#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 6

Wow–I feel like every week I say “I can’t believe it’s been this long already!” but again, I say I can’t believe it’s been SIX WEEKS of the bookaday challenge.  But even more, I can’t believe we’re already at 124 books!!  I love that some said today, “I wonder if we’ll get to 1000 soon!” Ok, so maybe it means I need to do some more place value work, but I also think it speaks to the love of reading and books that is growing in Rm. 202.  And I love it!

Beyond just sharing the “door picture” like I’ve been doing every week, I want to highlight a little about what has happened with some of the books we read this week, as well as some wonderings that have come up this week as we’ve been reading.

First our latest picture:

img_4361I feel like I say this every week now, too, but looking at this just makes me happy!

We started the week reading a book recommended by Mrs. Sisul when she was in our room last time–Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers.  We’re already fans of Stuck and Lost and Found, and had wanted to try some others (I have a couple of others in the TBR basket right now actually!).   We were supposed to take a vote after we read it and let Mrs. Sisul know if she should share that one with the rest of Robinson, too, and we voted YES!

A quick favorite this week was Are We There, Yeti? by Ashton Anstee, which we actually learned about because of our love of all things Emily Arrow.  Oh, come on, you know her–the Dot Day song lady.  Well…since we’re subscribed to her YouTube Channel, we know there are loads of other great book/song combinations she’s created, and this was one of them.  I’m posting the song below, but beware, it’s very catchy!!  I’m planning on using the lyrics to this song as our shared reading text next week, which I think will be really cool.

We added two more Elephant and Piggie books this week (how you can not LOVE those?): I Will Fly Today and Can I Play Too?  Both were great, but we laughed especially loud at the joke in CIPT: the friend who wants to play is a snake, and Elephant and Piggie are trying to play ball.  Lots of craziness ensues, but the end is a happy one where the snake thanks them for playing “with” their friend.  Yep–they throw him!  We definitely LOL’d when we saw that one. 🙂  And speaking of Elephant and Piggie (thanks Mo Willems for writing these amazing little gems!), we ended the week with a box from Amazon that had two new books in it!!  Thanks Raebers!  We’re excited to read I Love New Toy on Monday. 🙂

Kaiden brought in a big pile of books from home this week (I love that kids are starting to do that regularly and share their favorite titles with the rest of us!), and we shared two of them so far: Zoo Looking by Mem Fox and Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony.

We have a Mem Fox author box in our library, so Kaiden thought this would be a good one to read to introduce our class to her writing.  He brought Please, Mr. Panda because we’ve been working so hard on using kind words and being respectful.  That one hdd a great lesson about how it feels when people are rude to you as opposed to how it feels when others use manners.  We liked them both and learned form them, too!

I found a great one–The Best Book to Read–at the library on my last visit and was excited to finally share it with my kiddos on Thursday.  We had a great conversation about what the “best” book to read would be, and how that means something different to everyone. Mara suggested that every book is the best book to read.  She ended up being right!  This book also started some great conversations about libraries, and what special places they are, as well as an important discussion about library cards and what amazing treasures those can be!  It started a plan for a walking field trip soon!  We are so excited!

screenshot-2016-09-29-18-14-43

Lastly, Mrs. Sisul came back again (isn’t it amazing that our principal reads to us!?) to read Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev.

screenshot-2016-09-30-11-31-46

It was on her list during the first rotation of Principal Read Alouds, but I had her save it for a later time.  Her visit today was purposely tied to our conversations lately about including everyone, being kind to others, and the fact that I had found an Emily Arrow song about it!  Perfect, right??  I know, eventually I might stop gushing about her amazingness, but for now I’ll just share another song. 🙂

I Saw Pacifique! Pacifique is HERE!

Remember last fall when we were able to host some amazing Rwandans in our school? Well, since he is now forever connected to our Robinson family (and some teachers in our school, too), he comes back now and then to visit.  When he was here at the beginning of March, we joined Mrs. Appelbaum’s class next door to learn more about his Rwandan culture (since were in a culture study of our own at that time!).

He answered our questions, and even sang and danced a little for us.  What a great visit with an old friend!  He really is a celebrity around our school now. 🙂

Artists in Residence–All the Way from RWANDA!!

