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44 days of school so far… 13 November, 2007

Posted by teacherjennifer in 1, General.
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Every Thursday afternoon at our staff meeting, the teachers all share their success stories of the week. We nominate students from each other’s classes for the “pizza award” which recognizes excellent student performance. Then, at assembly on Friday, the school gives a deserving student this high honor, complete with the pizza placard, which is good for a slice of pizza at lunchtime.

Congratulations to Darian, who is my class’s first pizza award of the school year! He was nominated by two different teachers for his consistent good attitude and always being helpful during schoolyard clean-ups and after break and recess. Great job Darian, you make us all proud!


This week we started another word-study poem called “Take Care of Yourself” that goes beautifully with our Health lessons! The poem goes like this:

Take care of yourself!
You’re the only you you’ve got!
Eat healthy foods
and exercise a lot.
Get lots of sleep
and you’ll see your body grow
Take care of yourself.
Let your best you show!

There are 3 activities that go with the words in the poem: word scrambles, practice pages, and word sorts. Each of these help students with word building, letter-pattern recognition, and reading and writing in general. You can see how your child is doing when the graded packets come home. The poems that go along with the activities are kept at school in their Poems Folders so students can practice reading them at school during Language Arts time, but feel free to come in and have your child read to you from their folder.

I see lots of sight words in all those poems, so we can see why it’s so important for students to memorize them. They glow with pride when they recognize them! Sight word tests for list 1 will be done from the 19th to the 23rd of November, then we will move on the list 2, which can be found here on Mrs. Perkins primer list.

After our visit from Dr. Xima and Nurse Eleanor, many students have decided to bring in their toothbrushes and toothpaste so they can brush after lunch. Their little toothbrushing clubs meet in the bathroom for 2 minutes so they can brush, brush, brush while singing their favorite toothbrushing songs. I often hear them repeating to each other: “Remember what the Dentist said… away from the gum, away from the gum!” I must also commend them for cleaning out the sinks when they are done… good job, students!


We have finished our work with basic addition and subtraction, and have moved on to addition strategies, like counting on, number line, and memorizing doubles. The students enjoyed our ever-popular “number-line jump” activity in the palapa- ask them about solving addition problems by jumping on the number line! We will do many other activities that will help us learn (and memorize) our addition facts… your child can expect flashcards, sticker pictures, activities with dice and dominoes, and more!


As we come to the end our our plant study, your child should be able to tell you the following:

– What are the parts of a plant?
– What do plants need to survive?
– What part of the plant makes the food for the plant? How do you know?
– What part of the plant brings water to the leaves and flowers? How do you know?
– What part of the plant makes the seeds? How do you know?

All these questions will prepare them for their test on plants, which will be on Thursday or Friday. The test will be half oral and half written. After that we will move on to our bird study, beginning with penguins.

To spark the childrens’ interest, we made a KWL chart to find out:
–What the children KNOW about penguins,
–What the children WANT to learn about penguins,
…and when the study is done…
–What the students LEARNED about penguins. (to be completed when we’re done)

On that subject, does anyone have the movie “March of the Penguins” and a DVD player that we can borrow to enhance our learning?


On Friday, Teacher Lisa announced that we will begin practicing for the pageant this coming week. The official date is Friday, December 14th, the time to be announced.


Student: “Teacher, you look pretty today.”
Teacher: “Thank you! Better than yesterday, huh?”
Student: “Yup, Teacher Melissa was the pretty one yesterday.”

Here’s another great one that came when discussing that plants need water to survive…

Teacher: “Where does the water come from?”
Student: “It comes from the thunder and lightning.”
Teacher: “And what exactly do we call it when the thunder and lightning come and water falls from the sky?”
Student: “Ummmm… loud?”

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading, and of course, feel free to email with any questions or concerns.


20 days of school so far… 7 October, 2007

Posted by teacherjennifer in General.
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For three weeks, we have been studying our sight words in class. Sight words comprise 50% to 75% of the words in childrens’ books. When students memorize the words by sight (rather than sounding them out) they will become extremely confident, successful readers.

By the end of this week, I will have completed the students Level 1 (Pre-Primer) sight word pretests. We do this one-on-one in class. Look in the ever-important home folder to find the list with a pretest score on it. Please do not be alarmed if your child only knows 10 or 15 of them… it’s just a pretest. My goal is 100% by the end of November. We study them 4-5 times a week during class, and I encourage you to copy the words on to index cards and practice them at home. All students learn at different levels, and some students have reached 100% already, so I will be moving them up to the Primer level.

