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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Learning

Some of you have asked for ideas of things to do over the summer to continue the learning and my top requests for summer learning would be to read, to visit lots of great places and spend lots of time enjoying nature. If you still have time for more learning, then here are a few more ideas for summer learning that are in line with our school philosophy. Click on the pictures below to go to the site with more information.

Physical Activity
GoNoodle is the site we use for body breaks. They are hosting a free online summer movement camp.

Expedition - Science and Social Studies

Wonderopolis is available as a website and as an app. This site posts a "wonder" a day with a huge variety of topics and then gives the answer to the question. Answers usually include text to read along with either photographs or a short video clip to help explain the topic more in-depth. Past wonders include:
Why are pandas rare?
Who was Annie Oakley?
Does hand sanitizer really work?
Why are people different colors?
How do you get allergies?
Why do we need trees?
Do fish sleep with their eyes open?

To visit Wonderopolis, click on the picture below.
Wonderopolis is a site filled with interesting articles and videos on a wide range of topics. They are also hosting an online summer camp.

Click here to visit a previous post that included summer reading ideas and booklists.
Click here to learn more about the Bedtime Math website.

Click here to see a list of math games to play to practice basic math facts.

Click here to learn the rules for a fun game to play to practice counting money amounts.


Have your child keep a journal. Things to write about include:
  • their own list of wonders
  • build a Lego structure, a block structure, a fairy garden, a fort or other cool thing and then write a story about the people or creatures who live there
  • a list of books they have read or want to read
  • a few sentences about what they do each day
  • fiction stories about some of their favorite characters
  • research about a topic that they are especially interested in
  • lists of things they love
  • lists of things they dislike  
  • create your own ideas

Our Kidblog page will still be open and available to anyone who would like to write a blog post about their summer adventures. I would also love to receive emails from the crew telling me about their summer activities.

Click on the picture to see some spelling games and ideas.

Online Resources and Games
Click here to visit the websites and games that we played in our classroom this year.
The bottom line for summer learning is to have fun and follow your child's interests. It also helps if you are excited about whatever they choose to do - excitement is contagious. I hope your summer is full of wonderful learning experiences.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Thank You Again!

Today was the final day of Teacher Appreciation Month at Renaissance and boy do I feel appreciated! I loved all of the gifts from you and the crew. You are so kind and thoughtful. My book made me cry. The crew asked me to read it to them and I couldn't even get through the first page. Ms. Debbie, Ashlee's mom, had to step in and take over for me. The notes and thoughts that you and the crew expressed in that book mean so much to me. I will always treasure it and your children. Thank you!

This is the first page that I couldn't get through.

I wanted to show you all what the inside of my book looked like but I couldn't choose a page to share so I just let the book fall open and I used that page. Every page is perfect and I love them all. Thank you.

My Crew

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy some great books with your child.

Our IA next week is Music.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Math Fact Practice - Bonus Post

Today we practiced our 8, 9 and 10 math facts. We learned a strategy to help us with these facts. Since we all find adding 10 to be "easy" we thought about how we could make adding 9 "easy". Our strategy was to think of a problem like 9 + 7 like this: Take one away from the 7 and add it to the 9 to make a ten, then the problem is 10 + 6 and that is "easy". We did the same strategy for adding 8. We first did this using counters and a ten frame but quickly moved into doing this in our head. After that we played a math facts game on our iPads. It is called Math Slide: Addition and Subtraction Facts by Math Adventure. At first we played by ourselves but after some practice, we began to play with friends - up to 4 people can join in a game on an iPad at once. The crew loved it. They made Ms. Wendy and I giggle as we watched their excitement. Ms. Wendy went and grabbed an iPad to film some of the excitement. The growling sound you will hear is actually the beginning of a guttural laugh - no one was harmed in the making of these videos. Enjoy the short videos below. They will make you smile. (If you get this post by email, you will need to go directly to the blog to view the videos.)

Last Collection of Books

We are currently enjoying our last collection of books from the public library. These include joke and riddle books, the Andy series of graphic books (good next step after Elephant and Piggie books), cookbooks, car and bike books, football books, military vehicle books and books about the Titanic. There are books available on every topic out there. Think of a topic your child loves and help them find a book on that topic. It is good to read all kinds of books on all kinds of topics. As Pete the Cat would say, "It's all good!"

