Friday, September 30, 2011

Commenting on Blog Posts

Today we spent some time in the computer lab learning about what makes a quality comment. The children in our classroom know that when you comment on a blog post you should:

1. Choose a post that is interesting to you.
2. Give a put-up or compliment to the writer.
3. Make a connection to yourself, your life or something you know.
4. Ask a question.
5. Sign your first name.
6. Reread your comment before you post it to make sure it makes sense.

The children worked in partners to go through the process of leaving a comment on a blog. We had a few technology glitches, but everything was in working order by the time we left the lab.

This weekend the children's Weekender homework assignment is to work with their families to post a comment to our blog, or one of the other blogs that we follow. Here are some quick links to the other blogs we follow:

Receiving and responding to comments on the blog is always exciting for the children in our classroom. It helps them to realize that they have a real audience, their work is important, and that people are interested in what they are doing and what they have to say. I'm fairly certain that when I was 5, 6, and 7 the only people that were listening to and reading about what I had to say were my parents and maybe my sisters (but probably not... I'm the youngest). Through the use of technology we are able to turn our classroom walls into windows, we are given the opportunity to connect with and learn with people in far away places, and are able to share what we do with the world. Awesome.
-Mrs. Malkoske

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An afternoon away and other news...

It feels like it`s been a long time since my voice has been heard on our classroom blog... which is kind of awesome because that means that I`ve started to meet my blogging goals...
1. To post something every school day.
2. To `hand over` the responsibility for the blog to the children.
3. To help the children in my class see that the work they do is important, interesting and worth sharing with the world.
...I`d say so far so good. We`ve posted every day and blogging has become a natural part of our daily routine. Some days we blog together and everyone has a chance to contribute, and other days two or three students take on the responsibility. I have had a number of children ask if they could post on their own and very soon they will get that opportunity. The children are interested in looking at our flag counter to see which countries our visitors are from, and the LOVE getting comments! They`ve even helped Mrs. Caldwell with her blog. She was a bit nervous about sharing her thoughts and ideas with a global audience, but Taylor assured her that she would be okay, there was nothing to be nervous about, and that `it`s just like sharing stuff with your friends`.
This week we got a present in the mail from one of our blog followers. (Which was very exciting for all of us!) Mrs. Dent Scarcello at Bird`s Hill School follows our blog and saw that we are doing the Daily 5 in our classroom. She sent Awesome Owl bookmarks to each of the students in our classroom! The children knew that we needed to thank her so we Skyped her this morning. It was our first Skype call of the year and we had a couple of technical difficulties at first, but we got to talk with Mrs. Dent Scarcello for about 5 minutes. She asked the children about the Daily 5 and answered a few of their questions. We talked about the criteria for Skype and the jobs that we will have during longer Skype learning calls. This short call allowed us to test out all of our equipment and of course to thank Mrs. Dent Scarcello!
You might have noticed that I`ve made a few changes to our blog tonight. That`s because I`m getting it ready to share at a professional development conference for teachers this weekend in Winnipeg. I`m facilitating a session called A Window to the World - Blogging in the Classroom at the Fab Five conference for new teachers. I`m also conducting a couple of different technology sessions at the SAGE conference later in the month... so our visitor counters are going to sky-rocket!
I almost forgot... the reason that I`m posting without the children today is because I was away this afternoon at an ICT coordinator meeting (I am the coordinator for Dr. Hamilton this year). Our blog requires a password in order to create a post, so the kids can`t post without me... but they`ll be back tomorrow!
-Mrs. Malkoske

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Happy Day

It was picture day today. -Kendall
It's my birthday. We sang happy birthday and Mrs. Malkoske blew up a balloon. -Nicholas
Aliegha showed us her bird's nest. We had word work. -Tristan
We had pictures in the gym and a birthday to celebrate. -Taylor
Today we had library and music. -Peyton
We did some shape work. The stars were my favourite. -Cameron
We had fun! We had 3 recesses!-Sam
We wrote in our writer's notebook. -Brandon
I wrote a whole page in my writer's notebook! -Jadyn
We did finger painting. We made ovals. -Lindsay
My favourite centre was the finger painting.-Sydney R
We wrote in our books. I wrote about my birthday. -Rhianna
I wrote two pages in my writer's notebook. -Tyson
Today is Mr. Chan's birthday. -Jolene
We're gonna go to music right now! -Olivia

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Substitute Teachers!

