The Planetarium Came to US!

I’ve posted before about the amazing things we’re able to do because of the many great people and resources we have in our district, and here’s another example of those resources at work. ūüôā

Mr. Bartin brought the KSD Planetarium to our school!  First grade classes each scheduled a time with him to visit and it was set up in our library!  We walked in and really had a hard time containing ourselves (which is a little bad since it was a library. LOL).

We took a minute to chat with us and connect to what we’d already been learning about the sun, moon and stars, and then explained the guidelines for how to act inside the dome.

Then we headed inside. ūüôā

While inside, Mr. Bartin was able to show us lots of things about sunrise, moonrise and set, how the stars seem to move, what constellations look like–and we even went back in time!! (Ask your kiddo about this one!!). ¬†It was dark in there, and so it was kind of a useless task, but I did try to capture something so you could see what we did. ¬†Here’s a picture and a video (which pretty much just looks like a black screen but you’ll get the idea–you can definitely HEAR the excitement. ūüôā ).


#classroombookaday UPDATE: WE FILLED UP OUR DOOR!

Many of you have been along for this entire journey so far as we’ve taken on the #classroombookaday challenge, but for those who have not, please check out the links to them here so get caught up before we share this momentous occasion with you. ūüôā

Week 1  Week 2   Week 3  Week 4  Week 5  Week 6

Week 7  Week 8  Week 9  Week 10  Week 11  Week 12

Ok…are you ready for the big news?? ¬†Take a look (just peek past that super cute kindergartner–she’s really excited for Rm. 202!!):


LOOK!! ¬†WE FILLED UP OUR DOOR!!! ¬†Amazing, right?? ¬†And for the record (I’m keeping one, aren’t you??), it happened on Thursday, November 17, after we read our 225th book!! ¬†WAHOO!!

And remember when we started our Friday with Read With Your Roadrunner? Well, a kind and loyal parent and blog reader, Mrs. Schuster, happened to ask me about the status of our door. ¬†“Have you filled it yet? ¬†If not yet, then soon, right?” ¬†I admitted that we had indeed already met the goal, but that because of printer problems, I hadn’t yet been able to get the pictures ready so I could attach them.

Well, this actually worked out in our favor as her next question was something along the lines of “Well you’re going to celebrate it, right?” Of course I knew that this was a momentous occasion, but I had failed to plan how we would celebrate. ¬†Talk about a right time/right place situation–Mrs. Schuster would come to the rescue and we planned a little ditty for later that afternoon. ¬†In the meantime I had to get the pics on the door and throw together what we’d do at our party. ūüôā

So…after we did some heavy work cleaning up our “hot mess” of a room before we got started (thanks for those words, Aadish!), we gathered on the rug to enjoy a special time celebrating some AMAZING work we’d done as readers together.

We gathered in a circle on our rainbow rug (where almost all of our reading also happens!) and had a little chat. ¬†We mused about all the books we’ve read so far (225 to cover the door, but 228 altogether!) and tried to imagine what that meant in terms of number of words we’d read and also about how many we’d get to by the end of the year if we were already at this point in NOVEMBER!! It was so great to watch their faces and listen to their answers and it was clear that there were only positive, happy emotions running through Rm. 202 friends. ¬†And it was also clear how the only “big” numbers that many first graders know at this point are a billion or a “million billion thousand”! Hee hee. ¬†Those were their answers to how many words we’d read and how many books we would end up with. Love it. ¬†Probably not that many, Rm. 202 friends, but FOR SURE there would be close to (or maybe more than) 500. ¬†At least that’s my guess!

I wish I had pictures and videos of all that happened, but hey–I’m usually the videographer and photographer capturing all of that, so not this time. ¬†But you what? ¬†It is probably better that way. ¬†When I’m ¬†not looking at the world–and our classroom–through the screen of my iPhone, I can be more present in the moment I’m trying to celebrate. ¬†I can more thoughtfully digest the things they’re saying about how all of these books are making us SUPER READERS and what their favorite titles are, and how Jamie can speak to the exact day and place we read one of her favorite books. “Don’t you remember? We read it outside that day we spent at Meramec under the tree?” was what she reminded us. ¬†Isn’t it a magical example of how this challenge is as much about the EXPERIENCE of reading as it is the number of books or the skills we’re gaining. ¬†I so want for each of my learners to have that same “I remember when I read…” moments–lots of them!–that will carry them far beyond first grade. ¬†Hopefully long into their adult lives when they can begin replicating them in their own families. ūüôā

But that’s for later. ¬†For now I can only control the experiences I provide, the titles I choose and the excitement I bring that I hope is contagious and inspires them to do the same. ¬†And as for inspiration, Mrs. Schuster (remember the mom from the beginning who suggested our party?) was inspired to write us a poem to mark the day. ¬†It was pretty great. ¬†But since I wasn’t ready I don’t have a good video of her reading it to us. ūüė¶ Boo. ¬†Here is the text, though, which will soon become a permanent fixture somewhere in our room.


