Thursday, October 29, 2009

reading groups

It was great for me to get back into our reading groups! The kids are of course are doing's nice for me to be able to sit! Mrs. Wisniewski has done a fabulous job keeping to my routine and moving the kids along to the next level when needed. Today we used our "witch fingers" to help us track the words when reading...glad I snitched a few from our class party last week!

author's chair

I'm pleased to report that the kids have caught the "bug" to write! They've had a fabulous time sharing their short stories and tales...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Georgia O'Keefe

Today we learned about Georgia O'Keefe. We found out that her clear, bright paintings show the beauty she found in the simple, natural things around her. We also found out she loved to paint flowers...up real close...and so do we!

tube request!!!

If you have any toilet paper tubes at home to contribute...we could use them! We will be using them next week! I'm NOT giving you permission to wrap any houses on Halloween...

busy, busy, busy!

Get your calendars out...and make note of the followingdates. It's a busy time of year!

October 30 - March of Dimes Reading Champion envelopes due
November 3 - PTO Meeting 6:30 pm

November 4 - early dismissal
November 6 - Pop ‘n’ Kid campout

November 11 - student-led conferences
November 16-17 - Book Fair at Barnes & Noble 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm

November 20 - fieldtrip to Museum of Fine Arts
November 25-27 - Thanksgiving holidays

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Postman Roulin

More van Gogh...Postman Roulin. The kids really do love to watercolor!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I felt nervous about not being there...but I found out you can paint without making a mess even when I am not there! The kids had to finish their backgrounds since we didn't quite finish last week. Mrs. Rangel is my picture elf when I'm not looking...

My news...

My year this year started with a bang the minute the doors opened on the first day of school! Your kids are awesome and I've enjoyed the last 10 weeks being their teacher. We've spent these last couple of months working hard to establish our classroom norms to help make working and learning together easier for everyone. The children have worked hard learning how our reading groups operate, play math games fairly, work independently, ask questions when they need help and to be good problem solvers. In just a short time, I've seen everyone's reading and writing skills progress to the next level and a sense of community established. With that said, I am confident in saying everyone has had a great start, too!

It's with a heavy heart that I inform you that my last week has not been the healthiest for me. I apologize for not being at school but I hope you know by now that I would be there if I any way could. I am still undergoing more tests at MD Anderson and hope to be back shortly. Mrs. Amanda has done a great job internalizing my routine and will continue to do the best she can. She has a teaching degree, knows the kids and most of all, loves being in our class! When and if the time comes, she has agreed to be my long-time substitute and will have no problems stepping in at a moment's notice.

I regret not having better news. I want to remain positive and give myself the healthiest chance I can. Please keep in touch. The children make me the happiest!

Mrs. Phillips

PS - I have about a week's worth of photos that still need to be added to the blog. I have a secret elf that takes pictures when I'm not know I'm good for a few blog posts when I find the time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spooky Spaghetti

Please forgive me if I didn't see you at Spooky Spaghetti! There were so many people...and your costumes were very tricky! It looks like everyone had a spooktacular time! I'll be looking for you on Halloween...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

class party

A big thank you goes out to all the parents that helped organize our class party and to all the yummy food that made our pot luck supper so successful! The weather was beautiful and I believe everyone had a fabulous time! Well done.

Picasso witches

I cannot claim credit, the kids drew hilarious witches in Mrs. Cowan's art class...I believe some had Picasso in mind!

Class Party TONIGHT!!!!!!!!

Please forgive my absence on the blog...things are crazy right now. I just want to remind everyone that tonight is our class party. Everyone is encouraged to bring a family favorite dish...homemade or store bought! I hope to see everyone should be a great time!

Monday, October 19, 2009

van Gogh's sunflowers

Today we started painting our own version of van Gogh's famous sunflowers after reading, van Gogh and the Sunflowers. This may be a 2 day project...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Art a la Carte

Thank you to Mrs. Dong for preparing a lovely art lesson covering warm and cool colors. She can well prepared and the kids had a fabulous time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Self-portraits were recently finished in the computer lab.

Matisse, part 2

This picture does not do their work justice. You will just have to come see it for yourself! To follow-up on the Matisse art a la carte lesson on positive and negative space, I thought it would be fun to make these lovely pots of black and white flowers.

