What I know so far.

We have been in school for 25 days – or at least the children have. Sometimes it feels like forever; it seems like these kids have always been mine to teach and nurture. We’ve always taken GoNoodle brain breaks, read the news together, expressed addition with number bonds, and looked for little words and patterns everywhere. We’ve always been the class that makes Mr. Hampton’s day better after a rough kindergarten session and the ones who beg for art and kid time.

In other moments, it doesn’t feel like very long at all.
Today I tried to remember whether Jack had any pets and what Jacob’s favorite color is. Blue, maybe? Red? Who was it that struggled to read slug but easily read shut? I’m glad we have a little longer before conferences so I can pinpoint learning styles, personalities, academic strengths, and hopefully answer that age-old question, “what can we work on at home?” with something helpful.

As we dive deeper into the school year, I’m excited about all the possibilities, grateful that all my wild class nightmares in August were just my overactive imagination and looking forward to the hugs in store for me tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll remember whose happiest place on earth is Legoland before then…

In the Heat of the Moment

After a few weeks of prepping the classroom, meetings and classes, it’s easy to forget (even while listening to another expert right now!) that kids are actually coming to school in four more days. While that feels a little nerve wracking, I can’t wait to do what’s really important – what all this preparation is about -help children learn. It reminds me of the half hour before a marathon begins. The nerves, the excitement, the peering over each others’ shoulders in an attempt to see where the start line is in relationship to where we are now. We can’t wait to see you and get started!

English Language Learners and Language at Home

My goal over the next year is to post at least once a week.(We’ll see how that goes!) So…I have to start somewhere and here is where I’m starting: with a secret.

(shh) Did you know I’m already back at school?

Yep, no surprise here, I’ve already started rearranging my classroom and attending classes in order to be a better teacher next/this year. I’ll admit I’m in denial about how quickly the new school year is sneaking up on me but today’s workshop sure helped to change that. I had the privilege of being a student in Karen Beeman’s ELL class today. Officially I’m “Cohort 3″ in my district and had no idea what to expect when I showed up this morning. To my surprise, Karen modeled for us – and by modeled I mean she gave us the opportunity to experience what being an English Language Learner is like in an academic classroom. For the better part of a few hours, she taught us in Spanish. It took me several minutes to figure out that we were learning about the life cycle of a butterfly and people, I’ve TAUGHT that! Not in Spanish, but still! I have to admit my super-rusty skills in Espanol came back more quickly than I’d hoped. Talking about methods, strategies and appropriate approaches for instruction with ELL students fascinated me and I can’t wait to implement what I learned today.

One of the most empowering ideas we talked about was how to encourage parents when working with their kids. Since most of you reading this are parents, I’ll say this: keep talking to your kids in your strongest language. Tell them stories, talk to them about your experiences and what you know, cook with them and play soccer together. You are your child’s first, best, and most influential teacher. What you do makes my job possible so… thank you. so. much.

Coming to a School Near You in January

Oh My! We have a ton of fun planned for January! As a school, we’re offering an event for kids on Thursday afternoons (drumrolls please!)….Kadlec Academy @ Sunset View Gym
Students in grades 1-5, may join this fun after school club to learn how their bodies work.  There is no cost and each class includes fun exercises, hands-on activities and a healthy snack. For more information call (509) 438-4969. Register online by clicking the Sunset View link at   http://www.kadlec.org/krmc/our_care/kadlec_academy. Experts from Kadlec will be teaching these interesting classes and I’m thinking of sneaking in, just to see the fun for myself.

January 9 – Brain
January 16 – Heart
January 23 – Lungs
January 30 – Bones

In our own classroom, we’ll start several new concepts:

In math, we’ll study time and learn to tell it on an analog clock to the hour and half-hour. In reading, we’ll start looking maps, directions, and geography, which is an excellent foundation for our upcoming penguin study (science/social studies).  But, before we get to the blinding excitement that is PENGUINS, we are going to explore some physics with a science study called Push-Pull-Go. We’ll build ramps, swings and more with K’Nex and learn how the world works. Exciting stuff, my friends, exciting stuff. I can’t wait to get started.

Firsts

Tonight I clicked “checkout” on our first Scholastic book order of the year. I’m not really sure why that’s poignant but, right now, to me, it is. This week marks the beginning of our fifth week of school, the second official day of fall (trust me it started last week when I had to wear a sweater all day!), and millions of “firsts” accomplished in our classroom. Today was the first time I said “hurry” during cleanup and no one freaked out. A week ago we started our first real chapter in math: addition concepts. There was the first time we went to Library, the first time someone got really hurt in PE (tennis rackets to the face really hurt, eh Bruce?!) and the first time everyone read quietly for ten whole minutes. Ahhh, sweet silence. (It’s a noisy sort of silence but everyone was reading!) All of these, and more, were firsts for the current darlings that make up our classroom. And we have many more to come.

