In In reading workshop, our focus has been retelling. Here you see students holding up sticks to help prompt them when retelling a story: beginning (with key details), middle (key details), end (key details), characters, setting and problem and solution. We have been rereading familiar books to us. This will help them with this strategy rather than introduce something brand new. They will feel comfortable and familiar with the story to work on strengthening this skill. Today we even acted a story out: A Visitor for Bear which got lots of laughs! They did a good job of retelling the story with their actions and even helped each other out when parts were missed!
This week we started our word study rotations. I have staggered started them so that each group gets to start their study with me. You will see on the front page of the weebly their focus and some words they came up with that fit that. You will see colored paper (yellow, blue, green and purple) based on their group work. That's just for me, to keep me organized. They will work 4 out of the 5 days with their group and one day they will work with me but I'm checking their work even if they are working without me.
We learned a lot about sharks, white sharks and other species today with during our Skype session with Chris Fischer from OCEARCH. He answered all our questions and more about how they tag the sharks, where the sharks have been moving, the science and healthy behind tagging these huge predators, the stress and wellness that is involved in tagging sharks, the types of sharks they have tagged, about the expeditions and funding as well as how we can help save sharks! It was an epic session! I am on cloud 9! Such a huge fan myself of the organization (and it's pretty much my dream :)) to do what he does (maybe more the science part than the actual catching). Ask your kiddos what they learned!
Just something fun! My parents went to Chicago this weekend to visit my sister and they stopped by the Federal Reserve. Fun fact, my sister has someone who works there so they got to check it out! My mom bought some "Fed Shreds" for me to share with the kids! Lots of fun facts were learned (hopefully they remember one of them). We talked about why they shred money, made some estimates about how much money was in the bag (knowing that was 34 bills), talked about the different between the FBI and the Secret Service (another fun fact, my sister's other friend works for them), what the bank looks like and the word "federal". It was a lot of information ha ha but they loved seeing shredded money and making estimates! :)
Our language arts block is full effect! Each morning I start with a mini lesson, which as I mentioned is retelling. Then students break off to read to self or read to someone (depending on what is directed). They read as I pull groups/individuals to read or work on words with. It can look like a typical reading group above, or working with words (magnets, dry erase boards, sight words everywhere :) , crayons, markers, paper etc), chapter books, vocabulary words, computer work (we are allllllmost there). They are really starting to show more enjoyment and stamina in their reading! Sometimes I catch myself just watching them read and it makes me smile to be able to see that growth live!
In writing, we start out the same way with a mini lesson. We are still talking about personal narratives. Now we are making sure that we really plan out what we are going to say, and make sure it's a story and not a sentence. We also introduced sharing out our stories. I have had a few kids at the end of writer's workshop share out their stories. After they are done, we give silent cheers as well as offer and compliments or suggestions. We are very much in the compliment stage :) but we will get there on suggestions with some more modeling and practice!
Word study follows. Next week we are going to start rotations! I think they have had a good set up and practice on how to complete each activity and can work on this in small groups based on their needs. So you will see colored paper going home based on their groups. I will also post on the front of the weebly each group colors "hunk and chunk" and color!
Our study for the next few weeks will be spiders! AH! Now, I personally am not the biggest fan of spiders, although I do not kill them, I take them outside, but still yuck! So I am braving through and we are going to learn about spiders. We will compare and contrast spiders and insects as well as learn their body parts and what they use them form. We will talk about habitats, how they get food (different from what they might think!) and other fun facts!
You will notice when their nonfiction writing comes home, it says "insects" and we will talk about why that's wrong and b/c that was the best paper to guide our notes ha ha!
We will also do an opinion piece about if they would kill a spider and why? They have to support their opinion with reason and facts. This will be our first bit on opinion writing so it'll be a good base line for me to see where they are at. Plus it'll be a fun share out!
Get ready to be scared, grossed out or maybe pleasantly surprised with some these spider facts!
This week we are starting to work on orally retelling a story. We talked about how reading can be for fun or for learning or both! But in order to enjoy and learn from reading, we need to remember it! So we are going to read The Gingerbread Man and various versions of that story. A repetitive story will be beneficial for starting out retellings. We will go through each story element (beginning, middle and end), characters and setting. This is something that we will really dig into now (longer unit) and then continue to see/use in other areas of study.
Some things you can be doing at home is checking in when they are reading or maybe after and see if they can orally retell you what happened. Eventually, they will work on writing their retelling. Some students may be ready before others, no worries! Even if you are reading at home to your child, you can still check in to see if they understand and can recall the story.
This week we will practice focusing on characters and quick partner retellings.
I was reflecting the other night on various things and I started thinking (which is a bit easier for me to do b/c no one bothers me when I'm home ;), why do I love to cook and bake? Why do I love to read? Why do I clean exactly like my mom, when I SWORE that once I left home I would never clean that much nor clean ridiculous things like baseboards. I mean baseboards? Come on. But guess what, I cook just like my dad (he's the cook in the fam) and I clean EXACTLY like my mom and I love to read.
I attribute my love for cooking and reading from my mom and dad. They let me in the kitchen to watch and observe throughout my years. Sometimes I was invited to help, other times just to "set the table" (one of my dumb chores). But I was usually in there, watching, listening, reading recipes. I cut tomatoes and onions a very specific way from watching and listening to my dad. I love to read because I watched my dad and mom read and read to us. My mom shockingly, does not like to read books, but I saw her read magazines, newspapers and recipes. My dad is like me is constantly reading. Books all over the house. So I watched and observed what, how, where they read.
Observation is one of the best ways to learn something. And what do kids do more than anything? Watch us. Listen to us, sometimes to our chargrin! They are sponges soaking up the environment around them. They always ask me, "How do you know that?" or "But why?". They ask questions constantly. Sometimes I find myself saying, "What?! What?! What?!" and then I think, step back, they are curious. Just like we all were as kids and even now as adults! We just have more background knowledge to infer and problem solve ourselves (and the invention of the Google ;)).
So yes, I know kids can sometimes make the process in the kitchen, yard, laundry room, reading/free time often much more annoying, slower or messy, but think of all the learning going on! All that wonderful knowledge, love and life skills they are picking up from you!
Let them ask all those questions. Show them the answers. Read them stories, recipes, articles. Let them try things and fail. Let them make a mess (sometimes). Give them books, videos, podcasts, apps!
I just wanted to share my thoughts and hopefully you had some reflections of your own!