The Fault in our Stars

By page 10 I had tears in my eyes and they never went away, rather they turned into a full on sob by the time I got to the last third of the book. Such a beautiful story about love, the human spirit, life and death. So many of us have been touched by the cruel grips of cancer,either ourselves or someone we care about. This story is an important reminder that life is yours and every minute of it should bring you reflection and wonder. No one can validate your importance and a legacy really matters most to the people who love you the most. This book is a must read. A special read by John Green.

Apples, Farms, & Corn Mazes

Apple Glasses help us prepare for our apple picking field trip. We made a list of all the things we might see at the apple orchard and talked about specific apple vocabulary (core, seed, Macintosh). We explored the life cycle of an apple tree. We shared stories of apple trees in our yards or places we have seen them. Everyone was excited to visit a real apple orchard and pick apples.

Maine has ample apple trees and in our region we are lucky to have several pick your own apples orchards. It has always been a favorite field experience for kids and families alike. I always pick a giant basket for the class and when we return we sort, graph, explore, eat apples, and make apple prints until they are all gone! Some years we are lucky enough to press some apples and make apple cider too.
 Farms and farming topics, vocabulary, and schema building often seem to be a natural flow following apples and since we always try to visit a corn maze and farm after the crows have eaten most the fallen apples and pumpkins are a vibrant ripe orange. For reading groups my student made take home "Baa Baa Black Sheep" books and pointers to practice one to one matching and fluency. They loved their pointers! I explain to them that when they slow down and point (even if they can read the words) it will build their spelling knowledge when they slow down and match one to one. I find front loading those early concept of print tasks in the fall, established good habits and by the time students are reading level 3 they are much more comfortable removing their finger and one to one matching without it, while maintaining fluency and the ability to problem solve words.

The corn maze is so much fun! We practice mapping skills, following directions, team work, and have a great time while building our vocabulary and knowledge about corn, pumpkins, and all things autumn that become part of our histories and traditions and encourages students to reflect upon the natural world and their local ecology when they think about traditions and seasons.

The tractor ride sure is a highlight too. next stop the pumpkin patch and everyone bringing home their own pumpkin from the patch. Such a wonderful time of year to be outside and enjoy the that it is half way through November, it is getting dark around 5pm so getting outside often is important to all of us!

Doreen Cronin RULES!

October Fun

Caution: Enter if you dare...books about zombies, magic potions, tricks and treats could always be found behind cobwebs in October at the school library. Decorating the library makes it fun for readers to settle in for an extended period of time and activate all their senses while reading an October read aloud pick. To be respectful to all students beliefs, you can always have a corner that is "theme-free" too.

Spooky roll the die, count, and match

There was a candy called Dem-Bones that came out at Halloween. It had a variety of bone shaped candy. I made this graph for them to graph their bags of candy and we did a giant class graph for class totals. After I made a few dice and reused the graph for a new center without the candy.

Halloween Stories bring out a new emerging writing energy

October Word Wall in Kindergarten fosters independence at writing time, while building literacy skills.

Word Card helps with Letter ID, spelling, vocabulary, writing, art, risk taking, editing

Black Cats took some real fine motor and following direction skills.

Island Teachers Conference

Read Aloud in the Science and Social Studies Classroom Presentation at the 2013 Island Teachers Conference, Belfast, Maine. Thank you to the Island Institute for putting on this special conference. During the conference I spoke with several really interesting and innovative island teachers. I find their commitment to island teaching to be really inspiring. It was a nice opportunity to encourage discourse around an important topic in education.

Representing  Island Readers & Writers

Author Visits

Today author of Kunu's Basket, Lee Francis shared her inspiration and insight into writing her book. Students in grades 3rd & 4th listened to her read aloud and participated in a weaving activity.