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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crew News November 30, 2011

During our phonics time we have been working on tricky letter combinations like sh, ch, th, wh, ph, kn, wr and qu. This week we began working on vowels and their various sounds and roles in words. Vowels are very tricky so we will be spending some time working with them.

Our Heights
Below is a graph of our heights in inches that we made yesterday. I wanted to share it with you because I have never had such a huge range of heights before. As you look at the graph, know that we measured to the nearest inch and I always rounded down (if rounding was necessary) because we will measure our heights again later in the year and everyone wants to see that they have grown - rounding down will give some of them a little boost later.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.8 Telling Time

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crew News November 29, 2011

Sight Words and Handwriting
Up to this point in the year we have been focusing on correct letter formation by practicing one letter a day. Now we are practicing our letter formation by writing some sight words - words we need to know quickly by sight. Most of us can read these words easily but we still need to practice writing and spelling them so we are getting that practice during our handwriting time. We work on 5 words at a time. Currently we are working on the words: don't, I'm, one, out and him. We post these words on the wall as we learn them so we can refer to them when we are writing if we need to double check our spelling.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.7 Domino Dots

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crew News November 28, 2011

Measuring with Tape Measures
Today we practiced measuring with tape measures. We took turns measuring each other. We measured around our heads, wrists, ankles and elbows. It was a lot of fun.

Book Fair Books for our Classroom Library
While the book fair was here several of our crew members bought books for our classroom library. We have been reading one book a day and really enjoying the stories. Thanks to the following people for the following books:
Brek - Pip and Squeak
Doran - Hibernation Station
Ava - The Busy Tree
Nico - Interrupting Chicken
Morgan - Cool Dog, School Dog
Probsdorfer Family (family of a former 1st grader and staunch REMS supporters) - Ten on the Sled

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.6 Measuring Tools

Paper Towel Rolls Needed
We will be making number scrolls in Math soon and we need some empty paper towel rolls to store them in. If you have any empty paper towel rolls at your house, we would love to have them. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crew News November 22, 2011

Even though this was a short week, we learned a lot. On Monday we watched a short video of a Chinese family preparing a New Year's meal and then we tasted some dried seaweed. Today we talked about chopsticks and then we practiced using them by moving small pieces of a sponge from one side of our desk to another.

New Tools
We have two new tools to use in our classroom. We are using our new ipads as another blogging tool. Soon we will learn to use the ShowMe app and the Screen Chomp app to share our explanations of things we are learning. Stay tuned for more details.

Happy Thanksgiving
Enjoy the long weekend with your family. I am so thankful for our wonderful crew, all of you and the pleasure of working with you all.

Message from Ms. Deborah
Honoring Teachers:
Confusions around the process of nominating teachers:
The Apple Award nomination process has been confusing. As parents, this is an opportunity for you to honor any or all teachers.  The number of nominations a teacher receives is not important, and is not the way the Apple Award Teacher is selected.
Nominating teachers (as many as you like!) is a wonderful way to provide teachers with the recognition they so richly deserve.

How nominated teachers find out:
In the spring, those teachers who had a nomination will receive a beautifully embossed Apple Award certificate.

Renaissance Apple Award Representative:
As a school we select a teacher to represent Renaissance at the Apple Award Ceremony. We make that selection as a staff team andparent nominations are separate from this process. Mary Sue Gulick will be our school representative this year!

The deadline has been extended through Sunday, November 27th
Please take a moment and nominate all the teachers at Renaissance who enrich the life of your child!

Ms. Deborah

No homework for the long weekend. Enjoys some good books with your child.

Our IA next week is Art.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Crew News November 21, 2011

Math Challenge
Below are a couple of fun games if you are looking for a math challenge for your child. One of them is also a fun game to play in the car. Enjoy!

