Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Polar Express Day

We actually started our day like we always do...writing in our journals for half an hour. It was more fun today because we were in our pajamas!

Everyone brought a special pal to school to share in the fun!

Everyone spread out their sleeping bags and pillows to watch The Polar Express...it was quite a cozy scene! I won't mention my thoughts of lice...

We drank hot chocolate...with extra marshmallows.

We brought special books from home to read and share.

A great time was had by all!

Holiday Party

Thank you to EVERYONE that helped make our holiday party such a success! I couldn't have done it without those that baked cookies, bought supplies, manned the work (fun) stations and helped with crowd control! I think everyone had a fabulous time...

We started promptly at 1:30 with a simple book exchange. I have to brag...the kids were able to do this all by themselves!

We made pine cone/seed bird feeders. Be on the lookout for the "blob" in the backpacks. Don't worry...they are in bags!

We played holiday BINGO...Prince was even involved!

We decorated holiday cookies. Sorry for the high sugar content!

We made snowmen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guess What?

We are not telling what we made today!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Busy Bees

I've seen the kids mature so much in the past few months! Many times they really do take on reading in small groups, reading independently, taking notes, etc. very responsibly on their own...imagine that!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Art Masterpieces

I hated to say goodbye but today was the day all of the artwork from our art planner went home! If it didn't make it home...look for it! You will find a cache of beautiful work the kids really enjoyed creating. Last year, I remember hearing a parent had plans to frame some pieces and also have calendars made for Christmas gifts for relatives. Good idea!

Dreidel Time

Today we made our own dreidels and learned how to play the game. They REALLY liked it and I promised we could play it again in our spare time (ha, ha, ha). No, really...I will find time for us to play again. :-)

Thank You

Thank you to Mrs. Mazella for coming to our class to share a book about Hanukkah.

YMCA delivery

We delivered our gifts to the YMCA this morning. The colder weather added to the excitement! The kids were proud of their offering and the YMCA staff was very pleased. I know Idalia will have a great Christmas...thanks to all the sweet, caring angels in room E101.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Help me...

It's Saturday night, I'm home from a Christmas party and feeling a bit overwhelmed with a project for school. Which one you ask? I can't tell you but it will be clear when presents are opened on Hanukkah and Christmas. I'm not one to ask for help...but time is running out. We are making a project on Wednesday which requires 2,200 7in. x 1in. strips of material. Insane? Yes, I am...but you already know that. If you have it in you to help with cutting the strips of material (especially if you have a rotary cutter/quilting board) I would be most grateful. You can even call me at home this weekend for pick-up...my home number is listed under Maggie in the school directory! I'm not kidding. :-) Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I couldn't pass up the chance to color their noses with washable marker! Some chose to be a deer, some a reindeer, some Rudolph and one wanted to be a buck! There was no rhyme or reason why who wanted to be what...it was all quite interesting! Nevertheless, they were all adorable!

Polar Express Day

The day of our holiday party (December 18th) will be a lot of fun! To make it even more special... that morning 1st grade will be watching the movie, Polar Express. I will be serving hot chocolate with marshmallows! The kids are invited to wear their pajamas and bring their sleeping bags, pillows, 1 stuffed animal and a favorite book to read. I will wear mine...minus the sleeping bag! There will be no napping for Mrs. Phillips that day!

Our class even made the newspaper...thanks Cathie!

Book Exchange

This year at our Holiday Party we are having a simple book exchange. If your child is a boy he should bring a book a boy would like and if your child is a girl she should bring a book a girl would like. Bring them wrapped and the limit is $5. (FYI...Barnes and Noble has an excellent selection of bargain books!) The kids really enjoy this!
The holiday party will be Thursday, December 18th at 1:30. Everyone is welcome! There are still some slots open if you wish to volunteer your time (this would help keep the chaos at a minimum!) or bring needed goodies and/or supplies. I hear there will be a rotation of 4 activities... bingo, making a pine cone bird feeder, snowman craft and cookie decorating.

