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Friday, August 13, 2010
Reported by Mr. Coley

Today began with the year’s first Friday Flag.  Every Friday during the school year, Tovashal begins the day by having all the students congregate in the school’s quad area.  We all say the Pledge of Allegiance, and then school and PTA announcements are shared.  Today, Mrs. Picchiottino, our assistant principal, introduced to all the students and parents our new principal, Mrs. Lockwood.

Afterwards, we all headed back to the classroom to jump into some academics.  I started the day by introducing something I call D.M.A., an acronym for Daily Morning Activities.  This is something we do each morning where students correct sentences filled with grammatical errors (Daily Oral Language), practice analogies, and answer a geography question.  Students took out their journals and I walked them through the process of how it all works.

Although we weren’t quite done yet, we took a short break at 9:30 and walked down to the MPR for a Character Counts discipline assembly.  Mrs. Picchiottino reviewed the school rules, highlighting things like acceptable playground behavior and appropriate attire.  She also discussed the fifth grade’s trip to Pathfinder Ranch and the grade level’s “Three Strike” policy.  When we returned to class, we continued going over the process of D.M.A.  I was extremely impressed with how well everyone did on their first day of what will become our daily morning routine.  Way to go, Room 34!

With the time remaining until recess, students continued working on the beginning-of-the-year math assessment they began yesterday.  Once again, I was so impressed at how focused each and every student was.  While some were able to finish before our morning break, I told the class I would give them some more time after lunch.

Next, it was time for Language Arts.  Today we took some time to preview some of the things we’ll be doing in our reading series.  Using a read-aloud story called “The Pumpkin Box,” I introduced the comprehension strategies we’ll be working on this year:  predict/infer, phonics/decoding, monitor/clarify, question, evaluate, and summarize.  As I read the story to the class, we stopped and completed some short activities focusing on these strategies.  The students really enjoyed the story!

Upon returning from lunch, students finished the math assessments, “Getting to Know You” sheets, and neon names they began yesterday.  Those who had already completed these tasks read silently at their desks.  While they were working, I again pulled students back to do some fluency readings with me.

Once everyone was done, it was time to take care of what I call Friday Business. I first revealed that the Quiet Seat was quiet, and that it was Adrian. Awesome job, Adrian! Then I announced that the year's first Student of the Week was Trevor. He earned a certificate, $5 in Coley Cash, and bulletin board space to display a poster all about himself.  After that, I announced the winner of this week's Weekly Homophone Challenge.  The winner was Cat, who got a chance to play our classroom's version of Deal or No Deal. It was an extremely exciting game! After turning down several offers, Cat took a deal of $107,000, which meant she won five pieces of licorice!

With the time remaining in the day, I pulled out Among the Hidden and continued reading where we left off yesterday.  Last time, we learned that Luke was no longer able to eat in the kitchen with the rest of his family for fear of being seen through the kitchen windows.  Today, Luke's life got even tougher when a larger-than-normal tax bill arrived, forcing his mom to have to get a job.  This meant that during the day, Luke would be left all by himself.  Bummer!

With that, the first week of the 2010/2011 school year was over.  It was an enjoyable and productive three days, but I know we're all ready for a break.  Bring on the weekend!

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