The Just Joking series has it all - cool animal photos and facts along with jokes, riddles and tongue twisters.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Practice basic addition and subtraction facts by playing a game either online or offline. Try clicking here, here or here for ideas or suggestions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thank You

I am amazed at what a fantastic group of parents you all are. I need to thank each and every one of you for stepping up and jumping in and volunteering to do so many thankless tasks this year. I have been so lucky this year to have all of your support and help that was given so cheerfully. It has made a huge impact on me and on our whole crew of students. The following list is far from complete but shows you just how much you have all done for our crew this year.
Thank you for:
  • Chaperoning Voyages – which includes so many things from being responsible for kids, carrying gear, being role models, helping kids with gear, helping with meals, giving up some sleep to tend to sick kids and/or homesick kids, bonding with the kids and providing emotional support to kids, teachers and other chaperones
  • Helping with the gear check at home
  • Helping load gear
  • Chaperoning other field work experiences
  • Running classroom parties
  • Sending in supplies to help make the parties a success
  • Doing clerical work for me
  • Coming in to help with students in class
  • Being an audience for students during Writer’s Workshop
  • Belaying for the climbing wall
  • Attending all of the various trainings and meetings
  • Keeping up with all of the many communications sent home
  • Organizing and planning school-wide activities like Life is Art, Teacher Appreciation Day, Boot Camp and more
  • Doing homework with your child and sending them to school each day well prepared and ready to learn
I am sure that this list is not complete but I do want you to know that I am aware of how hard you all work and how much time you put in to make our crew and our school a better place. It has such a positive impact on all of the students and all of us as a crew. Thank you.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Practice basic addition and subtraction facts by playing a game either online or offline. Try clicking here, here or here for ideas or suggestions.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fractions - Bonus Post for Monday

We do an activity called Count Around the Circle frequently in math and during morning meeting. We sit in a circle and count by ones, twos, fives and tens starting at various numbers. Today we tried to do count around the circle while counting using fractional parts. We started with counting by ones, then we counted by halves and finally we counted by fourths. It was fun trying to predict how many wholes we would have after one round of counting around the circle. You can see our counts in the charts in the picture below. After that we solved a problem that involved fractions. The problem was:

Ms. Jill has 10 brownies to share. She is going to share them with Ms. Wendy, Ms, Mary Beth and Ms. Dana. How many brownies will each teacher get? There can't be any leftovers.

We worked on the problem by ourselves first and then with our table group and finally as a whole group. Eizaiah walked us through his way to solve the problem as you will see in the pictures below.

Finally we played a fraction game on our iPads called Pizza Math. We all set goals for ourselves about what level we would play and how many we could get incorrect. We worked hard to reach out goal and then set new goals.

Superhero Day

Today was Superhero Day at Renaissance. Below are a few pictures of our costumes.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Practice basic addition and subtraction facts by playing a game either online or offline. Try clicking here, here or here for ideas or suggestions.

Important Dates
6/3 Last Day of School 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Which One Doesn't Belong?

We tried a new math activity yesterday and we loved it! It was called "Which One Doesn't Belong?" and we had to look at groups of 4 pictures and decide which one didn't belong. We quickly discovered that each group had more than one possible answer for that question. We loved looking carefully at the photos and noticing similarities and differences. I found this activity on Twitter where I follow teachers from all over the world (this is how I met Mrs. Price from Australia). One tweet led to the Which One Doesn't Belong blog where I found the photos that we looked at yesterday (shown below). I am looking forward to creating some of my own photo collections and having the crew try to create some of their own. (If we don't run out of time - there is always so much to do and learn!) Enjoy checking out the photos below and if you like them there are more at the Which One Doesn't Belong blog that are more appropriate for older students and adults. These are great for practicing critical thinking skills.

 On another note, the crew has recently become fascinated with the coding apps on our iPads. We explored them earlier in the year and a few students enjoyed them but now after another recent coding session, so many students are enjoying playing with them and learning a little more about coding. The crew is really open to new ideas and learning right now. They have grown so much! Below is a screen shot that shows the coding apps that we have on our iPads. They are called Daisy the Dino, Kodable and Scratch, Jr. You might want to check these apps out at home.

Our IA next week is Art.

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy some great books with your child.

Memorial Day is Monday - No School