The last couple of weeks we have had many kids absent.  The whole school seems to battling colds, pink eye, strep throat, and a stomach virus of some sort.  I am feeling bad for the custodians as they are having to clean up lots of vomit lately.  We are using Clorox wipes or Lysol wipes daily to keep the sickness at a minimum.  I am constantly reminding the kids to wash their hands.  However, I am still catching some kids putting their breakfast food on the table, without laying it on a napkin or anything.  I even saw a poor defenseless string cheese laying without a wrapper on the table, getting infected with all kinds of germs, I am sure!  Teachers are also strongly encouraging kids to just go to the bathroom if they think they are going to be sick.  They do not need to come to us first and ask permission.  A few days ago that caused a great mess that almost landed all over me.

Okay, enough talk about that.  Students have been busily working on essays.  They are writing about something they want to do over Spring Break.  Students are working hard to stay organized using boxes & bullets and sticky notes.  This first essay that the students are writing is a very guided one.  We all have the same topic and I am modeling every step of the way.  The next essay, however, students are going to be able to pick their own topic, and they will have to apply what they have learned this time around to their next essay.  One of them will be shared with parents at Student Led Conferences that are coming up on March 22.
Megan B.'s Writer's Notebook organized with sticky notes.
The list we made as a class
    This week students' word sorts all include prefixes.  We did an activity in class to introduce the word sorts and to get the kids thinking.  Students worked in groups of six to write on three big pieces of paper all the words that they could think of that begin with the prefixes re, dis, and un.  Students did a good job discussing with each other words that belonged on the pieces of paper.  Discussions needed to take place about words like under because even though the words begins with un, it is not a prefix for the word der.  Der is not a word.  It was great to listen to the students think out loud with each other as they decided what should be written down.  After groups had time to write on their papers, we did a whole class share as I copied down some of their ideas. Students then talked with people at their table about what each prefix does to the base or root word.  What happens to the meaning of the word when you add the letters re to it?   This week's sort is going to be simple. . . they may get their fastest time yet in speed sorting, but the spelling may be a little challenging for some.
    Ask your child if he/she can come up with more words that begin with the prefixes re, dis, or un.  They can even add them into the comments of this post!  Let's see how many we can get!!!

And don't forget to keep checking under Book Reviews to see what we have been reading in class!

Check out the Book Review page for some of the students' reviews.  Check back, as more will be added in the next few days!
I love Alliteration!  Alliteration is the repetition of the same beginning sounds in a series of words.  I used the example of "I chewed a chunk of cheddar cheese" and we discussed how it is the same sound, but not necessarily the same letter.  For example "fabulous phone" is alliteration because both words begin with the same sound.  We discussed how Meijers often advertises a "Super Saturday Sale" and how many commercials and ads use alliteration.  Have your child be on the look out for those!
    We first used our names and a verb, so I could see if the students understood what alliteration is.  There were just a couple that were trying to rhyme the end sounds instead of focusing on the beginning sounds.  My class had it and then had time to write sentences with alliteration. They wrote them on sentence strips that will hang all over our classroom.   Here are some examples of what they came up with:
  • Posty pops popcorn
  • Whales whine wildly while by windows
  • Megan Maye makes muffins with magic strawberries.
  • David Dobson destroys dinosaurs with dynamite while dancing.
  • Braxton bakes burgers.
  • Megan makes marmalade muffins.  Mmmmm!
  • Caleb crushes cows.
  • Trinity travels on train tracks.
  • Sam sucks skittles.
  • Tyler trudged through the thin tunnel.
  • Carson the cow ate Carly the crying cat inside the car.
  • Calvin crushes coconuts with coke.
  • Gary giggles with google eyes.
  • Peter plays the piano.
  • Taylor the tailor twirls in a tunnel while talking too much!
  • Boom box goes boom.
  • The pink cat pounces on the precious purple pitter patter mouse.
  • Caleb crashes while kicking cruising cars.
  • Dolphins dance with dynamite.
  • Megan Maye makes meatloaf with meat.
  • Godzilla gulps Gary the gorilla.
  • Abbie's an actor.
  • Jupiter Joe jumps across Jupiters Jiggity Jaggidy uneven jungle vines.
  • Madeline makes meatloaf merrily.
  • May makes marvelous muffins.

