New School Year, New Room!

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Desert Vista is excited to begin the 2017-2018 school year! I am looking forward to meeting my “school family” and begin building lasting memories. This year I am teaching second grade and moved into a new room to go along with the new grade level. Take a look!

What is your favorite part of the room?


Jump, Jump Jump Around

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What plant jumps more than a basketball player and is more painful than a shot?

Arizona, more specifically the Sonoran Desert, is home to a special plant nicknamed the “jumping cactus” and is feared by Arizona dwellers for a very good reason.  Its real name is the Cholla Cactus and it comes in many varieties.  

Ever seen a teddy bear?  Well, believe it or not, one of the more common cholla cactus species is called the Teddy Bear Cholla.  Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure of this cactus and a teddy bear for your comparison.

Hmmm, doesn’t connect with me… What about you?

Why do you think this cactus would be called a Teddy Bear Cactus?  Support your answer using the pictures provided and what you have learned about this cactus.

So, the Cactus isn’t all bad.  How is that, you say?  It’s full of poisonous barbs that are painful!   Here are a couple of stories about our classes run-in with a cholla cactus:

“My friends and I were playing in a desert wash by my house.  I went down to the bottom of the wash and landed in a pile of cholla cactus segments.  They were stuck all over my hand and forearm.  It was very painful.  My dad was trying to get them out but it was hard.  I was screaming and crying because they stung.  Finally, we got them out using a comb.”  by Kyle

“I was at my cousin’s baby shower and my grandma asked me if I could help her pulled down some tablecloths.  Near the tablecloth were some cholla cactus needles.  They stuck into the back of my arm.  They felt very bad and because it was just a few of them I was able to grab the needle and pull it out.” by Brooke

How can it not be all that bad?!

Well, the Cactus Wren, Desert Pack Rat, and various other species of desert animals use this cactus for their homes.  It provides a natural barrier for the javelina from predators.  People use it as a barrier so trespassers won’t go onto their property, and the skeleton of the cholla cactus is used for lamps, jewelry, and other household decorative items.

Cholla Cactus Video

What have you learned about the cholla cactus that you didn’t know before?

 


We Are the Champions!

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A couple months ago we took the AIMS test.  This test was supposed to see how we did in third grade.  

Were we worried like the iFake Text above said?  No way!

Back of Justin's shirt he got from Cactus Canyon Wrestling team.

This saying was perfect to motivate us for testing.  

Everyone (ALL STUDENTS) has the desire (WANTS TO) to win (MEET OR EXCEED)!  Only champions have desire to prepare (STUDY, USE STRATEGIES, TAKE YOUR TIME, POSITIVE ATTITUDE).

Here are some things that we did to do to become champions on this test:

Cassidy said: “Mrs. Fraher taught us lots of strategies to help us take the test.  One of the things she did was to look for words like “always”, “never”, or “not”.  These words will help you on choosing a correct answer.  I also made sure I took my time.  The AIMS isn’t timed so sometimes I took brain rest.  I liked reading the cards my mom wrote for me.  I would read it right before I took the test and it helped me because she said she loved me.”

Isaiah said:  “One strategy I used to help me on the test was to get rid of the choices that were obviously not right.  In our class we called these the “DUH” answers.  I think it is important to not get distracted and let people bother you.”

Gabe said:  “Sometimes it is hard to read so much and remember what you read so I underline important stuff with my highlighter.  We practiced doing this in the mornings on our morning work.  It helped when we had to take the test.”

Faye said:  “When I do the math test I will draw pictures or make a story in my head because it helps me solve the problem.  In math, Mrs. Fraher would make us show more than one way to solve a problem.  I think it is important to try hard and think that you can do it.  I liked my cards my mom and dad wrote to me.”

Zach said:  “A strategy we learned was to read the questions first before reading the story.  That way we know what to look for.  It helps me find the important parts of the story and answer the questions easier.  If you think you can do it, you can.”

Anthony said:  “I didn’t rush just to get done.  I underlined important parts.  I listened when Mrs. Fraher reviewed for the test.  I think I did a good job on it.  Mrs. Fraher had the parents write secret cards for us and she passed them out each day of testing.  She wrote one for us too. This showed me that my parents wanted me to do a good job.  I liked reading them.”

 

Here we are after a day of testing. See the pink and yellow cards parents wrote for us? They really helped us stay motivated and not give up.

 

What are some strategies you use to help you on testing?

Do you like to take tests?


Arizona Spring: A Wonderful Surprise

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As summer begins heating up in the Valley of the Sun, we can look back on our Arizona spring with fond memories.  This spring was especially beautiful because of the increased rainfall in the winter.  Our class even used this time to write some poetry commemorating the event.

Spring

Spring is a bright flower blooming
Spring is joyful noise
Spring is a tree sharing its color
Spring is awesome

by Isaiah

Spring in Arizona is a wonderful surprise because of the unexpected splashes of color everywhere you look.  Here is a video a group of classmates made to show new life coming to the desert in the spring.

Try our slideshow creator at Animoto.

We were lucky to see all of this evidence near our school.  We watched the baby hummingbirds and squirrels grow right before I eyes as we went about our busy school days.  To our class, that was a celebration.  It made us think about the book “I’m in Charge of Celebrations” by Byrd Baylor.  She writes her books in free verse poetry.

Sometimes when people think about cacti, they only think of the painful spines cacti grow…and they are painful!  In the spring, though, they create colorful blooms reminding us of a colorful sunset.

What do you like best about spring?

Do you prefer a different season over spring?  Why?


We’re Lovin’ Arizona!

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Wow, I am not sure I have ever met anyone that was 100 years old before, but I do know of a certain state that is 100 years old.  Arizona celebrated its centennial birthday on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2012!

Using the clues above, what do you think the word “centennial” means?

All over Arizona, people in businesses, government, and schools were participating in centennial events as well as Valentine’s Day festivities.  In our class, we had a birthday party for Arizona and a Valentine’s Day party.  We are in the process of making a special present for the state-a state “quilt.”

Take a look at this Popplet to see some of the things we did on this special day.

 

 

 Do you know when your state turned 100?  If it hasn’t yet, when will it turn 100?