Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marvelous Movement

     We all feel better when we get up and move! I try to provide opportunities for the children to move during the school day. This movement provides important benefits to the class. The kids get a chance to move around and have fun but the most important benefit is to the brain function of the students themselves. Dr. John Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School has said, “Exercise itself doesn’t make you smarter, but it puts the brain of the learners in the optimal position to learn.”1 Dr. Ratey’s research compiles vast amounts of research that indicates that exercise done by students during the school day reduces stress and anxiety and also improves attention.

     Here are some of the activities that we use to get ourselves moving:

     First, we start off our day with SmartMoves. It is an interactive CD. The SmartMoves program, created and distributed by Fablevision, is described as “cognitive calisthenics” that provide a series of body movements that become increasingly more difficult. The movements are modeled on screen and are set to calming music.

     Students also engage in Responsive Classroom Energizers.  The Energizers provide 2-3 minute breaks during which the students engage in fun movement activities accompanied by chants and songs. The purpose of these activities is to provide (depending on the selected activity) movement to help them focus, energize or release stress.

     Additionally, we have a “menu” of in-class movement options that includes neck rolls, bear walking, chair push-ups and a visit to our own heavy work station. This station includes 2 sand-filled bottles for (slow, controlled) lifting and a resistance band for stretching. All activities were modeled and practiced together in class. 

     Finally, the class LOVES GoNoodle! It is a website that has energetic (and entertaining) segments. There are a wide variety of short brain breaks that you can use to calm the classroom or energize your students. The exercise breaks vary in both length of time and in style. Styles include "calm", "energize" and "focus". The students especially loved being able to choose a mascot for the class.  Isn’t movement marvelous?

1-Viadero, Debra, (February 12, 2008). Exercise Seen as Priming the Pump for Students’ Academic Strides. Education Week. Retrieved from 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome Back!

What’s New In Room 202

Our first two weeks together in Room 202 have been excellent! We have all spent time getting to know each other as well as learning about and practicing the routines of our classroom. We worked together to develop classroom rules so that everyone feels safe and happy each day in school. We will continue, over the next few weeks, to develop routines that will help each of the children to maximize his/her learning, comfort and confidence within the classroom.
Thank you for sending a two pocket folder in to school with your child. Your child will be responsible for bringing his/her folder home each night and back to school each morning. It will contain notes, notices, corrected work and homework. Please be sure to check your child’s folder every day.
Also, did you know we have a classroom blog? On our blog you will be able to find important dates, double check homework assignments, check out what we have been doing in class and much more! Check it out at and be sure to say hello or leave a comment while you’re there!
I am looking forward to meeting all of you at our Meet the Teacher Night on September 18, 2014 at 6:00 P.M. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by telephone, by sending in a note or by e-mail.
Finally, a few friendly reminders:
*If you have not already done so, please send in your completed paperwork for the office.
*Please send a water bottle for your child to use each day. No juices or sports drinks are allowed though. This will help keep class work safe & clean in the event of drips or spills. Water is encouraged and several opportunities to refill the bottles are provided throughout the day.
As we head quickly toward the end of September, I am so proud of how well the children are coming together as a class. They are a great group and I am confident that it is going to be a great year!


Ms. Sawyer

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fabulous First Day!

Team 202 had a fabulous first day! As our new team joined together for the first time this year, the students were remarkable. We read stories (check out our Shelfari shelf below), brainstormed a list of classroom rules and made signs for the classroom that will be our "home away from home" for the next 179 school days. The children also began to learn and practice our rules and routines. They were AMAZING! They earned NINE tallies on the classroom scoreboard. (Ask your child to tell you about this! Make sure they include a demonstration of the "one second party"!). Each child created a cover for his/her new math journal using the important numerals from his/her own life. We will use these to continue to get to know each other tomorrow. It was a great first day and it is certainly shaping up to be a truly great year!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Field Day 2014

Today Mullen-Hall hosted its annual field day activities at the Gus Canty Rec. Center. It was a different kind of field day for Team 202. To allow our children to compete with and against their grade level peers and to help equalize the class sizes across grades three and four, different groups of our children were assigned to various third and fourth grade classrooms. As I watched each group of Team 202 members and each individual student, it became evident to me, yet again, just how wonderful each of these children are!

They each joined their "new" class with a smile, became a member of the team, exhibited great spirit and sportsmanship and tried his/her best. It was great to see!  As always, I was very proud of them! :)