Christopher Columbus

Today we finally got around to finishing the lesson on Christopher Columbus that we started on Monday. I swear we just don't seem to have enough time during our busy days! We read a couple of books and a short video on telling the facts. It turned into a discussion whether Christopher Columbus deserved credit for discovering America or not...since Native Americans were already there when he landed. Something to think about.

negative numbers

We've been skip counting crazy lately using number lines and 100's boards. Today we ventured into uncharted waters...negative numbers! I think they did pretty good. Your child should have worn home their number line "bracelet" on their wrists showing negative numbers all the way to -40!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Being a half day, it was great that today's Everyday Math lesson was "explorations" day! They literally take what seems like forever but always promise fun while reviewing concepts previously learned!
We used dot patterns on dominoes to review what we know about odd and even.
We used our problem solving skills to find 4 different ways to cover the same shape using pattern blocks and our templates! It was interesting to see how many combinations they could come up with!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Girl Before a Mirror

Today we ran out of time but hopefully tomorrow we can watch a short video on abstract artist Pablo Picasso's faces. The students created a collection of 3 faces using oil pastels emulating Picasso’s style. The main objective was to let our imagination run wild with the many possibilities. We looked at Picasso’s painting, Girl Before a Mirror for inspiration.

Monday, October 12, 2009

art presentations

The presentations are short and sweet...and they are doing a great job! I love that at this age children seem to have no fear speaking in front of a crowd! We shared a little over half the class today...that's all our time schedule and attention could muster! We look forward to hearing the rest tomorrow!


Those pennies have helped yet another math lesson. Today we focused on the difference between odd and even. We found that if we paired up the pennies for any given number that it was even if they all had a "friend" or odd if there was one "odd man out!" We even learned to look in the ones place for 2 digit numbers for a shortcut to find out if it is odd or even!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

journal helpers

FYI...this week I will be testing the children's DRA reading levels. I got a jump start on Friday and am VERY encouraged by what I see! I would love to be able to do this during my journal time 8-8:30 AM so that I do not interrupt my reading group schedule in our afternoons. If you are scheduled to assist with journal this week, please help keep the noise level to a minimum. If you are not scheduled this week and am dying to help...go for it! :-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Because of Winn Dixie

Does anyone have the Newbery Honor Book, Because of Winn Dixie? I would like this to be our next teacher read-aloud. I love this author and now is a great time to introduce Kate DiCamillo. She is going to be at Pershing Middle School next Sunday, October 18th at 2:30pm!! She will be giving a presentation promoting her new book, The Magician's Elephant and a book signing/sale will be held afterwards. UPDATE: The book has been found!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Art projects

The art projects look great! The kids were so excited to show off what art they have chosen. I loved how I saw all kinds of art. It was refreshing to see many children chose to draw/paint their representation of what they see when viewing their piece of art. Since we are still waiting for a few more pieces of art to come to school, we water colored our projects and are ready to share them with the class on Monday!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Booger Makes an A

Ahhh...finally! All 4 in a group can play Booger Makes an A all at the same time! Rumor has it 2 of my older computers will be replaced in the next week or so. Stay tuned...

here it is!

Problem solved. Here are the username and passcodes for our class Webkinz. Remember only 1 person can play with these at a time! Have fun!


I know someone that was quite proud to share something so amazing with the class and our science teacher, Mrs. Daniel!

gourds galore!

During reading groups rotations, the children had 2 days to observe the different properties of a collection of gourds. I think their favorite was using the balance to see how many blocks heavy they were!

shape hunt

The kids had a great time seachering for different shapes during our reading group rotation! They were pretty clever finding the properties of each shape in ordinary places. They also worked really well together as a team...


The kids did a GREAT job following a written plan to produce 5 different patterns with their templates, label them and then make up one of their own!

Before and After

I love this game! We play it with cards...minus the J's, Q's. K's and A's. I think I will have the kids teach this one to you at Student-Led Conferences next month! BTW, I am looking for 12 plastic soap containers to hold our cards in. Have you seen thses anywhere?

$80 and still counting

We got an early start this morning with counting pennies. Our penny collection tub was getting out of hand...and really heavy! Every spare moment we had helpers doing their share of counting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Picasso's Blue and Rose Periods

Today we learned that Picasso had 2 of many distinct times in his life that he painted very happy pictures in red/pink tones and very sad pictures in blue tones. We were inspired to watercolor some "blue" and "rose" pictures that make us happy and sad.