Isn’t that the best? ¬†THANK YOU THANK ¬†YOU THANK YOU for that little gem, Renee, and for letting me share it here. ¬†Only makes sense. ūüôā

Oh, and then there were 20something kids eating fruit leather and letting it hang out of their faces like tongues.

And wouldn’t you know it? ¬†They connected this to a book we’d read this week about how a¬†if your tongue was as long as a frog’s tongue, you could like your belly button! These kiddos are in DEEP!! ¬†Love it. ūüôā

And a my goodness–what a great way to finish a busy week! ¬†EVERYONE was all smiles as they walked out of Rm. 202 for the weekend. ¬†Here’s to a door-ful of great books to come!!

Read With Your Roadrunner–Nov. 18, 2016

I love how our school takes an effort to include all parts of a kiddo and their family in our learning!  One thing we do on a regular basis is to host Read With Your Roadrunner, where kiddos are invited to bring in their family (or friends!) to start the day sharing a great book together.

This time we had even MORE guests join us, including moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandmas and grandpas! ¬†What a blessed group of kiddos we have in Rm. 202 and I love how even the kiddos who didn’t have their own specific guests were included in the other “families.” ¬†Another reason this Robinson community is the best ever. ūüôā

Thanks to the adults and siblings who made this day super special for us. ¬†And in case you didn’t get a chance to join us, here’s a little bit of what it was like:

Can’t wait ’til next time! ¬†Maybe you can join us! ¬†Mark your calendars for January 13th, 2017!

Learning to Draw From an Expert

Remember when Pacifique was here last year and we were SO EXCITED?! ¬†And the year before when we first met them?¬†¬† Well…since then we’ve developed quite a close relationship with the NIYO Cultural Centre and are lucky to be able to learn from these amazingly talented artists often. ¬†This time Pacifique brought some new friends–Patrick and Figy. ¬†Last time we focused primarily on music and dance, but this time Figy has been able to share his painting talents with us. ¬†WE WERE EXCITED!

First, he did a little bit of pre-planning and basics instruction at the easel.  Everyone really wanted him to start by drawing tigers and lions, but Figy helped us understand that we have to start with simple and THEN we can stretch out and do some harder things.  We were going to start with butterflies.  Just like the lesson Ms. Holzmueller had done with us the previous week, he showed us how butterflies are made of shapes we already know, like ovals.  Easy peasy!

Once we had sketched our butterflies, we gathered for a painting lesson. ¬†Figy is a master with watercolors and had much to teach us. ¬†I was so excited to learn a tip that I had never learned: before you start painting, you “paint” the paper with water! ¬†This helps the paint then “float” around on the water. ¬†SO BEAUTIFUL!

After this next part of the lesson, we tried out hands at adding color to our own creations.

We weren’t finished yet, though! ¬†We would leave them to dry overnight, and then trace the details on top of our paint with permanent marker. ¬†WOW–what a great combination! ¬†Check out Figy’s example he made for us:


AND THEN (as if it hadn’t already been an amazing time together!), he called kiddos to the rug as they finished painting, telling them he had a secret to tell them. ¬†He quickly had a line forming in front of him as he whispered quietly in each kiddo’s ear. ¬†No one except that kiddo had any idea what he was talking about!

We soon found out that was he was talking to each kiddo about was what other animal they might like him to draw and quickly a pretty impressive list started to form on the easel paper.  And then he started drawing them for us!  Right before our eyes they begin to appear on the paper, like a colorful 2D zoo!

Did you notice what started to happen as he added animals to the paper? ¬†Kiddos were so inspired that a whole new drawing lesson ensued and everyone was trying¬†them out, too! Love it when that happens. ¬†You don’t even have to invite them or suggest that they do it–just showing them is all the invitation that need! So organic. ūüôā

So then Friday when we came back, we took our turn with the Sharpies and finished our paintings. ¬†Aren’t they beautiful??

We were so inspired and thankful to Figy for sharing his talents with us! ¬†We have even started another watercolor painting project in math that we’ll finish this coming week, too. ¬†Stay tuned for updates on how we transfer this learning to another situation! ūüôā