Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Celebrity Hangouts!

This week our 2nd and 4th grade rocketeers had the amazing opportunity to chat with Hollywood actresses, Tanya Wright and Abigail Hargrove! This was part of an Anti-Bullying Campaign organized by one of our favorite authors, Jeff Rivera. Through these chats, Tanya and Abigail shared some tips for dealing with bullying situations as well as had us share our experiences with bullying. We even got a chance to ask about acting as a job. Have a look at some clips from our chats below.

We want to send a huge thanks to Tanya and Abigail for their inspiring words! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Show and Tell Recap

Our Show & Tell has been a hit in our REACH classes! We are pleased to see so many of our students sharing about themselves and have learned tons about favorite hobbies, special gifts received to hidden talents we did not know about our rocketeers. We even learned about cultural backgrounds and new languages! Our rocketeers have much to share and have been taking  the time to prepare these special presentations. Have a look at a recap of what we have learned this fall!

We are also excited to have our first guest speaker, Mrs. Deborah Gurt! Mrs. Gurt brought with her a Museum in a Trunk containing various artifacts of Jewish life and customs. In her presentation, we learned about immigration history and the importance of primary documents in recapturing the times and experiences from long ago. Have a look at some clips from her talk below.

If you are interested in participating in Show & Tell, have a look at our guidelines by clicking here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Six Hats Thinking, A New Way of Thinking

The past two weeks our 2nd-4th graders have been putting on their thinking hats. We have heard our teachers tell us to do this, but what does that really mean? We discovered Edward DeBono's Thinking Hats to show us to view situations and solve problems from different points of views. Each hat is a different color, which represents a different way of viewing a situation or dilemma. The first question we explored was, "What if our parents/families decided to move to Australia?" We put on different hats and presented our findings to our classmates. Some of us even created our own mini hats to review our hats. Our next step was to use our Six Hats Thinking to explore literature. After reading the story, A Pocket for Corduroy, we then used our hats to help out the main character. Our next goal is to use our Six Hats Thinking with our novel study units. Stay tuned for more!

Here are some hats we made. 

With the black hat we list all the bad points or difficulties. 

With the white hat we list all the questions or information we need. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Show & Tell with Cole

Today one of our rocketeers shared a hobby of his during Show and Tell. Even though Cole has had his guitar for about a year now, he just started taking lessons.  He wanted to show off his skills as well as love for music and we are glad he did! Have a look at some clips of his presentation below.

We are glad that Cole took the time and preparation to share something that means so much to him. Every week, we encourage our rocketeers to bring something from home so that we can learn more about them, showcase their interests and talents as well as celebrate what makes them so unique.

Yellow Watermelon

This week, our 4th graders were in for a treat. . . yellow watermelon! While some of us have heard of yellow watermelon, others have not had the opportunity to taste it. What made this extra special is that this came from Ms. Carter's father's watermelon patch. As you can see, we really enjoyed it. Have you ever tried yellow watermelon? What different kinds of fruits are grown in your state or region?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Silly Dots!: Using colAR to Celebrate Dot Day

In preparation for Dot Day, our rocketeers read the story, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds as well as designed dots to symbolize what creativity means. As a culminating activity, we also thought it would be fun to bring our dots to life by using the free app, colAR. With this app, you can turn pre-loaded coloring pages into 3D! This technique is called Augmented Reality, because although we can see the three dimensional object with our device, it actually isn't there in real life! Another nifty feature of this app is that you can take pictures of your creation as you are viewing it in 3D. As we played around with making our dots larger and watching our own dot galaxies orbit each other, we took our activity a step further. Our result: Silly Dot Pictures! As you can see, we had to position ourselves next to our imaginary dots and pretend we were holding them, looking at them, even tried to take a bite out of them! Let's just say we definitely put our creativity to action today. Have a look at some of our snapshots below.

Instructions: To download the colAR app on an Android device, go to the Google Play store or click here. To download the app on an iPhone or iPad, visit the iTunes store by clicking here. Remember, you will need to download and color the sheets included on the app before you can turn your picture into 3D. Have fun!

