Don’t Forget to RSVP for Field Day and Pastries with Parents

May 4-8, 2015

Since it is getting hotter, please remember: flip flops are not allowed. Students need to have a strap on their sandals and tennis shoes are still the preferred shoe for playground safety. Also, spaghetti strap shirts and/or dresses are against school dress code. Please remember shorts should also be worn under dresses and/or skirts. Thank you so much for your cooperation in helping your child be properly dressed for school.

Upcoming Dates:

May 13th: K is having a puppeteer visit our classroom.

May 25: Memorial Day: No School

May 26th: Field Day at GES

May 27: Field Trip to Alvis Farm and Hidden Rock Park: Please don’t forget to return your child’s permission form quickly so we know how many to expect. The cost of the trip is $7 per student. I already have my allotted chaperones riding the bus so anyone else wishing to chaperone will need to drive separately and pay $3 per person for lunch. ALL CHAPERONES MUST COMPLETE THE NECESSARY BACKGROUND CHECK THROUGH CENTRAL OFFICE. We will be leaving school at 9:45am and returning around 3:00pm.

May 29: Pastries with Parents, 8:30am. Please rsvp to this event soon. Students will be singing song to parents, and we will have special gifts for parents. Students will also receive their kindergarten certificates on this day. There is not a kindergarten graduation, but a time to showcase how much we love our families. There will also be a class slideshow immediately following in our room. We hope you can join us!

May 29th: Last day of school, 1:00 dismissal

 

Math:

learning about fractions

making fraction pizzas

reviewing adding coins

 

Language Arts:

Fundations Unit 5, week 4: We will not be sending home anymore Fundations homework this year.

spring journal writing

learning how to draw animal and writing good sentences about them

 

Science:

learning about animal groups: fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects

 

Social Studies:

practicing our songs for Pastries for Parents Day

 

 

First Week of May

May 4-8, 2015

Upcoming Dates:

May 25: Memorial Day: No School

May 27: Field Trip to Alvis Farm and Hidden Rock Park: Permission forms going home this week. Please return form and $7 to cover cost of trip. Chaperones riding the bus will need to pay $7. Chaperones may also drive separately and pay $3 per person for lunch. ALL CHAPERONES MUST COMPLETE THE NECESSARY BACKGROUND CHECK THROUGH CENTRAL OFFICE. We will be leaving school at 9:45am and returning around 3:00pm.

May 29: Pastries with Parents, 8:30am. Last day of school, 1:00 dismissal

 

Math:

adding coins

design our own coin engineering

 

Language Arts:

Fundations Unit 5, week 3

Writing thank you letters

spring journal writing

 

Science:

living/non-living

learning about animal groups

 

Social Studies:

community helpers continued

 

 

Earth Day Extended Celebration

Last Friday and today, Ms. Kass and I took the students in her Science classes outside to do a little exploration of our environment. In a scavenger hunt type activity, we made a list of concepts the kids have studied during the year and went outside to look for examples. We looked for stages of life cycles, evidence of the water cycle, erosion, pollution, and documented the organisms in our ecosystem. Over the next few days, students will share the images they made with their iPad cameras in a Schoology class discussion. We will discuss what we found, and if we have a chance, we will make a plan to clean up the substantial amount of trash we found in the woods.

Here are a few of the pictures I made of during our outings of little things the students found.

Soldier beetle

Lichen and moss

Toad

Grasshopper

Sawfly larvae

Damselfly

 

Picture Money Due, Thursday, April 30

April 27-May 1, 2015

Upcoming Dates:

April 30th: GES Talent Show, 6:30pm, Interims Go Home

Please return Strawbridge pictures and/or money by Thursday.

