Archive for December, 2010

The Cookie Walk

A great time was had by all during our “Cookie Walk!” Thank you to all of our families! We could not have done it without you! Happy New Year!

Posted on December 31st, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Secret Snowflakes

In anticipation of the holidays, we are going to have “Secret Snowflakes” in our classroom. This means that you will choose a name on Friday, December 17th, and you will be that person’s “Secret Snowflake” for the following week. Try hard to keep it a secret so as not to spoil the fun! You will create four gifts for the person that you pick. You will create the gifts for homework.

Friday night you will draw a picture for your person. The drawing may be about the holidays or be a drawing of your person. It could be something you think they like or anything else you would like to draw. You may draw it with crayons, colored pencils or markers. YOU MUST have your Secret Snowflake’s name somewhere on the drawing but DO NOT put your name on it. On the back of the drawing, please write (or have someone else write so as not to give yourself away) a clue about yourself. The clue should be a hint about who you are but it should not give it away completely! You may tell them about your hair or eye color, your favorite book or something you like to do. Be creative!

Monday night you will write a PraiseNote for your person. Think about something kind and/or helpful that you have seen your person do at school. We will talk about this in class. PraiseNote slips will be provided. On the back, please write (or have someone else write) a second clue about you.

Tuesday night you will create/write an acrostic poem using the name of your Secret Snowflake. We will go over how to do this in class and I will provide special stationary for you to use. On the back, please write (or have someone else write) a third clue about you.

Wednesday night you will make a snowflake for the person you chose as your Secret Snowflake. We will review how to make them in class this week. Please paste it on the colored construction paper and write a “Happy Holiday” note on the back of it. Be sure to write the person’s name on it and write (or have someone else write) a final clue about yourself. We will be guessing/revealing Secret Snowflakes on Thursday! Have fun! Be creative! Happy Holidays

Posted on December 20th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Check out our Moves!

We all feel better when we get up and move! I try to provide opportunities for the children to move during the school day. This movement provides important benefits to the class. The kids get a chance to move around and have fun but the most important benefit is to the brain function of the students themselves. Dr. John Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School has said, “Exercise itself doesn’t make you smarter, but it puts the brain of the learners in the optimal position to learn.”1 Dr. Ratey’s research compiles vast amounts of research that indicates that exercise done by students during the school day reduces stress and anxiety and also improves attention.

Here are some of the activities that we use to get ourselves moving:

First, we start off our day with SmartMoves. It is an interactive CD. The SmartMoves program, created and distributed by Fablevision, is described as “cognitive calisthenics” that provide a series of body movements that become increasingly more difficult. The movements are modeled on screen and are set to calming music.

Students also engage in Responsive Classroom Energizers.  The Energizers provide 2-3 minute breaks during which the students engage in fun movement activities accompanied by chants and songs. The purpose of these activities is to provide (depending on the selected activity) movement to help them focus, energize or release stress.

Check out two of our favorites here:

Also, the school-wide Mileage Program, has started again. You may remember that this program allows each child the opportunity to run or walk up to a mile several days a week during recess. Depending on accrued mileage, students can earn a foot charm (or many), a water bottle and a gold medal. Participation is optional and still allows children plenty of time for free play during recess.

Finally, coming soon to recess..”New Game Day”. Once a week, I will introduce a new group game to interested third graders who would like to learn a new game to play with their friends. Some of the first games will include “Tacos & Bridges”, “Giants, Wizards & Elves” and “Band-Aid Tag”! I can’t wait!

1-Viadero, Debra, (February 12, 2008). Exercise Seen as Priming Pump for Students’ Academic Strides. Education Week. Retrieved from

Posted on December 10th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  3 Comments »

Books & Buddies

Today we talked about book covers and book jackets. The students then worked with a buddy to investigate what could be found on the front cover, back cover and left & right flaps of various books in our classroom! They were productive and happy during this educational book scavenger hunt! Check out the photos below.

Posted on December 10th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Good News to Share!

I wanted to share a wonderful accomplishment that the children have achieved together. They have earned 100 goody stones! They earn goody stones as a team not as individuals. They have to work together, cooperate, collaborate and behave well as a group. They earn goody stones in a variety of situations including excellent audience behavior at an assembly, quiet lines in the hallway, compliments from other teachers and their work together in art, music, gym and library. The children voted to “bank” these goody stone points and earn 50 more. When they achieve 150 goody stones, they will trade them in for a movie (rated G) and a snack. Congratulations Team 202!

Also, traditionally, on the day before holiday break, my class and I have enjoyed a COOKIE WALK! We would decorate the bags at school and then your child would bring his/her bag home a few days before the Cookie Walk to be filled with cookies (nut free please) for our cookie walk on Thursday, 12/23. During the cookie walk, each child has the opportunity to “win” a dozen cookies brought in by a classmate. It is a fun way to share and play together before we head off on vacation.

However, this activity is dependent on parent participation and support. Please indicate below if you would be able/willing to bake and send in a dozen cookies with your child. Please fill out and return the slip provided by Wednesday, 12/8 to indicate your willingness. I will let you know the result by Friday, 12/10.

Posted on December 5th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  6 Comments »

Computer Time By: Julie

At least twice a week, everybody gets computer time during the Wave. We are timed by a wooden-brown, blue-sanded hour glass. It gives us 15 minutes. Two people go at a time because we have two computers. (It is our job to know if it is our turn or not.) Once we both sit down and turn the computer on (if it’s not on), one of us turns the hour glass over to start playing. During our time, if the hour glass is almost empty, we are not allowed to turn it back over so we get more time. If we do that, we get in big trouble**. Some of the games we play are: the blog games, Kid Pix, FreeRice and Starfall. We have loads of fun!

Written by: Julie B.

**Editorial Comment by Ms. Sawyer: Big Trouble = You lose your next scheduled turn. :)

Posted on December 4th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  4 Comments »