Friday, March 22, 2013

Dance Party Friday

We thought a great way to celebrate the last day before winter break was to have a Wii Dance Party with Miss Erin's class! We also had visitors from the Teacher Mentor Program! They enjoyed getting out of their office to dance with us!

We learned that you can hook a Wii up to a Smartboard and were so excited to try it! We ended up having trouble with the sound and will need to work on that. BUT we did discover Wii Just Dance Disney videos on YouTube! We had a lot of fun all dancing along following the movements. This is definitely going to be our new indoor recess activity!

Have a great spring break!


 We also had another dance party in the afternoon right at the end of the day!

Some of our favorite videos are here if you want to dance along!  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reading and "Interpreting"

Today my students were reading books for the Pearson Foundation Read For My School campaign.

On their own they decided to take turns "reading" and "signing". They said "I will sign"! To me it seems like they are taking turns "interpreting" for one another, but we don't really use that word much at this age.There are three different clips on the video. Check out their facial expressions! That is apparently how I look when I read to them! The last clip makes me laugh because clearly that is how he thinks I look when I sign!

We love the We Give Books site because it is just like reading a "regular" book. It doesn't read to you, so kids get the opportunity to "read" by making up a story based on the pictures. This is a great skill to have!

P.S. Don't forget to read books for the campaign this week so we can earn books for our school!

We Give Books is a fabulous website that we love for reading children's books for free online. You just create an account and can read as many books as you want! They are having a campaign now teamed with LeapPad called Read For My School. Every book you read on the site between now and April 5th will be counted! A school needs at least 25 books read to start earning books.

We started reading today and had a blast! 

What can you do?
Step 1: Login or create a free account, make sure to pick our school as the school you want to donate to!
Step 2: Start reading!
Step 3: Share with others if you want!

You can sort books by age or by genre. You can also put in search terms of favorite themes!

Make sure that you enter your school's state and select the correct school name and city on the registration page so that we can track the number of books that your school reads and earns.
Once the reading begins on March 19, read a book to begin giving books to your school. You can always check the number of books that your school has read and earned by visiting your user profile on We Give Books. 

There is never a limit to the number of books that an individual can read, or re-read on Participants are encouraged to read as many books as they'd like from our free online library of children's books.
We will make every attempt to deliver books by the end of the current school year.
We Give Books is an online initiative of the Pearson Foundationn that combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others. We Give Books helps some of the world's best and most inspiring literacy organizations spread the word about their work while providing free books to the young people these organizations support.

We Give Books offers families and educators an easy and engaging way to encourage children to become motivated readers and lifelong givers.

For more information or questions about Read for My School and We Give Books, please contact us at

Sunday, March 17, 2013

10,000 Hours to Reading Success

Jen from Teach Mentor Texts, who read to us on World Read Aloud Day, posted an amazing post on her blog about how much time we as teachers and parents spend reading every day with kids. It is incredibly well written and powerful and I wanted to share with you all!

And I Would Read 10,000 Hours Post

I suggest reading it and then coming back here....

...Now that you are back:

The gist of it:
-It takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master something
-If we want kids to master reading, they will need 10,000 hours of practice.
-If a child reads for 20 minutes a day, it would take 82.2 years to become a master. 82.2 years?!?! 
-If we hope for mastery in 10 years, that would mean kids need 164.4 minutes a day (2.75 hours) of reading practice. 

Is your child getting that? 

In our full day class, we have about 30 minutes of "book" time every day where the kids read independently, they read with one another, they read to us, or we read to them. It all depends on what they choose that day. We also read at least 2 books at about 10-15 minutes each. So in class we have about 50-60 minutes of reading each day. If a child chooses the library or listening center during Work Time (centers) then they would have more time. Also, if they don't go outside, the kids get another 10-15 minutes of reading at the end of lunch. We also do literacy activities with letters and sounds and I think that time counts with young kids. So, let's say they get about 75 minutes a day of reading at school. That would mean they need another 90 minutes a day at home. That is an hour and a half. 

The T/Th students get about 15 minutes a day. When they choose the library during work time or we do a literacy activity that day, they get more. But for the sake of numbers, they need 150 more minutes every day! That is 2 and a half hours!

Is your child getting enough reading time at home every day?
What can you do to help that? 
What can I do to help you?

It is important to remember in Early Childhood that reading can include your child looking at the pictures in a book independently, sharing with a sibling or friend, making up a story about pictures in book, hearing a story read aloud by an adult, talking about letters that he/she sees in the environment, making up rhyming words, or even talking about letters and the sounds they make. 

Take a few minutes to think about how much time your child spends every day on reading activities. How much is it? Is it close to 90 minutes? If not, think about what else you can do. Let me know if I can help.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Going on a Treasure Hunt

Another favorite song that we have been singing throughout our Pirate Unit is "Going on a Treasure Hunt" by Jack Hartmann. It is like "Going on a Bear Hunt" only we are looking for treasure. You will have to watch the whole song to find out if we find it or not!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

World Read Aloud Day

Wednesday, March 6 was World Read Aloud Day. To celebrate, Jen from Teach Mentor Texts came to visit our class and read us a story. Jen is a hearing itinerant in our district. This year instead of being a hearing itinerant, she is working for the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative Office and Teacher Mentor Program. Jen is amazing, smart, and has limitless energy. She is also a National Board Certified teacher! Her blog is a fabulous place to  learn about books for kids of all ages!

She posted about WRAD day on her blog here.

You can see Jen talking to us about the story here:

And then she read the story! Miss Erin participated as her puppeteer! Miss Stephanie recorded the story. Jen knows sign, so Stephanie got to take a break!

During the afternoon, we got to together to read another dragon story. This time Miss Erin read the book and Miss Stephanie signed it. We had fun talking about dragons on World Read Aloud Day.

Did you do anything for WRAD?

Miss Erin also posted about it here.

What Do Pirates Say?

We have had some other pirate fun this week!

One of our favorite activities during work time was listening to things pirates say on the Smartboard. Miss Stephanie recorded herself saying "pirate phrases" and it helped us think of things to say during play. Towards the end of the week we each took a turn saying a pirate phrase. Now if we want to listen to pirate phrases, we can hear our own words!

Other things you will see in the video:
-drawing treasure maps (We each made a treasure map and they are available during pirate play)
 -pretending to be pirates going on a treasure hunt
-practicing pirate phrases
Questions to ask your child:
-What do you use a map for?
-What does a pirate say?
-How do pirates get treasure?

The Silly Pirate Song

We have been enjoying singing some pirate songs to go along with our Pirate theme! One of our favorite songs is The Silly Pirate Song! We decided we needed to make our own version. We all took turns taking pictures for the song so you can sing and sign along with us!

Jack Hartmaan is the singer of the Silly Pirate Song and you can see him on his YouTube video here.