Archive for the ‘Classroom activities’ Category

Company in the Classroom!

We have been extremely lucky to welcome some special guests into our classroom to enhance our learning!

Falmouth Historical Society: Volunteer docents from the Falmouth Historical Society, in costumes reflecting style of Colonial times, came in and talked to the children about the clothing worn by colonists. They also taught the children about the materials that were used in Colonial times to make various kinds of cloth. The class learned about wool and had the opportunity to “card” the wool and then twist it into yarn. They learned about the numerous steps that are required to make flax into linen and the uses of “tow”. The children were then invited to share their thoughts and opinions on whether they would like to live in Colonial times or not. Ask your child about it!

Falmouth High School Ecology Club: The Ecology Club spoke to our class last week. Each high-school student taught our third graders about different species of endangered “Big Cats.” The students were asked to identify the cats visually by choosing the appropriate picture and by picking the stuffed animal version of the species that were just discussed. The club members discussed each cat’s role in the food chain (eating the cows and goats of farmers) and why this is a critical part of the problem that is causing them to become endangered (frustrated farmers kill the “Big Cats”). The club members helped the children to understand ways that farmers can protect livestock without killing the lions, tigers, leopards, etc. Some of the solutions include building barns, getting guard dogs and using guard llamas! The students then created “Big Cat” pencil toppers to help remind them of the lessons of the day.

Cross-Age Science Teaching (CAST): Teams of eighth grade students came over three times during the months of April and May to teach our class about electricity. Each eighth grader was assigned a group of third graders to work with over the course of the three visits. They worked amazingly well together! The third graders learned about safety in regards to electricity as well as circuits, conductors and insulators and much more. They built motors to spin colorful paper discs, used batteries to light a light bulb, tested everyday objects to determine if each was a conductor or an insulator and created their own circuit board that would light up when a question was answered correctly. The third graders were attentive, enthusiastic and thrilled with their creations! It was definitely a “win-win” situation for all involved!

Just a reminder…we are still looking for volunteer drivers to both Aptuxcet (June 3) and the Cape Cod Canal (June 16). Currently we have enough drivers/seatbelts for 13 students for the June 3rd trip and 8 students for the June 16 trip. If you are able to drive, please send back the form that was sent home last week. Thanks very much!!

Posted on May 16th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Room 202 is Ready to Research!

We are beginning to work towards an exciting research project discovering many famous and talented people that have ties to Massachusetts.

Some students have chosen one person who made a significant contribution to America and is connected to Massachusetts in some way. If your child has not brought back his/her top three choices, please do this as soon as possible. We will research important information about this person, write a well developed research report, and later “become” this person in our living wax museum. Please keep an eye out for additional information that will be coming home with your child on Wednesday.

Of note this week:

*On Tuesday, your child will participate in CAST (Cross-Age Science Teaching)!  Eighth grade students from the Lawrence School will come to our classroom to teach the children about circuits, insulators, conductors and electrical safety. It is a hands-on experience that is a fun & fantastic learning experience for all involved.

*Please be sure to come by for some dinner (Spaghetti Supper-5:15 PM) and to view the incredible artwork (Art Show 6:00 PM) created by the students of Mullen-Hall, including YOUR CHILD! :)

*On Friday, we will enjoy a special concert with Bill Harley!  ”Bill uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves.”~

“…Harley’s witty, ebullient performances will have listeners young and old laughing out loud.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
There will be a special FAMILY CONCERT on Friday, May 6, 2011 @ 7:00 PM
Lawrence School. More information will be sent home on Friday.
Tickets are available through Mullen-Hall, at Eight Cousins, Booksmith or at the door.
$4.00 Students
$6.00 Adults

Posted on April 11th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

90th Day of School

Posted on February 6th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Oreo Moon Phases

As we wrap up our unit on the Solar System, the children demonstrated their understanding of the phases of the Moon by creating the different phases with Oreo cookies. They worked in pairs to complete the project. As you can see from the pictures below, they all did a fantastic job!

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 by hsawyer  |  1 Comment »

Haiku with “Guyku”!

Today after a snowy and fun-filled recess, we jumped right into Writer’s Workshop: Poetry. Today’s mission…create a haiku poem. Haiku is a form of poetry with three lines. The first line has 5 syllables. The second line has seven syllables. The final line has 5 syllables. To inspire the children, I shared with them the wonderfully creative book, Guyku, written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. They were captivated!! Each member of Room 202 raced to get his/her writing notebook and to secure a great spot. Within minutes, as they settled under desks and counters, propped against walls and curled up on the rug, all that could be heard was the scratch of pencils as free hands (and some feet) tapped out the number of syllables. Some impressive haiku was created. Keep an eye on our “Writing Nook” page! I will be posting some of the poems soon!
Also, check out the new “Guyku” link under our blogroll for some inspiration or to join the “Guyku Club!”

Posted on January 26th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Spelling & Word Work

Last week we dedicated time during each day to learn the new routines and activities that the children will use as “Word Work” to practice their spelling & phonics skills. These activities will be completed independently, with a buddy or in a small group.

“Word Sorts” Phonics-Based Technique

“Word sorts” are a phonics-based activity where students sort words according to their sounds and/or spelling patterns to discover sound and symbol relationships for themselves

1. Closed sorts: The teacher explains the categories (ex: short “a” as in cat and long “a” as in bake) and model the sorting process before the students sort.

2. Discovery Log Entry: After completing a sort, students reflect on what they have learned about the words and their patterns by writing their discoveries in their word study notebooks.

3. Blind sorts: This sort involves a teacher or classmate calling out a word, and student pointing to the category to which it belongs. Blind sorts help students become less focused on visual patterns (they way the word looks) and focus on the sounds of words as well.

4. Writing sorts: A combination of both closed and blind sorts, this sort involves the teacher or a buddy calling out a word, followed by the student writing the word in the proper category.

5. Speed sorts: These sorts are the same as ordinary word sorting, except that the student is timed while he/she tries to complete the task accurately and quickly. The child then completes the sort again and tries to beat his/her own best time. Speed sorts should be used only after the children have an understanding of the spelling patterns and have had guided practice using those patterns.

6. Word hunts: Students hunt through their reading and writing for words that are further examples of the patterns they are studying.

These activities will help strengthen each student’s understanding of spelling patterns and will improve their spelling overall!

Posted on January 10th, 2011 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 »