February 19, 2018

Room 12 News – Week of Sept. 29 – October 2, 2014


Whew!  What an incredible week filled with stories, hands-on activities, and lots of energy.
Writing:  We are still in the early stages of our Unit of Study: Realistic Fiction.  Kids have been learning how to develop believable characters for their stories. Kids will be exploring that really good stories revolve around relationships between characters, not necessarily the plot of the story.
Our first focus was on developing the internal and external traits of our characters. We used our mentor text, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson to look closely at Chloe and Maya, the two main characters in the story.   We looked at each one on their own by generating a list of internal and external traits they possessed.   We then looked the relationship between them and what changes had taken place during the story. We found that the story really becomes how Chloe’s interactions with Maya leads to changing Chloe as a person.
We are continued with our use of mentors texts to help illustrate a character’s struggle and motivation. This week we also read, Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe.  We explored how readers will root for a character when they know what the character wants and when they see the character struggle toward these goals.  Examining the story, Fireflies, was a great way to see how authors don’t just come out and tell you, they show you,  by putting examples into little small moments called scenes.  Next week will work on writing scenes, plotting with a Story Arc, and choosing the Story Arcs that map our stories the best.
Word Study:  We are slowing getting this very complicated routine down!  Words Their Way is an open-ended process.  Students are given words to study order to discover the common attributes. Next, they actively construct their own knowledge of spelling patterns by using work hunts, sorts, writing in ABC order, and a variety of other activities.   Each Monday kids will get their word sort list.   Then on Tuesday and Wednesday they will participate in activities to help understand and practice the word sort.  An assessment will be given on Thursday.  For the first two weeks we just gave ten of the words they had been sorting.  Beginning next week we will add ten more that they may or may not have seen during their weekly practice.  This is to see how well they are applying their knowledge of the attribute that they have been learning about.    Soon, we will be adding five high frequency words to their word study.  These five words will be given each Thursday to take home, study at home, and be assessed the following Thursday. Words they know drop off their list of five individual high frequency words and words they need more time on stay on their list for the following week.
Reading:  We are certainly increasing our reading stamina.  The kids that were struggling during the first week of school to read for 15 minutes are upset when are reading time is limited to 30 minutes on a busy day.  I had several conservations when kids told me something they thought or read in their books. We are working really hard at backing up our ideas by referring to the details and examples in the text.  Reading closely to determine what the text says and making logical inferences is a goal for each student.
Math:  During the our parent/teacher/student conference I will be able to access scores and individual comments from your child’s math teacher.  Math teachers will contact you if they have any concerns about the progress of your child in math.
Gorge Studies:  We are continuing our learning about daily life of the First People of the Gorge.  Most students have completed writing their legend (there are a few struggling to finish).  Kids were then required to write a short biography of the role they have taken (chief, elder, artisans, hunter, etc.).  The next assignment was to write about how cedar plays an important role in their life as a Chinook tribal member, write a short informational piece about the important of cedar among these people, and illustrate a cedar tree.
 On Wednesday, we traveled to Columbia Hills State Park in Washington.  On the way up we made a brief stop at Eagle Creek to view the salmon spawning.  It was an incredible, but smelly experience.  We then continued our travels with our second stop at Columbia Hills Park. While eating our snack and running around in the park, a very observant kid spotted a Great Horn Owl perched in a tree.  The kids first thought it wasn’t real until he turned his head!
We then all gathered to hear the legend “She Who Watches.”  We then talked about how we were sitting at a sight that once was home to thousands of Chinook people.  Long ago, the Columbia River looked very different.  The banks were filled with people and there could be found hundreds of examples of rock art all around.  The petroglyphs at Columbia Hills Park are a prime example.  These petroglyphs were once near Celilo Falls.  With the building of The Dalles Dam and the flooding of the area, some of the petroglyphs were moved and stored until the late 1990s.  Then they were relocated to the site they are currently sitting at.
The kids entered the area knowing that this was a scared place still for Native American people.  They spend about 30 minutes sketching and viewing the petroglyphs.  Again, I was so excited to see the kids and how they took in all that was around them.  Understanding the importance of this rock art to a culture was a valuable lesson to learn.

We then loaded up the bus and drove to The Discovery Center in The Dalles.  We heard a presentation by Steve Thompson.  We explained what life was like in the area before European settlers brought disease and fishing was changed due to the building of dams along the Columbia.  The people long ago used cedar, native plants, and the areas natural resources to live a very good life.  Kids were then sent on a scavenger hunt through the museum.  Many thanks to our amazing chaperones:  Amy, Julie, Maartje, Alisa, and Cindy
On Thursday, we spent the afternoon constructing our Chinook plankhouses.  We used our knowledge from reading and from visiting the Cathlapotle Plankhouse in Ridgefield, Washington.  We designed the houses with the knowledge that they held large amounts of people that slept in bunks, cooked in the home and gathered in the winter to tell stories.
We had a lot of materials to work with thanks to many of you!  The kids worked in groups (which can always be a challenge).  Most of my time was spent sawing wood and Cindy Logan (Andrew’s mom) helped with the hot glue gun (not sure the Chinook used hot glue…).   We just have a few finishing touches and then they will be ready to share.  I was so impressed with many of the kids.  We had many groups that worked well together by helping each other with ideas and how to implement those when constructing the houses.
Fall Conferences:  Everyone is now scheduled and I am attaching the schedule and posting on our class page on the Corbett School District Website.  If you are unable to make the scheduled time, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can reschedule.  The times are short…15 minutes.  I will do my best to stay on schedule!
Important Dates to Remember:
Tuesday, October 7 – Picture Day
Wednesday, October 8 – Fire Safety (2:20 pm until 3:20 pm)
Wednesday, October 8 – Bond Building Design Community Meeting (7 pm)
Tuesday, October 13 – Fall Conferences
Wednesday, October 14 – Fall Conferences
Tuesday, November 11 – NO SCHOOL Veteran’s Day
Friday, November 14 – School Day
Michelle Dawkins About Michelle Dawkins

My husband and I have lived in Corbett since 1983 and I have taught at Corbett Grade School since 1994. Chris and I loved having our children grow up in the community of Corbett. They both received a great education and made many life long friends while attending school here. Both Steph and Joe graduated from Corbett. Joe is a graduate of Oregon State University and Steph has graduated from Linfield College and completed her MBA at University of Tennessee. Chris and I are extremely proud of our children! Both are enjoying life and share our love of nature.

"If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in." ~Rachel Carson