I hope the firsts you see at home are equally sweet: the first chapter book read independently, the first PRIDE award phone call, the first “look what I made Mom!”, the first indications that school is a happy place to be. And I hope you can take your time, enjoy those firsts with your child and savor every sweet success.

Memorial Day and beyond

Wow! I can hardly believe Memorial Day weekend is here already! It seems like May has just been flying by…and I’m barely holding on to the seat of my pants! Unfortunately busy, this weekend is a great opportunity (for all of us) to slow down, relax, spend some time with the people we love, and remember those who’ve gone ahead of us. My grandfather, Dave Hamar, served in WWII and died when I was 5. It’s such a joy to remember his quiet strength and love for God, his family and his country. I’m blessed to have known him.

This week coming up is just as full (big surprise!) as any so far this year. On Tuesday at 2:30, our Music Program will begin. I hope you can all make it to see our little Don Gatos perform. I love it when the dinosaur eats Don Gato. On Wednesday, at 11:15 the FAMILY PICNIC starts. Oh, I hope you can be there to eat with your student(s) and possibly to adopt one for a few minutes whose parents can’t be present. Thursday is normal (whew!) and Friday is early release for report card prep.

Report cards will be mailed to you near the end of June with next year’s room assignment included. We hope this helps you – to know whom your child’s teacher will be for next year. Occasionally someone gets nervous about a particular second grade teacher but please be reassured: each one of our teachers is wonderful in her own way. I’m confident that you can and will communicate well and work together for the good of your child since we have that in common: our desire to help these darlings grow and learn.

Looking forward to seeing you next week!

Ms. Hamar

like a freight train

Wow! The end of the year is really zooming towards us…which makes me both sad and relieved. Sad because I love these kids and wish I had more time with them. I will miss ‘em! And relieved because there’s the opportunity for more than six hours of sleep a night within reach. We do have LOTS to do before then though…

DIBELs (reading) testing: the week after Memorial Day. All I can say is, I hope they sleep and eat right.

Music Program May 28th @2:30 pm: you absolutely must hear “Don Gato” sung by first and second graders. There’s no experience like it. And there are dinosaurs.

Family Picnic on May 29th from 11:15-12 pm (for us): bring your lunch or buy school lunch and eat our delicious hamburgers, grilled by Nutrition Services.

It’s going to be so much fun! Thankfully we’re done with MAP testing (for better or worse) and can have a fairly normal week of learning. Please also remember that this Friday is a half-day because of state budget cuts, also known as a “furlough” day.

Sunshine and blue skies!
Ms. Hamar

Moms and Monday Mania

What a privilege to have our MOMS here last Friday! We celebrated Mother’s Day with muffins and juice and just loved having you here. We had one of our most successful school days afterwards – probably because everyone was SO happy. With carnival at the end of the day (thank you for all your time and contributions), our day was “the best ever!” according to several kiddos. I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day and were able to celebrate with either your children or your mother, or both.

And now…Monday mania is back again. We have new spelling words to learn and we begin our MAP testing today. We’ll be testing for 30 minutes each afternoon this week. Please help kids get lots of rest and healthy food so they can concentrate.

Spelling words this week are:

  1. ship
  2. rich
  3. shade
  4. teach
  5. chalk
  6. dish
  7. wash
  8. check
  9. shadow
  10. child

long E…finally!

This week we are reviewing long E spelling patterns (_ea_ and _ee). Use these words to play Scrabble, make up new sentences, sing a BINGO song (perhaps “GREET”?) and challenge yourself on Spelling City. Have fun practicing!

1. bead
2. seal
3. feet
4. greet
5. bee
6. tree
7. leak
8. flea
9. teacup
10. meeting

amUsing long U spelling words

We are on a roll with spelling! Students did very well on last week’s test; thank you for all your hard work at home.

This week’s words all use long U spelling patterns, particularly u by itself (like in “human” and “unit”), ue (as in “fuel”) and u-consonant-e (for example: “cube).

Here’s the LIST!
1. human
2. unit
3. fuel
4. music
5. mute
6. cube
7. huge
8. fumes

challenge:
9. unite
10. amuse