Holly and Ivy

We started our new teacher read aloud, The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden. It's about a little orphan girl named Ivy who wishes she could find her imaginary grandmother. Meanwhile, another lady wishes she had a little girl to call her own. A toyshop has a lonely doll named Holly who is wishing for a little girl to love her. One day during the Christmas season Ivy is sent to stay with a foster caregiver. However, she decides to go and look for her grandmother instead. What follows is a charming tale that captures the spirit of Christmas in a timeless manner. We made holly and berry wreaths to celebrate the beginning of our new book selection.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I enjoyed hearing stories from the children this week...heartfelt giving of their own money. Y'all have great children and I am honored to have them in my class!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The kids are getting to be such awesome writers! They are getting a bit burned out on journaling so I have to sneak in writing when they least expect it! Today they wrote clever riddles for us to guess what was their Christmas or Hanukkah present hidden inside the box. At the end of the day they shared them using our Author Chair.

P4P update

I took all the pennies collected by 1st graders to the CoinStar machine at Randall's over the weekend. I had no idea it would take 3 hours! No harm...Maggie and a friend had fun! It was interesting that the machine knew to sort out all foreign coins and wheat pennies! Anyway, we earned a little over $500. That is a lot of money...well done! Here's the breakdown...I KNOW you want to know (the kids did):

Franco - $189.16
Phillips $159.27
Kristal - $60.86
Jackson - $48.76
Rangel - $27.64
Stryker $22.19

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Gift from the Heart

Today we read the book, The Legend of the Poinsettia. The book was a great reminder of how the spirit of giving comes from the heart.

Monday, December 8, 2008

YMCA Holiday Giving Program

In the spirit of giving, each classroom at Mark Twain has adopted a child from the YMCA “wish tree” to help needy children that live at the Royale and Oaks Apartments on Bissonet have a happier holiday.

Our child this year is a 6 year old girl. Her needs are clothes, shoes and toys. She has many of the wishes that our own boys and girls have this year…which include a bike and arts and crafts supplies. She also mentioned she would like a Dora or Bratz doll. If you can help, I ask that you buy an item of clothing and a small cash donation.

This is VERY short notice… I will be collecting money until Friday, December 12th to help purchase the items she wishes for. The deadline for bringing clothes will be the same day. I was given her sizes… 5/6 clothes and size 11 shoes. I will be purchasing the toys over the weekend and bring them to class to show the students on Monday before we hand deliver them to the YMCA!

Our lives are truly blessed and we will be discussing the true meaning of the season…which is giving.

Friday, December 5, 2008

December calendar

Just a heads up...here are a few dates to jot down in your calendars. It's hard to believe we only have 2 weeks left before we leave for winter break...how did that happen?

December 5 - parent reflection sheet from SLC due
December 8 - violin concert 7:00
December 18 - Polar Express Day (more info later...wear PJ's to school)
December 18 - holiday party... end of the day
December 19 - last day of school, no Magnet classes
December 19 - free dress day
December 19 - last day 2nd grading cycle

I think that's it!

art gallery

Thank you for everyone viewing our Art Gallery during student-led conferences. We will be having visitors next Wednesday visiting 1st grade from another school trying to become a PYP school. After they leave I will take down the art and send it home!

Yarn Art

One last fun art activity...it was interesting to see what each child would do with a piece of yarn!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

it's back...

We have another reported case of lice in the class. Nurse Felder will be back in the morning to check everyone again and the carpet will be sprayed again tonight. As I have done in class, please talk to your children about not putting their hands in each other's hair, sharing coats, etc.

Fact Families

Today we talked about fact families. We learned that a fact family is a group of related facts that uses the same group of numbers.


Our class is in need of fabric. Mostly reds, greens, Christmas prints, calicos and a bit of blue/white. If you have any around the house or wish to pick some up...I would be most appreciative! I cannot go into details...trust me on this! No questions! :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

student-led conferences

Our conference day was very successful...thank you for taking the time to come after school and making that happen! The children did a fine job. I saw confident leaders being knowledgeable, reflective risk-takers as they went through their agendas with pride and ease! Well done!

Houston Grand Opera

Today we had a visit from the Houston Grand Opera...Opera on Wheels. We saw a wonderful rendition of Strega Nona...which included Pablo Picasso as one of the characters!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ellen Leventhal

Today Ellen Leventhal visited Mark Twain and visited with the students. She read parts of her books, talked about being a writer and using our imaginations.

