Monday, December 16, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 12-16

KTD Lit will be playing a game I call "Dictionary Dash" this week.  Pairs will use dictionaries in a race to find different words based on clues I give the group.  

KTD Math will be using laminated hexagons to break apart the number 100 into as many math problems they can think of. All of the hexagons connect into a large hive showing how many ways the kids can think of to show the number 100. 

1TD will continue reading with me this week, and discussing the books they check out for their book boxes. Last week, the group discussed books with diverse characters, comparing how we were similar and different from the kids we read about.

2TD has done a great job with our reading workshop model.  This week, we will continue to read books selected by the students, and discuss them in reading conferences.  We have also been working on giving book commercials during our time, creating a community of readers.  It's nice to see kids getting excited about a book a classmate has enjoyed and then reading it based on the recommendation. 

3PA will finish up our poetry theme project this week. The kids found some interesting poems to pair with all the stories we have read this semester.  The rest of our time will be spent working on a project that focuses on the identity of each student.  Kids will be bringing in five items that that represent their identity, writing a paragraph about each item, and sharing them with the group. 

4PA will finish reading their contemporary Newbery winning novel this week, and we will compare it to Call it Courage which won the prize in 1941. I am looking forward to our discussion on how literature for children has evolved from the 40's. 

5PA asked last week to focus all of our time in class this week on their Capstone research, and I agreed to give them the whole week to work on their projects to make the world a better place. 

Have a wonderful winter break! I'll see you in 2020!!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Monday 12-9

There will be a guest teacher in PA/TD today. I slipped yesterday, my hip is angry, and moving around is quite uncomfortable. I’m sure, after a day of rest, that I’ll be ready for the rest of the week. See you on Tuesday. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 12-2

KTD Literature students will be reading two books with me during their time in TD this week.  We will read The Goose and the Golden Egg and Teddy Bear for Sale looking for connections between the two stories.  The Monday group did an outstanding job of finding connections!

KTD Math will be solving a video math problem in three acts.  This problem focuses on estimation strategies and complex counting using a soccer player juggling a ball using different parts of his body.

1TD will get new books for their book boxes, we will continue to read and conference about their independent books, and we will also be reading a set of more diverse picture books for a speech next week.

2TD will focus our reading workshop this week on summarizing and retelling using student selected books. I have been very proud of the kids in this group as they settle into our new routine and structure.  The books the kids are reading are more complex and I'm getting to know them better as readers.

3PA will finish up their "Ugly Duckling" identity time lines this week.  The pairs did a great job of working together on this project and their time lines show their understanding of what shapes someone's identity.  Next, we will be reading a short story titled "The Green Man" about a mythical man who lives in a forest, and has a complex identity that is shaped by many forces.  We will be discussing the text through the lens of change and identity for the week.

4PA will say goodbye to The Secret Garden this week.  Yesterday, the class finished their watercolor paintings, and they are all very proud of their work.  Today, we will take a gallery walk to look at all of the paintings and discuss how each artist showed the magic in the garden. Our next unit will focus on the Newbery Medal, a prize given to one book for middle grade learners each year.  The class will learn about the criteria used to select the winning book each year, and then begin reading the 1941 winner Call it Courage. After we read the novel, we will discuss why this book was selected and if we agree.  The class will then all pick a more modern Newbery winner to compare with the 1941 winner.  Has literature for children evolved? How and why has the writing for kids changed?
Call It Courage - by Armstrong Sperry (Paperback)
5PA began the week reading a poem by Billy Collins titled "On Turning Ten" about the things that change as kids grow up.  The class will begin writing their own version of this poem celebrating all of the things that make childhood magical.  Thursday will be another Capstone day, and on Friday we will begin reading several articles about the two sides on the GMO debate. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 11-18

KTD Lit will focus on sensory images and personification in stories during a shared reading of The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. 

KTD Math will spend another week with the visual perception game SET.  This is a card game that focuses on patterns, shapes, numbers, colors, and how the shapes are filled.  It is a great family game and the kids caught on pretty quickly last week.

1TD will all be adding books to their book boxes this week, but one book is going to have a main character that is very different than the student reading it. We will be celebrating diversity and learning how to give a book commercial, a quick two minute book talk that will be shared with the group.  

2TD is now a pretty large group of 17, the two smaller groups merged last week.  We are doing more of a reading workshop model now where students are reading self selected texts, conferencing with me, and journaling about a specific topic, this week the theme of the text or the central idea of the text will be the topic of our journals.  

3PA is reading a classic story from 1843, Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" as a way to discuss identity.  How is the duckling's identity shaped by the interactions he has with different characters?  The kids will be developing a storyboard with captions showing how his identity developed. 

4PA will complete our work with The Secret Garden this week with a watercolor painting project showing the garden when it was barren, growing, and in full splendor.  Each painting will be paired with a quote from the story and include visuals that reflect some of the symbolism and metaphors we found in the text. 

