. We sorted our hearts by color by placing them on top of the crayon-colored hearts. We completed the graph by counting the number on heart candies and then coloring in the corresponding number of bars on the graph. Way to go, mathematicians!

Tomie dePaola writes to 6D!

Our November/December Author of the Month in 6D was Tomie dePaola, and we celebrated our favorite stories by drawing pictures for Tomie accompanied by a handwritten note. The letters were recently mailed to New Hampshire...and the waiting began...

Then- alas! I checked the mail this afternoon and was excited when I found a letter from Tomie himself!

I quickly tore open the soft envelope to discover a letter and postcards.

The letter reads:

"Dear Friends in the 6D Kindergarten Class,
Thank you for the great letters and drawings. I'm glad that you like my books.

I featured one of the drawings on the blog under today's date. (Click here to read his post!)

My favorite book of my own is NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS. My newest books are STREGA NONA'S HARVEST, MY MOTHER IS SO SMART, and LET THE WHOLE EARTH SING PRAISE. STREGA NONA's GIFT will be published in the fall.
Did you hear that I just won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association? I'm very excited!

We've been getting lots of snow this winter in New Hampshire. It's a winter wonderland!

I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!


Can you believe Tomie actually wrote us back?! And he featured a fellow 6D student's artwork on his blog! How exciting!! Thank you, Tomie! We look forward to reading more of your favorite books:)