Discussion Starters

  • What animal would your child like to research?
  • What adaptations does your animal have?
  • What is your animal’s body covering?
  • What is the habitat?
  • Ask your child what they learned in our experiment on mimicry.
  • Ask what happened the next day when they were hungry birds again and were presented two more “butterflies.” Did they take a chance on the clear butterfly knowing that there was a chance that it could be a nasty one or did they decide to “eat” the brown butterfly?

 

Dyken Pond 

We are studying animal adaptations and this was a wonderful field trip to better enhance our curriculum. Here are a few pictures. Make sure to click on the Photo Gallery menu tab to see more from our exciting day!

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The Gruffalo Play

What a show! So proud of the 1-2 Class!

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Animal Adaptations

 

You’ve probably heard the expression, “The early bird gets the worm.” The 1-2 Class learned that there is more to it than that! Every bird has a special beak that is adapted to eating a certain type of food. Students worked in teams to determine which type of “ bird beak” is best at catching food in various habitats. Different types of beaks were tested - tweezers, pliers, fish nets, tongs and pipettes.

 

Fish
Zeke and Ryan visit the pond and try to catch as many fish as they can with their assigned beaks.

 

 

worms
Marie and Evelyn try to catch as many worms as they can.

 

 

 

Nutsnuts2Neve, Giulietta, Landon and Lorenzo try to figure out which beak is best for cracking seeds and nuts.

 

bugs

Lorenzo, Olivia and Poppy try to capture bugs from a tree.

 

 

 

The excitement level was through the roof as students were able to pick their top 3 animals to research for their informational writing project. They will work in groups of three or four to gather information, but each student will write his or her own writing piece. They will learn about the unique features of nonfiction text, both in terms of perspective and voice.

As part of our adaptation unit, students are learning new vocabulary words, such as camouflage and mimicry. Mimicry is when a plant or animal has similar features to another species that help it survive. One example of this is the Monarch and Viceroy butterflies. The Monarch taste bitter so predators aren’t as likely to eat it. The Viceroy has similar markings to the Monarch, so predators avoid it, too, because they think it will taste bitter like a Monarch.

We conducted an experiment using Sprite (Viceroy butterfly) and Seltzer (Monarch) to represent the two different butterflies. The students acted as hungry predators that want to eat the identical looking butterflies. The students quickly made the connection that the Sprite mimicked the Seltzer like the Viceroy mimics the Monarch. As you can see from the photos, they learned an important lesson on mimicry!

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Poetry Slam!

Thank you for coming to our Poetry “Slam” on Tuesday. What a great way to end our poetry unit and National Poetry Month! The students continue to amaze me. As a teacher, it is my goal to show them how to effectively use the power of language to express something important in their lives. The students were able to perform from their hearts and made an authentic connection. They all did an amazing job...snap, snap, snap! Check out the photos in our Photo Gallery.

Poetry Slam OliviaPoetry Slam Ryan

 

Discussion Starters

Some of you have been asking me for ways to help your child become a better reader. I am a firm believer in a simple rule - the more a child reads, the better they become at reading. Here are a few questions you can ask your child when reading together:

  • What do you predict will happen next?
  • Which character from the story would you choose to be your friend? Why?
  • What was the problem in the story and how was it solved?


National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. The 1-2 Class has been reading poems during our guided reading groups and also read aloud time. Students are choosing their favorites to read to each other as well. Building reading fluency is an ongoing skill that needs lots of practice.Poem Pocket Day

Like any genre, reading poetry paves the way for writing it. Each student is working on writing their own poetry book. In our first poem, called “I Am As…”,  the students used the book Quick As a Cricket as inspiration. We learned about a poetic device called a simile. A simile uses the words "like" or "as" to compare two things which are not alike. This helps create a picture in the reader's mind which instantly communicates what the writer is trying to describe, and a poem with a simile can also make it more interesting and entertaining.

April 18, was National Poem in Your Pocket Day. The 1-2 Class shared their love of poetry and the joy that poems can bring with our school community!

MiSci Field Trip!

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Growth Mindset

Growth mindset is something that we are focusing on at Taylor School. In short, growth mindset is when students believe that their talents can be developed through hard work rather than believing their talents are innate gifts. As a result, students worry less about being "smart" and they put more energy into learning. They naturally develop a love of learning and resilience that is essential for great accomplishments. 

We often speak about "hard fun" in our class. Basically hard fun is learning how to develop GRIT. Researchers now realize that grit is as important, if not more, than academic skills! What happens when the math gets a little tricky or when the reading is boring? What keeps students from giving up? Grit!

