Saturday, December 10, 2016

Books & Bird Feeders

Here at Horace Mann, we are generous givers and grateful receivers.  In the giving side, our K-Kids club (about 50 kids in grades 2-5) made cards and birdfeeders for area organizations such as police, fire and nursing homes.  These pictures show the fun the kids were having!  Many thanks to Anna Bacho from Kiwanis, parent volunteer Melissa Diemert and Horace Mann Family Resource Coordinator Therese Schwind for setting up the stations and supporting our students' natural altruism :-)

In other blog-worthy news this week, about 1800 brand new, beautiful books were delivered to our school.  These books were purchased by the school district for each of the 7 elementary schools to use in conjunction with the Reading Workshop curriculum.  When the books arrived, they needed to be unpacked, checked in, labeled and distributed to classrooms.  A big job, for sure...

Well, Peggy Morris, our fabulous Library Media Assistant, turned the library into a big workspace and the next morning, PTA volunteers showed up as a force to be reckoned with.  It was a whirlwind of activity, and within 36 hours, all of the books had been properly marked and delivered to their rightful rooms.  The volunteers said the hardest part was not stopping too often to admire the lovely new reading material!  Big, BIG thanks to our volunteers and to Brenda Budzar from Teaching & Learning, too.

The blog will take a brief hiatus during winter break, and we hope to see you at the Winter Concert on December 16th.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Celebrating Mysteries in 3rd Grade

A fun, new unit of study for Reading Workshop was introduced this year in 3rd Grade.  Mysteries!  This genre is very popular in our culture, and has some important  & unique features, so dedicating a unit to it in 3rd grade is a great idea.

Lakewood students are fortunate; when I read mysteries as a kid (oh, boy, was I a big Nancy Drew fan), I devoured and enjoyed them.  However,  I've gained a whole new appreciation for the distinct elements and vocabulary mystery writers use in order to hook their readers,  through observing in classrooms during this unit...and even teaching a lesson myself.  Thank you, Mrs. Cali, for allowing me to take over for a day :-)

Of course, mysteries aren't limited to the printed word, there are many movies and TV shows, too.  As a way to celebrate the end of the Mystery unit, the 3rd graders enjoyed watching a Scooby Doo movie on Friday as a whole grade level.  Are you smiling right now because you liked Scooby Doo as much as I did when you were a kid?

Yesterday after school, I asked 3rd grader Eva Brooks if she enjoyed the Scooby Doo movie and she said she did.  I also asked her if she likes reading mysteries.  She said she loves them, and she didn't know that at all before this unit.   Wow, no mystery here...good curriculum + good teaching  = student engagement and learning.