We had a substitute teacher for gym and this morning. We were in gym when the fire drill rang. We went outside to the back in gym. -Tristan
In gym the substitute teacher taught us a new game called Billy Goat Tag. -Ashley
Ms. Koehn was here this morning and she's nice. -Jadyn
She's a very nice teacher. -Rhianna
She remembered some of our names. She was here til lunch -Peyton
Ms. Koehn is fun! -Taylor
Ms. Koehn is the sister of my neighbour. -Jolene
We had our second fire drill. -Cole
We went outside when the fire bell rang. We waited outside for another bell. -Nicholas
Today we learned about shapes. Two people read a story to people in groups. They read their book over and over to different groups. -Ashley
We're doing shape stuff in Math. -Cameron
We have 3 play structures. Yesterday was our day. -Sam
We had fun today. -Rylee

Monday, September 26, 2011

We Belong Together

Today we talked about who we belong to like family and friends, and lots of sports. We talked about groups like Brownies and Sparks, dancing, skating, jobs, school, and cousins. We had to draw and label pictures of our groups and it was fun!
-Aliegha & Mrs. Malkoske

Friday, September 23, 2011

1 Awesome Day!

we  had a fire drill we went out the side door. we had gym we did lots of  runing. the Terry  Fox  walk was right before last recess. my mom came for the Terry Fox walk and my sisters came to. we learned  two  more things for Daliy 5.we went to gym before lunch. this week it was Coles birthday.we had  T.W.A.S. we wrote alot. are stamina was 11 min.for read to slef. and are stamina for read to someone is 11min.
-Madeline & Peyton

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Busy Beehive

We had to do lots of writing... and it was fun! -Brandon
We had jungle gym. -Jadyn
We had jungle gym two days in a row. We had three things out of our room: Choir, Gym and Computer Lab-Jolene
We made ourselves into kind of like animals at computer lab. -Nicholas
If we were done our work we did free writing. I was drawing pictures and writing about my room and my cabin. Nine people visited our fridge survey. We had fun. -Tristan
We had choir. -Cole
Gym was fun! -Lindsay
We had a busy day and afternoon. -Taylor
We had fun. The best part was jungle gym! -Sam
We went to computer lab. -Cameron
We were making a movie. -Madeline
We had word work stations. -Ashley

*Note: The most of the titles of our blog posts are given to us by Tyson. I think he might have a career in marketing in his future! :)

The website we visited in the lab today is called Build Your Wild Self and it was created by the New York Zoo. It`s always a favourite!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Daily 5 in Action!

The children in our classroom have spent the last two weeks learning about the Daily 5. We created lists of expectations together, the children have had many opportunities to practice, and their stamina and independence is increasing every day.
Until today we have been practising each of the five elements of the Daily 5 all together, one at a time. Today was the first day that the children were given the opportunity to choose the order of their Daily 5 activities... and they were terrific! They knew exactly what they wanted to do and when they wanted to do it. They were focussed and independent.
This morning we had time to do three rounds of Daily 5. The children chose between Read to Self, Read to Someone and Listen to Reading. At the end of the third round, each child had compeleted each of the three elements. Here is a short video that shows what our classroom looks like during one round of the Daily 5:

The Daily 5 in action! from Erin Malkoske on Vimeo.

Daily 5 is Awesome!

During Daily 5 we had to do all three things but you got to pick in which order. -Peyton
We listened to reading on the stereo. -Cameron
On Daily 5 I read with the birthday boy. -Tristan
I picked chapter books for Daily 5. -Aliegha
I learned how to read Mom! -Kaspir
We switched our books. -Sydney
I read with Aliegha when it was Read to Someone. -Madeline
It was my birthday today! -Cole
We had cupcakes for snack. -Jadyn
We drew our houses. - Nicholas
Today we had jungle gym! It was AWESOME! -Ashley
We had fun at jungle gym. -Rylee
We had fun! -Sam

It was another busy day in Room 9. The children in our classroom are getting very good at following the expectations for each of their Daily 5 choices. Check back later to see a short video of the Daily 5 in action!

