Friday, December 18, 2015

Author's Purpose with 3rd Grade

In third grade, we have been talking a lot about Author's Purpose and to remember it, we eat PIE!


Last week, we read a book that entertained us by Robert Munsch and we did a sort where we read a small snippet from a book and put it in the correct category. Then this week, we read non-fiction books to inform us. Each student read another non-fiction book and wrote down the main idea and 4 details that the author informed them of. We learned and shared a lot of details!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hour of Code Makers!

This week, all 499 students participated somehow in the Hour of Code. Many used to play coding games, others used Scratch-  a coding website used by many of our Code Ninjas, others used the app The Foos, and others explored other coding options. In our Makerspace this week, many students wanted to continue coding which I encouraged! We have some future coders on our hands :)

We also got some new Makerspace supplies, like colorful pipe cleaners and craft sticks, and a few spirograph sets. Thanks to the Mukwonago Education Foundation grant, we will also be getting some Rainbow Loom supplies and Lego sets!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Warm Up with a Good Book

The library is starting to look festive with our small little tree (pretty soon we will make our beginning, middle, and end paper chains as well as our main idea and details chains to make it even more festive!).
I also decorated the bulletin board with the theme "Warm Up with a Good Book" and first grade students wrote their favorite books on mittens. I thought I would share a few of my favorite reads right now!

Here are my top picks! Images from

Waiting for Unicorns: This amazing book relives a girl's struggle with losing her mother to cancer and having to start life over with her uncle. It is really emotional and for older readers (5th-6th grade) or those who have dealt with traumatic loss.

Out of My Mind: This story, told my a main character who has a physical disability, is her struggle with being treated like an average student. Even though she can't walk or talk, she has many talents to share with the world. Great for all readers who want to understand disabilities.

One for the Murphys: This story of a girl in foster care doesn't think she deserves a good family. You want to help her but she doesn't make it easy!

Critter Club: This cute new series is perfect for 2nd-3rd grade readers. It's a chapter book that is easier with pictures and words. Each features a small animal that students will love!

How to Read a Story: This is a great example of an author's purpose book: is it to inform or entertain? After reading it to my 3rd graders, we decided it is a little of both but categorized in non-fiction so it's informational. It's a good story to teach the big idea of reading!

Pout Pout Fish: I love the Pout Pout fish books! Even though they are a bit of a longer read aloud, they always have a great message. I got this one from the book fair and it's a story of fitting in. Each has a message worth sending to younger readers!

Click Clack Ho, Ho, Ho: This is my top holiday pick from the creators of Click Clack Moo. Who doesn't love the shenanigans Duck does?!

 Any other ideas? Feel free to add a comment! I would love to hear what you are reading :)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Next Week is the Hour of Code!

Next week, all RHES students will be joining others around the world in the Hour of Code. This is an opportunity for students to spend some time learning computer science through coding. 2nd-6th grade students will use the website to play games that teach them computer programming. Some will use the Disney Frozen game and angles to have the characters ice skate; others will use blocks to help an Angry Bird get through a maze; others will help a monster get to a piece of candy on; some will try the new Minecraft or Star Wars themed coding games. Grades K-1 will be using an iPad app called The Foos to help a girl get treats. 

Feel free to visit the website ( at home or download the free app (The Foos) for your student(s) and practice coding some more- the US needs more students interested in and following the path of computer science!

One of my rescheduled 5th grade classes did their Hour of Code this week (12-4-15). They really enjoyed it! It started as a lot of quiet independence and morphed into a lot of discussion and collaboration...


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Big 6 Research

5th and 6th grade students are deep into a Big 6 research project. They were given the task to create a book recommendation list for a classmate based on a reading interest survey. So far, we have done

#1 Task Definition- Create a book recommendation list of at least 10 books for an assigned partner
#2 Information Seeking Strategies- We can use books, websites, or interview each other
#3 Location & Access- We have found that, Amazon & Barnes/Noble recommendation lists,, and Destiny are the best resources
#4 Use of Information- Right now, we are in the research stage where we are taking notes and organizing information

#5 Synthesis- In the next few weeks, we are going to organize our information to give to our partners
#6 Evaluation- Using a rubric, we will be able to self- assess our research process & product