Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Big Happy...Success!

Hello Everyone!
I hope you are having a pleasant weekend, despite the yucky weather! We've had a great week at school in Room 13. On Friday morning, the children presented their "One, Big Happy Family" play in the Zeh Cafetorium. It was a truly moving experience and there were many happy tears falling in the audience. I am amazed at how the students learned so many songs in such a short time! A special thanks to Mrs. Sherryl Stonebraker, our music teacher, for helping us to practice.

Waiting patiently...

One last practice...

After the performance, families were invited back to the classroom to view student work. Students shared their "Family Trees", "Family Brochures", and "Family Paragraphs & Portraits." They have worked extremely hard the past few weeks both in class and in the computer lab. A special thank you to Mr. Gervais, our technology specialist, for helping us with the brochures! Take a peek at the class family visit...

We have also started another project in writing this week. We are going to learn about signal words such as: first, next, then, after, and lastly. We will write about how to prepare a Thanksgiving Feast. We began the project by making our turkeys. Our next step will be to take the topic through the steps of the writing process and we will publish using the computer! I am excited to see this project completed. I am sure that they will be most entertaining!

First step: Color the turkey and the feet

Next, add a body and feathers.
Then, add the legs and the feet.

In reading, we are continuing with Corn is Maize. We have read the text and now we are using the text to answer different types of questions. We will also complete some new vocabulary activities.
Mrs. Remillard is also supporting our study of Native Americans by helping us with our research. Every Monday and Friday, we head to the library for a double-block of time (90 minutes) to read and research in small groups. Our four groups include: the Wampanoag, the Inuit, the Southwest tribes, and the Plains tribes. So far, we have explored location/climate, shelter, and food. The students are doing an amazing job gathering facts and developing their nonfiction literacy skills.
In math, we are just about to move into data/graphs. We will have an assessment on telling time and using the calendar this week. Data is a short unit designed to expose children to the different types of graphs and how to collect data. Place value will be our next major unit of study following data.
I look forward to meeting with you to discuss your child's progress during parent conferences this week. I will share assessments from early in the year and we can discuss plans for your child's academic success. This will not be a time to discuss the new changes made to the report card. Please address those concerns directly to Mrs. Whitten as they are district-wide changes.
  1. 11/18- Half Day Parent Conferences
  2. 11/20- Half Day Parent Conferences
  3. 11/26- Half Day for Thanksgiving Break
  4. 11/27-12/1 Thanksgiving Break and Professional Development Day for Teachers
  5. 12/2- Students return to school.

Also, we are experiencing a severe pencil and glue stick shortage in our classroom! Please check with your child to see if he/she needs either of these items. You may also want to check to see if they need a new pencil sharpener or want mechanical pencils. It is advised that you have your child write his/her name on the items with a sharpie marker to keep them from getting lost.

We could also use some plastic spoons for snack time, if you have extras.

Thank you for your help!

-Mrs. JoAnne Gorham

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Spooktacular Week!

Hi Everyone!
I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful trick or treat! We have been so lucky to have such great weather on Halloween night for the past few years. Despite the craziness of Halloween, we had a very productive week at school.

We have started our Native American research projects. We are working on the projects in the library with Mrs. Remillard. Additional parent volunteers would be helpful for this project. If you are interested and free on Mondays from 12:30-1:45 and/or Fridays from 12:30- 1:15, we would love the extra help. Please send me an email if you can join us!

In math, we are still working on time to the quarter hour. This week, we will work on time to the nearest 5 minutes as well as to the minute. This can be challenging. Please help your child practice at home. You many wish to pick up an inexpensive analog (not digital!) watch for him/her to practice with. Your support at home is greatly appreciated with this topic!

In reading, we have begun our nonfiction book, "Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians" by Aliki. Your child will soon know more about corn than you though possible! (I know that I have certainly learned a great deal from this text.) We will learn about corn, how it grows, and its usefulness for Native Americans. This unit connects well with our research study of Native Americans as well as science.

We are continuing to work on our family history projects. This week, Ms. Meg stopped by and helped us create beautiful sponge painted trees for us to use as our family trees. We had a great time creating original works of art!

In writing, we are working on paragraphs about our families. We will be sharing them with you following our "One Big Happy Family" play on November 14th at 8:45 am in the cafeteria. We hope to see you there!

To get into the Halloween spirit, Grade 2 classes created Pumpkin tie-dye t-shirts! Thank you to all the parents who were able to donate supplies such as: rubber gloves, orange dye, and fabric markers. Thank you also to those that sent in a few "extra" t-shirts! They came in handy! We received many compliments on our shirts and some staff members were envious that they did not get to make one too!

Room 13 is proud of their Pumpkin Shirts!

This past Friday was our annual Halloween Event at Zeh School. I am always amazed by the creative costumes that I see parading around the gymnasium. This year, the Grade 2 Team went with a Seuss theme! Thankfully, I have gotten the blue out of my hair!

Mrs. Christian, Mrs. Dallaire, & Me!

Waiting for our turn to parade...

Here's a glimpse at the costumes in Room 13...