Acknowledgements: We would like to give a special thanks to Ms. Shannon Miller at the Van Meter School in Iowa for sharing this very cool app on Twitter. To check out how her students used this app for #DotDay click here

Friday, August 30, 2013

All the Pieces Fit in REACH

This month we have been busy as bees completing a variety of inventories. An inventory is a lot like a survey that helps us find out more about ourselves. This was also part of our monthly district-wide theme: All About Me. As a result, we discovered what our interests were, what kind of "smarts"or multiple intelligences we had, as well as our preferred expression style. As a final project, we put all the pieces together-and what better way to do it than with puzzles! Our challenge was to illustrate what we learned about ourselves by designing our own puzzle piece (grades 2-3) or our own personal puzzle (grades 4-6). Below are the criteria for each project along with some samples. Enjoy!

Crtieria for 2nd and 3rd Grades:
1. Preferred Multiple Intelligence(s)
2. Interests
3. Goals for the class

Criteria for 4th-6th Grades: 
1. Preferred Multiple Intelligence(s)
2. Preferred Expression Style(s)
3. Interests
4. Goals for the class
5. Career Goal(s)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome Back, Rocketeers!

Happy New (School) Year! Ms. Carter and Mrs. Deyamport are thrilled to have our rocketeers back in REACH this week. Please remember to bring your supplies on your first day of REACH. Below is the Welcome Letter, which includes your schedule and supply list. We look forward to an exciting year!

Ms. Carter & Mrs. Deyamport

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Amazing World Of Cats

Hello. My name is Kameron Rose. If you know me, you know I love cats! The other day, I went to the Audubon Nature Institute. We went to the zoo, also. I saw the tiger and both of the lions. The male lion roared while I was watching! He was very beautiful. He inspired me to write this blog. Since Siberian tigers are endangered, this will [hopefully] raise awareness about them. 

I have my own "tiger" at home. She is a very feisty kitty cat. Her name is Lucky "Boogers" Fluffy. She is super sweet and fluffy. She only has one eye due to bad parenting and living on the road her entire life. Since last June, we have raised her a better life. Well, let's begin. First we will talk about Lucky. She is a Domestic Shorthair and she loves being brushed. She is small but that is not from traces of dwarfism... she is a kitten! She turns one on May 6, 2013! That is very soon!  Anyway, next we will talk about my late cat, Mustash (yes that is how you spell it).  He was a domestic longhair kitty and he also loved to be brushed. I have also had other cats but I won't talk very much about them. Next, we'll talk about lions! Lions are from Africa. Lions are basically cats too except they are MUCH bigger. Male lions have glossy hair around their head called a "mane". Male lions do not hunt, females do! Male lions protect their territory. If another male lion crosses over it, they fight. A pride is a group of lions. The pride consists of 1 male and a bunch of females and cubs(baby lions). The females hunt for the food and mate with the male lion. If a male cub is born, he will become the pride leader when the father dies. Next we will talk about siberian tigers! Let's raise awareness for them people! Anyway, Siberian tigers are the BIGGEST big cats in the world! They are much bigger than the lion and they live in Asia. They eat lots of meat and catch whatever they can find to eat. As a series of unfortunate Siberian tigers are being killed for their beautiful fur and meat. Who doesn't love beautiful cat fur? But seriously... killing them for it is a little much don't you think? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my "little cat blog". Please comment on it! Have fun with cats! And for those of you who are allergic to cat fur, why don't you read my fish blog soon to be posted? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this! Thank you for reading this!    

Until Next Time, 
Kameron Rose

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Toilet Paper King Contest

For our Reading Rumpus Celebration, we had author Jeff Rivera read his book, Um. . . Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet, to our 2nd graders.  After asking him questions about what it is like to be an author, Mr. Rivera challenged our class to design our own Toiler Paper King. We let our imaginations go wild and had fun creating this interesting character. Mr. Rivera also mentioned that he would select his favorite illustration and include it in his next sequel! To meet the actual Toilet Paper King, check out Jeff Rivera's sequel, Um. . . Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet (Again): Return to Yuck Kingdom.

Day Out

Mrs. Deyamport's 5th Grade TEA Time is doing a cool field trip project! Our goal is to plan a spring field trip for the class. Here are some key points we need to keep in mind for the plan.

  • Destinations
  • Mileage, $0.50 per mile
  • Admission price
  • $200 from PTAGrant 
  • Price per student
We learned lots about geography and finance. We also learned about how to find and present information.

Blog Post by Jacob
Pictures by Andrew

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's a Math Party!

