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Lunchtime Read Alouds:

Did you ever wake up to one of those days where everything is a problem? You have 10 things to do, but only 30 minutes until your bus leaves. Is there enough time? You have 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants. Can you make 1 good outfit? Then you start to wonder: Why does everything have to be such a problem? Why do 2 apples always have to be added to 5 oranges? Why do 4 kids always have to divide 12 marbles? Why can't you just keep 10 cookies without someone taking 3 away? Why? Because you're the victim of a Math Curse. That's why. But don't despair. This is one girl's story of how that curse can be broken.

It is the first day of school in Chad, Africa. Children are filling the road. 
"Will they give us a notebook?" Thomas asks. 
"Will they give us a pencil?"
"Will I learn to read?"
But when he and the other children arrive at the schoolyard, they find no classroom, no desks. Just a teacher. "We will build our school," she says. "This is our first lesson."
James Rumford, who lived in Chad as a Peace Corps volunteer, fills these pages with vibrant ink-and-pastel colors of Africa and the spare words of a poet to show how important learning is in a country where only a few children are able to go to school.

Once upon a time there was a place called Sam-sam-sa-mara, where the animals and the people lived and worked together like they didn't know they weren't supposed to. There was a little boy in Sam-sam-sa-mara named Sam...So begins this delightful telling of one of the most controversial books in children's literature, Little Black Sambo. Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney reveal at the heart of this story a lively and charming tale of a little boy who triumphs over several hungry tigers. "Lester and Pinkney have stripped away the ugly racism and...reclaimed a great classic for children. The expansive black storytelling voice is both folksy and contemporary, funny and fearful."

Treva's trouble with trolls begins when she climbs Mount Baldy with her dog Tuffi. The trolls who live there long for a dog, and they try to kidnap him. But Treva is brave and quick-thinking. She outwits one troll after another until she reaches the very top of the mountain, where five trolls are waiting--and they want her dog! From underground to mountain peak, Jan Brett's story is filled with adventure and eye-catching detail.

When Aloo-ki's sled dogs float away on an ice floe, she goes looking for them. She comes upon an igloo with no one home and goes inside. In the meantime, Mama, Papa and Baby Bear swim out and rescue Aloo-ki's dogs. They all go home for breakfast to find a surprise visitor curled up in Baby Bear's bed for a nap.


Nov. 6

From the day she was born, Lil had a book in her it's no surprise when she grows up to become a librarian herself. She even manages to turn the people of Chesterville—who are couch potatoes-into readers. But then Bust-'em-up Bill roars into town with his motorcycle gang. Just mention reading to him and you're toast. Has Lil finally met her match? This original tall tale by a real-life librarian, combined with Steven Kellogg's trademark humor, is better than any TV show!


Oct. 30

Describes the physical characteristics, habitats, and behavior of sea squirts, small marine animals that live attached to rocks and other objects on the sea floor.


Oct. 23

Thunder Rose vows to grow up to be more than just big and strong, thank you very kindly--and boy, does she ever! But when a whirling storm on a riotous rampage threatens, has Rose finally met her match?

Oct. 16

Here is the thrilling, thigh-slapping companion to Swamp Angel,the beloved Caldecott Honor–winning picture book. 

Swamp Angel has a reputation as the greatest woodswoman and wildest wildcat in all of Tennessee. But when she grows too big for that state, she moves to Montana, a place so sizeable, even Angel can fit in. It’s there that she wrestles a raging storm to the ground and, at its center, finds herself a sidekick—a horse she names Dust Devil. And when Backward Bart, the orneriest, ugliest outlaw ever known, starts terrorizing the prairie, seems like Angel and Dust Devil may be the only ones strong enough to stop him. 

Dust Devil received four starred reviews and was named a New York Times Notable Children's Book of the Year and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Winner. Children will be captivated by the beauty and exaggerated humor of Paul Zelinsky’s American primitive–style paintings and the wit and energy of Anne Isaacs’s unparalleled storytelling. Here is an original folktale starring an extraordinary gal who is as feisty as she is funny and as courageous as she is kind.

Oct. 9

Swamp Angel can lasso a tornado, and drink an entire lake dry. She single-handedly defeats the fearsome bear known as Thundering Tarnation, wrestling him from the top of the Great Smoky Mountains to the bottom of a deep lake. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky's stunning folk-art paintings are the perfect match for the irony, exaggeration, and sheer good humor of this original tall tale set on the American frontier.
A Caldecott Honor Book

Oct. 2

All is calm in old man Fookwire’s yard until new neighbors—Little Old Lady Hu and her cat, Muffins—move in next door. Muffins is one mean dude! He terrorizes the birds, interrupts Fookwire’s painting, and ties the squirrels’ tails together. Fookwire is upset, but not nearly as upset as the squirrels, who devise an ingenious plan to stop Muffins cold. In this hilarious follow-up to Those Darn Squirrels!, the tongue-in-cheek text is perfectly complemented by the quirky, inventive illustrations.

