February is also African American History Month and we are learning about some amazing African Americans that have made history. This week we introduced Shani Davis. Shani Davis was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 13, 1982. He was the first African American athlete from any nation to win a gold medal in the 1500-meter speed skating event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. He has won many other types of medals but is recognized historically because he was the first African American to receive a gold medal in speed skating. We watched this video to learn more about him:
On Tuesday, we also enjoyed a great recess in the newly fallen, deep snow! The snow was just right for building and the children worked hard to make snowballs as big as possible. Be sure to see the Gallery for more snow pictures. When we arrived at Jackson Park for recess, the snow was undisturbed and beautiful. We noticed some animal tracks leading across the field and in between two trees. The children quickly began making guesses as to which animal made the prints and this sparked an investigation. With many books from the library and their own background knowledge, the children guessed fox, squirrel, rabbit or deer. See what your child thinks and why. This week, we will try to find an answer! Stay tuned...
Finally, we read a biography about Alvin Ailey and learned about what inspired his most famous suite of dances called Revelations. It was called Alvin Ailey by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. We will see Revelations on Friday and we got a sneak peek at some of the dances below:
We had a wonderful dance workshop with a few of the Alvin Ailey dancers. They worked the children hard as they stretched, posed and learned some choreography! At the end of our sessions, we learned a few of the dance steps to Ailey's Rocka My Soul - one of the dances we will see on Friday! See the Gallery for some pictures of the workshop.
ALVIN AILEY FIELD TRIP
We are set for Friday’s trip to the Auditorium Theater to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. We are excited to report that we will be taking the Metra! Tickets have been purchased for everyone and it has been arranged for us to have our own train car. This was a highlight of our field trip last year and everything went very smoothly. Mr. Wilson’s, Ms. Gillespie’s and Mrs. Piane’s classes will also be taking the train. The performance begins at 11:00 a.m. and will last an hour. We will leave the classroom at 9:25 to walk to the 57th St. Metra station to catch the 9:53 train. The train will arrive at Van Buren station at 10:04 and we will walk to the theater. We plan to return to school in time for a late lunch.
Please send a regular snack and lunch to school on Friday. Because the forecast is calling for cold temperatures, we will plan to eat an early snack in the classroom before we leave school. Please make sure your child has a filling, healthy snack to sustain them until lunch. Since we will be outdoors for part of the time, dressing for cold, windy Chicago conditions is necessary. We will check the forecast again as we get closer to Friday and send out another email update.
100 ACTS OF KINDNESS PROJECT
We started another kindness mission with our Kindergarten Buddies from Ms. Stowe-Grant's class. Our goal - perform 100 acts of kindness per class. Teachers are keeping open eyes and ears as we try to "catch" kids being kind. The acts are written on colorful paper hearts and put on a display for all to see in the hallway. We need your help too. If you catch your favorite second grader being kind, let us know and we'll add it to the display! Kindness is contagious and we hope to spread the love.
Since Valentine's Day, we have been working on collecting, sorting and organizing data and to create tally charts, bar graphs and pictographs (a way of showing data with images). The children using their counting and comparison skills to anaylze the data. This week, we will continue this graphing theme and introduce the math terms range, median, and mode.
Last week during Reader's Workshop, we talked about the differences between fiction and nonfiction. Specifically, we looked at the ways that nonfiction information is organized and tried to identify nonfiction text features such as table of contents, photographs, illustrations, captions, diagrams, boldface print, glossary, and index. With stacks of nonfiction books and magazines, the children went on a scavenger hunt with a partner to find each feature and think about its purpose. We will continue this activity this week. It is important for young readers to understand that information is organized differently in nonfiction texts and that they do not need to read these books or magazines from cover to cover. Students often read past the smaller bits of information or text supports and we are helping them learn to navigate nonfiction texts. At home, we encourage your child to read both fiction and nonfiction so he/she can build their skills and background knowledge.
Enjoy your week!