Race To 20

You need a partner. Take turns. On your turn, you may count one or two numbers. So the first person says: "1" or "1,2." And the second person continues with one or two more numbers. The player who says "20" wins.
This is a game for two players. You need 21 objects - beans, pennies, buttons, legos, etc. Players take turns removing one object or two objects from the pile. Play until all objects have been taken. The last object to be removed is considered to be the poison. Whoever gets stuck taking it loses.
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.5 Measuring with a Ruler

Reminder from the Front Office:
Apple AwardsThe 2012 Apple Awards Nomination Window is Now Open.
The Douglas County Educational Foundation (DCEF), in cooperation with the Douglas County School District (DCSD) and Douglas County Federation (DCF), is pleased to announce the nomination window for the Apple Awards will be open through November 23rd. 

Students, parents, employees, and community members are encouraged to nominate an outstanding Douglas County School District teacher for these prestigious awards.  

Each year, as a crew, we nominate a teacher to represent Renaissance at the Apple Awards; this year we are nominating Ms. MarySue Gulick, Discovery 2/3 teacher.  You are welcome to help us nominate Ms. MarySue or add your own nomination.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Isadora!

Crew News November 18, 2011

Math Exchanges
Recently in math we have started something called Math Exchanges. The term math exchanges was coined by a math teacher named Kassia Omohundro Wedekind. During a math exchange, students work collaboratively on a math problem and exchange ideas and information about what might work to solve the problem. We meet with the students in groups of 4 and work together to solve problems like this:

Our crew parent is making muffins for our Halloween breakfast. She made 28 muffins. She decided to bring them to school in boxes. Each box will hold 10 muffins. How many boxes will our crew parent need?
Doing math exchanges has really brought some excitement to our math time. Students are either meeting with Ms. Dee or I in a group, working on math games on the computer, or playing math games with a partner or small group. Having taught grades 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 (including Algebra), I know that being able to solve this type of problem and think mathematically is so very important to the future math success of our crew. Thankfully, this is not their concern - they just think it is fun. Feel free to drop in on a Friday during our math exchange time from 12:45 - 2:00. You will be sure to be pulled right into the excitement.

Art Blog
Be sure to drop by Ms. Pam's blog to learn all about what is going on in Art. I have a link to her blog on the right hand side of of our crew blog so you can drop by any time. Be sure to check it out: 


No homework for the weekend. Enjoy a few good books with your child.

Our IA next week is PE. Please help your child remember to wear appropriate footwear.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crew News November 17, 2011

Our reading time is divided up into several parts: whole group, small groups and individual learning time. We learn different things during each of these times. During the whole group time we learn those things that are the bigger parts of the first grade curriculum or are things that all students need to learnFor example, right now we are doing a unit on retelling a story you have read. We are learning to remember to include the character's names, the setting and the important events from the plot. We will soon move on to summary retelling which is a more general retelling and gives only the most important details of a story. During small groups, students are grouped together with others who need to learn the same things that they do. Each group is learning different skills. Some skills that groups may be working on could include decoding skills, sight words, comprehension, fluency, a specific genre study (like folktales and plays) and many other things. The last type of learning during reading is independent learning time. During this time students read "just right" books while Ms. Dee and I come around and confer with them about specific things that they need to be working on while they are reading. All of these parts combine together to provide each child with exactly those things that will help them continue to grow as a reader.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.4 Measuring with Inches

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Steyn!

Crew News November 16, 2011

Voice Thread
You have all seen the Voice Thread that we created with pictures from our recent climbing experience. We have been adding comments to the pictures during our time on the the computer. Each child has an "identity" in our Voice Thread account and can make comments on any picture in the thread. They love to do this. At this point they can't access their "identity" from home. You can, however, create a free Voice Thread account (at www.voicethread.com) for your family and have different identities there. Then all of you could add a voice comment to any of our voice threads. But this is only if you are all interested in doing this. Below is our climbing Voice Thread if you are interested in viewing the comments. (Go directly to the blog to view it if you are getting this post in your email.)

