Sunday, October 27, 2013

Noteworthy Ninth Week! Spotlight on: Monster Exchange

We've been hard at work on our Monsters. That sounds a little strange, but it has been a great project! First everyone designed their own monster. The artwork was pretty impressive! We have triangular zombies, Robot manicurists, and egg-shaped vampire cats!
Next came the tricky part. You had to write a description of your monster that was so detailed and exact that someone else could make a perfect copy without ever getting to see it. This took several tries. We all wrote a first draft and exchanged it with a partner. No one even came close. Back to the drawing board! We brainstormed a list of what had caused problems and the students realized they needed an organized system to describe each part exactly.

We did second and third drafts, and then we decided they were ready. Our monster descriptions have been sent to our Book Buddies at Sinclair Elementary. We can’t wait to see if they can draw them accurately! Stay tuned for the results next week & a slideshow of our Monster Gallery!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Exciting Eighth Week! Spotlight on: Book Buddies

Every week we put our reading and writing skills to work and send a book review to a student across town at Sinclair Elementary. Our “Book Buddies” are also partners in our “Garden Exchange”. They send us pine needles and mulch from their nature center and we send them seeds we’ve harvested from our pollinator gardens as well as extra milkweed and other nectar plants we uproot for them.
Every Wednesday we read a story as a class and follow as specific letter format to send our recommendations to our partner. We write a brief summary (being careful not to give too much of the story away!), and our personal opinion of that week’s book. We get their response to our letters and their recommendations of a good book on Fridays. It is a good way for us to use writing for its real purpose – communicating information to another person at a distance.

The link in the sidebar this week will take you to our partner class’ blog, so you can meet them too. Click on 10/14/13 under the “Weekly Wrap-Up”.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Superb Seventh Week! Spotlight on: Journey North Symbolic Migration

We participated in Journey North’s annual journey south! Every year this organization sponsors a symbolic migration that follows in the footsteps? wingsteps? of the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch is a fantastic ambassador for North America as it is a beloved inhabitant of all three North American nations. The continued well-being of this beautiful insect depends on the cooperation of the US and our good neighbors to the north and south.

We have been working on several projects related to our research on the Monarch butterfly: writing poetry anthologies, origami art projects, designing educational games, and writing our research paper! One of the most interesting activities was the creation of paper ambassador butterflies that we mailed to Mexico for the winter! These monarchs will be given to a student from the highlands region of Michoacan, Mexico. This child will take our butterflies home and protect them from late October until late February. At that time s/he will take the butterflies back to school so they can make their return journey to the United States and Canada.

We can track our paper Monarchs on their trek to the oyamel forests and back. Our school has created two milkweed gardens to help replace a little bit of the lost habitat in our area. The garden club has been working on maintaining these gardens to be ready for the migration rush these next few weeks. We wish our ambassadors buen viaje!

To learn more about the symbolic migration, you can visit

To see this week’s slide show, please click on the 10/7/13 link under “Weekly Wrap-Up”.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sensational Sixth Week! Spotlight on: Making It Better

We started a new program at Piney Point this week! The 4th & 5th graders are doing a workshop about social issues. We met our workshop leader, Ms. Tasha Brown, and got some information about the program. Everyone introduced themselves and talked about their interests.

Next we completed a survey about social opinions. It was interesting because we had just finished reviewing the First Amendment and talking about our right to have our own opinions!

We wrapped up with a discussion on self-esteem. We have a lot of reasons to feel good about ourselves! We need to make sure we remember that when we feel bad about things. We also discussed strategies to help overcome low self-esteem.

We can’t wait to see Ms. Tasha next Friday! To see the slide show and get the link to additional information on Making it Better, click on the 9/30/13 link under the Weekly Wrap Up.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Phenomenal Fifth Week! Spotlight on: Open House

It was wonderful to get to meet with so many parents! Students were so excited to show off their work and their class room. Those of you were unable to attend (or parents who want access to the web links I shared) can view the presentation by clicking on the 9/23/13 link in the Weekly Wrap-Up list on the sidebar.

