Thursday, January 28, 2010

 This has been an exciting week for the IMA students!  On Monday, we learned about wikis and we set up our own pages at our new wiki called:  IMA Explorers (  Each child now has his/her own username and password, so you can visit the site and see what students are doing.

We discussed how this writing tool and the social networking available through the wiki would help us grow as writers.  Over the course of the week, students have used their personal writing spaces to draft and revise collective current writing  projects:  a literary nonfiction story about an animal living in or near Chapman's Habitat. 

Team S is creating stories about a day in the life of an injured coyote while Team M is busy creating a story documenting a day in the life of a cottontail rabbit.  We plan to share our creations with other Chapman students and the community.  A purposeful project only adds to the enthusiasm!

The students are blending the art of narrative writing with the big ideas and details of nonfiction writing.  Each writer developed a story plan so accurate information could be infused throughout the narrative.  Our biggest focus:  show, don't tell the reader what is happening in the story.  We are already seeing so many amazing drafts from students!  The other evident feature:  the children are SO motivated by digital writing. 

Stay tuned for more exciting learning adventures

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IMA Explorers Update!

Team S received their username and passwords for our wiki today and Team M will receive their information tomorrow.  If any IMA students want to work on writing projects from home and forget their passwords and usernames, they can email me and I'll be in touch as soon as possible.

Please use your child's username and password to view our site, rather than my emailed information so I can collect information about how many families use the site outside of school hours.

Thank you for your support!  Check out the IMA Explorers and their writing projects!

Monday, January 25, 2010

IMA Explorers! Our New WIKI!

Good News:  The IMA students are exploring a new writing tool through the launch of our class wiki.  IMA Explorers is the name of our new writing adventure and you can find our class wiki at this address:

It is a private wiki and will only be viewed by our classes and families.  Look for an email with additional information so you can view your child's published pieces on our site. This is a unique opportunity to inspire our writers, allowing them to share the creation and publication of writing projects.  We are excited about this new adventure and writing tool. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Literacy Project

The IMA kids started a new literacy project this week.  Literary Nonfiction, a blend of information and a story, is an exciting genre for growing readers and writers.

The students began the project exploring and examining Literary Nonfiction books from our classroom collection. After identifying the important elements of this fascinating genre, the children experimented with this form of writing and wrote short, exploration pieces using photographs and Habitat experiences as a source for writing ideas.

The next step was to plan a collaborative story.  One class is writing a story about a day in the life of an Eastern Cottontail Rabbit that lives in our school's outdoor lab.  The other class is writing a book about an injured coyote who visits the outdoor lab hoping to find an easy meal due to his injuries.

The classes planned their story-lines, started conducting  research, and now the blending of facts with our stories will begin!   Our word studies, sentence studies, and vocabulary work are being inspired by nature...Imagine that!

We will keep you posted on our work.  And it is true-we will be adventuring outside into the Habitat throughout this writing unit so we can think like coyotes and rabbits!

Sharing Resources

 The IMA kids are learning about a new way to share Internet resources.  As we find useful websites, we are collecting bookmarks through a site called Delicious.  Here is our class link:

The kids can sort through our bookmarked sites by using the tags or labels on the right sidebar.  This resource will continue to grow as we use the web for many different projects.  The good news:  the collection of bookmarks through Delicious is accessible from any computer.  As long as you have the address ( you can see our collection.

As you explore the many resources on the web, please email any addresses that we should consider adding to our IMA collection.  Happy Exploring!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Awesome Pet Sitters!

Thank you to all of the families that opened their hearts and homes to our beloved pets over Winter Break.  Thanks to the Sophers for entertaining our gerbils, Smokey and Shadow.  They had an outstanding vacation at Club Sopher!  Our other gerbils, Scooby and Shaggy, already miss the Adams and had SO much fun testing their new cat's patience.  Big Ted, our infamous disappearing hamster, had so much fun with the Melchors that he didn't need to escape for entertainment.  The Hissing Cockroaches and the African Millipede enjoyed their stay with the Dorneys and loved the special care they received.  Those 3 may be quiet, but they are thankful for the gentle care.  The pets and I appreciated the extra help over vacation.

Happy New Year!  Thank you for keeping our pets safe, happy, and loved over the break!

Resume Writing?

The IMA classes are developing personal resumes!  Today we learned about a resume and how information can be compacted to a page while still giving the reader large amounts of information to consider.  The kids looked at how resumes are organized, reviewed Mrs. Smith's personal resume, and then began drafting their own resumes.

Why, you ask?  During the coming weeks, our social studies lessons will cover jobs, economics, and the roles of different workers in a community.  Resume writing is a writing format with real-world applications. 

Resumes also create great organizers for writing letters.  And why will we be composing letters this week?

Our letter writing is connected to a new, real-world project.  The IMA kids will write letters of introduction to their new penpals at the Ohio School For the Blind! Thanks to Conner Page's father for creating this opportunity for the IMA kids.  Our students will be partnered with an OSB student and a new writing partnership will begin.  A district representative will visit our classroom and give a hands-on demonstration of Braille writing and typing tools.  I am working on a visit from a Guide Dog too. (I had to get an animal event in there somehow!)

We are very excited about this new opportunity and will keep you posted on the new partnerships.

Homework for the week of January 4-9

Team Smith needs to turn in their home learning journals on Thursday (1/7/10) with at least 3 reading entries.  With the crazy-cold temperatures predicted for this week, I am sure that kids can plan on some cozy reading times this week.  Keep me posted on your old favorites and new book discoveries.

Happy New Year!

Yikes-it's been awhile since our last post! 

We hope that you enjoyed the Holiday Moosical, our Owl Pellet/Holiday Party, and time at home over Winter Break with your family.  Thank you to everyone for all of the thoughtful gifts. So many interesting, yummy, and beautiful presents! 

If you missed our Owl Pellet Dissection event, you can find out more about owl pellets at this site:

If you are feeling adventurous, you can purchase owl pellets at these sites:

There are many places on the web to explore if you want to know more about owls.  Enjoy!