Here is how to help your child develop grit: Praise the effort, not the product. When you praise the “stick-to-it-ness” of your child’s efforts, they will be more determined to continue working hard, even when failure and adversity present itself. Praising your child’s hard work will encourage them not to give up...hard fun!

Therapy Dogs

Therapy DogsEvery Wednesday, our therapy dogs, Jack and Ally, visit Taylor School to read with the children. Jack and Ally create an atmosphere of joy by just being present. They are excited to greet the students and are nonjudgmental, kind to all and are great listeners. Students visibly relax and open up while reading or playing with Jack and Ally. Research strongly supports the benefits of therapy dogs. When the students read with the dogs they are relaxed and take more risks in their reading.  Besides helping young readers gain confidence they can dramatically increase positive mood and improve both physical and emotional well-being. Their presence in our school is extremely beneficial to our students and we are so lucky to have them!

Think Tank

    We have been trying to capture a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day for years but we have never been successful. However, this year is going to be different because we are using the Engineering Design Process to build the perfect  leprechaun trap! We have made our plans, gathered our materials and are currently making our traps. We will test our traps and set them out on Friday. We can’t wait to see if we catch that clever leprechaun on Monday!

Engineering processEngineering process2Engineering process3

100th DAY

Happy 100th Day of School. The 100th Day is a major milestone in the 1-2 Class. It represents progress, growth and achievement. It is also the perfect time to have fun with the number 100. From the very first day of school, our class has been keeping track of the number of days in anticipation of this very day. The days are marked on our calendar, one by one, using craft sticks, ten of which become a "bundle of ten." This paves the way to counting by tens and ones and lessons in place value. 

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Pictured above left: The 1-2 Class presents their hand-made 100th Day t-shirts during Friday's Morning Meeting.

Above right: Heavy concentration needed when we were counting out 100 candy kisses after our scavenger hunt.

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

During the month of February, the children studied famous African Americans that made wonderful contributions to the way we live with important inventions. We read books, watched videos and explored these inventors and their inventions. Some of the inventors were: Lonnie Anderson (Super Soaker water gun), Madam C.J. Walker (beauty and hair products), George Crum (potato chip), and George Washington Carver (over 300 products from a peanut!) to name a few.

We learned that most inventions are engineered out of a need or desire to make something easier. That made us think about our own lives and we asked the question, "What could make our lives better, easier?" During think tank, the class went through the engineering and design process to create their own inventions. We look forward to sharing these soon! 

Black History PresentationPoppys Invention

Pictured above left: Ryan, Zeke, Poppy and Giulietta share information about famous African American inventors and their inventions. 

Above right: Poppy shares her invention of tooth paste strips. She said she hated when the tube of toothpaste became messy and the toothpaste strips would be much easier and less germy too! Smart thinking!  

 

 DISCUSSION STARTERS

  • Ask about the racing car you child made during the MAD Science presentation on simple machines. What simple machines did we learn about? Look around your house together and find simple machines that we use every day.
  • Ask your child what forces need to be applied to an object in order for that object to move (push or pull). This will be improtant for our next unit of study...bridges!
  • Have your child tell you about some of the problems in our classroom community story and how we solved them.
  • Practice math facts with your child at the dinner table, in the car, or waiting in line at the store. First graders need to be fluent in addition and subtration facts through 10 and second graders fluent in facts through 20.
  • Ask your child how someone helped them today.
  • Ask who your child helped today.

COMMUNITY

The 1-2 Class has been working together to solve some typical problems that many communities face. Mrs. Haggerty helped us role play one scenario. She pretended to be a mail carrier who was lost in our neighborhood.

Haggerty  We had a class discussion and came up with a plan to make a map to give to our mail carrier. That led to a discussion of what goes on a map. The students realized that we did not have street names or numbers on the buildings or even a name for our town. We voted and made street names such as LOL Ave., Awesome St. and Dog Love Block. We decided how to number our buildings, odd on one side and even on the other. The students then put numbers on their own buildings and finally named our community Charlington. 

Two other problems were introduced - litter and a speeding motorist. We decidied to have a neighborhood meeting and elected a leader to help guide our the meeting. The children were very protective of their neighborhood and took the discussions seriously. Throughout this whole story, the students had to compromise, negotiate ane decide how to improve their neighborhood. In turn, they also explored big ideas about neighborhoods, civic responsibility and the democratic process. 

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As we concluded our community unit, the children felt proud that they worked together to make their neighborhood a safer place to live so a celebration was in order! We talked about why neighborhoods have celebrations and what type of party our neighborhood could have. Since Neve recently joined our classroom we thought it would be appropriate to have a 'welcome to the neighborhood' party! 