Who knew math was so much fun! 
As part of a math enrichment project, our Rocketeers planned their own math party! Students were able to select a theme (that was not related to a holiday) and create an itemized list to cover food/snacks, plates, cups, other utensils as well as items for goody bags. Students were given a budget of $100 and carefully selected items that would be appropriate for their themed party. Some examples of themes that groups selected included: A Disco Party, a picnic, and a Paris Sweet Shoppe. Students found items for their goody bags from Oriental Trading Company, while food items were purchased at a local grocery store.  Since we did not have exact prices from our local grocery store, students had to provide their best estimation for the items that they needed. Overall, the group that collaborated as a team (i.e. distributed tasks evenly and were actively engaged throughout the planning) and that created the most detailed itemized list (with the closest estimations) was selected. Our winner for the party was the Paris Sweet Shoppe.

Our goody bags are ready to go. 
Thanks to the PTA, our project was funded, which put our plans into action! Our project was successful in that it challenged students to apply estimation and addition skills in a real world setting. It was even more authentic when they discovered that their efforts transformed into an actual party that they have planned for! One suggestion to improve this project was to assign homework that involved researching prices for items purchased from the grocery store. This would have given our students a more accurate look at the actual amounts that they had to spend versus an estimation. 
Look at all these goodies we bought with our PTA Grant!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Working Hard and Getting Smart!


The 5th Grade REACH Class has been working hard and getting smart! We have been drawing pictures on Ms.Carter and Ms. Deyamport's windows to boost school spirit! Personally I have been drawing on Ms. Carter's windows because I think since they are closer to the other classrooms, people will see them more.
 Our motto is "Work Hard, Get Smart!" and sometimes Ms.Hornsby, our principal, is encouraging us with the phrase, "Catch the eye of the tiger!" (Our school mascot is a tiger.)  In all, our total number of windows done is 7! Hip Hip Hooray for Thames Elementary School!
                                                                                                                                      By: Kameron

Poet's Corner

Last semester our REACH Rocketeers were hard at work composing different types of poems. Have a look at our Poetry Showcase below.

1. Animal and Name Acrostics 

To get to know each other, students created name acrostic poems to describe themselves, their interests, and talents. Students also added illustrations to their poems. Next, students chose an animal that they wanted to learn more about. They were encouraged to choose uncommon animals and construct an acrostic poem to show what they learned. Here are some samples from 3-6 grades.

2. Self-Portrait Poems
Students also explored similes and metaphors to improve their poetry by creating self-potrait poems to describe themselves. To accompany their poems, students also made self portraits out of torn paper. The biggest challenge was to design these portraits without using rulers, scissors, or pencils! Have a look at these masterpieces made by our 4th graders.

3. Sharing Our Work 
As a culminating activity, our 3rd graders shared their animal acrostic poems with Mrs. Musone's class on Skype.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tornado Relief Package

Last month an F4 tornado went through our city, affecting our community and schools. We were lucky enough not to have any major damages to our school's campus, however, several families in our school were displaced due to damages caused to homes and several other residential areas. When we mentioned this experience, our friends in Mrs. Musone's 3rd grade class were very generous to send us a care package to assist those families affected by the tornado. They even sent us personal notes to let us know that they were thinking of us during this time. We want to extend a huge thanks to Mrs. Musone and her 3rd graders for making our day!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Spy: Our First iBook of Poems

As part of our Poetry Unit, our REACH Rocketeers composed a variety of poems to tap into their creative sides. We also explored the role of voice and took it a step further by giving voice to things we observed in nature by writing I Am and If I Were Poems. Originally, we were going to publish our poems to display in our classroom and school, until one of our students suggested that we take pictures to go along with our work. The end result- our first iBook of Poems!

We are very proud to share our iBook, I Spy
(Please click on the title to download a PDF version.)

We hope that you enjoy our book as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Global Shout Outs

Recently, our Rocketeers have been busy with several Mystery Skype calls to sharpen our geography and deductive reasoning skills.  With these calls we have also chatted with several classes around the United States and thought it was time for a little change.  To make things a little more challenging and not to mention interesting, we have arranged a few Global Mystery Skype calls. These have expanded our knowledge of our world, however, we have to admit our need to explore more geographical terms and features to help us during our calls. Overall, we have enjoyed all our calls, learning about new places, but especially getting shout outs from all over the world!