 

Math:

addition and subtraction

money review

counting to 100

positional words

 

Language Arts:

Fundations Unit 5, week 2

sight word drills

reading for comprehension skills

 

Science:

life cycle of plants

learning about earthworms

 

Social Studies:

community helpers

making doctor’s bags and policeman vests

 

Mark Your Calendars:

May 25: Memorial Day: no school

May 27: Field Trip to Alvis Farm and Hidden Rock Park and End of the Year Get Together

May 29th: Last Day of School, Pastries with Parents, 8:30am

 

Stop Motion Cells

Mr. Summitt’s students have been learning about mitosis and they have put together really nice animations using their iPads. I have edited four of my favorite animations turned in through Schoology into a single movie.

Watch these cells divide and learn.

 

Purposeful PBL

Yesterday I walked into Mr. Rooke’s room to do something menial and simple. I walked away awed and inspired, and with a sense that we really are making a difference in our schools.

Mr. Rooke, our very deserving Teacher Of the Year, has a very non-traditional way of teaching Spanish. I’ve never seen his students filling out worksheets. I’ve never heard his students complain about unfair amounts of work, boring lessons, or tough tests. Mr. Rooke’s students go on to perform outstandingly in advanced Spanish classes, genuinely like Mr. Rooke, and treat him with the utmost respect. Mr. Rooke embeds language learning into study units that are of personal interest to the students, and that is what we discussed when I was in his room yesterday.

Students have been learning about Central America through movies, novels, and classroom discussions. They have learned about the role of poverty in the civil wars of the 1980′s, and the effects of intervention by outside powers such as the United States and the Soviet Union. Recently, they have been discussing MS-13, a violent gang that traces its origins to refugees from the civil war in El Salvador.

So, as the students are learning Spanish, they are also becoming aware of recent cultural and political events that are not covered in traditional Social Studies classes, and they are becoming very aware of how interconnected our world is. They are also learning about real people involved in events, not just learning about events in an abstract manner. This personal connection is crucial.

To reinforce these connections and foster empathy, Mr. Rooke has added another dimension to the learning. He has funds in an account with Kiva.org that the kids will award to applicants for microfinancing. To decide who gets the funds, students have selected loan applicants to research.  They are using Explain Everything and other tools on their iPads to prepare Shark Tank-style presentations for their peers. Then, as a class, they will vote on the top applicants and award the funds to them. When the loans are repaid, probably next year, the next group of students will be ready to evaluate a new set of loan applicants.

This project embodies everything I’ve always imagined for our G21 initiative. It is about the kind of learning that is not for the test. They are learning about people who live in places they have never even heard of. They are learning about the reality of life in these places. They are becoming aware of their privileged lives as citizens of the United States, and of the power and responsibility that comes with that privilege. The kids will always be able to point to this time in their lives when, as a class, they made someone’s life better. 

UPDATE: If you would like to help the students fund additional Kiva micro loans, make a donation at their GoFundMe site.

April 20-25

This week:

Fundations, Unit 5, week 1

Language Arts

reading for fluency and comprehension

tapping sounds

spelling three letter words

digraphs and blends

Math:

subtraction

adding money: nickels and pennies

using a calculator

Science:

Life cycle of plants

Earth Day

Social Studies:

community helpers

Learning On the James

This week we celebrate Earth Day, and our 6th grade students have spent the past few weeks learning about wildlife and water quality on the James River. Last Friday I joined the last group to participate in a field trip to Presquile National Wildlife Refuge.

We had perfect weather for outdoor learning, and the docents did an excellent job of engaging all students in learning. From sturgeon to solar energy, we learned about research, restoration, and protection. We discussed Kepone and its effects 40 years after news of health problems emerged. We learned about LEED building certifications and how they help keep Presquile clean and comfortable. Most of all, we had engaging conversations about the importance of the James River for all of us.

Over the next few days, I will be working with the 6th grade team to incorporate what we brought back from our field trip into our Earth Day celebration plans.

Presquile, a former peninsula, is now an island and a wildlife refuge.

Learning about blue catfish, an invasive bottom-feeding species.

An adult Chironomid fly. Its aquatic larvae are an important source of food for fish.

Pulling in a net, hoping for fish.

Pink and green grasshopper hiding in the tall grass.

Enjoy Your Spring Break!