PS - Cole had an AWESOME t-shirt on today! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mad Science!

Mad Science came today. -Aliegha
We're going to learn about planets. -Rylee
They had a card and ripped it. Then she put it on fire and put it in a pot. Then Tyson got it out and it was the card again. -Sydney R
When they put dry ice in the container the lid popped! -Nicholas
When they put dry ice up against a plate it made a noice. -Cole
Then Mr. Chan said eeeeeeekkkkk! -Sydney R
They did lots of experiments. -Peyton
They put a fire in a bottle and they put an egg on top. Then the Mr. Eggbert squeezed in and the fire went out. Then she blew in the bottle and Mr. Eggbert came out. -Madeline
They brought a friend that was an egg (Mr. Eggbert). -Ashley
She put a leaf blower and it blew in her face. Then balanced a ball in the air with it. -Sydney H
She put a hair dryer on and a ping pong ball on top and balanced it. -Kendall

Note to Parents: Mad Science will be offering a before school club at our school beginning in October. Information is coming home tonight in your child's Back and Forth folder.

Monday, September 19, 2011

ARRRR Matey!

Today at Dr. Hamilton School it was "Talk Like a Pirate Day"! People dressed up like pirates. If you talked like a pirate you got candy and a bookmark. Lots of kids in our class dressed up like pirates. We talked like pirates.We listened to the story "Pirates Don't Change Diapers" during Listen to Reading time. It was a Tumblebooks. We had fun!
-Peyton, Cole, Alexander, Sam, Nicholas, Jonathon

Friday, September 16, 2011

Choice Time!

Today during Choice Time...
We played in the sandbox. -Brandon
We builded the biggest Lego house in history! -Alexander, Peyton, Tyson
It had a patio and two hottubs and a lake. -Jonathon
We played with the straws. We made a hotel and a wall and an entrace to our library. -Tristan, Cole, Aaron
I played with marble stuff and made a big marble party. -Cameron
We did a puppet show! -Kendall
Me and Ashley made crowns out of paper. -Sydney R
I read a book with my earphones. -Nicholas
We opened the sand table. -Ashley
I played in the sandbox. -Aliegha
I went on the computer to Seussville. -Madeline
We had an awesome puppet show. -Brandon
It was hot lunch today. -Ashley
We played on the play structure (at recess). -Sam
We had fun! -Rylee

PS- It's Mrs. Malkoske's birthday! -Syney H

Today was a great day in Room 9. For some of our younger classmates (and a few of the older children too) it was a long first full week of school. The transition from summer to school and from half days to full days takes a bit of time and all of the kids are doing the best they can. I appreciate their smiles, kind words to one another, and willingness to help each other out and cheer each other up when needed.

This afternoon we had Choice Time. Choice Time is a time of day when the children are able to choose from a variety of activities in our classroom. Today they chose from activities like painting, puppets, listening to stories, exploring author websites, building, and sand. To the kids, Choice Time is all about playing. When we were writing this post the children listed the activities they chose, and said things like "We had fun!" and "I played with ________". To me, Choice Time  is about so much more than playing. As I observed and interacted with the children during choice time I saw more than a really cool lego house and a quirky puppet show. I saw children cooperating, using kind words, encouraging one another, and sharing as they played Lego. I saw children solving problems, making a plan, organizing themselves, inviting other children to join in, and using their imaginations to create a story as they played with puppets. I saw children being creative, sharing, working together, being resourceful, and making cards and pictures to brighten someone's day as they painted, drew, taped (lots of tape!), glued and sparkled their creations. I saw children changing their plans, organizing a large group, sharing, helping each other, and doing something to make our classroom more interesting as they built with straws and connectors. I saw kids quietly enjoying a story when they knew they just needed a break. All of these things happened within our four walls in a matter of 30 minutes. When children are given choice and the opportunity to explore their passions, magic happens. Have a wonderful weekend!
The 25 Faces of Room 9

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reading Rocks!

