Middleburg Community Charter School

Middleburg Community Charter School
MCCS K-2 Team Blog

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your Trash Is Our Treasure - Reduce, Reuse...Recycled Toys

Hello families! We can't believe we are reaching the end of week 4. Reading and word study groups are under way and we've found our groove in Math, Social Studies and Science too!

Remember, creating patterns with shapes and numbers is our foundation for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Practice skip counting by 2's, 5's, 10's...even 3's, 4's, 6's and 7's. 

Please continue to read with your child every night. Your child can read to you, himself/herself, a sibling, or you can read to him/her. Also, don't forget to practice a few sight words every night. It is our hope that these words will be automatic by the end of the school year. A great way to practice is by creating flashcards, or even your own word wall at home. The repeated readings will help your child recall the words more easily.

In Science, we explored motion. Force (push, pull, twist) creates motion (or movement). Within a group, your child had to figure out how to make a box move without touching it with their hands. Wow, did we have some creative ideas!! Many used their knowledge of magnets, iron and opposite poles to attract - making the box move (pulling). Others pushed the box with a pencil, marker, or glue stick. Next time you take your child to the playground, start up a conversation about swinging on the swings. Pumping their legs (using their muscles) or having you push them are both forces that create motion. There are so many teachable moments you can utilize with your child. You are their greatest teachers!

We also enjoyed some buddy reading time, using books from our Science basket. Thank you, Mrs. Lutter, for taking a trip to the public library to find great books on motion, force and energy for us.

In Social Studies, we are learning about how community helpers contribute to our communities and what character traits community helpers possess. The students came up with their own lists of character traits and helpers, then shared the lists with the class. After this, the groups each voted on one helper and are currently creating their own skits, equipped with a script (written by them), props and costumes (designed by them). We can't wait to see them act out a scene involving a community helper. Reader's theater is so much fun, especially when we get to be the writers, producers, directors and actors. Good thing we have a theater major on our green team - Ms. Morgan :)

We love our DaVinci STEM project days - every Friday, where we can apply the concepts we learned throughout the week to assemble our toys.

Thank you for continuing to send in recyclables. Please send in masking tape if you have some at home. Magnetic tape would be great too! We started building our toys last week and look forward to incorporating our magnet and motion knowledge this Friday!

Starting September 8th (next week is a short week), we will be sending home a packet/sheet of suggested homework assignments to be completed throughout the week. The packets will include word study activities/words, and ideas for math. Plus, a reminder that your child should be reading for 15-20 minutes a night. If you'd like to borrow any books from our class or school library, we'd be happy to send books home. You do NOT need to send this homework in to school. These activities are meant to be a great way for you to practice what we are working on in school with your child at home. We have active weeknights, and know there isn't always time to complete nightly homework with sports, cub scouts, etc. We are hoping this list of suggested activities will give you the flexibility to practice on your own time schedule. Plus, so many of the best teachable moments are spontaneous.

Have a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend :)

The Green Team
(Ms. Morgan, Mrs. Emmel & Mrs. Browning)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We Use Our Cartography Skills to Find Treasures and Investigate Virginia's Resources

Hello friends and families! Wow, we are so impressed with how quickly our little Leobreds are picking up the routine and using their math detective, artistic and scientific skills, etc. to explore our community, state, world and universe. We are truly amazed by the innovation occurring within and outside our classrooms. 

This week in Math, we are "using and looking for patterns" in shapes, numbers, etc. Patterns are repetitive and predictable - and everywhere! With the assistance of our fabulous Gifted/Math Specialist, our 12 to 1 student to teacher ratio makes it even more possible to assess and facilitate areas of need and highlight student strengths and achievements. 

During Language Arts, we've started guided reading groups, centers and word study. This small-group environment allows us to lead and participate in constructive literature discussions, explore word patterns, letter-sound relationships, comprehension, and "good reader strategies."

We are continuing to highlight Social Studies concepts during DaVinci Time, where we integrate reading, writing and vocabulary. This week we have been using a variety of texts and other print and technological materials to explore Virginia, and our community's natural, capital and human resources. A great way you can support this at home is to look up your home, or anything else that means something to your child, on Google Earth. Virginia is rich in farms, forests, water and more. Next week we will tie the types of resources in with community helpers. We need human and capital resources to utilize the abundance of natural resources provided by our great State.

We applied our cartography skills to create maps of our classroom so that we could be like pirates and go on a treasure hunt! The students included titles, keys, symbols and more to help their peers find "treasures" that they hid around the room! Afterward we discussed what made our maps helpful and ways we could improve our maps in the future! What a great way to reflect on our own work and strive for our best!

We are ecstatic to begin our first STEM project during Wonder Workshop. Thank you to everyone who has donated their recyclables. The students are excited about collecting recycled materials. We've had many return from lunch with a water bottle or container to proudly donate to our project. They are busy sketching and exploring ways to build toys from recyclables other people might refer to as trash. Not us! We are resourceful and proud of it! Project days will take place on Friday afternoons during Wonder Workshop.

