Reading is FUNdamental!

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss
For the 2nd year in a row, I just logged off of the Scholastic Book Clubs website, where I used all of my Bonus Points to order 10 board books.  You might think that board books are a bit babyish for our mature 3rd graders, right? Well, we have a Big Project in the works, and those board books will play a big part!

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Students in 204 have already spent considerable time learning about fluency skills employed by great readers. You can check out each student blog to see what we’ve reflected on so far. We will continue next by researching early literacy, and reflecting on what their own experiences have been as readers.

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As soon as the shipment of board books arrives, the real work begins!  Each student will receive a board book to keep for a few weeks.  They will read that book, upside-down, backwards and sideways until they are expertly fluent.  When everyone is ready, I will record them reading their chosen book and burn their recordings onto a CD.
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Enter the gift bags: We will fill each bag with one board book, and one CD, along with a carefully planned, perfectly edited letter…  These persuasive letters will be written to parents of brand-new babies, informing them as to why reading to babies is so important, and convincing them to begin immediately!

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In May, we will deliver all of our gift bags to Falmouth Hospital, so they can be distributed to all the new 2013 babies.  Who knows? If I stay in teaching long enough, I could see one of those cuties in my class someday!!
Visit the blog for updates and more information on this exciting project! If you are willing to donate a few board books, please let me know, as we are short by a few. We’re so, So, SO excited!!!

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Wax Museum packets of information will come home on Wed or Thur this week. Please start asking questions now, so this project is more enjoyable than stressful.  Also? Be repared to be BLOWN AWAY by the level of work performed by these kids of yours!!

Yawwnnnnn – today was Pajama Day! Thank you to all who participated, as the money raised will help raise funds for an Arts Council performance coming up soon!! Yaay!
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Literacy For Life!!!

This is the final post in a 6-part series.  Either scroll down the Literacy for Life category, or, here is PART ONE of this project….

Wow – today was the day!!! I’m so proud of my students, they are WONDERFUL!

The bags were loaded, decorated and organized, ready to go….

Each bag contained a CD burned with all 23 book recordings, one board book, one hand-written letter, three brochures from Jim Trelease’s website, and an introductory letter from me.  Here is a sample student letter written by Lily:

Now remember, today was the Mullen-Hall Helping Hands Day – so all 500 students in our school were heading out to perform community service. We had to wait for our bus to be called…

We climbed aboard the buses, and were soon delivered to the front door of Falmouth Hospital.  I quietly led a long line of third graders through the lobby, up the stairs, and into the Maternity Ward…  We waited quietly while babies and tour guides were gathered….

First off?  A new baby!!! Yaay!!  Some of my students had never seen such a tiny baby – so it was a treat for them!!

We soon started our tour with Rebecca….  down the hall we went….

We carefully placed all 23 of our gift bags on the counter as we walked by – Each student was so proud as they added it to the display.  SO cute!!

The Tour Continues…. Checking out the tubes that transport the food from here… to there…..

Labor & Delivery room — Q & A from our 3rd graders….Heading out – what a nice visit – and it meant a lot to all of us that we were able to deliver our project in person!!

A little down-time as we waited for the bus – I taught the kids 7-Up.  Some of them had never played! :)

PHEW!!!!!  I can’t believe it’s all behind us, now!!

When we returned to school, we had a quick, impromptu dance party.  We’ve been listening to will.i.am all week – What I Am is the song, and he has some Sesame Street friends helping him sing!

http://vimeo.com/42434742

Literacy for Life: Staging the Finale

Here is PART ONE of this project…

So, tomorrow is the Big Day – the day we hop on the school bus and deliver all of these bags to Falmouth Hospital.  I’m still *not* quite ready!!!  The organization of all the logistics involved is challenging!!

So, here’s my crazy checklist:

Project introduction:  CHECK!

Blog about project: CHECK!

Contact Jim Trelease and download his brochures: CHECK!

Students conduct research on early literacy: CHECK!

Blog about project: CHECK!

Review CAFE goals for fluency: CHECK!

Order 23+ board books from Scholastic: CHECK!

Allow for democratic choices in regards to Scholastic books: CHECK!

Students practice board books incessantly: CHECK!

Blog about project: CHECK!

Explain each of the five paragraphs for persuasive letter: CHECK!

Manage Writing Workshop without losing my sanity: CHECK!

Record 23+ readings: CHECK!

Convert recordings to iTunes: CHECK!

Buy plain white gift bags: CHECK!

Allow students to decorate gift bags: CHECK!

Print introductory letter from me & sample letter: CHECK!

Manage “Publishing” stage of persuasive letter writing: CHECK!

Purchase CD’s,  Jewel Cases & Labels: CHECK!

Design CD case inserts: CHECK!

Print labels for bags: CHECK!

Print CD case inserts: CHECK!

Print labels for CD Inserts: CHECK!

Burn recordings to CD’s.  WAIT! WAIT!  After one CD burned, my laptop’s burner stopped working.

Brave Cape Traffic to buy a CD/DVD burner: CHECK!

Burn 30+ CD’s: CHECK!

Organize photos of project: CHECK!

Assemble bags.  Don’t forget anyone. CHECK.

Blog about project: CHECK! CHECK? Not really – I’m not done with this project!!

More to see tomorrow! Stay tuned!!!!

Here is the FINAL ENTRY for this project….

Literacy for Life: Part IV

Our Books for Babies project is rolling along, right on schedule. I continue to be blown away! High effort and strong dedication was put forth by each student during the past week. Working in partners, students helped each other by listening, giving suggestions and providing feedback.

All of my students took their jobs seriously; practicing their particular book many, many times in order to perfect their performance fluency.  We found time in our schedule this past week to record our readings. The end result was a heartfelt recording by each student.