Mark Twain tid bits

We had another presentation from Mrs. Blakeslee's 5th graders today! We learned a lot of neat things about Mark Twain and the era that he lived in. We found out in his lifetime:
  • Yellowstone National Park opened
  • the telegraph was invented
  • the bicycle was invented
  • the 1st flight with the Wright brothers
  • the Gold Rush
  • Ellis Island opened
  • fought in the Civil War

Art Portfolios

I know y'all are getting anxious to get your hands on the artwork...but you have to wait a tiny bit longer! The children chose 3 of their masterpieces each to display in our art gallery in the hallway during student-led conferences tomorrow. We sorted the rest today and put them in our portfolios that we water colored. Expect almost 20 pieces of artwork to keep...we've had a lot of fun!

Wednesday Folders!

It wasn't until 4:00 PM that I realized it was Tuesday and I forgot to pass out the red folders! Everything is in their yellow cubbies...I will stuff the folders tomorrow and send them home Wednesday! Please forgive me...we are so busy right now!

Book Fair

Congratulations to PP for winning the 1st grade bookmark contest. I bet the extras will sell at the school store...50 cents well spent! I enjoyed seeing everyone at book fair. It sounds like a lot of great books were purchased and at the same time...helped support our school!

Monday, December 1, 2008

No Homework This Week...

...for no good reason! I just couldn't get it togehter in time! Merry Christmas 4 weeks early!

naked hallway

You may notice that we took all of our artwork down from the hallway and it is looking kinda bare! I passed it all back to the children and they are in the process of choosing 3 pieces to display in our art showing the day of student-led conferences.

Author Visit

Tomorrow we will be having author, Ellen Leventhal come for a visit. The kids will get to meet her during an assembly. I sent home an order form (look for a pink sheet) today if you are interested in ordering any of her books. I believe they will also be available at the book fair. If you are writing a check make them payable to E2 Books. If you have any questions about this even don't hesitate to email our librarian, Mr. Deering at GDEERING@houstonisd.org.

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

Yesterday, November 30, was Mark Twain's (aka Samuel Clemens) birthday. Mrs. Blakeslee's 5th graders have been preparing various ways to celebrate it and today they did a small presentation. One of the things they told us was that Mark Twain did not like bright colors because they depressed him. His favorite color is white...that's why all the pictures of him have him wearing white suits. To honor Mark Twain the 5th graders asked everyone to wear white tomorrow! We ate white sugar cookies to celebrate and colored a fact page delivered by the 5th graders.

Student Led Conferences

Just a reminder...student-led conferences were rescheduled for after school THIS Wednesday, December 3rd. There are 3 times to choose from: 3-3:30, 3:30-4 and 4-4:30. This is a requirement for all students at a PYP-IB school. I will be at school until 5:00 that day to make sure everyone has a chance to participate. I'm not sure if the school sent out new forms or not but I've only gotten 1 back so far. If it is easier, just email me the preferred time or go to the bottom of this post and put it in the comment box. I will also put a sign-up sheet outside our classroom.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to wish everyone and their families a happy Thanksgiving. The children are a joy to teach, we've had a great year so far and I am thrilled to be their teacher! Everyone is extremely helpful and supportive...I truly feel blessed by all of you! Have a restful week. Sincerely, Mrs. Phillips

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Something to do

I read an article yesterday in the newspaper called Artist Comes Out of Seclusion, into Triviersi. Artist Leandra Di Buelna Jr. hasn't exhinited his work since the 1960's and at age 73, the self-taught artist finally decided to come out of seclusion with "Leandra's World of Fantasy", an exhibit of 62 of his paintings and dozens more of his toylike sculptures. If you are intersted...the exhibit is showing 11am-3pm Tuesday-Saturday at the Canal Street Gallery (2219 Canal) St. (713) 223-2219. Let me know if anyone decided to go!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

art a la carte #3

Thank you to Mrs. Lang for coming to our classroom ALONE and taught the kids a little bit about repetition and patterns. They made beautiful snakes that shows exactly that!