Monday, February 27, 2012

Can you help?

Dr. Seuss is Loose and Other Timely News

Dr. Seuss' birthday is Friday, March 2nd, and is also the Read Across America Day.  Today students learned about Wockets and are learning that rhyming words have word endings that SOUND, but are not necessarily spelled the same.  Students designed their own wockets for their pockets.  Tomorrow students will describe their wockets to learn about describing words (adjectives). 

Wednesday will be "WACKY WEDNESDAY" and students are encouraged to dress "Wacky", including wearing Silly Socks. (Students will only be permitted to wear wacky hats in the classroom, however. If your child does wear a wacky hat in the classroom, remind him/her not to share the hat with any child:

Never share your hat or comb
Or lice could make your head their home.
As you may know from the Dolphin Dialogue, there have been many head lice cases in school lately.  Perhaps it's due to the early warm weather.  The school policy was explained in the newsletter.  If you didn't read that policy, please go to the Lewis Carroll newsletter page to read it so you will be aware of what the school's responsibilites are with children who have head lice or nits. 

Thursday will be Green Eggs and Ham Day.

Testing information:

The following assessments will be given to your child between today and the end of the grading period which is March 14th.  (Please see Calendar page.) 
  • Tomorrow -district-required writing assessment.  Please talk to your child about doing his/her PERSONAL BEST tomorrow.  We did a "practice test" today so I could give the children feedback on what they needed to do on tomorrow's assessment.
  • Literacy Assessment - the letters of the alphabet and the sounds of the letters, the first 24 sight words, blending together CVC (3 letter words with short vowels), and spelling 3 letter words.
  • Reading - students will read from a reading assessment kit to determine the level at which he/she is reading.  Please encourage your child not to just guess at words but to try to sound them out, use picture clues, etc.
  • Science Test - Space
  • Math - Composition/decomposition of numbers 0-10, geometric shapes - name and describe, writing numbers to 20, growing patterns and number patterns.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Astronaut Corps 2037

Astronaut Corps 2037 (or thereabouts) selected from Mission: Kindergarten

Remember, class,  you promised me you would look down from the spaceship and say,
"Mrs. Berry, look, I MADE IT!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mr. Beutel Teaches Us About Space Spinoffs

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Mr. Beutel visited our classroom this morning to teach the children some things about space.  He brought "artifacts" from the space shuttle Discovery: a tile, a "blanket", and freeze-dried food.  Mr. Beutel showed the students a bicycle helmet and explained that the technology for a bicycle helmet came from an astronaut's helmet.  Some other spinoffs he told the children about:
  1. Velcro - astronauts' sleeping bags are velcroed to the walls of the shuttle so they won't float around in microgravity
  2. Tennis shoes - designed after the space boot technology
  3. Infrared thermometers (the kind you stick in the ear or rub across the forehead) - designed from the infrared instruments designed to measure temperatures in space
  4. Freeze-dried food
  5. Space blankets
Mr. Beutel told the children that he and his family had observed the International Space Station in last night's sky.  He said he will let us know the next time it will be visible in the night sky.

The children had many questions about gravity, about the makeup of the moon, to which Mr. Beutel answered very straight-faced, "Well, I believe I read on some blog last night that it was made of sugar."  (Hahahaha!)

We learned so many things, such as NASA is getting involved with private companies to develop "Space-liners" - spaceships that will take ordinary citizens into space as well as our astronauts; comets originate from a cloud that is located near to Pluto; we will have a spaceship arrive at Pluto in five years that has been traveling for six years so far. 

After Mr. Beutel's visit, the students and I developed a Circle Map with what we knew about space from the presentation.  The students really had learned a great deal! 

Thank you, Mr. Beutel! 

My interest in space goes waaaaayyy back.  My father worked with "missles" at Vandenberg AFB when I was a child, then at the Space Center during the Apollo days. In my early years as a teacher, I was prepared, like teachers across America, to conduct science experiments along with Christa Macauliffe as she conducted them from space.  Tragically, the Challenger exploded right before our eyes and that brought a screeching halt to the shuttle launches for two years.   

