Saturday, October 31, 2009

What does your house say about you?

On Friday, we expanded our Community Unit to include the question:  What does your house say about you?  The kids and I (Mrs. S)  read, The Big Orange Splot, a story that makes you consider how a home, both inside and out, reveals aspects of a person's interests and choices.

After the discussion, we began designing our own Dream Houses.  Using a house inventory, the children decided on a house shape, room selections, and backyard features.  They mapped their home and yard while developing a key for their maps and designs.  As we continue our work next week, the children will develop drawings of their homes as viewed from the street.  Each child's home reflects an enormous amount of creativity and consideration for what he or she would truly want and need in a home.  The discussions between children, the sharing of ideas and the feedback received provided priceless learning opportunities.

Now that brainstorming and designing shaped our Dream Houses, the children will be given a budget in order to purchase land, construct their home, and pay taxes in our virtual community.  Some children may need to revisit their designs once they know their budget. Using the Smart Board, Mrs. M. designed a map of our community's land and now the children will need to "move in," build homes, and develop the jobs, government, and services to run their town.  The land has a river, different kinds of geologic formations, and other Ohio-based habitats such as forests, prairie meadows, and swamps. 

The IMA students are very excited about this project to say the least.  Their town will serve as an anchor for learning about government, economics, mapping skills, civics, and problem solving.  The town's events and problems will inspire writing in many forms.  Our reading work continues to explore the ideas that individuals make a difference in a community and communities are influenced by its members.  The projects will create infinite learning opportunities and both the children and teachers are ready to see what happens next!

We will keep you updated as the town evolves.  We are planning a Learning Celebration for December and will let you know the date very soon for planning purposes. Thanks for your continued support!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween Party was a success!  The costumes, the snacks, and the beautiful weather added to our celebration.  Thank you so much to all of the families that contributed snacks, paper goods, and water bottles.  The water was a perfect drink after our sunny parade weather!  Look for news about our next IMA Learning Celebration and our party right before our winter vacation. 

And the rumor is true....the IMA kids will be dissecting owl pellets right before the Winter Party!  This owl pellet tradition is unusual, but always fascinating and memorable.  Mark your calendars so you can join us for the special event.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flying Solo

Talk to your child about the book, Flying Solo, by Ralph Fletcher.  The 4th graders just finished this book and the 3rd graders are just starting this story about a classroom dilemma.  Students arrive at school one day only to discover that their teacher is absent and they do not have a substitute.  Will they tell their principal or run the classroom themselves for the day?  Share some of the following questions over dinner:
  • Why did Ralph Fletcher explore the idea of "flying solo?"  What does that mean?
  • How did the children think they could work together all day without guidance?
  • How do you think the IMA class would handle a day without a teacher?
  • How does this book tie into our Community Unit?
We will keep you posted on the discussions, questions, and debates that emerge from this read aloud!

Check out more information about this book:

More information about Ralph Fletcher:

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The IMA children planned their first party and the results were amazing.  They brainstormed and planned a menu and shared ideas about Halloween party activities.  What they want to do most is visit with their friends.  Team Smith requested ice cream and fruit kabobs with water.  Team Marlatt requested brownies, gummy worms, and water.  Interesting menu items to say the least!  Each team decided upon one optional party activity:  Team Smith kids want to decorate mini-pumpkins and Team Marlatt will create Fortune Tellers. (Fortune Tellers are the folded paper Cootie-Catchers we made back in the day!)  On Monday, the kids will sign up for their party jobs.  The jobs are either for set-up, serving, or clean up. 

If the weather cooperates, kids will be able to explore the Habitat with their families and friends during the party as well. We hope you can attend the IMA gatherings and celebrate the fun times that Halloween creates for children. 

Thanks to our IMA parents who volunteered to send in items listed on our email request for donations.  You will get a confirmation email from us regarding your donation.  You can send in the treats or craft items on the day of our party.  We have plenty of other gatherings this year that will need your kind donations, so please do not send in last minute, surprise bags of candy, cookies and other treats for the Halloween gathering.  We appreciate the kind gifts, but the extras end up being bagged up and sent home. 

Enjoy the weekend and keep checking our blog for updates!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Poetry Friday

Today is Poetry Friday, a weekly time set aside to read, share, and enjoy poems, songs, rhymes, and riddles.  Poetry Friday is:
  • a connected community of readers
  • giggles
  • a memory's sigh
  • finding the extraordinary in the ordinary
  • art showing dreams
  • a new place to travel as a reader....
How was your Friday?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Community and Its Government

As the IMA children prepare to develop and run their own community, they are learning about our own local, state, and federal governments.  They are researching how our governments are organized and how laws are made.  The children are also investigating how local government provides different kinds of services. 

