Friday, May 18, 2018

Have you said thank you to someone lately?

The ABC countdown continues... can you believe we are already on the letter T?
What is T day? It was thankful day! With the end of the year quickly approaching
I wanted to take some extra time to reflect on the past year with the students.
During this year we have really bonded as a classroom. We have worked
so hard and learned ways to preserve when things became hard. We have many
unique individuals who have so many talents and helped us all become better
citizens along the way.  

First students created cards to either a staff member or student who really
stood out to them this year. A simple little thank you goes a long way! It put lots of
smiles on many faces!

Next, we took advantage of the nice weather and headed outside. Here students
created a classroom web. Students each took a turn throwing the spool of
string to another classmate thanking them for something they did or taught them
throughout the year! At the end we had a great discussion on how when we help
or say thanks it brings us all together. We all build upon each other and need
each other’s support!


There are so many ways I am thankful for being a part of the Goodrich community!
I thank you!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dance Party!

As we approach the final leg of our school year there is always time to squeeze in a 30 second dance party! In fourth grade we are wrapping up our nonfiction unit in reading and our decimals unit in math, which means students had two assessment to take this week. Tests can be stressful enough, but with the sun shining outside your classroom and nice weather outside they only become more difficult. Assessments are part of the end of the year and have to get done, but we decided to make them a little better by taking a dance break. Students often get stuck on problems during a test and have trouble moving on to the next one, so why not head outside for a refreshing break during the test.

My students definitely had some curious looks on their faces when I told them to line up in the middle of our math assessment, but those faces quickly turned into huge smiles when we headed outside. What I intended to be a 30 second break quickly turned into a 3 minute break, but it was time while spent. Students came back in the classroom focused and ready to finish the final questions of their last fourth grade math test! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Biographies of Us

As part of our final informational text units in reading and writing, students are reading and writing biographies. To begin, we read biographies and hunted for the type of information shared by the author. We then learned how to read timelines and students created timelines on a person they read about. Students even worked in teams to read about a historical figure and summarize important findings about that person to the class. Each person in the team had a task card with a specific question that they were responsible for sharing about.

Reading biographies helped us prepare to write them. We began by going through the steps of writing a biography together. The first step was to find an important person to write about and gather information. We decided to interview Mrs. Gamez, a teacher at our school who helps in our classroom at different parts of the day. Students generated interview questions and then we conducted an interview with Mrs. Gamez. After gathering her responses, students worked in teams to categorize her answers and decide on four sections for our class biography. We have now started to write a biography on Mrs. Gamez with information about her childhood, adulthood, education, and teaching career.

Independently, students are going through the same process of writing a biography on one of their classmates. As a class we decided that third graders would be interviewed about their early life, education, hobbies, and wishes and goals. Once assigned a partner, students generated interview questions and then partners got together to interview each other and gather information.

Students are currently in the process of typing the biographies and the finished biographies will be placed in a bound book for students to take home. Each student will have a book full of biographies written about their third grade classmates. What a great way for students to remember each other and their time in third grade!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Field Day Teamwork

Field Day at Goodrich is always a fantastic day, rain or shine, and this year was no exception! Mrs. Weber puts in countless hours of hard work whether it be researching and developing games, sorting through her "closet" of equipment, assigning parents to games, creating rain plans, loading and unloading the equipment from her truck and dozens of other things I have not mentioned.

None of this can be done without a tremendous amount of teamwork from all that are involved. Each field day, Mrs. Weber, her mother and I begin the day by taking loads of equipment up to the field to get each station set up. We problem solve together when we need to adjust games due to the weather or wind. Finally, all is set up and we can head back in before the team of parents arrive to receive their station for the afternoon.

Before we know it, the kids with their classroom staff are making their way up the hill to start the afternoon they have been anxiously awaiting to arrive. They get to their designated station and the games can finally begin. They work together at each game, having a blast and building relationships along the way.

The whole day is filled with teamwork and shows what a great community we have here at Goodrich School. Kudos Mrs. Weber for another job well done!

Have a safe and enjoyable summer vacation and see you next fall!

Monday, May 14, 2018

End of the Year Blues

The end of the school year is  coming quickly! I know I will enjoy some time off to regroup, get some rest,  do more exercising and maybe take a trip. But it is also a time that I start to miss the students I have worked with during the school year.  I think about what they are doing during the summer. I hope  they are spending some time reading. This year so many of my students have shown so much growth!  Their reading skills have improved as well as their confidence in reading. I am counting on parents to keep that trend going with their children over the break.  When children return to school in August teachers can always tell which kids spent some of their time reading in the summer. Woodridge Public Library Summer Reading Safari  begins June 2nd and offers great incentives for summer reading for young and older students. They will be at school tomorrow, May 15th to talk about it. Some suggestions to make reading fun this summer and not a chore include: read under a tree, read an old favorite, read before breakfast, read in the bathtub,  read in the closet, read to a stuffed animal, read out loud, read at the park, read late at night with a flashlight. Enjoy some good books this summer and keep the growing readers going!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

We Appreciate your Appreciation!

Teacher Appreciation Week has been in full swing for several days now, and we have been spoiled!  I am always so amazed by the generosity of our students and families, especially at this time of year.  This week we have been treated to books, apples, candy, and best of supplies!  While we still have one more day of excitement, for many of us teachers the real highlight of the week is the student council breakfast which took place this morning.

Student council members worked together to provide delicious food and beverages for all of the staff members who work at Goodrich.  They arrived bright and early this morning to help set up before many of the teachers even arrived (now that's dedication!).  With the assistance of our amazing student council sponsors, the teacher's lounge was looking great in no time.  As one kindergartner remarked walking past, "It's so prettyyyyy!"