It is Book Fair Week at Zeh! Please join us on Thursday, November 6th at 6:15 pm for our annual "Read Aloud Night". This year, Mr. Sardella, Mrs. Zia and I will be sharing stories in our classroom, Room 13! Feel free to come in your jammies and slippers to hear some great stories. I look forward to seeing you at this special event!
I also want to congratulate Mr. Chris Louis Sardella, 5th Grade Teacher at Zeh School for receiving the prestigious Milken Educator Award for Excellence this past Tuesday! This is a wonderful honor for him and for our school. Zeh is truly an exceptional place to work and play!

  • 11/4/08: Election Day- No School
  • 11/5/07: School Committee Meeing at MMS at 7:00 pm
  • 11/6/08: Read Aloud Night
  • 11/11/08: Veteran's Day- No School
  • 11/14/08: One Big Happy Family Play at 8:45 am. Families are welcome to join us!
  • 11/18 and 11/20: Half day for Parent Conferences (Send in conference slips ASAP!)
  • 11/26/08: Half day for Thanksgiving!
  • 11/27-12/1/08: Thanksgiving Break!

Thank you again for all the supplies and for a great week at Zeh!

-JoAnne Gorham

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Long time...

Without further delay, here is the update from Room 13...

We took a trip to Drumlin Farm last week to kick off our unit on Native Americans. The rain held off and we had a good visit. Thank you to Ms. Ryder (Chris's mom) for joining us as our chaperone.

Native tools for drilling holes.

Inside the wetu...

Grinding corn

Cleaning a deer skin with seashells

Making journey cake (noka hic)

Native games for teaching target practice

How do they make dugout canoes?

We found a frog in the pond. But where is his pal, Toad?

Checking out Grandma Maple

Cooking our journey cakes on the fire

In mathematics, we are working on telling time to the hour, the half-hour, and the quarter hour. Please reinforce this at home by asking your child to tell time for you. Time to the quarter hour is by far the most challenging so far. We will continue on with to the nearest minute. Remember- practice makes better!
We have been working on our paragraph writing and have completed our first story on a favorite summer activity/trip. The children have a opportunity to share their work in "The Author's Chair." We are now writing "The 3 Ways I Know it is Fall" and completing our writing samples on our trip to Drumlin Farm.

Good times at Mayflower Beach!

Fun in Rhode Island!

A trip to Canobie Lake!

We have also been working hard in computer lab! We always begin lab with keyboarding practice. The students are using a program called Type to Learn, Jr. After 10-15 minutes of practice, we move into our activity. This could be research using a website, software instruction (such as how to use Kidspiration), or publishing using MS Word. Some children have received certificates for completing keyboarding lessons and are thrilled! We conclude every lab session with 10-15 minutes of choice time. The children love lab and working with Mr. Gervais, our technology specialist!
Choice Time!

Research on Frogs vs. Toads

Choice Time!

A Keyboarding Whiz!

In reading, we wrapped up our study of Friends using Frog & Toad. We made some silly new bathing suits for Toad to wear. We also did some reader's theater to practice our understanding of how quotation marks and dialogue work. It was great to see the children practice, perform and use "funny" voices as they pretended to be Frog, Toad or the Narrator. Check out some wonderful pictures of Toad's new threads.

On Wednesday, we were treated to a visit by Ms. Carol Sexton, our Community Guest Reader. She was wonderful to us and even brought us treats- new backpacks! Thank you, Carol for volunteering and sharing your time!

Ms. Sexton read us this book by Sharon Creech.

We also just finished up "Bunnicula" by James & Deborah Howe for read aloud. The children loved the misadventures of Harold the dog, Chester the cat, and Bunnicula the bunny. Was Bunnicula really a vampire? What do you think? If your child enjoyed this book, there are others in the series to check out.

For our next read aloud, we will do a short author study on Chris Van Allsburg. He is a native New Englander (Rhode Island) and writes and illustrates his stories. Check out his website below if you want to learn more about him.
You may know that our class goal is to read 100 chapter books this year. We are tracking the books that we read at school and when a student completes a book, they fill out a "Chapter Book Review" form. Once the form is completed and approved, the student can then shade in a book on our large chart. We are well on our way to meeting our goal!
Gentle Reminders:
  • White, washed t-shirt for the Halloween tie-dye. Due by Tuesday 10/28.
  • Wear zebra colors on Tuesday! The Massachusetts Commissioner of Education will visit us at an 8:30 All-School Meeting!
  • Send in Parent Conference Requests ASAP!
  • Wednesday, October 29th- Report Card Meeting at Melican Middle School at 7:00 pm. This will be the "unveiling" of the new report card. Be there if you can!
  • Friday is the Halloween Parade at 1:30 PM. Parents and families are welcome to attend the parade. Please remember that this is a non-food event. Also, this is a preschool-5th event. Leave all scary masks and weapons at home as we do not want to frighten the younger children. Thank you in advance for your help with this.
  • Tuesday, November 4th, 2008: No school- Election Day
  • Tuesday, November 11th, 2008: No School- Veteran's Day
  • Parent Conferences are Tuesday, November 18th and Thursday, November 20th. I look forward to seeing you then!

Thank you for all you do to support your child's education! It is a pleasure working with this group of children!

Have a great week!

-JoAnne Gorham