April 13-17, 2015

I hope each and everyone of you enjoy your break and have a relaxing time! Here is what we hope to accomplish the week we get back.

 

A special thanks to all who sent in candy for our candy hunt.

Upcoming dates:

April 30th: GES Talent Show

 

Math:

addition

starting subtraction

money review

time review

 

Language Arts:

Fundations Unit 4, week 4

sight word drills

spelling CVC words-focusing each day on a different short vowel

digraphs: sh, th, ch, wh, ck

comprehension skills

sequencing a story

retelling a story

 

Science:

life cycle of a butterfly

making caterpillars and butterflies

 

 

Social Studies:

reviewing 7 Habits of Happy Kids

 

Guest Readers: Our guest readers have been doing a fabulous job reading to the class. Let me know if your child changes his/her mind and would like to participate. Being a guest reader is totally optional.

 

Also, please don’t forget your child needs a snack everyday and should return his/her reading book each week, preferably on the very next day.

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Book

Ms. Thomas’s students have been reading the play based on the Diary of Anne Frank. To better understand why the Frank family was hiding, students researched other events recognized as genocides. Each student taught the class the causes, events, and outcomes of each genocide. I’m sitting in class right now listening to presentations on the Holodomor, Armenian genocide, and Australia’s lost generation.  The questions the students bring up prove they are listening and they are interested. What was the global response? How does this genocide affect global politics today? What are the survivors doing now? How did governments managed to hide what they were doing? Why didn’t they fight back? The presenters are answering, but the class is actively discussing, citing current and historical events. I’m very impressed.

These kids are connecting all sorts of things: Malala Yousafzai’s story, ISIS, current fighting in Ukraine, redrawn borders after World War I, Al Shabaab, the Trail of Tears…

The conversations are great. This might not be covered by an standards, but these kids will always remember this activity and will have a very different awareness of the world for as long as they live.

Of course, I’m also very happy the kids used Google Slides  and cited all their works properly. Beautiful work, Ms. Thomas and kids.

Fix Your Mail App

Many of our teachers have been reporting that they are unable to send messages using the Mail app in Snow Leopard. Here is a video showing what needs to be fixed. If you need any additional help, please let me know.

PBL and Cross-Curricular Connections

A few weeks ago I interviewed Ms. Kass and Ms. Krickovic to highlight what was going on in their classrooms. Both teachers told me about projects that let students publish their work based on research using Schoology as a platform for discussion and collaboration among students.

There are many overlapping aspects to these two projects, and now that the teachers have had the opportunity to reflect upon the results, they are making plans to make this a cross-curricular project next year.

 

Please Donate Candy for Our Hunt

March 30-April 3, 2015

Upcoming dates:

 

April 3rd: no ice cream today! Candy Hunt and party, 2:30pm. Please do not forget to send in bags of individually wrapped candy. No peanuts or tree nut products please!

 

April 6-10, 2015: Spring Break: Hope you have some quality family time together!

 

 

Math:

addition

working through story problems

skip counting and counting to 100 review

 

Language Arts:

Fundations Unit 4, week 3

sight word drills

spelling CVC words-focusing each day on a different short vowel

digraphs: sh, th, ch, wh, ck

comprehension skills

sequencing a story

retelling a story

 

Science:

life cycle of chickens

 

Social Studies:

making an Egg tree

spring trees

bunny story writiing

 

Guest Readers: Don’t forget, we will no longer have show and tell. Various student readers will be reading to the class during that time. Thanks for allowing your child time to practice reading fluently.

 

 

 

 

Parents in Schoology

For a few weeks now, I’ve been getting complaints about the Schoology logo on the GCPS homepage linking to the “wrong” Schoology website. The link is not wrong. We linked to the non-Goochland Schooloyg page on purpose.

When parents log in to Schoology, they do so from the non-Goochland page. We are hoping more parents will do more than dip their toes in Schoology and embrace the tool as a main avenue for information to flow between home and school.