Our Constitution Day Video

Please check out the "Constitution Petting Zoo" link under "Our Videos" to see the fantastic profile Mr. Huerta put together about our celebration. He combined interviews, some art work from Ms. Mallona's class, and clips from student docents to make a wonderful overview of the event.
Partnerships between classes and collaborations with amazing teachers, like Mr. Huerta, provide our students with the best learning opportunities!
Thank you again, Mr. Huerta!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Our First Public Service Announcements!

We are now Panther TV stars! Our first Public Service Announcements are running in the hallways on the V-Brick TV system and during the morning announcements. We are determined to make Piney Point greener than ever, and these educational advertisements are our first step. To see our recycling videos click on "Recycling PSA #1" and "Recycling PSA #2" under the "Our Videos" tab near the bottom of the page. Stay tuned for more information!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fabulous Fourth Week! Spotlight on: Constitution Day!

We the People of Ms. Boyce’s 4th grade class were Panther Proud to take the lead in our campus celebration of Constitution Day. This day commemorates the creation of our government on September 17, 1787. Students learned about the brave individuals whose writings still form the foundation of the lives we lead today.

We set up a table in the upstairs common area with a reproduction of the constitution, quills, and School House Rock’s “Preamble” video for all the other classes to visit. Every single member of our Piney Point family was encouraged to visit and add their name to the list of 39 original signatures.  To see pictures of our patriotic event click on the 9/16/13 link under Weekly Wrap-Up on the side bar.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Terrific Third Week! Spotlight on: Panther C.L.A.W.s

We are definitely Piney Point Panther Proud, but the conditions on our campus sometimes make us roaring mad! We have decided to take on the problem from several angles. We are volunteering some recess time to picking up trash that makes our beautiful campus unsightly, and we are launching an education campaign to teach everyone to show their Panther Pride and stop littering. We have filmed public service announcements for the campus V-Brick system and made posters to raise awareness. Our next steps include: signing up other classes for clean-up duty and making badges to wear when we are on patrol as C.L.A.W.s (Campus Litter Abatement Wardens). To see our Panther C.L.A.W.s tearing into the problem click on link for 9/9/13 in the Weekly Wrap-Up on the side bar!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Super Second Week! Spotlight on: AM Readers

This week we will focus on a project we just got up and running this past Monday. AM Readers are students who arrive early and present a story time for 1st grade students. They are improving their own fluency and reading abilities while helping the 1st graders learn English, earn AR points, and learn to use time wisely! This is an excellent example of helping yourself while doing something for others! When our students share their gifts and abilities, everyone in the community benefits! To see some of our readers in action, click on the link for 9/2/13 in the Weekly Wrap-Up on the side bar!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fantastic First Week

We got off to a great start this week! Students got acquainted with their teams and settled into the classroom routines right away. The class set up all of their subject area journals, learned to decipher their schedules and assignment pages, and immediately started becoming campus leaders! Everyone has taken on volunteer positions to share their gifts and skills with their fellow Panthers!
Click the "Weekly Wrap-Up" link on the right to see pictures.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thank you for a great first day!

We had a very smooth and fairly productive first day of school. Everyone did a great job of following directions and living up to expectations. I will be taking pictures of what we do this week and will post a slide show on Friday or Saturday. The students set up their Math/Science, Reading/Writing and Homework Journals today. We worked through samples of all the various homework tasks so nothing should be unfamiliar. We also reviewed the weekly schedule and had an overview of most classroom activities. We will actually start doing some of the work tomorrow!Students were introduced to the various clubs and volunteer groups. I am hoping everyone will find a campus stewardship role that appeals to them. Please have them share some information with you about these opportunities.
Tomorrow your 4th grader will have a long list of user names and passwords to remember. Ask them to show you some of the programs we are using this year.
Thank you, and as always, if you have any questions, please let me know.