Sept 25

The story of what happens when a grumpy old man and some mischievous squirrels match wits—with hilarious results. Old Man Fookwire is a grump who only likes to paint pictures of birds that visit his backyard. The problem is, they fly south every winter, leaving him sad and lonely. So he decides to get them to stay by putting up beautiful birdfeeders filled with seeds and berries. Unfortunately, the squirrels like the treats, too, and make a daring raid on the feeders. The conflict escalates—until the birds depart (as usual), and the squirrels come up with a plan that charms the old grump.

Sept 18

Mike Fink was king of the keelboatmen -- the strongest, rowdiest bunch of fellows ever to work on the Mississippi. Mike was a whole lot more than a keelboater -- yes, sir! He was a crack shot and the best grizzly and gator wrestler on the river. They don't make 'em like Mike these days, now do they?

SQUIRTS 2017-2018

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Social Studies Investigations! OOMPAS AND LOOMPAS


These developmental groups will include both Science and Social Studies. Messy Camp will alternate with Empathy/Social Skills.

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY: We have been writing stories together (lots of negotiation) and performing them for the other group at circle time. We have also written in Buddy Journals.


Oompas: Social Studies "Empathy" Investigations.

We read Two. 

Two is best friends with One. Whenever they'd get the chance, they'd dance! She'd sing and snap. He'd tappity-tap. What a pair they made! At the end of each day, they'd always say, "ONE, TWO, I'll count on you, 'til the end, we'll be best friends." Until Three jumps in between them . . . Suddenly One only wants to play with Three. "ONE, THREE, odds we'll be!" they chant. Two feels left out. But what can she do? Another character-building counting book by award-winning author Kathryn Otoshi, Two is a powerful story of friendship, loss, letting go, and self-discovery.

We played a game rolling the ball to one another in a pattern, saying our names. 

Monday, Nov. 6: 

Loompas: Social Studies "Getting to Know You" Teambuilding InvestigationsWe played Mine Field, a game of communication and trust again. We worked on a group story. 

Monday, Oct. 30: 

Oompas: Social Studies "Empathy" Investigations.

We worked on our story. We looked at photos from Second Step curriculum and discussed what might be happening and how the kids might work out their problems. 


Messy Camp Science:

10/16 and 10/23: Loompas and Oompas made Glow in the Dark Slime!

10/2 & 10/9: Oompas and Loompas made Play Dough.

Monday, Oct. 23: 

Loompas: Social Studies "Getting to Know You" Teambuilding InvestigationsWe played Mine Field, a game of communication and trust. 

Monday, Oct. 16: 

Oompas: Social Studies "Empathy" Investigations.

We read Zero

Zero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . . . !" "Those numbers have value. That's why they count," she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. "If I were like One, then I can count too," she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.

We looked at several photos from the Second Step curriculum to read emotions from faces and body language, imagined the stories behind the emotions, and started some stories of our own. We'd name someone in the group and write, "Once upon a time something happened to _______. He felt _______." The child supplies the emotion they want to feel in the story and then everyone tries to come up with something that happened to cause that emotion. Today we did HAPPY and EXCITED. 

Monday, Oct. 9: 

Loompas: Social Studies "Getting to Know You" Investigations: We looked at one another's names, how many vowel sounds, how many sounds, how to say them with no vowels, and other silly ways to organize and think about our names.

We have one student who has the first and last letters of the alphabet, with SH in between. We have three kids with three letters, but two of them only have two sounds.

We also lined up by age from youngest to oldest, and from fewest to most pets. After that we planned out characters and problems to create a group story.

Monday, Oct. 2: 

Oompas: Social Studies "Empathy" Investigations.

We read One

Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.

We also played a simple game where we learned something about who lives at each of our houses, and what foods we like, and what foods we DO NOT like. 


 I led a Writing and a Math activity during the first two weeks. 

Week 1:

Small Moment Story Planner—the kids found a small moment story and planned it, drew/wrote/dictated it, and shared it with the group. (Grouped developmentally as Oompas and Loompas)

Week 2:

I played with rekenreks, ten frames, and word problems with new numbers (same problem, different numbers) to start learning about the kids and their mathematical understandings and process, as well as their "confuddliation" point at which real learning is ready to happen! (Grouped developmentally as Oompas and Loompas)