If you have not already done so, please share access codes with your student’s parents. The codes are easily accessible from the Members section of any of your courses. Parents can learn all about registering and keeping up with their children on the Schoology help page. They can even sign up for email alerts any time their children have overdue assignments.

American Legion

Goochland American Legion Post 215 will sponsor a mini-parade for boys and girls under twelve years of age at 9 AM prior to our traditional Memorial Day services. Each participant will receive an American flag and instruction on basic military marching commands. Dress is white blouses and tan skirts for girls and white shirts and tan pants for boys.
We view this as an opportunity for young people to reflect on the sacrifices our departed veterans have made to protect our freedoms and way of life.
Would you kindly make your faculty, staff, students and parents aware of this event and keep us informed of the likely number of participants?

Active, Engaged Math

“Well, of course you can do that in (fill any subject). Math is different.”

“I can’t use that tool if it does not have a built-in equation editor.”

“I don’t have time for that. My students need to practice solving math problems.”

I can hear these things a million times. I still don’t believe them. Here’s proof that we can have relevant, real-world, engaging learning activities in math class. And these are just three examples.

Cathy Yenca’s blog

Robert Kaplinsky’s lesson ideas

Mr. Orr’s blog

 

Teacher Dashboard Update

At the end of the month, Teacher Dashboard will transition to a new and improved version of itself. You can switch to the new version now, or wait until the change is automatic.

Here are the most important changes to keep in mind. 

  1. Update your bookmarks. You will log into Teacher Dashboard at a new URL
  2. You can now rename your classes so they are easier to identify.
  3. You can group your students and students can belong to multiple groups. This group structure can mirror groups within classes in Schoology.
  4. You can now share multiple documents at one time using Smart Copy, which is now called Smart Share. This button is also found along the left side of the screen rather than at the top left corner.
  5. You can now share documents with multiple classes or groups at one time.
  6. Teacher Dashboard will now generate a random string when resetting passwords. If you do not want to assign a random string of characters as a password, you can still type your own. Please remember not to reset passwords unless the student is requesting this in person, and always check the “reset password on login” box to help us maintain a secure environment.

I’ve created a video highlighting some of the new features. b  (GHS and GMS faculty groups) rather than here since so many student user names and full names are visible in the video.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Silent Auction Night is March 19th

March 16-20, 2015

Upcoming dates:

March 19th: GES Dinner and Silent Auction. K students will also be performing so please make plans to attend. You can also bid on a chance for your child to win an afternoon making crafts and having dinner with Mrs. Alvis and Mrs. Taylor!!!

March 20th: ice cream day and guest reader day. Starting March 20th, we will no longer have show and tell. Instead of show and tell, we will be allowing students to read to their peers. Guest reading is totally voluntary. A letter will be sent home informing you of the date your student volunteered to read.

March 23rd: Regular school day. Snow make- up day. Parent/Teacher Conferences for Mrs. Alvis will be from 3:15-5:15pm. If you would like to meet with me and I cannot accommodate you during this time, then I can schedule you during my planning or I can do a phone conference. Please call the office if you would like to make appointment.

March 26th: Spring Picture Day

March 27: Report Cards Sent Home

 

Language Arts:

Fundations Unit 4, week 1

spelling CVC words-focusing each day on a different short vowel

digraphs: sh, th, ch, wh, ck

comprehension skills

sequencing a story

retelling a story

 

 

Math:

reviewing money

continuing our unit on measurement

 

Science:

magnets

repel and attract

 

Social Studies:

St. Patrick’s Day Activities

 

 

 

 

 

Finally The Forecast Says “A Full Week”

March 9-13, 2015

Upcoming dates:

The K-2 social will be this Friday, March 13th from 1:30-3:00pm.

Feb. 27th: ice cream day and show and tell.

March 19th: GES Dinner and Silent Auction. K students will also be performing so please make plans to attend. K classes were asked to send in donations for a arts and craft basket. Please send in your donations soon so the PTA can put together our basket.

March 23rd: Regular school day. Snow make- up day. Parent/Teacher Conferences for Mrs. Alvis will be from 3:15-5:15pm. If you would like to meet with me and I cannot accommodate you during this time, then I can schedule you during my planning or I can do a phone conference. Please call the office if you would like to make appointment.