5PA will finish their TED talks on Monday, work on our capstone projects on Thursday, and the rest of the week we will be reading a chapter from Little Women looking at how Jo was able to impact many systems in her family. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Conferences are coming up next week, and I’m looking forward to speaking with parents about how students are progressing in PA. My philosophy with parent teacher conferences always includes the students first. The students are the most important part of what I do as a teacher. Please bring your child to our conference, they need to hear feedback about their progress and set goals moving forward. I structure conferences as a conversation between me and your child, one you are a part of, but the main participant is the most important person in the room, your son or daughter. I’m looking forward to our conversations.

I wasn’t able to update the website this week at school because I need to use my phone’s fingerprint ID to have access to make any updates, and use a secure code sent that requires that feature. My fingerprint feature on my phone isn’t working, but it is on my iPad. I’m upgrading my phone this weekend. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 11-4

KTD Math will work on an estimation and adding problem using graham crackers. We will watch a video showing a few crackers from the box, followed by more information about how many crackers are in one sheet, one sleeve, and  how many sleeves come in a box.  The kids will need to work in teams to figure out how many crackers are in a box. You can watch the problem here:

KTD Lit will be story mapping the book Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner this week.  We will explore this wordless book about a cat who finds an alien spaceship inside a cat toy.  The kids will be identifying the characters, the setting, the action in the story, the problem, and the solution. 
Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner - Used (Acceptable, missing dust jacket) - 0618756612 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company |
1TD will be having guided reading conferences using the books we checked out last week in the LMC.  I will be listening to the kids read, discuss the story, and try to get to know the students better as readers so I can help them make better choices for the books they check out when they are with me in TD. 

2TD will have our last week looking at the picture books that are on the short list for this year's Caldecott Medal. At the end of the week, we will take a vote for the winner and the Honor book for 2019.  

3PA will finish reading The Girl Who Owned a City this week.  The kids will continue to chart examples of change as we read, and they will begin planning for a project we will begin based on the novel.

4PA will have our first Socratic Seminar based on  The Secret Garden this week, mostly focused on symbolism and metaphors.  The class is also working on writing a feature article about one of the characters at the end of the book, and 20 years in the future.  The group is doing a great job with this project, but will only have Monday in class to work this week.  Finishing the article will be homework that needs to be shared with me by Friday. 

5PA will begin researching for their TED talks about a young person who was a catalyst for change. The students have converted the TED research organizer to a Google Doc, and will have all week to work on gathering information from multiple sources. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Newbery Medal Winners 1922-2018

4th grade, get ready for our first Mock Newbery Award reading challenge! All our Brookdale 4th graders will be able to read 25 outstanding books published in 2019 that are eligible for the 2020 Newbery Medal. More information will be coming home soon. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 10-28

KTD Lit will have two days with me this week as we explore creative thinking using the books Not a Box and Not a Stick. The students will be re thinking what shapes and lines can be, and making new creations using their creativity and imaginations. 
Not a Box; Board Book; Author - Antoinette PortisNot a Stick; Hardcover; Author - Antoinette Portis

KTD Math will be working with addition and strategic thinking this week as we make more magic crosses using consecutive counting numbers to create identical vertical and horizontal sums using five note cards.  

1TD is headed to the library to replenish books boxes with more challenging texts for independent reading in the classroom.  We will also be story mapping one of my favorite picture books Creepy Carrots. The format of the story map is called "Claps" for characters, location, action, problem, and solution.  
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds - Used (Good) - 054578042X by Scholastic Inc. |
2TD is in full swing with round two of students exploring picture books published in 2019 in contention for the Caldecott Medal.  The kids are evaluating and judging the illustrations and the text using the criteria used by the Caldecott committee. 

3PA is more than half way done with the novel The Girl Who Owned a City.  We will continue to evaluate changes happening in the text, and discuss how Lisa has become a catalyst for change in her neighborhood.

4PA has finished The Secret Garden!!! This week, teams of kids will be charting examples of symbolism and metaphors on table sized Post-it notes placed around the room.  These will be used for a Socratic Seminar early next week.  The conversations I overheard yesterday as students pulled examples from the text show a very detailed understanding of this complex text. The 4PA students will also be working on writing an article about one of the characters in the novel, but set 20 years in the future.  

5PA will begin work on a TED Talk this week about a young person who was a catalyst for change in their community and made a positive impact on a system for good.  I have a list of 22 change agents that will serve as a jumping off point for the students, but they can research any young person who has made a change for good in their community.  Yesterday, all the students got a research organizer, a TED Talk guide, and there are examples of talks on the PA website.  We will be working on this project for the next two weeks or so, and presenting their five minute presentations in class.  
Image result for TED talks

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Ms. Clawson, Teacher Feature Article

The 4th graders are going to begin an assignment next week inspired by our very own Ms. Clawson.  She was featured in an article yesterday in the Naperville Sun, you can read the article using the link below.  The 4PA kids will finish The Secret Garden by Monday, and then will be writing their own feature article on one of the characters in the novel set 20 years after the story ends.  What would Dickon be doing? How is Colin? What is Mary up to twenty years after the book ends?  The students will be using this article as inspiration for this project. 

