# Starting the Year off Right

We were quite busy our first day of school.  The students were eager to set up the classroom and get to work.  Establishing a great classroom environment is key to a successful school year.  So the students had a discussion about ways to behave in the classroom.  Instead of focusing on things they wouldn’t do, they focused on things they would do.  This approach not only gives them the responsibility to run the classroom by creating rules and consequences, it creates a more positive environment by having them focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Sean thought it would be a good idea if we kept our hands to ourselves.

Tirza said they we should talk quietly.  Alex added that this was especially important during quiet time.

Teagan said that we should probably put our things away.

Nohea added that we should be nice to our teachers.

Sean finally said, “We should have fun with our friends.”

The teacher told the class that she thought that was an excellent start, so the students wrote these affirmations on large strips of paper so that they can be displayed on the wall.

We soon moved on to determining what we could build with 100 building blocks.  Bishop and Preston created a very tall tower, but soon realized that it would not survive standing up.  Soon their blocks covered the entire rug area for math.  Some of the students made a series of smaller towers, while others decided to use the wooden blocks to accomplish the task. They counted the number of blocks they used, and then created drawings and practiced writing the numbers of the amount of blocks they used.  We used this opportunity to have a lesson on writing numbers correctly and the sequence of numbers as we counted.  This activity allows the teacher to not only assess the students ability to count, it helps the students demonstrate their knowledge of one-to-one correspondence and allows creative expression.

After creating three-demensional models of structures, the students depicted their results on paper.

After lunch, we read a book together entitled Imogene’s Antlers.  The students couldn’t wait for me to turn to the next page.  They made a number of observations about Imogene and her family based on not only information from the story, but the illustrations as well.  They quickly decided that Imogene was very messy because her room was not clean.  They offered suggestions to help Imogene with her antler problem.  Teagan thought that if Imogene turned side ways that she could fit through the door.  The others quickly agreed with that idea. They even made predictions about what will happen next.  Tirza suggested that maybe Imogene’s antler would disappear when she went to sleep.  After each page, their was so much conversation and excitement about the story that it evolved into a project.

They soon began to grab sheets of paper to draw pictures from the story.  This activity allows the students to demonstrate what information they can recall from the story, which shows how well they are comprehending.  Some pictures were of Imogene and her antlers and some were of Imogene and her peacock tail.

The students were so excited about the story that the teacher encouraged them to add to the story by posing the questions, “What could happen to Imogene now that she has a peacock tail?”

The students began to create and extension of the story.

Nohea:  The mother would probably say,”How can this happen again?” and Imogene would probably say, “I don’t know it just appeared!”

Teagan:  Imogene would have trouble going through the door.  Her feather could break and tickle her.

Nicholas: I know how it should end…Imogene’s mom should say, “It disappeared!”

Sean:  Imogene’s mom and dad would try to take her to school, but she wouldn’t be able to fit.

Teacher:  So what should she do?

Sean:  Well, she could ride her bike.

Nicholas:  That wouldn’t work.  She would have to walk.

Teacher:  So what happens at school?

Alexandria:  Her tail would probably get wet when she goes down the slide because of the rain.

Bishop:  She would dry her tail off with a paper towel, but she would need a billion paper towels.

Tirza:  When she goes to sleep, she would need a big blanket to cover her big tail.

Teacher: What can she do before she goes to bed?

Isela grins as someone yells out, “Take a bath!”

Teacher:  Would she fit in the bath tub with that tail?

Preston:  She could go under ground to a pipe.  Maybe she could cut them [the pipe] with her school scissors so the pipes could spray her for a shower.

Mark:  The birds will probably think Imogene is a bird, and they will follow her all around.

Evelynn added, “The birds will think she is a zoo animal.”

Stay tuned for our story…

Today’s activity accomplished these learning goals

•  Children are provided many and varied open-ended opportunities and materials to express themselves creatively through two dimensional art
•  Each student is encouraged to write independently each day.
• Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of fiction and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:

(A) retell a main event from a story read aloud; and

(B) describe characters in a story and the reasons for their actions.

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