Ask your child:  How does a bill become a law?  Who makes the laws?  Who has a say in the bills before they become laws? 

Students developed laws in the classroom, so you can find out what they learned from their own law-making experiences. 

Enjoy the discussions!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Favorite Characters

Dear IMA Families:

Characters and their unique traits have been the focus of our Reading Workshop discussions over the past 2 weeks.  Consider a family conversation about favorite story characters.  Here are a few starter questions for your Character Conversations:
  • Who is one of your favorite characters? 
  • Why is this character a favorite?  
  • What do you know about this character and how do you know the details about this character? 
  • How is this character similar or different from you?  
  • Would you be friends with this character and why?
Take a minute and have a character conversation.  You may be surprised by the discussion!

Mrs. S.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Way To Go Purdue!

Way to Go Purdue!!!!  Buckeye fans....bear with us while we enjoy the unexpected victory.  Go Boilers!  When you see Mrs. Werling, make sure that you mention Purdue's win!

IMA's Classroom Magazines!

The IMA students and I our are currently working on our first classroom magazines.  The children decided that we will have 2 different publications.  One of the magazines will feature people and events going on at Chapman.  The second magazine is a "Wonder Magazine."  It will highlight information about our experiences in the Chapman Habitat.  The science oriented "Wonder Magazine" will also showcase informational articles reflecting students' interests in the natural world. 

Each student is responsible for writing and publishing at least 3 articles;  students will publish their 3 articles in either of the IMA magazines.  Last week students who decided to write about Chapman community members and events developed purpose statements and interview questions for their magazine articles.  Several children already conducted interviews or have scheduled interviews for the coming week. Several children are taking photographs to support their articles.  Children writing informational articles planned and started their research.  Writing Workshop is buzzing with so much energy and enthusiasm!

Keep checking in for more information about our magazines. We will let you know the names of the publications soon.
Who is Mrs. M?
Whoa - Mrs. S. writes a lot -- I am a more brief and to the point kind of gal!

Mrs. M is: a mom, wife, grammy, life long learner, teacher, photographer, country girl, gardener, nature lover, laugher

Do you have a family? I have a husband, three grown kids and 2 grandchildren-one girl and one boy.

Do you have any pets? 2 cats

What is your favorite color?
My favorite world colors are green -- it goes with nature! And red because it is showy. And yellow because of sunshine.
My favorite color for clothes is blue jeans!

What is your favorite book? Usually the one I am reading -- there are so many good ones out there!

What is you favorite animal? Tigers are awesome. But I love to take pictures of any kind of nature!

Do you have any hobbies? Photography and gardening
Who is Mrs. S.?
Interview Questions can uncover facts about a person, helping you know the person on the inside and the outside. Who is Mrs. S?

How would you describe yourself?
Mother, wife, sister, daughter, learner, teacher, adventurer, animal lover, outdoors person, non-shopper, and big eater

Do you have a family?
Yes. I have a geologist/engineer husband and an elementary age daughter.

Do you have any pets?
I have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Jessie. I have too many classroom pets to list....Come and visit my classroom to see them all! We may have a new pet-you just never know what may find its way into our classroom!

What is your favorite color?
My favorite world color is green because it makes me think of being outside. My favorite color for clothes is black because it hides the dirt from playing outside! Dirt just seems to find me...

What is your favorite book?
I cannot name one book, but I can tell you some of my favorite authors:
Annie Barrows (Ivy and Bean series)
Jean Craighead George (animal stories of all kinds!)
Deborah Wiles (Favorite characters)
Nic Bishop (Amazing Photographer!!!! And he loves animals...)
David Schwartz (He is so clever.)
Steve Jenkins (How can cut paper be so amazing?)

What is your favorite animal?
Yikes, another tough question. I love dogs, horses, and chickens. I love all kinds of pocket pets. My favorite wild animal is a wolf. I admire how they live in a pack and care for one another. I think the circle of family and friends is important.

Do you have any hobbies?
I love to go hiking with my family. I love to dig in the dirt and garden. I love to read all kinds of books, except horror books. They creep me out too much. I am trying to learn new recipes and I can say that I am an expert salad maker.

That's all the questions for now, but more interview questions will come soon!


Welcome to Our Learning Community! We will be using our blog to let you know what is happening in both Intermediate Multiage Classrooms. You will find out about books we are reading, units of study, student-selected research projects, and special events. This blog is a new learning adventure for us, so stay tuned and see what we create!