Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Loons with Mr. Paruk

Mrs. McAllister's homeroom completed a study of the Common Loon as part of their science unit on biodiversity. Mr. Paruk from the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham is a loon expert. He presented to both classes. We learned so much about loons!

 Loons have large webbed feet to propel them through the water. They are mainly water birds and only come onto land to nest when they lay their eggs.
They have powerful legs for swimming and heavy bodies for diving after fish.
Mr. Paruk brought along a blender because loons swallow stones to help them digest food in their gizzard, just like a blender! They sometimes swallow lead sinkers used for fishing, which kills the loon. Please don't use lead sinkers when you are fishing.

Gray feathers help the loons blend in with the ocean water. They migrate to coastal shorelines for the winter, and return to the lakes in spring to claim their territory, build a nest, and start a new family. During the summer they have the beautiful black and white markings and red eyes!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Exploring Loons

Mrs. McAllister's class will be learning about life cycles, food webs, and ecosystems through a study of the Common Loon.

Observing and measuring a mounted loon.
                                           Looking at a loon's egg, skull, and feathers.
 Lots of books and photographs to check out.

Watching a video about loons with Miss Miller.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recognizing Our Armed Forces

On Friday students in our class showed their appreciation for one soldier while recognizing others who have also served.  Private Aaron Lewis (significant other to our Miss Cushing) is currently serving in the Army in Afghanistan. 

Our class wrote letters to him to show our gratitude and to offer a bit of support to him and his fellow soldiers. 

Miss Cushing led the class in a discussion and letter writing activity. 

We found out that Afghanistan is far from home. 

Miss Cushing showed us pictures of Private Lewis. The students learned that in the summer, the average temperature was 105 degrees.  They thought the soldiers must be very hot in all of their gear. 

The students took this authentic writing task very seriously and did not need to be reminded that their letters must be respectful and well-written.  They did some of the best writing we have seen this year.  Their sentiments to Private Lewis were very touching. 

"It must be so hard to fight away from home and your family. We are all so thankful for your hard work and bravery to protect our country. I hope you can come home safely." -LB

"I hope you're ok. My uncle is in the Navy. I appreciate what you're doing for us and the country. I miss my uncle, but fighting for our country is a little more important."-KL

"You are very brave to go into the Army. My uncle and grandpa were also in the Army. This letter is to thank you for your courage. I am proud to be an American."-DF

"I am so thankful to you because you were brave and left to fight for us instead of being at home safe."-JM

"Thanks for having the courage to go all the way to Afghanistan to fight for our country. You should be proud for keeping our freedom alive."-JJ

"My dad was in the Navy. This Thanksgiving I am really thankful that you are helping to protect our freedom."-LBa

"We all have faith in you for doing great and for fighting for us. Please remember that we believe in you and your friends."-BB

"I support your bravery and love for America and the Army. My step dad is in the Coast Guard, maybe you can meet him sometime? I hope you have a great Christmas in Afghanistan."-MY

Happy Veterans Day to all who have served and are currently serving our country.  
We truly appreciate your efforts and sacrifice. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We Celebrate the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book Release

Our classes were so excited for the release of the 8th Diary of a Wimpy Kid-Hard Luck. 

We had an art lesson from the author and read the new book and other Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. We were able to order 5 copies for the classroom and even gave books away to 2 lucky winners.  It was a lot of fun!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's a Book-A-Palooza!

I have known for many years that one of the keys to maintaining students' motivation to read is having a steady flow of new and interesting books come into the class library. With budget constraints, this is not always easy to accomplish. 
Recently, we were fortunate that our district recognized and fulfilled this need by purchasing 250 new books for each upper elementary classroom  

On Friday I introduced just half of the books to each of our literacy groups.  What ensued was a book frenzy!  

The students had a blast perusing the piles, sharing with each other, and grabbing a few titles for themselves. 

With books at various reading and interest levels, there was something for everyone.  

 Here are just a few of the fiction titles. 



I was so thrilled that half of the books are nonfiction, a genre our class library was lacking.

It was a reading teacher's dream to see how excited the students were and to listen to them tell each other about the books they found.  

 Their next question....."When can we open the other two boxes?" 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Starting the Global Read Aloud

Today we started reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. After seeing the cover, most assumed that the book would be about a fish or involve fish somehow.  After hearing a chapter and a half, the students soon realized that the book is about Melody, a ten year old girl.  They learned that Melody has never spoken and cannot walk or feed herself.  

This wonderful book is about a brilliant girl who has cerebral palsy. She longs to be able to use all the words she has piled up inside her.  The book is told from Melody's point of view so the reader gets to hear all of her thoughts and frustrations.  Please visit here to view a post from my book blog to learn more about the book and the Global Read Aloud. 

Since this is the Global Read Aloud, many children from around our country and the world are hearing the same story. We will be connecting via Kidblog with a class in Michigan and hopefully other classes.  You can help support this project by asking your child about the book each night, discussing their feelings and helping them make predictions.  The schedule for the read aloud is 6 weeks. 

We are looking forward to hearing a great story of empathy and compassion and making valuable connections. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Celebrating Dot Day

The whole school celebrated International Dot Day on Friday.  This book is all about being creative and "making your mark". Throughout the week students heard the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds and created their own dot marks.  

On Friday students and staff wore their polka-dots and participated in "dotty" activities. For our activity we made "reverse dots" where students wrote about themselves around a white dot.  They came out beautifully. 

Here is a video of the book.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Welcome to the McAllister-Tibbitts Classroom Website

We will be using this website to share classroom events and information.  We will be using our wiki as a place to keep all the sites we use in class. Please take a look around. 
I would encourage parents to "follow by email" by adding your email to the box at the right so you can receive notifications of new posts.