When the teachers arrived, our student council president gave a touching speech that brought tears to at least a few of our eyes.  The breakfast was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and we'll even get to enjoy some leftovers tomorrow.  A big shout out goes to the student council parents who shopped and baked for this special occasion.

I know that I speak for the entire staff of Goodrich when I say how thankful we are for the students and families in our little community.  We are so lucky to have such an incredible and supportive Goodrich family.  Thank you to all the children and adults that make our job so wonderful and rewarding.  We appreciate you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Planning the Future on Mars

My 3rd/4th grade reading class has been spending the last trimester exploring space. The students are enjoying this unit so much! They started their exploration of space by reading articles about the Earth's atmosphere as well as force and gravity. In order to learn about how our world is able to explore space, the students studied rockets and the International Space Station (ISS). The students read an article from NASA about the International Space Station and listened to the kid-friendly podcast, Brains-On, that included an interview with astronaut, Don Pettit, discussing his time on the ISS. This turned into a great opportunity to teach the students about firsthand and secondhand accounts. They showed their understanding of the similarities and differences between the two sources by completing a Venn-diagram.

The students are now taking their learned knowledge and applying it to a project. The students have been put into groups. They have given the role to put humans on Mars by the mid-2030's. Their task is to design a base for a twelve month stay on the planet's surface. In order to be successful a great deal of planning and preparation has been happening in our classroom. The students have been taking into account what they have learned about the ISS, as well as gathering information about Mars and the distance between this planet and the Sun. The students have partnered up to become base designers, food engineers, clothing engineers, transportation engineers, and power engineers. The students quickly learned on their own that although they have been assigned different tasks, they have needed to work together to appropriately plan a successful stay on Mars. They started by brainstorming questions they had about Mars in order to help guide their research. Currently they are sketching out their design plans based on the research they found. Soon, the students will begin to build their design prototypes. This activity has been a fun and exciting way to end the year! 


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Said is Dead

“Said is dead,” I said to my class after reading aloud Chicken Little.  
We counted 26 times the word SAID was used after a character talked in the story.

We decided to put a stop to this overuse of this word.  We brainstormed other words
that we remember reading in our books that could be used instead of SAID when a character talks.

To really show how serious we were, we put the word SAID on a headstone and underneath,
we composed a list of synonyms like: yelled, cried, shouted, replied, asked, told, and screamed.

Then we practiced writing a sentence with dialogue, making sure we used one of our
new words instead of SAID. We also glued down elbow macaroni to
be the quotation marks--because, let’s be honest, that pasta just looks like a quotation mark!

***I must say, " I need coffee " quite a bit if that is what a student writes for an example!!!!!

To really but SAID to bed, we went back through our stories in our writing folders and looked
for the word SAID and crossed it out and inserted a new word from our headstones…

“I think I have created a classroom full of word detectives that are going to be on the lookout
for over-used words.” I SAID to myself…..

**** In case you were counting, I used the word SAID (including this one, 9 times....OOPS!)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Welcome to My World

On Friday, May 18th, the district will host a Multicultural Fair. In preparation for the Fair, English Learners (ELs) at Goodrich school have been working hard on a  project that will be displayed that evening.

First, students researched their cultural backgrounds and national origins (where they were born or where their family/ancestors are from). Then students took the information gathered to decorate a bunting to showcase their country.

In Kindergarten, EL students learned the colors of the flags of their national origins.  Then, they wrote a short paragraph about the flags.

2nd grade ELs researched various websites to gather information they needed to complete a graphic organizer. Students also interviewed their parents for information.

As you can see from the pictures below, students took the research very seriously. They loved learning about their cultural backgrounds and were especially excited about the opportunity to share their reports.They kept me hopping from desk to desk as they wanted to show me every new interesting detail they came across.


(Graphic Organizer used to collect information)

Students then decorated their own flag, which will be strung together and used as a decoration at the Fair. 
(feat., Poland, Lithuania,Senegal)

Since students are still working on the project, I can’t show the finished product, but as you can see, they are off to a great start!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Music makes my heart smile!

Yesterday was one of my top 3 favorite days of the year - the spring Musical and Chorus Concert!
I am so fortunate to work in a building with such a strong music program.  To see these kids perform something that they have worked so hard for is amazing.    These kids are so talented and their teacher... holy cow... we are seriously the luckiest to have Miss Clark here working with these kids.

I am not sure anyone really realizes how much work is put into these shows.  Miss Clark researches musical after musical and song after song to find just the right ones for that particular set of students.  Once she has it picked, she creates lines for a script that the kids have to learn, makes copies of all the music and lines for each student, and creates all the choreography to go with the songs.  She also implements the instruments those students have been learning in class into the performance.  Finally, she has to actually teach all this stuff to the kids!  (I am sure I am forgetting 87 other things she does prior to what we see on the day of the show.)

One of the most remarkable things about her shows and how hard she has worked prior to that day to get the kids ready, is that between the 2 grade levels we have 4 classrooms and those 4 classes never practice together until that day!  You would never know that they literally only have 1 dress rehearsal.  Everything sounds good, looks good, and is so enjoyable for the audience.

Yesterday the 3rd and 4th graders performed "Weather the Weather."  It was such a fun musical based on all the kinds of weather that we experience and it even featured our own Goodrich Meteorologists!

The 5th and 6th Grade Chorus performed "From the Screen to the Stage" which included songs that have either been featured in movies, theater or both!  The students used instruments, had speaking parts, dances that they choreographed, and solos.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  


I could not be more proud of these students and the amazing work Miss Clark does.  I can't wait for what shows she will put on next year!