This coming week, students will work hard to finish their persuasive letters.  The assigned paragraphs (there are FIVE of them!!) cover all aspects of the project, and are very detailed. I think you will be duly impressed when you read the pieces put together by your 8 and 9 year olds. This is the reminder sheet 204 students have glued in their writing binder, to remember what each of the 5 paragraph topics are all about….

Created using FableVision's Stationery Studio.

Next week, we wrap up the project by decorating the gift bags, and assembling them all for delivery! Yaay!

Friday is Mullen-Hall In Action Day.  500+ students will be completing community service projects all over the town of Falmouth.  What an amazing and positive way to tie our school to the greater community.  Thank you, as always, for your continued support of our classroom and our school.

Here is Part 5 of this project

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What’s to Come:

:) If you are able to drive for an upcoming field trip, please let me know.  Our trip to Aptucxet is scheduled for May 14, and our trip to the Cape Cod Canal is June 8.

:) The MCAS Math test is Wed and Thur this week. Don’t forget to send in those oh-so-treasured Snack Bags for your favorite test-taker!!

:) Tomorrow is an early-release day. Be sure to send in dismissal notes if there is a change in your child’s schedule. I will be spending the afternoon learning more about how the Common Core will affect our math curriculum. I’m excited!

Laugh Out Loud,

Mrs. Brooks

School House Rock! — this week is about energy again!

Literacy for Life: Part III

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~Dr. Seuss

I just logged off of the Scholastic Book Clubs website, where I used all of my Bonus Points to order 27 board books.  You might think that board books are a bit babyish for our mature 3rd graders, right? Well, we have a Big Project in the works, and those board books will play a big part!

Students in 204 have already spent considerable time researching early literacy, and reflecting on what their own experiences have been as readers.  Check out the blog for our first 2 blog posts on the topic, to see the details. [ Part 1 ]  [ Part 2 ]

As soon as the shipment of board books arrives, the real work begins!  Each student will receive a board book to keep for a few weeks.  They will read that book, upside-down, backwards and sideways until they are expertly fluent.  When everyone is ready, I will record them reading their chosen book and burn their recordings onto a CD.

Enter the gift bags: We will fill each bag with one board book, and one CD, along with a carefully planned, perfectly edited letter…  These persuasive letters will be written to parents of brand-new babies, informing them as to why reading to babies is so important, and convincing them to begin immediately!

In May, we will deliver all of our gift bags to Falmouth Hospital, so they can be distributed to all the new 2012 babies.  Who knows? If I stay in teaching long enough, I could see one of those cuties in my class someday!!

Visit the blog for updates and more information on this exciting project! We’re so, So, SO excited!!!

HERE IS PART IV of this project

What’s to Come:

:) Short week this week – no school on Friday!

:)   Paperwork for the Living Wax Museum came home today. PLEASE review everything and start asking questions now, so that this project is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible! Don’t forget to mark your calendars for May 30th, as that is the BIG NIGHT!! Requirements will be posted on the blog if you need to reference them.

Dream Big,

Mrs. Brooks

Busy Prepositions this week!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GI4sDoTlK0

Literacy For Life: Part II

HERE is the link to the first post we made on this Big Project!!!

HERE is the link to the third post we made on this Big Project!!!

Carson Reading (what's wrong with this picture??)

We are continuing along our path to learn more about the importance of reading to small children. In the past week, we have made several steps towards that goal.  We all think it is pretty cool that our Edublogs Student Bogging Challenge this week is all about global issues. Literacy is important the whole-world over, and we have decided that we can make a small difference in our world when it comes to encouraging early readers!

Students spent Friday reading 4 different articles on the subject of early literacy.  Each article came from the Early Moments website, and centered around suggestions to parents and reading research.  Room 204 friends took notes as they worked in cooperative groups, and they learned many strategies for improving literacy early on.

On Monday, Room 204 students wrote about their own reading memories growing up — here are a few to share:

I love how thoughtful my students are!!

Today, we spent time looking through board books, and writing notes in our journals about why they are good for kids.  Each student was able to review at least 5 books, and when asked to make more connections to their childhood reading experiences, this is what they came up with!

Created in FableVision's Stationery Studio - I'm not kidding!! I use it Every. Day!!

So, what is this “project” Mrs. Brooks is gabbing about?  We’ll be posting the details, soon!!!  Stay tuned!!!

Literacy for Life: Part I

HERE is a link to part II of this project

HERE is a link to Part III of this project

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Meet Eveliina Anderson, who is going to read to us today.

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COMPARE/CONTRAST: After watching this video, what can you say is similar about this read aloud to other read aloud stories you’ve experienced?  What is different about it?  Write your ideas in your Reading Journal.

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FLUENCY: We have learned a whole BUNCH this year about reading fluency.  Just think of all the skills on our CAFE board! WOW!

Created using Stationery Studio from FableVision

Listen again to Eveliina, while you think about the fluency skills she puts to use.  In your reading journal, write examples of the fluency skills you see her using in the video.

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Here’s the BIG NEWS:

Eveliina was only TWO YEARS OLD when this video was created!  That’s right — TWO!
Knowing that, please draw some conclusions about Eveliina and her experiences as a reader, which led her to this book recording.  Consider the following questions:

1.  Do you think she is reading the book?

2. How do you think she was able to memorize the words in the book?

3.  Do you think she enjoys reading?

4. Why do you think she reads with such great fluency?

5. Who do you think reads to Eveliina?

6. When Eveliina starts school, what kind of reader do you think she’ll become?

Computer Lab Today:  I want you to leave a comment on this page, answering the following question:

After watching Eveliina’s video, do you think it is important to read to children when they are very little?  WHY?  What details did you think about today that led you to believe reading to children is important?  Use specific details from the video in your answer.