During Science (Wonder Workshop), we continued to investigate magnets. We even "fished" for big and small fish (paperclips) using magnets, a string and a non-sharpened pencil (fishing rod). We charted our findings within a bar graph using tally marks. We were able to determine the number of "fish" caught and display the data within a bar graph. It's a great way to explore more than, less than, and equal to, along with other graphing skills such as the title, labels and skip counting - foundations for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Next week we will dive into the concept of motion.

 Fun with our birthday months and pictographs!

We are hearing great ideas for the community postcard/stamp collection homework project. This project is open-ended, which means any way your child chooses to display his/her postcards and/or stamps is correct. There is no wrong method - scrapbook, PowerPoint, on a map, in the shape of a horse, ANYTHING!!! Students are coming up with ideas we couldn't even begin to imagine, and they're FABULOUS! We hope they can learn about their communities with you (their most important and adored teachers). A perk is they will also have gained knowledge to share with their school community.

We again want to thank all of the parents who have volunteered their time during Arts Hour and lunch. The positive energy and enthusiasm you impart to us and your children make our school not only great, but exceptional. We are the models of community.

The Green Machine Team
(Mrs. Emmel, Ms. Morgan & Mrs. Browning)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Are Scientists, Artists, Math Detectives, Cartographers and more...

Hello families! Now that we have the first week under our belts, we are on a roll. We began our Science unit on magnets. The students are using both the inquiry and scientific methods to explore magnetism. Ask your child what happens when you float a magnet in water - which direction does it point? Also, why is a magnet able to lift pieces of pipe cleaner through a plastic bottle? What's the definition of repel and attract. We are so proud of their scientific minds - questioning, predicting, experimenting, observing and recording the results in their Science journals. 

In Social Studies, we are continuing to focus on community and citizenship, along with the art of cartography. Our students are proving to be excellent map makers and followers - creating maps of the classroom and our school. Many students are challenging themselves to create maps of their homes. Don't be surprised if your child creates a map, hides something in your home, then puts a red "X" on the map for you to find. (We are sorry if they hide your valuables.)

We are also reading books that highlight the importance of community and self. In the activity below, students are sharing their hopes and dreams expressed through the design of their "ideal" houses based on the book, The Big Orange Splot. In the book the neighbors paint and construct their homes to be hot air balloons, castles, jungles, and more. How would you express yourself through the outward appearance of your home if you could?

We showcased our artistic talents by creating a Keith Haring mural to express our feelings about our positive class community. Each of the students came up with their own adjective to share. Come check it out in the green hallway.

And, check out our moves in dance class (yup, we're bringing back the Macarena)...

In Math, we are sorting and classifying and gearing up for number theory. In Language Arts, we are doing everything from letter-sound correspondence and sight words to reading comprehension and fluency. Please remember to read every night with your child. Print exposure is key for reading, writing and spelling success. They can read to you and/or a family member, and please continue to read aloud to them. It is important for children to hear the expression and fluency in your voice. Verbally express your natural "questioning" while reading, so they will learn to do the same, deepening understanding. Plus, it's time your child will always cherish. You are their first and most important teachers.

Thank you again to all of the volunteers. Your assistance during the Art Hour, lunch, recess, etc. have been invaluable. We are humbled by your support. Your enthusiasm will continue to excite and motivate our children to always bring their best to everything they do.

The Green Machine Team
(Ms. Emmel, Ms. Morgan & Mrs. Browning)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Our First Week As Leobreds!!

We have had a fantastic first week of school. Thank you, families, for sharing your little Leos with us. During Da Vinci time, we are having so much fun learning about how to become a good citizen in our communities, school, classroom, and family, along with the importance of manners and making good choices. The students developed a list of hopes and dreams for the school year, created their own classroom jobs, and discussed what choices will assist us in reaching our goals (respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, etc.).

During Wonder Workshop time, the students have been exploring Leonardo Da Vinci's many talents and are proving to have many talents of their own. We have artists, architects, designers, scientists, athletes, and more. Like Da Vinci, we are using nature as our outdoor classroom, observing and sketching the wonders of nature in our very own sketchbooks. Next week we will explore magnets and begin our quarter 1 STEM project - building our own toys.

We also became math detectives, using logical reasoning and manipulating tangrams, dominoes, pattern blocks and unit cubes with the direction of our math specialist.

Thank you to everyone who has offered their time to assist us in and out of the classroom, and for coming to celebrate our opening at the Back-to-School barbeque. Also, thank you for sending in the necessary supplies, etc. to help our dreams come into fruition. We are so fortunate to have the BEST parents. Thank you for all you do to support your child's education.

We look forward to a phenomenal year!
 The Green Team
(Mrs. Emmel, Ms. Morgan & Mrs. Browning)

  Tangram time! I can slide, rotate and turn shapes to create other shapes and pictures!

 I can "Make Words" - big or small! Watch me make small words out of large words and use them in a sentence, or have-a-go on the white board.

We have hopes and dreams for the school year! Let's work together to make them happen!