Hand with Flowers

Today we read Picasso and the Girl With the Ponytail to learn about Picasso and some of his 40,000 pieces of art! We water colored flowers after previewing his famous painting, Hand With Flowers.

Art Homework

We’ve had a great start to our newest planner, “How We Express Ourselves.” The central idea is…through art, people express how they think and feel. Since we are reviewing the last 2 weeks of spelling rules I will not be sending home spelling homework, I thought it would be the perfect time for the children to go home and look around for art outside of school…and really think about how it makes them think and feel. You may actually visit an art museum on your own, look through art books at the library, go to a bookstore, or even go online to visit museums around the country (or even the world) to view art!

After choosing a favorite piece of art, I want each child to neatly fill out their “Looking at Art” sheet answering the following questions:

* Title of artwork
* Name of artist
* What colors do you see?
* What shapes do you see?
* What objects do you see?
* What do you like about the artwork…why did you choose it?
* I also want you to include a photo, picture, copy, or drawing of your piece of artwork

We will be sharing these in class Friday, October 9th. Your child should able to easily answer the above questions about their chosen piece of artwork.

Again, our homework load this week will be light (math only) to accommodate enough time to do a nice job on this project. I look forward to hearing about what kind of art your children choose to share. Have fun!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

watercolored names

For obvious reasons, I did not display the children's work for the world to here's mine! The children's names are much more creative...each had a different way of showcasing their own unique blend of colors and shapes. What better way to practice our watercolor skills and make a pretty sign all at the same time!

subtraction stories

Today we wrote our own subtraction stories. Our knowledge of sentences really helped us! Our stories started with 2 sentences that tell (how much we started with and how many are taken away) and ended with a sentence that asks (how many are left). I also asked for the correlating number sentence that included their unit (what they are counting). They did a FABULOUS job!

phonics warning

While some of our classmates are in Mrs. Norris' class on Mondays...the rest of the class will be receiving a HEAVY dose of phonics! Of course, I will make it fun!

High Roller

Always a new game...gotta keep them actively participating. Today we played, High Roller. I can see such a difference in their ability to add numbers at a quicker pace already!

Monday, October 5, 2009


We have a winner! This drawing brings to life this year's theme, The Story of Twainland, and best depicts Mark Twain children in a friendly neighborhood setting that they all treasure, our Twain Spider. Even more amazing is that this artwork is a collaborated effort of our classmate and a 5th grade friend! In addition to winning the cover contest, both will receive a free yearbook. Be sure to get your orders in! Way to go, SH!!!!!

new friends

Meet Green Bean, Brownie, Oreo and Cheeto. Thank you for the contributions! I will send their usernames/passwords home soon so that you can play with them at home, too. My favorite math game, "Booger Makes an A" can be found in the arcade at the Webkinz website! (Be aware that only one person can play with each animal at a time).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Booger Makes an A

Last week I introduced a new game that can be played in class, Booger Makes an A. It is found on Webkinz in the arcade section. This game is SO helpful with learning addition facts, problem solving and fact families. I love this game...and so did the kids!

Here's a quick lesson (the kids can probably show you!) on how to play...try it at home. Really. Booger is thinking of a number and it will appear in a bubble above his head. There are rows of numbers in the boxes to the left of him. All you simply need to do is click on the numbered boxes that add up to the number he is thinking of. Any correct combination works. It’s simple! BUT…and there’s always a ‘but’… as Booger is thinking more tiles appear across the top and eventually they will fall down, adding more tiles on the bottom that you can choose from. This means that the rows of tiles start layering on top of each other. Don’t let the tiles hit the top or the game is over. As you play along stickers will appear throughout the tiles. Try and use these stickers as they all have a purpose. The ‘time-out’ sticker pauses the game, the ‘eraser’ sticker clears a row of blocks, and the ‘goal’ sticker removes sums that you need to do.
*** The Webkinz account we are using is from last year and I am sure it will expire soon. Would anyone like to donate a new class Webkinz (I would love to have 4)?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mixing Colors

Today we mixed primary colors together to make secondary colors. It seemed like magic to them!

Henri Matisse

Today we had our first official Art a la Carte lesson. Thank you to Mrs. Wang and Mrs. Dong for presenting such a fun and exciting lesson on Henri Matisse. The kids especially enjoyed experimenting with their own positive and negative creations! We read all bout Matisse and the children were fascinated with the fact he didn't discover art until he was 20 years old in law school when someone gave him a box of watercolors!


Nice to have almost a full week of reading groups!