Thirty kids passing out valentines!
We had a busy and wonderful Valentine's Day!  It started off by leaving for our last trip to pool school first thing in the morning.  After we arrived back at school, the students went right to recess and lunch.  We then made our valentine holders and then passed out our valentines before heading to library.  After library we feasted on tasty treats.  Before we knew it, it was time to head home.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to our class celebration.
    We also have been keeping an eye on our eagle friends in Iowa.  If you get a chance, check them out here!

     I was out of the classroom yesterday due to my daughter being sick.  When I returned this morning to a wonderful note from the guest teacher, I was so proud of your children.  The sub wrote a note to me and on that note she stated, "This is by far the best classroom I have been in this year!  I would love to come back any time you need me."  I was so relieved, so proud, and so excited to share this news with the students.  Even though I was bummed to miss a pool school day, I was so glad that the day went smoothly.  It helps knowing things are running smoothly when I am home with a very sick 3 year old.  We are going to celebrate this exciting news with a frisbee fight!!  If you are not familiar with our frisbee fights, ask your child what they are all about!
The poster (from Really Good Stuff) that hangs in our room.
     We have been using and referring to this poster as we read the autobiography Author: A True Story and the paragraphs that we edit every week.  Ask your child what P.I.E. stands for.  Hopefully, you will be told that the P stands for persuade. The I stands for inform and the E stands for entertain.  What was the purpose of our letters to Mr. Henderson?  What was the purpose of our fables?  Ask your child about the author's purpose as different texts and stories come home.  Every night as your child does his/her reading homework, ask what the author's purpose is for the book that is being read.    It's as easy as pie!

For your information-
A new dental program for Medicaid covered children began on Feb. 1st, 2012.  The program is called Healthy Kids Dental and is administered by Delta Dental for Medicaid covered children up to age 21.  Children who are enrolled in Medicaid will receive a Healthy Kids Dental card in the mail which will need to be brought into the dental office at each visit. Most of the dental offices in Muskegon county will accept this dental card for treatment. Along with sending the card in the mail, Delta Dental will send a handbook and a list of participating dental offices.




     After we read a non-fiction story about penguins and practiced finding the main ideas and details of paragraphs, some of us made these penguins out or torn pieces of construction paper. 
     They turned out so cute and the people in our main office are really enjoying them.  Mrs. Ohman and Mrs. Hedrick said that many people who visit the office are enjoying them, too.  We will have to think of something for springtime soon!

The bulletin board in our main office
Students sharpened their pencils and used their best handwriting as they started their final copies of their fables.  On Monday, students will have the opportunity to read their fables to the class while they use the document camera to show their illustrations and the microphone to read their fable.  They should feel so proud of their hard work!

rough draft, sloppy copy to final draft, neat copy
In reading we have been working on identifying if a sentence is a fact or an opinion.  I read aloud If You Decide to go to the Moon and as a class we sorted sentences into fact and opinion columns.  Then we read a  kids' website about Mars and students had to sort sentences into facts or opinions with the rest of the kids at their tables.  The discussions were wonderful to listen to.  I heard "it is an opinion because it says 'may still' which means it hasn't been proven."  I also heard "it says 'fascinating' and some people might not think it is fascinating."  One table had to take a vote on a sentence strip because some thought it was fact and some thought it was opinion.  A class discussion was used to explain if each strip was fact or opinion.
    Students just wouldn't believe me when i said that it is a fact that cheese is the best food in the world.  They were very persuasive in telling me why that was an opinion.  I just don't see how someone cannot like cheese!?  I told the students that next to the word cheese in the dictionary it states, "The best food in the world," but they didn't buy that either!

    Before students could write a fable, we needed to read many of them.  Wet read a bunch of fables and discussed they they all had animals talking and acting like people, and that fables have a moral or lesson.  Students made a story map of a fable we read together, and then they made a story map for the fable that they were going to write.  Students enjoyed coming up with their animal characters.  Rough draft writing followed after that.  We then reviewed how the fable was going to be graded by looking at a rubric.  I showed students samples of fables from previous years and they held up their fingers showing me what grade they would give that student.  We discussed what made the fable receive that grade. 
    Students then had to fill out the sheet below using the bulletin board samples and rubric as a guide.  I loved having the students reflect on their own writing and thinking of ways that they could make their fables even better!
    After revising and editing their fables with a partner, students began writing their final copies.  Student will soon have the opportunity to share these with the class.  I cannot wait to read all of them!