Friday, September 25, 2020

 Hello again!

It's Friday already -- the hybrid schedule certainly makes the weeks feel short.  I am still really enjoying getting to know the students who are new to me, and we are all working hard to build community and feel like we belong together.  Students have mastered most of the class routines; they know how to turn in work, how to leave for bathroom breaks, how to access and store materials, etc. They are all very excited about their chromebook cases, pencil cases, and math manipulative bags. Simple pleasures!

This week, we have started our first math unit in earnest. The students have learned the definition of "array" and "factor" and they have started noticing how much easier it is to count objects that are arranged in equal rows.  They have started making their own arrays, and they are continuing this work during their last at-home day.  Next week we will begin learning how we can use the multiplication facts we know to solve the ones we don't know.

We haven't started our first reading or writing units yet. We have learned ideas for what to write about in our Reader's Notebooks, and what to do when we feel like writing gets tough. We have talked a lot more about genre and how to recognize fiction versus nonfiction.  Next week we will finish up some of the initial lessons about reading and writing so that we can begin our first units the following week. Our reading unit will be about characters, and our writing unit will be narrative (fiction) writing. Stay tuned for more information about those!

This week, we all created artwork telling about how we plan to use our hands to change the world. I love the ideas the students came up with! We started by listing all of the things we know are wrong about our world.... which was a sad list. But their enthusiasm and eagerness for how they plan to leave their mark makes me feel optimistic!  We also wrote "I Am From" poems based on George Ella Lyon's poem by the same name. I am so impressed with the feelings these poems evoked for me -- this class rocks! I hope to share those in the same bulletin board format as soon as they are all done.

That's all for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and get a lot of time outside enjoying glorious fall weather!

Friday, September 18, 2020

 Hi Families,

I am so proud of these students. They are incredibly flexible and resilient, and they are already getting used to this unusual way of being in school!  They are rock stars!

This week, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other, learning how to hand in work, how to use the classroom library, how to take mask breaks, etc.  We've got our notebooks ready to go, our folders labeled, our book boxes and milk crates labeled. and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get into academics next week.  I think they are ready for actual learning -- in fact, they are asking for it!

One of the highlights this week was getting to make rockets with Mr. Bouchard. This was a wonderful STEM activity and a good way to get outside. Be sure to ask  your kids about this -- they should be able to tell  you how they made them and how far they went!

I am working on figuring out a way to create a virtual bulletin board so that you can see all of the beautiful artwork and wonderful writing we are doing here at school. I will keep you posted!

That's all for this week. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2020

 Hello All,

We have made it through our first week!  It has been really lovely to be with all of the students again. I don't think I realized how much I missed being in school.  I feel lucky -- this seems to be a wonderful group of students! We managed to laugh a lot and enjoy each other despite the heat and the masks! Thank so much to Amanda Edson for donating her tent and taking the time to put it up and take it down each day! Having the tent gives us a place to spend time outside and take brief mask breaks.

This week, we spent our time getting to know each other and learning some of the routines in the classroom. This included how to use our supplies, how to get water, go to the bathroom, wash hands, etc.  We also worked on reading surveys, practiced a little bit of math, and did some community building activities.  Some of the students are anxious to get started with academics! We will ease into that more next week, and will be fully immersed in academics by the 4th week of school.

This afternoon I will put our first "Weekly Plan" onto the Google Classroom. This will show you and the students exactly what will be happening at school and at home each day for each subject area.  Of course, some of the lessons that are planned for later in the week won't have the appropriate practice pages until the students return to school next week, but there are plenty of activities to keep them a little busy at home.  We will figure out this routine soon!

One quick note: Our lunch time is at 1:00. It's quite a bit later than 3rd grade lunch was last  year. The students definitely get hungry! Please brainstorm together what some strategies are that might help them adjust to this new schedule. It's hard to work when you're hungry!

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I look forward to seeing all of the kids Monday, either in person or at our Morning Meeting!

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

 Hello Families,

I am so excited to see everyone on September 8 and 9! It has been a long time since we were all together!

The first few weeks of school will be moving at a slow pace. Our goal is to get to know each other, adjust to being in school during this time, and learn all the new procedures we have in place.  We will learn how to take care of materials, how to make sure we are staying safe, what to do during at at-home days, etc. We will also go outside as much as possible so we can get some physical distance and take a mask break. Academics will come, but we will not be pushing the "fast forward" button to try to catch up. Instead, we will be moving forward slowly, assessing where we are and figuring out what we need.  I hope this will mean less stress for all of the students in the class, as well as all of YOU!

I blog weekly, and I try to give you all as much information about what has happened each week as I possibly can. I can be verbose, so please don't feel the need to read every word.  I will try to highlight any important information so that you can keep track of it here.

I will not post photos on my blog, but I do have a class Instagram account. Feel free to follow me at ehteshamclass! If you'd like to receive this blog in your email each time I post, add your email address in the upper right hand corner of this page and press the Submit button. It's good to be connected!

I look forward to getting to see old friends, getting to know new friends, and getting to know all of  you.

 Hello again! It's Friday already -- the hybrid schedule certainly makes the weeks feel short.  I am still really enjoying getting to kn...