 THINK TANK

We have started our Fairy Tales think tank activty. Children are learning the steps to the engineering design process : Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve and Share.

IMG 5090We always start every challenge with ASKing a question. This sets our purpose for our task and gets us thinking about ways to solve the dilema. This particular challenge involved a familar fairy tale - Rapunzel. The question asked was how to save Rapunzel from her tower. The students each made their own tower and Rapunzel doll to save. 

Next, it's time to IMAGINE some solutions to the question or problem. Brainstorming is a big part of this step. The students start getting really excited at this stage! Then, we PLAN. The students sketch or write his or her ideas on how to save Rapunzel. Stay tuned as we complete the design process...

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Previous 1-2 News...

WE ARE A COMMUNITY

The 1-2 Class is learning about community and trying to answer the essential question, "What makes a community?" Students will participate in the study of community to get a better understanding of how communities work and what it takes to be a good citizen and take care of their own community.

We are creating a story about several families and people who live and work in a neighborhood. As with any good story, it begins with a setting. Over the past few weeks, we've built a three-dimensional table top model of a neighborhood. First, we brainstormed a list of buildings that the students felt would work in our model community. Some students selected homes, others chose businesses, like a Dunkin Donuts, and others selected services, like a fire station. The students each built and designed their own buildings using boxes. Since they are making the decisions about the setting and features of their building they instantly feel a sense of ownership. Neighboorhood Layout 13D Neighborhood2

Now that our neighborhood model is built, we are creating characters for the homes and businesses. Because the characters are their own creation, students can role play and discuss issues that they might be reluctant to voice otherwise. Role playing gives them a chance to be both safe and involved. We will be working together to solve typical problems that many communities face. They will need to work together to determine the direction of our neighborhood "story."

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Pictured Above: Zeke and Olivia show off their apartment building, Target store and doctor's office to add to our 3-D model. Giulietta & Poppy add details to their characters. 

 

DISCUSSION STARTERS

  • Ask what building & characters your child made for our model.
  • Help your child see that math is all around them. Take apart cereal boxes to see how the 3-D shape is made from a 2-D shape.
  • The next time you are out running errands with your child, talk about what buildings and businesses are in your neighborhood and community. Ask why she/he thinks those businesses are important and needed.
  • Ask your child how someone helped them today.
  • Ask who your child helped today.

THINK TANK

Giulietta StarThe students are busy exploring our new think tank project called "Dream Up."  We are using the book Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building as our inspiration. We compared real pictures of architecture to the children's creations in the book. The class was inspired to "dream up", create and build their very own structures. Make sure to ask you child about about some of our new building materials! So fun!

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Growth Mindset 

I am committed to developing a growth mindset learning environment. A place where all students believe that with effort, practice and perseverence, they can succeed. Each day students will be asked to take educational risks. They will be praised not for their mental quickness or natural intelligence but for approaching the process of learning with grit and determination. While verbal praise is definitely nice for students to hear, I have introduced "brain bucks" as a tangible reward. When a child earns ten brain bucks they will earn ten extra minutes of think tank time. This reward was something that the class discussed and agreed on together.

Some examples of how students can earn brain bucks include:

  • Thinking of a creative solution to a problem (ie. social issues)
  • Being willing to discuss their failures or mistakes and how they learned from those experiences
  • Catching ME in a mistake and being brave enough to tell me. (They really love this one!)
  • Showing persistence and a willingness to try multiple strategies (This is great for math!)
  • Choosing a difficult task when there was an easier option (Daily 5)
  • Trying something new, especially when the student made mistakes but kept trying despite initial failures (ie. sound spelling, adding interesting vocabulary to their writing.)

Here are some things you can do to extend and promote growth mindset at home:

  • Praise your child not for the ease with which he or she learns a new concept but for the amount of effort put into learning it.

  • Emphasize perseverance and effort in extracurricular activities. For example, "I'm proud of how much effort you put into that game" instead of "I'm proud of how many points you scored in that game."

 

THANK YOU!

Thank you for meeting with me during our November conferences. Twenty minutes goes by quickly but I hope you walked away with a better understanding of what your child's strengths and goals are for the upcoming marking period.

I believe wholeheartedly that a child's academic success is greatly enhanced when teachers and parents are partners. I appreciated the opprotunity to get to know each of you a little better, as you are my number one resource. As both a teacher and a parent, I realize you are trusting me with your child and I take my role in your child's life very seriously. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me. Thank you for your continued support!