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.3 The Foot-Long Foot

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crew News November 15, 2011

Guest Speaker
Yesterday we had a guest speaker during our Expedition time. Ms. Naomi, a friend of Ms. Mary Beth's, came to talk to us about the years that she lived in China. She taught us how to count to 10 in Mandarin and how to show each number with your fingers on one hand.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.2 Measuring with Hand Spans

Monday, November 14, 2011

Crew News November 14, 2011

We are blogging! Each student in our crew now has their own blog. They are all very excited about this so I am sure that you have heard all about it by now. Many of them are even blogging from home. I love this because it shows just how excited they are about it. All of their posts and comments on their posts are moderated by me. This means that nothing gets published to the internet without my approval. We would love to have some comments from you all. Please feel free to visit our blog site and comment on any blog - not just your child's blog. Remember, all comments are moderated by me so your comment won't show up until I approve it. This just keeps advertisements and junk messages off of our site. Below are a few facts about our new blogging experience that I thought you might be interested in:

• My purposes for introducing blogging were to: increase the motivation to write, provide the students with an authentic audience for their writing, allow for conversations about and feedback on their writing through comments, make connections with others, have a place to share their thoughts and ideas and learn some basic computer literacy skills. I believe we are meeting these purposes and more.
• I purposely taught the students just the basic things that they would need to know in order to navigate around in Kidblogs and to create a new post. I hope that they will begin to explore and learn on their own and then teach each other. We will also have brief sessions on new features that they can try on their blogs as time goes on.

• There are still many more things I would like to do with our blogs but I am going to let the process evolve naturally so I am not sure how many of these we will accomplish. Things I would like to do include: learn to add comments, have students take pictures at school to add to their blogs (I am looking for a site to host our pictures that is not blocked at school because we don't have much storage space on our Kidblogs site), connect with another first grade class from another part of the country or world that blogs and read each others’ blogs and comment (I know of several classes we could eventually connect with), learn to embed video (still working on a host site), create posts with a specific content related purpose, do more peer editing before we publish and so on.

Feel free to drop by our crew blogs and learn more about us and add a comment or two. You can get to our blogs on the Resources page of this blog. Click on Kidblogs once you are there. Or you can go directly to this link:


The Book Fair is Here!

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.1 Reading Thermometers

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crew News November 11, 2011

Glimpses Into Our Day
 Jonah is deep into his book.

 Lulu loves the monkey bars.

 Brandon and Jonah use their muscles in the new digging pit.

 Isabella starts a hole in the digging pit.

 Look how deep they have dug - well, with lots of help from lots of kids.
 Keanan enjoys some fresh air.

 Peyton and Keenan hang out together at recess.

 Just look at that smile!

 Doran - just hanging around.

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy a few good books with your child.

Our IA next week is Music.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Kate!

Crew News November 10, 2011

Glimpses Into Our Day

Steyn gives Ms. Dee a hand and puts away all of the Thursday Folders.

Sydney shows she is a good listener during Morning Meeting.

Tessa and Tori do some buddy reading.

Joey makes a plan before she begins to build letters.

Lili reads a great book to me during reading group.

Zak works hard on his first blog post.

Myles and Dillen listen to a great book about whales and sharks.

Isadora works on an illustration for her story.

Mark ponders his ideas for his first blog post.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 3.15 Unit 4: Family Letter ~ Measurement and Basic Facts

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crew News November 9, 2011

Glimpses Into Our Day
 Doran went through his old books and found some to donate to our classroom library. Thanks, Doran!

 Will notices the similarities between his name and mine.

 Will makes the name of our beloved educational assistant.

 Cole sorts his dominoes into piles of even and odd numbers.

 Darrell and Isabella play Domino Top-It.

 Brek and Nico concentrate as they work in their Math Journal.

Kayden does her best writing on a letter for her Mom.

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to bring back his or her books so that they can check out new books.

Discovery Program
If any of you have decided to apply for the Discovery program after attending last night's informational meeting, please let me know and send in the forms that I need to complete. Thanks.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 3.14 Domino Top-It