March 26th: Spring Picture Day

March 27: Report Cards Sent Home

 

Language Arts:

reading lots of good stories

concept of word activities

sight words

spelling CVC words

comprehension skills

 

Math:

measuring with measurement tools such as rulers, scales, measuring cups

measuring length, height, volume, objects that are shorter and taller

measuring with nonstandard units such a cubes, paperclips, pencils, index cards, etc.

making money mobile

 

Science:

magnets

repel and attract

 

Social Studies:

Betsy Ross

American Flag

reviewing Famous Americans

St. Patrick’s Day Activities

 

 

 

Hope You Enjoyed a Week of Snow Days!

Feb. 23-27, 2015

Thanks so much to my students and parents for the Valentine cards, chocolates, and gifts. I LOVE BEING YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER!

Upcoming dates:

The K-2 social scheduled for Feb. 20th will be rescheduled. I will send an update when I get more information.

Feb. 27th: ice cream day and show and tell.

March 19th: GES Dinner and Silent Auction. K students will also be performing so please make plans to attend.

March 23rd: Regular school day. Snow make up day.

 

 

Language Arts:

concept of word activities

sight words

spelling CVC words

comprehension skills

Don’t forget to keep reading Charlotte’s Web!

 

Math:

practicing sorting and counting coins

counting to 100

skip counting practice for counting coins

 

Science:

sink or float

 

Social Studies:

Abraham Lincoln

George Washington

 

 

STAR READER: I will not be sending home star reader folders for the month of Feb. All families should be participating in the One District, One Book: Charlotte’s Web. Please follow the nightly reading calendar that was sent home so your child can participate in the trivia questions each day.

Don’t Forget to Read Charlotte’s Web

Feb. 9-13, 2015

Upcoming dates:

Feb. 12th: Interims Go Home

Feb. 13th: 9:00am. Field Trip to GHS to watch Princess and the Pea.

Feb. 13th: Valentine Exchange Day : Please have your child practice writing their friends’ names. Plus make sure he/she doesn’t forget to put his/her own name on the card)

12:40-1:10pm: class parties

1:10: Early Dismissal

Feb.16th: President’s Day: No school

Feb. 20: K-2 Social, 1:30 pm-3:00pm

 

Language Arts:

Valentine stories

sight word drills

reading stations

journal writing

writing sentences on the computer

 

Math:

reviewing making sets

tallying

ten frames

dime and quarters

 

Science:

sink or float

 

Social Studies:

Valentine activities

*Don’t forget to send in valentines before Friday, Feb. 13th am.

 

 

STAR READER: I will not be sending home star reader folders for the month of Feb. All families should be participating in the One District, One Book: Charlotte’s Web. Please follow the nightly reading calendar that was sent home so your child can participate in the trivia questions each day.

Picture Day is Coming Up!

Feb. 2-6, 2015

Upcoming dates:

Feb. 4: Class Picture Day: Please return the form with payment before Wed morning. We are usually one of the first to be photographed. So if your student is late, he/she may possibly miss being in our class photo.

Feb. 13th: 9:00am. Field Trip to GHS to watch Princess and the Pea.

Feb. 13th: Valentine Exchange Day (I will send a class list for those who wish to participate. Please have your child practice writing their friends’names themselves. Plus make sure they don’t forget to put their own name on the card)

12:40-1:10pm: class parties

1:10: Early Dismissal

 

Language Arts:

writing Groundhog predictions

Fundations Unit 3, week 2

reading stations

comprehension

journal writing

beginning sounds

sight words games

Parents please remember to help your students practice their sight words each night. Let me know if you need another list. A good sight word vocabulary is imperative to learning to read.

 

Math:

measuring with a ruler

identifying penny and nickel

 

Science:

solid, liquid, gas-finishing up

shadows

Groundhog’s Day

making puppets

matching shadows to their objects

animals that hibernate