Saturday, June 22, 2013

Looking for Books?

So Mrs. Bair said you were supposed to read every day over the summer. Great. But what are we supposed to read? Earlier in June I shared this post with a couple of different book lists that were good places to start, but this past week I found another amazing book resource!

I follow many different blogs to help me be a better teacher, and the other day I stumbled across this list - the 101 Best Chapter Books to Read (or Hear) Before you Grow Up. I'm going to be honest, if you haven't read some of the books on this list you are probably going to enjoy them even if you ARE a grown up (or least your age says you SHOULD be)! There are books from every genre (type) on this list, and while I haven't read all of them, I've read about half so I'd like to point you to my favorites.

9. Because of Winn-Dixie (realistic fiction)
12. Bridge to Terabithia (realistic fiction)
13. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery (fantasy)
14. Caddie Woodlawn (historical fiction)
15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* (fantasty)
17. Charlotte’s Web (fantasy)
19. The Cricket in Times Square* (fantasy)
28. Freckle Juice (realistic fiction)
30. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franweiler* (mystery)
35. Harriet the Spy* (realistic fiction)
36. Hatchet (adventure)
37. How to Eat Fried Worms (realistic fiction)
41. Island of the Blue Dolphins (adventure)
51. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles* (fantasy)
54. The Little House on the Prairie series (historical fiction)
57. Magic Tree House (series - historical fiction / fantasy)
62. The Mouse and the Motorcycle (fantasy)
64. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh* (fantasy)
73. Pippi Longstocking (fantasy)
80. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (historical fiction)
82. The Secret Garden (historical fiction)
83. Shiloh*
84. Sideways Stories from Wayside School (fantasy)
85. Strawberry Girl (historical fiction)
94. The Trumpet of the Swan* (fantasy)

I know, I know, that's a lot of favorites! Those titles with the asterisks are the tops of the list, in my opinion. Which of those are my absolute favorites? Hmmmm.... if I had to pick my top five they would probably be....

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Harriet the Spy
The Cricket in Times Square
The Trumpet of the Swan

But honestly, I could read any of the books on this list over and over and over again. I hope my shortened list and the longer one you'll find by following the link will help you and your child find your new favorite book over the summer! Please leave a comment to share which ones you've decided to read!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Exactly Can We Do?

If the last image gave you some good ideas for the summer, but you'd like some more specific links or activities to do with your child then I have the post for you! Resources to Prevent Summer Slide is an article by Edutopia, a great educational resource on any topic, that will give you links for things like virtual field trips (I had to giggle at the Hershey Chocolate Factory field trip - can you do that without getting the free chocolate at the end??), things your child can build, and reading, writing and math resources.

Don't limit yourself to worksheets or flashcards when it comes to learning in the summer. Asking your child what he or she would like to learn about or letting the kids come up with possible solutions for problems around the house are great ways to keep your child actively learning throughout the summer months!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Exercise Your Brain

While it's easy to think about reading and practicing math facts as fun things to do over the summer, there are many other ways to keep your brain in shape! You can click on the image below to see some fun and different ways to keep your brain (and your parents' brains!) working over the summer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

End of Year Fun!

To celebrate the end of an exciting, and all too fast, school year, our team had a day full of learning and fun. We started off this morning with four different learning stations. Each teacher picked a different subject, and the classes spent a half hour learning, creating and cooperating. While there were fun activities in each room, Mrs. Towsen's Sweet Science took the cake. Groups took a look at what happened what you soaked Skittles and M&Ms in water, and we were all shocked!

Can you see the S and the M?
After our morning stations and special classes Team Kit Kat celebrated with a picnic lunch. We enjoyed eating in the classrooms with our friends, and we would like to say a special thank you to the many, many parents who sent in food items and volunteered to help serve our lunch today. We certainly wouldn't have been able to do it without you.

Thankfully the rain took a pause just long enough for us to get out and get some fresh air, and then it was party time! All of the students on the team were divided into 10 groups, and we played Minute to Win It all afternoon. Again we have to say thank you to all of the parents who brought in materials and all of the parents who helped run the stations. We played games that required all sorts of patience and unique skills, and even the teachers AND Mr. Kingsborough and Dr. Spagnolo got in on the fun. See if you can spy our principals in the slideshow! Our Team Kit Kat Picnic and Challenge Party was the perfect was to end the school year. It sure does look like everybody had a great time!

Regions Projects

Over the past month, our class and Mrs. Towsen's class have been working very hard to take our individual state research projects and combine them into presentations about the regions of the US. Below pictures of our posters, and the Midwest group's slideshow. Hopefully I will fix whatever glitch is going on and get the videos of the presentations up soon!

The Northeast Region poster

The Southeast

As you can see, the climate of the Southeast includes some dangerous weather

The Southeast includes many fun sporting activities.

The Southwest may be our smallest region, but their presentation was big on details!

The West Region includes many unique places and landforms.

Because of the different locations, the West Region has a variety of natural resources and industries.

There are many interesting facts and areas of different climate in the West Region as well!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer Reading

It's hard to believe that the school year is almost over! It seems like just yesterday that everybody showed up at Bear Creek for the first time. Now that summer is almost here, I want to use this week to offer some suggestions about what you can do to help your child over the summer.

First of all, I hope you and your family have the opportunity to go exploring these next few months. Whether it's exploring a far-away place or a park or trail close to home, your child will learn amazing things through these experiences.

Second, I hope that you and your child will read together this summer. So often during the school year, despite our best efforts, your children aren't always able to read books on topics of their interest or they begin to equate reading with filling in bubbles and taking tests. Summer is the time to help your child remember that reading is FUN, and reading is also another way to explore places and learn some pretty cool stuff.

There are many different summer reading lists out there, but my favorite comes from James Patterson, yes - the James Patterson of adult thriller stories, and his website Read, Kiddo, Read! You can check out his summer reading list here, and you can also look around the website to learn about some other amazing books for kids (and adults) of all reading levels.

If your child is one who likes a little incentive for their work, Barnes and Noble combines their summer reading list that allows your child to earn a free book! You can check out their reading list and how to earn that free book here.

Don't forget - reading is more than picture books and chapter books. Having your child read websites, instruction manuals, the Sunday comics, travel guides... anything!... will help them see how important reading is in our every day lives, and hopefully it will also give them the opportunity to find topics that he or she really loves!

If you are looking for more summer reading ideas, please check out the local libraries in Elizabethtown and Mount Joy or drop me a note and I can help you out.