We read a lot this morning. -Taylor
We did read to self. -Kendall
We did read to someone. -Alexander
Today we started word work during Daily 5. -Lindsay

Here are some other things we did today:
Today was our first day of math centres. We started Inquiry too. We talked about ourselves and had to answer questions.-Tristan
We did counting by 5s in math centres. -Brandon
We had the grade 5s and 6s in gym with us. -Jadyn
We did our jobs. -Nicholas
We had an awesome day! -Taylor

Watching young children grow as readers throughout the course of a school year is an awesome experience. Listening to a young child read a book that they couldn't read just a few short months or weeks before is rewarding, but watching their faces as they realize what they've just done is magic. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Day in the Computer Lab

Today in the computer lab we went on our blog. (Kendall) We had to log in. (Alexander)  We had to type lots of letters to get to our blog. (Peyton) We added it to our favourites. (Cameron) We went to our wiki. (Sydney R) We played some games. (Ashley) We used our headphones. (Jadyn)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Daily 5 and Open House!

Tonight our Mom's and Dad's are going to meet our teacher (Madeline). We can look at books at the Book Fair too (Rhianna). Open House starts at 6:00 (Petyon).

Today we started the Daily 5. We learned about Read to Self (Lindsay). When we read to self we have to remember:
-Keep our eyes on the book (Sydney H)
-Read for the whole time (Cameron)
-Look at our books slowly (Nicholas)
-Don't talk to your neighbours when you're reading your book (Taylor)
-Pay attention to your book (Peyton)
-Whisper if you're sounding something out (Jolene)
-Read your just right books (Ashley)
-Pick 1 spot and stay there (Jadyn)
-Get started right away (Jolene)
-Treat books right (Rylee)

Today we also had Run Club and Gym. (Aliegha)
It was another busy day in Grade 1 & 2. Today we started the first component of The Daily 5, Read to Self, and it was a big success! This summer I read The Daily 5 and The Cafe Book  and plan to implement this program in my classroom this year. At our school there are 5 teachers that hope to do the same. We are working together to share, discuss and celebrate with one another as we grow our professional practice around literacy. What I like best about The Daily 5 is that it fosters literacy independence and provides children with choice. I will be blogging a bit about how things are going as we learn about the other 4 components of The Daily 5. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Everything!

Today we had a lot of new things happening in our classroom. Here are some of them:
1. We drew self-portraits and we liked each other's faces. -Rhianna
2. We had our first assembly. -Rylee
3. We picked our first home reading books. -Kendall
4. We had our first library class. -Jadyn
5. We had music with Mrs. Green and Mrs. Lobay's class. -Alexander
6. We did our first spelling test. -Lindsay
7. We got new home reading folder. -Nicholas
8. We got our classroom jobs. -Ashley
9. Mrs. S was in our room this morning.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reaching for the Stars!

Today we read the book "How to Catch a Star" by Olilver Jeffers. The message in the story is an important one to remember: Reach for the stars and never give up, keep on trying. When we finished the story we talked a little bit about some of the things we're trying to get better at. Here's what we said:

Reading! -Kendall
Iwant to have nice printing and spell words right and math. -Lindsay
I want to draw better. -Tristan
I want to write better, like get all the words right. -Jolene
Sports! -Sam
Soccer! -Nicholas
I want to get better at crafts and swimming. -Madeline
I want to get better at working. -Alexander
Get better at reading. -Sydney R
I want to get better at hockey and soccer and swimming. -Taylor
I want to learn how to catch a star! -Sydney H
I really want to learn how to draw some animals. -Rylee
I want to learn how to do my pictures better. -Jonathon
I want to write good and get all the words right. -Peyton
I want to write my name in handwriting better. -Jadyn
I want to get better at reading. -Cameron
I want to get better at math. -Ashley

Have a wonderful weekend... we'll be back on Monday!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Second Day of School

Today we made a glyph. A glyph is when you draw your answers to questions. -Tristan
We went to Music. -Sydney H
Mr. Chan has a new school. He goes back and forth to each school. -Tristan
We finished our dragonfly chart and we finished our dragonflies. We put our heads on them. -Madeline
We did our morning message today. -Aliegha
We took pictures outside. -Jadyn
One of our 3 Be's is Be Responsible. -Nicholas
Be Respectful is another one. -Rhianna
We drew a picture and wrote sentences about summer. -Alexander
We played on the play structure. -Cameron
We read the pictures in our books. -Kendall
We also read the words. -Lindsay
We caught a grasshopper today. -Tyson
I've learned almost all of the names of the children in our class. -Ms. Anderlic

