Classroom Updates: Week of 9.7


We had an AMAZING day today! The students worked very hard all day long.  

We reached our goal of 20 minutes sessions during our reading time which allowed Ms. Mui and I to start meeting with students. We’ll be doing individual meetings with students over the next couple of weeks in order to improve our understand of the students as individual readers and writers. These meetings will also help us to determine strategic learning groups for students.

We drew some detailed pictures of our mealworms today. We learned the word segments to talk about the parts of the mealworm body that look like they are banded. We didn’t count them today, but mealworms have 13 body segments. Next week we will begin discussing the life cycle of mealworms and hopefully start to see some of our mealworms change into their next life stage.

Today we did not go out for solo spots because we went out to study our class tree. This year we are studying two sugar maples that are over by the gazebo. We are comparing two different trees this year because we want to see if 2 trees that are close together go through their phenological changes at the same exact time. We’ll actually be collecting data on 8 different trees throughout the grade band and are going to share the data with each other so that we can compare what happens to 8 different trees, with our focus being on gathering data for 2 of them. Today we estimated the height of both of our trees using Mrs. Kulbeda to help us guestimate the height. Tree A was 4 Mrs. Kulbeda’s tall, which means it is about 20 feet and Tree B was about 5 Mrs. Kulbeda’s tall which means it is approximately 25 feet tall. We also drew the tree shapes, leave shapes, and made seperate drawing for each tree. We’ll be visiting the tree to record observations at least once each season but checking on our tree each week on the way to solo spots so that we can document phenological changes as accurately as possible.

From the Office:

Attendance Week: PCCS is again competing in Lake County’s Attendance Week competition. This is Lake County’s 27th year promoting better student attendance. PCCS has either won in our division, or placed very highly in recent years. This year, we are holding Spirit Week in conjunction with Attendance Week. We hope all of our students will join in the fun from September 14th-18th with some spirit week activities:

  • Monday, September 14 –  School Spirit Wear!  Wear green or PCCS Shirts

  • Tuesday, September 15 – Character Dress-Up Day (Dress as your favorite book character)

  • Wednesday, September 16 –  Crazy Hair Day/Hat Day

  • Thursday, September 17 – NCLI Day  (Classes taught outdoors all day will get a prize)

  • Friday, September 18 –  Picnic Day –    Eat Outside. (Popsicles provided at 12:30)


All students have math homework tonight- both 1st and 2nd graders! 🙂
Today we added the opportunity to do Work on Writing as a Daily 5 session. We added this one next because it is still a silent activity, plus one that usualy requires some building of stamina as well. We split the class in half so there were 2 things going on at once and we were still able to make 13 minutes of everyone focused and working! We’re doing great!
During Work on Writing the students can choose from either writing in their writing journal or writing in a class journal. I was surprised that only a handful of students chose to write in a class journal since it was new today! Many wanted to work in their individual journal to finish a story they had started last week, add to their jot page, or begin a new story. Ask your child what they did when they had a chance to write today.
We began science, YAY! Our first investigation looks at mealworms. We began today by observing the mealworms. We learned the science vocabulary word observe and that it means “to look at something carefully.”
We also talked during science about the 4 things ALL living things need to survive. We came up with: air, food, space and water. We provided all 4 things for our very own 2 mealworms that we will be observing over the next 6 to 8 weeks! Ask your child how we gave the meal worms the 4 things they need to survive. (If your child is confused- the food is bran and the mealworms get water from eating vegetables- ours is a tomatillo.)
I’ll be submitting Scholastic Orders tomorrow. If you still want to make one you can create a scholastic account by following this link: and you can submit your order there.
Today the students played more double compare and worked on some workbook pages that had them practice the skill of adding 2 numbers together and also the skill of comparing numbers.
The students are bringing home a worksheet for homework tonight. It is called Play Double Compare at Home 1. I’ve attached a file with cards similar to the ones we use at school. However, you can just use a regular deck of cards to play the game/complete the worksheet as well. The students should know how to play, but I’ve attached the instructions for the game, too.
Some students were able to finish their worksheets in class. If that is the case, please just check their answers with them. And even play a round of the game at home tonight!


Today we introduced a new twist on our game called Compare. The students have been playing Compare for a while, but now the students will be playing Double Compare! The students now pull two cards and add them together to determine their total. The person with the highest score wins all 4 cards. You can play this game with a regular deck of cards at home by either counting face cards as zeros or tens or taking the face cards out and playing with just the numbers.


Today we had our first Green Challenge Assembly! Our green challenge for this month focuses us on recycling! We learned some great facts during the assembly about recycling and why it is important. One reason is that is helps us to conserve our natural resources.
We talked in class today about things that can and cannot be recycled. We made a list of things to recycle at home and things not to recycle. The students are bringing those lists home today to share with you! I’ve also attached a flyer from Waste Management that shares the information with some more detail as well.
 We follow the Daily Five model in class for our language arts time. We are up to 10 minutes of Read to Self time and are continuing to build our reading stamina. Our goal is 20 minutes because that will be our typical session length in the classroom. Considering that this was the first day after a long weekend I was glad they got to 10 minutes! Most of the students could have gone longer but we had just a handful of students who lost focus. The only way we can make sure that everyone’s time is productive is if we stop as soon as a few students lose focus. We did spend time today talking about how reading to yourself should look and how it shouldn’t. We also talked about different ways to use your time during Read To Self. Students can read books during this time in 3 different ways: 1) reading the words 2) reading the pictures 3) retelling a story that they know.  Feel free to help your child practice these different types of reading at home during your child’s 20 minutes of reading!