We recently had our “Expert Fair” writing celebration and the quality of the students’ writing was phenomenal! It has been impressive to see these students have a crystal-clear vision of their informational writing goals, and work each day toward achieving those goals. These goals focused on the big elements of structure, development, and language conventions.

We will travel back in time to study Ancient Rome in the coming weeks. Students will be learning about Roman history in a rough chronological order: founding, kingdom, republic, empire, and decline. Art and engineering will be incorporated into our learning, and we will celebrate with a culmination in February.

This week in mindfulness, we spent some time talking about setting intentions for the year, just as one establishes a New Year’s resolution. Each student wrote their intention on a tag, keeping it visible so they can continue to focus their energy on “feeding” their positive intention. We discussed the below quote to help children understand the power of intention:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

1st grade has started our unit all about Ancient Greece! Core knowledge is such a great way to teach about the rich world around us. The kids will be immersed in the world of Ancient Greece and learn what it would be like to be alive during this time. They will be learning about Greek culture including art, history and everyday life. We began this unit with a close study of their flag and the meaning behind the colors and design. It was great to see the kids discuss the meaning and get excited to share their ideas!

Studying mentor texts is an important part of learning in our classroom. It helps the students visualize and see examples of what we are working on as a class and let’s them see how creative a variety of authors get when they are working on different parts of their writing crafts. In our non fiction writing unit, the kids are working hard on drawing their readers in with an exciting table of contents. We studied a variety of examples and the kids did a great job modeling their tables of contents using what they learned from the mentor texts. They were creative and well written. I love to see the kids so excited about writing time!

Kindergarten is beginning our study the Human Body during our Core Thematic time. We are working on creating bodies with our basic anatomy. Our body is amazing! Can you name all the parts on the outside? What about the inside? We are looking at the brain, bones, heart, lungs, senses, and respiratory and thoracic systems. Some of our fantastic parents are sharing their knowledge with the classroom as our Special Doctor Guests! We are so excited at the wealth of knowledge in our classroom. This is a very exciting, hands-on unit filled with discovery!

In Junior Kindergarten we are diving into the “Daily Five” structure during language arts time. The Daily Five is a literary structure that teaches independence and gives children the skills needed to create a lifetime love of reading and writing. When introduced to each task, the children discuss what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to engage in the task independently. The five tasks are as follows:  Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading and Word Work. In order for our Daily 5 time to be successful, it is first essential that we establish strong routines for the structure. Over the next few weeks, we will be practicing building class stamina and learn how building stamina will help us to become more independent readers and writers. The kids have been so excited for Daily 5 already and we are only on Day 3!