We had another busy and exciting day at school today. We continued reviewing expectations and figuring out what we want our classroom community to be like this year. The children worked together to fill in our dragonfly chart which is part of our Schoolwide Positive Behaviour initiative. Here's a picture of their thinking:
Over the past two days I begun to realize what a gift it is to be able to teach the same children for two years in a row. The 9 students that were in my room last year and have moved on with me have been a tremendous help to me and the children that are with me for the first time. These kids know the routines of our classroom, where to find (and put away) supplies, how our classroom library is organized and many of the other small things that happen in my classroom... and in one of our discussions today they showed just how much they know about me!
Today I watched one of these 9 children show another child where to find the markers and I saw one of them teach another child how to use the hole puncher. These seem like simple things that don't take much time or effort, but they allow me the time to sit and listen to a child read and help another with a word they're trying to write. I'm leaving here tonight feeling very lucky and extremely proud of the children in my classroom. -Mrs. Malkoske

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's a New Year!

It's our first day of school! Here are some things that happened today:

I made a new friend. - Rhianna
I played with Cameron. -Nicholas
I'm happy to see my friends. -Aliegha
I saw Kaelan. -Peyton
We painted dragonflies and I played with Aliegha. -Madeline
We had fun. -Ashley
We took a picture outside of our class. -Jonathon
We had gym! -Jadyn & Sam
We had fun in gym. -Rhianna
Me and Tyson found a grasshopper outside. -Cole
Me and my friends found a ladybug. -Taylor
I played with Kai. -Cameron
We got to meet new people. -Ashley

It was a wonderful first day of school for me too! We spent the day together learning some of the routines of the classroom and getting to know one another. Today we welcomed Kaspir and Sydney H into our Dr. Hamilton Family and look forward to learning with them this year. For many of the younger students in our classroom, today marked a very important milestone in their school lives... it was the first day that they got to have 3 RECESSES! There were many tired faces at the end of the day (including mine) but they still had smiles on them. :)

In my last post I talked a little bit about why I love doing what I do. Today I would like to add another reason to the list: Magic. Everyday I get to see something magical happen. Not the pull-a-rabbit-out-of-a-hat kind of magic, but the magic that happens when kids are being kids. Today I saw one of my older students get up quietly from storytime and walk over to a younger student (who was quite nervous and had arrived a little late), show him where to put his things, and invite him to sit next to him on the carpet. No one asked him to do it, and might seem like a small thing, but to me it's magic. Later in the day I watched another student from our classroom notice a child from another classroom playing alone on the playground, walk over to her and invite her to play. This afternoon I was able to sit down and listen to a couple of younger students read from books they had never seen before. Magic. Kids. Everyday.
-Mrs. Malkoske

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One More Sleep!

Tonight is the last night before the first day of a new school year! For me that always means a restless night full of anticipation and nervous excitement for the day and year ahead. One of the reasons I love teaching, and can't imagine doing any other job, is that every year is different and new... new beginnings, new opportunities, new students, new colleagues, new classrooms, and new learning. I can't wait to see what this year will bring!

As some of you know, and others will find out soon, I am an avid reader of all kinds of books, articles, blogs, and magazines. I'll read just about anything from fiction to biography to business to technology to environment to pop culture, and of course, the occasional People Magazine. On the weekend I was looking through a couple of books that I usually revisit at the beginning of the school year and came across a passage in one of them that I had flagged a couple of years ago. The book is called "The Last Lecture" and was written by Randy Pausch. (You may have seen him on Oprah or on Youtube, talking about his book and sharing his story.) There are a number of passages in this book that I connect to as an educator, but none more than this one (from Chapter 36 - Look for the Best in Everybody):

"This is beautiful advice that I got once from Jon Snoddy, my hero at Disney Imagineering. I just was so taken with the way he put it. "If you wait long enough," he said, "people will surprise and impress you." "

This is another reason I love my job. Young children tend to surprise and impress more quickly than adults, and usually on a daily basis. :)

And with that I wish everyone a good night's sleep. See you in the morning!
-Mrs. Malkoske

Saturday, September 3, 2011