Jorie Clawson, a teacher at Brookdale Elementary School in Naperville, rode her bike for 112 miles when she competed in the 2019 Ironman Wisconsin competition in September. She was also required to swim for 2.4 miles and run for 26.2 miles. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 10-21

KTD Literature explored the world of clouds in David Weisner's book Sector 7. It's amazing how much detail the kids were able to extract from a wordless picture book.  On the last page, we met a character we will be reading about next week.
Image result for sector 7 by david

KTD Math will be using five consecutive counting numbers to make a magic cross this week.  A magic cross will give a student the same sum, adding three numbers horizontally and vertically.  We will start with index cards with the numbers 1-5...but the challenge will continue with different combinations and larger consecutive numbers.  
Image result for magic crosses addition
First grade TD will be reading two different stories during their time with me this week to determine if one, both, or none are fairy tales.  We will read a version of The Sword and the Stone and Little Bear's Visit.  I will also continue to meet with kids for reading conferences using books from their book boxes. 
Little Bear's Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik - Used (Good) - 0808527363 by Perfection Learning Corporation |
Second grade TD switched groups on Monday and eight new kids are going to be evaluating past winners of the Caldecott medal and reading many books published in 2019 to pick a winner from this small group.  In three weeks, both groups will merge for a debate on what book should be given this year's medal and honor medal. 
Image result for caldecott medal

3PA finally got to the secret supply place in The Girl Who Owned a City.  The kids and I will continue to read this novel together and look for examples of change, and we will begin to make plans of our own, imagining if this virus really did spread around the world.
The Girl Who Owned a City (ebook)
4PA needs to finish reading The Secret Garden by Friday.  The class is continuing to examine Mary's evolution and look for examples of symbolism and metaphors in the text.  Next week, we will begin discussing the layers in the book, the characters, the house, and in the garden.  Get ready for a watercolor paining project as well.  The kids have been planning this as they have read the text so far.  

5PA will conclude our very vibrant discussions on the Ray Bradbury stories we have read over the past weeks.  The students will also be using their passion examiners for their Capstone project to write a brief proposal for their idea to make the world a better place by Friday. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 10-15

No KTD Literature this week because we had Monday off and there is a 3-5 author assembly today.

KTD Math will continue to work on the strategy of doubling numbers or multiplying by 2.  I need a rematch with Mason who took me down five times in a row on this game last week.  

1TD will continue our work with identifying the elements of fairy tales in books they have in their book boxes from our trip to the library last Friday.  The kids and I will also finish up "Jack and the Beanstalk" and identify elements as a group during this shared reading experience. 

2TD will have one more week as members of the mock Caldecott Medal committee.  On Friday, we will make our selection.  So far, The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry and illustrated by The Fan Brothers seems to be a class favorite.  It's a beautiful story and the illustrations are stunning. 
The Scarecrow
3PA have met Lisa and Todd in our new novel The Girl Who Owned a City. This book ties into The Green Book as both texts are about survival and change.  In our current read we are thinking about a world with no adults and how kids would survive on their own.  We will be doing a lot of thinking and planning just like the characters in the novel as we continue to read. 

4PA will stay on the moors of England this week as we continue to explore and peel back the layers of The Secret Garden.  The kids are charting examples of Mary's evolution and the many metaphors connected to her in the novel. We are also planning for a watercolor painting project when we finish the book. 

5PA will spend the week having a Socratic Seminar, using questions they wrote, about the stories we have read by Ray Bradbury.  The group is quite excited for the discussion.  
Image result for ray bradbury

Monday, October 7, 2019

PA and TD for the Week of 10-7

KTD Literature will actually read Free Fall this week, a wordless picture book, and complete a story map in pairs about the story.

KTD Math will be working on doubling numbers on dice while playing a connect four type of game. 

1TD will start the week learning about the elements that make a fairy tale a fairy tale.  After brainstorming a list of what they know about the genre, I will add to what they develop, and we will begin reading a variety of stories to see if they match the criteria. 

2TD did a fantastic job reading past winners of the Caldecott Medal and discussing why each book was worthy of the prize.  This week, we will be reading contenders for the 2019 medal and evaluating them using the Caldecott criteria.  
The Proudest Blue (ebook) The Undefeated (ebook)Image result for a stone sat still
3PA has designed an invention that will make life easier for the people of Shine, interviewed a classmate for input, and used that input to refine their ideas.  This week, the kids will create their invention and share it with the group.

4PA is doing an amazing job with The Secret Garden.  We will continue to read this week and take notes on Mary, Martha, Dickon, Colin, imagery, symbolism, and metaphors we find in the text.

5PA will have some time to complete their essays on "The Veldt" this week and we will read one more Ray Bradbury story.  "August 2026, There Will Come Soft Rains" is our final story, so the kids will be working on writing open questions about all of the stories we have read by this iconic author for a Socratic Seminar. On Thursday, we will begin The Capstone project. The first step is to examine what the kids are passionate about. Many more steps to come, but for the remainder of the year, Thursday will be Capstone Day. 
Image result for august 2026 there will come soft rains

My Wish for my Students