Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
From individual displays for each of the ten years to the time capsule display to the beautiful birthday candles painted by our Art staff (each of the ten candles represents a year's theme), you can see the history of Chets Creek as you walk through the lobby.
Each day WCCE, the student hosted morning news cast, has revisited a video clip from a previous year. On the first day of this celebration week, the children saw footage of that very first day, as Chets Creek opened with children boarding the Magic School Bus with Mrs. Frizzle to journey to their new school. On Tuesday the current children revisited Mrs. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus that brought those first children from three different elementary schools in the middle of the year to the newly built Chets Creek Elementary. Today's children hopped on those same buses and watched a video of that first magic ride. The video then took them through the years with photographs. Even Mrs. Frizzle was the same - well maybe ten years older!
On Wednesday we celebrated with a breakfast for our alumni - children and adults. Alumni were invited back for breakfast and were guest readers for the entire day. Each guest read their favorite Book of the Month from a previous year. This was a chance for the original students and faculty to meet once again and remember and share stories about those years gone by. It gave our present faculty and children a chance to understand the rich history that their present is built upon.
On Thursday all of the faculty and children were dressed to represent one of the themes from a previous year. From Hollywood to Racing to Cowboys, the teachers (the Kindergarten Team on left) entertained their grade level at a birthday bash. The Kinder teachers performed their rendition of the Hokey Pokey to the delight of their students! Then the kids sang "Happy Birthday" and had their chance with the "Chicken Dance!" Each child enjoyed a birthday cupcake and treat bag delivered by the CCE Paraprofessionals!
On the final day of the week-long celebration, the school held a flag raising ceremony much like the first one at Chets Creek. This time the Chets Creek patrols stood with the award-winning honor guard from Sandalwood High School which contained Chets Creek graduates. Principal Phillips briefly reviewed our history as one of the top 20 schools in the state of Florida and then read from the book, C is for Chets Creek which was written by this years' students. Each class wrote a page about the traditions and history of the school.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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!
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.
Monday, January 21, 2008
This Book of the Month has inspired another book in celebration of Chets Creek's Tenth birthday this week, C is for Chets Creek. Each class has been given a letter of the alphabet and the class will use P is for Princess as a model and write a four line verse for their letter, illustrate, and write a history piece. Can't wait to show you the finished book and what kindergarten classes have produced!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
- Does it make sense?
- Look at the pictures
- Get your mouth ready
- Stretch the word
- Point to the words
- Skip it and read on
The morning message reviews many of the skills that the children have worked on previously such as where to find sight words, color and number words in the room; the digraphs th/ ch/ sh/ wh; words with initial blends; punctuation marks such as periods, exclamation marks, and question marks; capitals for beginning sentences, names, and I; and a review of the vocabulary words that the children have been learning all year. After the holiday most kindergarten teachers add quotation marks or "talking marks" to their morning message. As they work on this in Skills Block, they begin to see the children using the "talking marks" in their writing during Writers' Workshop. Children also point them out in their independent reading in Readers' Workshop.
Kindergarten teachers also continue with the last few books of vocabulary (see the word hesitating in the message to the right) in their Skills Block. These lessons, of course, which were developed by the Chets Creek Kindergarten teachers, can be found in the widget to the left of this blog as "Star Vocabulary."
The final activity is usually sounding out 3-4-5 sound words that have short vowels, digraphs and blends - some of the same words that children will need to sound out (segment) as they go into Writers' Workshop and that they will need to blend as they go into Readers' Workshop. Skills Block pulls together all of the skills that we are asking our children to use.
Young Mathematicians at Work: Fractions, Decimals and Percents by Fosnot
Young Mathematicians at Work: Number Sense, Addition and Subtraction by Fosnot
Bringing Words to Life by Beck and MeKeown
The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins
When Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers
The Fluent Reader by Timothy Rasiniski
What a Writer Needs by Ralph Fletcher
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Teaching Science as Inquiry by Carin, Bass and Contant
Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson
Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
First Grade Writers by Stephanie Parsons
The books are laid out for about a week after their introduction so that teachers can thumb through them. Then each educator is asked to sign up for the book of his/her choice. The Principal orders all of the books for the teachers to keep as their own personal copies! The Leadership Team does not lead any of these groups but becomes a member, allowing other teachers opportunities for leadership. These small, more intimate groups provide time for discussion and for teachers on different grade levels to become involved with each other in a new way.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
For example, I have 5 computers in the classroom where I work - enough to individualize for many of my students - enough to have at least one student blogging all day long. However, three have not been working most of the year. Work orders have been called in since September! One of the remaining computers crashed last week, so I'm down to one that works... most of the time - 30 kids - 1 computer.
I am in a county where each teacher is given a laptop computer (of course, new teachers are still waiting for their laptop this year - how frustrating is that?), but I've had mine for a while. I gave it up this year for a stand alone computer because my laptop had gotten so slow. I used to keep a book beside my laptop because I could read a page or two while it performed an operation. As a result most of my computer work has to be done on my home computer. I wonder what teachers do that don't have computers at home...
We were thrilled this year to get document cameras with projectors at our school. Wow - what a difference that has made in our ability to show writing and math work at our Closing meetings. We can easily correct misconceptions. We have also been bringing up interactive games that the children can play during Skills Block. Last week we wanted to show the children our classroom blog, BUT slide.com has been blocked at our school so the pictures won't come up. How disappointing! Children can watch it at home but not at school. (That also means I have to create my blogs at home, not on school time.) When we contacted technology they said it was just too dangerous! Programs like this are reviewed by a Committee and this one has been found to have access to too much inappropriate material.
The point is that I live in a county that is like so many other counties. They want teachers to embrace 21st century technology, but at the same time they want to protect our youngsters (and I certainly understand that!), but the youngsters are so far ahead of us. I was recently talking to a teacher about Webkinz. The teacher explained a virtual world to me that I didn't even know existed. She said she corresponds with about 25 of her students who have their own Webkinz accounts. One of those was a kindergarten student and his mom was surprised when the teacher said she and the child were trading e-mails! Even our youngest children are e-mailing, setting up their own blogs, have their own phones and can text message - by 5th grade. We have fulltime employees watching what we are doing on-line. What a waste of money when everything is blocked. Maybe the money could be better spent figuring out how teachers CAN use the technology that our children already use at home. Let's face it - Most of the programs on the Internet can be "dangerous" if used inappropriately or naively. Would it be better to allow many of the programs that we are afraid of and use them to teach our children appropriate Internet behavior? Or do we just bury our heads in the sand and let them figure it all out on their own?
As we came back to Chets Creek our Kindergarten Pacing Guide said that we should be working on Reading Strategies in Readers' Workshop and on Response to Literature in Writers' Workshop. Our teachers quickly realized that Reading Strategies (such as "looking at the pictures," "getting your mouth ready," "skip and return") are exactly where we should be in Readers' Workshop, but in Writers' we really needed to revisit Narrative. So-o-o-o when you walk into classrooms, what do you see right now?