We are lucky at Robinson.  While I could go on with lists and lists of reasons why that’s true, the biggest reason right now is because Pacifique and Tresor are here.  All the way from Rwanda!

Through work and love and more work (and fundraising!), we (I mean Mrs. Berger) were able to secure some AMAZING artists to spend the next two weeks with us. We are SUPER excited to have them here, and it’s funny how much our kiddos treat them like celebrities.  It’s so fun to hear, “I saw Tresor in the car rider line!” “Did you see Pacifique outside?  I did!”

I think my favorite part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience is the way it was planned, and how it’s about so much more than just learning how to dance, how to play a drum or looking at beautiful paintings (although those are FABULOUS things in themselves, for sure!).  Like with most everything else we do, the focus was on bigger ideas, and on how this could change our kids in big ways for their future lives.

This residence asks our kiddos to chew on these big ideas and essential questions:

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 6.38.01 PM

And while I am certain that there will be more stories to tell, dances to dance, drums to bang and art to share at the end of their time here, for now I can share some pictures and videos from their first day here with us.  We had an assembly to welcome them, and to get the party started.  As you can see, the energy is contagious (and so are their smiles!)!

It was hard to decide which videos to share, but I’ll start with these:

We are excited for the weeks to come, and for all the things we will learn! 🙂

Robinson has GRIT! (and drums!)

On one of the last days before our Spring Break started, we were visited by a music teacher from a nearby university, and some of his students.  Best of all, they brought DRUMS with them!  Our kiddos were able to learn about the drums, about the music you could play with them and then they got to try it out, too!

And then, when I came to pick up my class, they asked for teachers to get in on the action, too!  I’m so glad my friend Peyton was up there for that round with me, because he definitely helped me know what to do.  That rhythm was harder to follow than you’d think!  Way to go, Robinson musicians–Robinson does indeed have GRIT!

1/8 is 12 1/2%

At our school we use Investigations for math.  One thing I love about the program is that it usually digs into the why of each math concept instead of just the how.   It encourages students to create their own strategies for solving problems, emphasizing that there is not just one way to come to a solution. In the case of our fraction/decimal unit that we’re in now, we are doing more than just learning the rote definition of a fraction and coloring in fractional parts of pictures or just adding or subtracting them using the method I directly taught them–like I know I did in 5th grade.  Instead, we are investigating and creating and figuring out and–most importantly in my opinion–using what we already know to discover something we don’t.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

We are at the beginning of a unit called What’s the Portion?, which includes experiences with fractions, decimals and percents. Yesterday and Thursday we were working on figuring out the percent that is equivalent to a fraction.  We started by making drawings on a 10X10 grid (which helped us “see” what was going on) since we know that percent means “out of a 100.”

We used this visual, and what we knew about fractions and percents already to figure out that 1/8 is equivalent to 12 1/2%, because 1/4 is 25% and an eighth is half of a fourth. Our music teacher, Mrs. Kesler, will be tickled to know that I even had one kiddo make the connection between this and what he knows about music notes to help him figure it out.

So after the initial idea of fraction and percent equivalents was presented, they were to dig in a little deeper.  I gave them a chart to fill in, that had lots of other fractions to work with.  I told them to fill in all that they could with the directions to NOT do thirds and sixths, that we’d do them the next day.  But what they did instead, was make it their goal TO DO the thirds and sixths.  In this case I didn’t really care that they did the opposite of what I said, because it meant that they were going to try something that might be a challenge, might stretch them a little, might give them questions to ask when we worked on it together.

And for the most part, they all totally rocked it.  They made it look really easy.  Like they’d been figuring out fraction and percent equivalents for years. (Ok, 5th grade readers—which character from one of our favorite read-alouds did that sound like?  Comment on this post with your answer if you know!!)

Here’s what our chart looked like when we were done:

The thing that I think is really remarkable about the thinking behind this is that they are already getting comfortable with going back and forth between fractions and percentages, and can tell you how that relates to a group of things, like how getting 10 out of 20 of your spelling words right is 50% or that 3/4 of a class of 24 is 18.  There is understanding being created that goes far beyond just memorizing definitions.  I like that.  And they like it, too.