Later, when I taught gifted students, we studied Mars for a whole year through an integrated curriculum: Mysteries of Earth and Mars.  NASA was one of the sponsors of that curriculum that was started by Robert Ballard, the scientist/oceanographer who discovered the Titanic on the ocean floor.    During that same time frame, I applied to attend the Mars Educator's Conference held in Cocoa Beach and was accepted.  For a couple days I listened to one scientist or engineer after another describe the how the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter was going to map practically every square inch of Mars through high resolution and infrared cameras.  That was one INCREDIBLY FASCINATING conference!!!  In addition, I attended the Astronaut Memorial Foundation technology classes while studying to be an Educational Technology Specialist.  I was then contacted by the AMF to be a speaker at the unveiling of the 2nd shuttle license plate.  (See below.)  I had the extreme honor of meeting the late Columbia astronaut, Willie McCool's sister. The experience of speaking in front of every major network and radio station in the area was probably one of the highlights of my adult years.  

You could call me a space "geek". 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Moon is Made of Sugar!!!

On Friday the students showed me what they had learned about the phases of the moon by constructing the phases with Oreo cookies.  A few children had more than one "new moon" because they were unable to resist eating the sugar until all the phases were complete!  Starting at the "9" position if this were a clock are the phases:
  • New Moon
  • Waxing Crescent (Think: getting bigger, shinier)
  • First Quarter
  • Waxing Gibbous
  • Full Moon
  • Waning Gibbous
  • Last Quarter
  • Waning Cresent
  • and back to the New Moon
About two thirds of the class could tell me ALL the phases, INCLUDING the "waxing" and "waning" part.  We are really focusing on VOCABULARY.

You should be just about finished with the Moon Journals.  Please be sure to complete and send in by next Thursday.    If your child has already completed it, please send it in to class.  Most of the children told me they saw the moon in the morning sky yesterday!  Whoo hoo!  Thank you for helping your child with this project.  While I was very happy that our unit on space began during a full moon (nice of it to cooperate!), I am even happier that the full moon has passed!  There's something about a full moon and children.... I have always heard that during a full moon the number of births increased, as did the number of crimes.  I have believed that theory since I started teaching and experienced increased activity with children during a full moon.  It just so happens that my son had a motorcycle accident on Thursday afternoon (a deer ran in front of his bike and he tried to avoid it) and while in the emergency room, I asked the ER nurse if there was any truth to the full moon theory and hospitals.  She more or less confirmed it because she said Wednesday night had been CRAZY!  That was proof enough for me.  :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Students formed their own personal "moons" from Crayola air-drying clay (Walmart) after reading several non-fiction books about the moon.  After the clay dried, students painted them with fluorescent paint (also Walmart).  These photos were taken in the dark (bathroom).  The moons had a paper-clip inserted into the clay before drying so the children could hang them up.

Love is in the ....Hallways!

Friends Like to...Can....Are.....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This week I read a book to the children entitled, How Full is Your Bucket? for Kids.
The children are learning that words we use with others can "add drops" to their bucket or make their bucket "drip".  When I asked the children why they thought one of the illustrations showed everyone with an invisible bucket over their head, one very astute little boy said, "Because we all have feelings."  BINGO!

Now that the children are learning to read and write, I will have a little form they can fill out when somebody "fills their bucket".  (We will not fill it out for those who make our buckets drip - we want to accentuate the positive!  I have a bucket in the classroom where the children will drop their "drops", and at the end of the day, I will read them aloud.  We will be working on learning our lifeskill of Caring along with practicing writing!

I came across a post in another teacher's blog about charts she made with her class.  I think I am going to do something similar in my class with Bucket Fillers:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Planetarium Fieldtrip tomorrow!!!!

Reminder:  Tomorrow is the fieldtrip to the planetarium
Time:  9:30 - 1:30
Bring: Bagged lunch; drink separate from lunch; Please label both
Wear: School clothes - pants or shorts, (girls) no spaghetti straps or backless tops; tennis shoes or close-toed shoes

Note:  We will NOT be visiting the gift shop.  Please do not send spending money.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Arctic: One of the animals we learned about was the walrus.  We learned that a walrus:
  • is a mammal
  • has blubber to keep warm
  • has tusks to defend itself and pull itself up on the ice
  • has front flippers and back flippers
  • is a carnivore
  • uses its whiskers to find its food
  • lives in the Arctic where it is very cold