Here are 2 websites you can use to sharpen your child’s skills:

This is where I get all my classroom resources. It is a great source for lists, printable flashcards, and a downloadable program that we use in class:

Also, this Dolch words website has a wonderful explanation of sight words, and some more printable lists.

If you feel like you’re tangled in a complicated spider web of lists, websites, etc. please come in and talk to me. Sometimes it’s just easier face to face!


I thought I would take a moment to explain my grading system. First, we should remind ourselves that there were no formal “grades” in most of their previous Beginners classrooms. Getting a “grade” can be tough concept for students to understand. In my experience, Infant I students don’t care at all about those little red numbers that I put at the tops of their papers. But, as the school year rolls on, they become more accustomed to them and gain a greater understanding of what exactly goes onto their report cards. Then, in turn, they care about improving them. Bingo!

When your child gets a paper back, there is a (red) fraction grade on the top, for example, 10/10 or 4/6. I have explained to the students that the bottom number (the base) is how many problems they had to do, and the top is how many they got right. If it is a more involved project, they will get a slip of paper called a RUBRIC, which is printed and filled out by me, and stapled to their projects. This rubric is a way to show both students and parents exactly what they are being graded on. It’s a very fair system that tells them what they’ve done correctly, and what they can do better on next time; rather than just giving them a percentage. Look for a rubric attached to our 2-week-long Language Arts Poem project, which had a 40 point base; and our Social Studies project called “A Book About Me” that will come home on Monday. I encourage you to look over these things with your child and get to know what they are doing right, and what they can improve.


When we start our Science study of solids, liquids, and gases, I would like to have a hot plate to work with as a heat source. Does anyone have one we could borrow for a few days? Just a single-burner plug-in-to-the-wall one would be great. Thanks for checking!


So far, I am very happy with the students homework and folder organization. Those home folders are getting a little heavy though, so have your child empty them out on the weekends. Graded papers are on the left, and homework is on the right.


Classes will resume on the 16th.


In my experience, our Math and Language Arts books have always been at a reading level that is quite difficult for most of the kids at the beginning of the school year. Be assured that this will improve as the year moves on. When you help your child with homework, be as patient as you can, and point to the words as you read them. This especially applies to the little word problems that are at the bottom of the math pages. I tell the children to find the numbers and look for familiar words like “more”, “less” or “in all” that are part of our math vocabulary, and solve the problem as best as they can.


Darian is working hard passing out books and papers, and Faith Noel is proud to count out little blue cubes to represent how many days we’ve been at school. Rhyan loves to remind me that it’s time for him to go out and clap out the erasers at the end of the day. Ask your child what jobs he/she had had, and which they’re looking forward to. Having a classroom responsibility, whether big or small, builds a sense of community and tests the children on their skills and memory!

Thanks for reading! Feel to email me regarding anything at all: rubrics, sight words, compliments, complaints, etc. Let’s keep communication strong and show the kids that we are genuinely interested in their schooling!

Coming Soon- Star of the Week! 7 October, 2006

Posted by teacherjennifer in General.
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In two weeks we will begin our “Star of the Week” activity. Each week we will feature one student as our Star, and it will give the rest of the class the opportunity to get to know this “star student” a little bit better. This student will prepare posters to bring in from home, bring in items from home to share, and have special privileges that week, among other things.

Every Thursday, we will choose one student to be the following week’s Star. S/he will bring home all the materials they will need for their duties the following week. I will contact you ahead of time to make sure it is a good week for you, ie: no doctor’s appointments, friends in town, busy season, etc. It will still be a surprise to the student though, so be sure to keep the secret!

The “Star of the Week” Schedule…

• On Monday, the Star of the Week will hang up the posters s/he created, and tell the class about them. Some ideas for posters are:
~ Special People in my Life
~ My Baby Pictures
~ Things I Like
~ My Family Celebrations
~ Places I Have Been
These are only suggestions, so be creative! The posters can show photos, drawings, souvenirs, etc.

• On Tuesday, it is letter writing time. All the students will write a letter to the Star.

• On Wednesday it is time to share. The Star will bring in 3 items to show the class:
~ something from nature
~ something you made
~ something from another country (toys made in China do not count)

• On Thursday the Star will bring in their favorite book to read during Language Arts time.

• On Friday, sit back and relax! The Star will receive their “Star of the Week” certificate for a job well done!

Even teachers need to learn new things… 25 July, 2006

Posted by teacherjennifer in General.
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Hello Island Academy!

There is a lot to do before the year begins, and one of the most important jobs will be to organize this site in order to keep you all informed and involved.

Here we go…!