Talking with the Future? 

Did you know that we talked to a class that was in the future? Yes, you heard right. While we chatted with our friends at Crossmaglen Public School in Coffs Harbour, Australia it was around 2:00pm on a Wednesday for us and around 7:00am on Thursday for them!

Check out the blog post they wrote about our Skype call here


We also chatted with 5th grade students in St. Mary's School in Southern Alberta, Canada. They introduced us to fun job called, entertainers. These entertainers sang a cool song and told us some funny jokes while we waited on questions. Watch a clip from our call below. 

Our Logical Reasoners had to piece the clues together. 
Our techy Map Keepers using Google Maps & Google Earth. 
They are so close! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reading Rumpus

On March 1st we are hosting a Reading Rumpus to get our students excited about reading! We would like to connect with other 2nd grade classes to share books written by authors in our home state and possibly arrange a group Skype call with an author who can share his/her favorite book or work. We think this is a great way to connect reading and learning about the USA. For more details or to take part, please leave us a comment below. Let's make this a fun day of reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Learning our states is fun! 
This week our 2nd and 3rd graders received a visit from Shelley Allen from the National Geographic Alliance. Shelley brought along her giant map and her very special friend, MIMAL. We got to learn who MIMAL was along with a few other of his friends. His story taught us how to remember all the states in our country along with other facts such as cardinal directions and the continents. We had a great time with Shelley and thank her for taking the time to help us learn our states! Have a look at some pictures and clips from our time with MIMAL.

Have you heard of MIMAL? Do you know any songs or rhymes that help you remember your states? Please share your videos or pictures in our comment section. We would love to hear from you! 

Bringing Geography to Life with Mystery Skype

Super Stars greeting our partner class. 
As part of our unit on North America, our Rocketeers have participated in several Mystery Skype Calls this quarter. These kinds of calls involve guessing the location of the classroom we are talking to through a series of yes/no questions. Although the directions are simple enough, the challenge lies in the work that occurs behind the scenes. As our call takes place, so do several Skype Jobs. Here is a quick list:

Question Keepers consulting with Map Keepers. 

  • Super Stars- These two students are responsible for answering the call, greeting our partner class, asking our series of questions, along with answering questions from our partner class. 
  • Question Keepers/Runners- These students are in charge of keeping track of the questions being asked by our class, responses given to our questions, and writing any new questions that our Logical Reasoners or Map Keepers may come up with. 
  • Map Keepers- This group is in charge of marking maps and using atlases based on the clues given. They also assist in creating questions throughout the call.
  • Logical Reasoners- This group is responsible for putting all the pieces together by taking the clues given and either composing new questions or deciding what question to ask next. 
  • Class Tweeter- This student is responsible for composing live tweets while our call is taking place. This student can ask questions and summarize key points of our call. 
  • Reporter- This student is in charge of capturing the call as it happens by summarizing key points, reactions, responses, etc. on a word processor. 
Logical Reasoners picking their brains. 
Our Map Keepers hard at work!

  Have a look at a call with our 3rd graders below.

If your class is interested in trying out a Mystery Skype call with our Rocketeers, please leave us a comment below!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Buddy Towers

To practice working on group dynamic skills, our Rocketeers built towers out of index cards. While this task sounds simple enough, the challenge was that they could not talk while doing it! Our rocketeers were very creative in communicating with their group members and figuring out how to construct the tallest tower. Have a look at some of their end products below.

Virtual Career Skype Tour: Jeff Rivera

It's that time of the year to jump start our Annual Virtual Career Skype Tour. Every year, we invite professionals from different careers to speak to our classes about planning for the future. These calls give us insight into different skills needed for various professions. We have also learned the path that each expert has taken to get where they are today. It's never too early to start thinking and planning for our futures!

This month, we had the unique opportunity to chat with author, Jeff Rivera. He read his new book, Um. . . Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet.  and then shared how the illustrations came together for the book. Next, we asked him several questions about his childhood and what inspired him to write. The timing for this book could not have been better, especially since we are in the process of publishing our own class e-book. We had a great time reading Jeff's book and sharing our own "work in progress." Have a look at some pictures  from our call below.

Here is a sketch of a page in the book. 

Here is a the final illustration that appears in an excerpt. 

We were even able to preview a video game that is in the works!