Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Birthday Bulletin Boards

In the Chets Creek tradition of always pushing the faculty to the next level, all teachers were asked to use Chets Creek's 10th Birthday as the theme for this month's standards-based bulletin boards. No other suggestions or restrictions were given, except that each board should include all of the parts of a standards-based board (title, task, standards, and 4 pieces of student work with commentary). As you walk through the halls, birthdays are on every single board from Kindergarten to 5th grade! Kindergarten boards represent the same diversity as the talented teachers that make up the grade level.

The Mackarados featured a Math board by representing a survey adapted from their Math Investigations unit.

Ms. Sasso also used Math for her standards-based board. She had the children use birthday objects to show how they can be sorted in different ways.

Mrs. Lewis looked at the Social Studies Standards as students wrote about their birthdays now and birthdays of one of their grandparents long ago to understand the concept of history. Notice how she used black and white to represent days gone by and colors to represent the present!

Mrs. Harbour's students celebrated the five senses at a birthday party on her Science bulletin board, "Senses to Celebrate."

Other teachers presented work around the narrative unit, "Small Moments," the genre of writing that we are revisiting after the holiday. Children wrote about birthday memories.

Mrs. Mallon's board featured "great beginning" (orientation and context).
From one of Mrs. Mallon's birthday stories:

On my 5th birthday it was a rainy day. I got a baseball hat. I also got a baseball helmet. I got a baseball bag. Then my dad signed me up for baseball. The next day I played. I hit a pop fly. I got to second base. Then the next person batted. I got to go home. The other person got to second.
Notice how this first grader has added an interesting beginning to open his story that includes the setting. . Each of the stories on her board has a different beginning as evidence of the many engaging beginnings that the class has studied.
While most of the kindergarten teachers used the same paragraph style for their commentary that is featured in the standards book, Mrs. Meissner wrote her commentary using the format from the rubric book.
From Mrs. Meissner's board, you can see the fluency that kindergartners have established this time of year. Below is a transcription of a 3-page birthday narrative!
My Second Birthday
I went to my nanny and pappy's house. Everybody sang to me and I blew the candles and then I opened my presents and I eat my birthday cake. My sister came to my birthday.  My dad came to my bithday
and then I blew the candles and then I jumped in the pool to swim and then I came out of the pool to play with my friends. The cake has my name on it and then I played with my transformers and then I went to play with my toys. I shared with my friends. I got a special present and I went to play with my transformer and it was "Octimus Prime"
and I got two transformers and it was "Star Scream" and my party was fun.
As we opened the time capsule and looked at what our kindergartners were doing ten years ago, we realize how far we have come. Ten years ago we were satisfied if a child left kindergarten writing a phonetic sentence, but today we realize that most of our little ones can grapple with several genres of writing and can form a story in each of the studied genres. As the year goes on, most will master spacing between words and will spell many of the sight words that they are seeing daily in reading. They will begin to experiment with capitals for I, names and beginning sentences. They will not be afraid of multi-syllabic words because they know how to write the sounds that they hear in each word. They will be able to concentrate on the content of their piece and will begin to use editing marks. This is a far cry from our expectations ten years ago! Our time with America's Choice opened up the research and our practice... and we will never, ever be the same...

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