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The ducks have begun to hatch. Here are a few pictures and videos from the weekend. I've been a very devoted "mother duck" this weekend, checking on them several times these past few days. They sure are cute! They look forward to meeting all of the students soon! Until then, enjoy the pictures and these videos. I apologize in advance about the sideways recording...clearly, I'm not the best with technology!!
Buddy Fun Day was a huge success. Students had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who volunteered for the event. This day could not be done without parent help. We sure do appreciate all you do. Here are some pictures from that day. Enjoy!
This last trimester of math can be summed up in two words: problem solving!! Students are solving many story problems and are learning the difference between addition and subtraction. Students are also learning that addition and subtraction work together. They are beginning to understand if I know 2+3=5, then I also know 5-2=3.
Students are also learning problem solving strategies. We have made an anchor chart of various things we can do to solve problems (see below),
Students continue to find efficient ways to count. Making groups of 10 is one efficient way of counting. See the collections below and the recording sheets that go with them. You will see how students are recording their thinking.
Through problem solving and counting, students are truly developing an understanding of how numbers work together. In essence, they are developing a strong sense of numbers.
Here are a few things you can do at home to help support what we are learning at school:
have students solve simple story problems (adding and subtracting)
review addition and subtraction facts under 5 (2+3=5, 2+1=3, 5-1=4...)
count by 1's, 5's, 10's to 100 and count by 2's to 20
find the missing number (2+ ____ =5, 3- ____ = 2, 2+____=4, etc.)
We have learned so much in the last few months, and I am excited to share with you what we are learning currently. See the various subjects below to see what we are working on from now until the end of the year:
Students have been learning more and accuracy strategies to help them read words correctly. So far, we have learned to:
find the first part and look through the whole word
cross-check ("Does it look right? Does is sound right?")
flip the vowel sound (try different vowel sounds to make it correct)
skip the word and come back
Students have also learned the importance or retelling a story. They are becoming more familiar with story element vocabulary (characters, setting, plot, problem, and solution). I feel like my students have grown a lot in the area of comprehension since the start of the year.
Another aspect of reading that we have really focused on has been vowel sounds. Students have been learning the short vowel sounds. Each week, we have focused on a different vowel. I would say that most of my students are able to read most simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant words such as hat, hen, pot, etc.).
My students have learned fluency strategies such as go back and reread to make your reading sound like talking. A few of my students are learning expand vocabulary strategies. They have learned the importance of figuring out the meaning of unknown words.
My students have become authors!!! I'm sure many of you can tell after reading through their books from 2nd trimester that they have become such wonderful writers. The personal narratives they have written lately have been phenomenal. I would argue that many of their books have been better than many of my first grade students' books in the past. We have focused a lot on these stories having a solid beginning, middle, and end. To help tell our stories, students have learned the importance of using sequence words: first, then, next, last, etc. They have also learned the importance of adding extra details in their stories to help the reader picture exactly what happened. I am excited to have my students share one of their personal narratives with you at conferences.
In addition to writing personal narratives, students are learning about opinion writing. Students have learned the difference between a fact and an opinion. They have also learned why sharing opinions is so effective. Ultimately, the goal of sharing opinions with others is to try to convince other people to believe what we believe. Students will write several opinion pieces through this trimester. One will be displayed in the hallway during conferences. Be sure to read them when you come!
We have been learning all about weather this trimester in science. Students have learned about rain, clouds, temperature, and different kinds of weather. We have done a few experiments that involved making a cloud and testing out the wind with a balloon.
For our last experiment, we put some water into a freezer to see what would happen. As students predicted, the water froze. We talked about why that happened. Students learned that when the temperature is below 32 degrees, water freezes. They realized that when it rains and the temperature drops below freezing, the rain turns to snow or ice. Next week, we are going to see if other liquids will also freeze. We're going to attempt to make popsicles using some fun liquids. The three liquids that were voted on were: Dr. Pepper, Lemon Lime Kool-Aid, and Hawaiian Punch. Some students think only some of the liquids will freeze. Several think that all of the liquids will freeze. We will find out on Monday what happens!
Students are also learning from our Flat Stanley project that different types of weather are more prominent in certain areas of the country and world. Students have learned that in some parts of the country, it is warm all year long. In other parts of the country, it is rainy for a lot of the year. We have also learned that some parts of the country (like Iowa) experience all 4 seasons. We are beginning to understand that weather effects the things we wear and the things we do. For example, when it rains for several days in a row, indoor recess is inevitable. We found there are still lots of fun things to do inside when it rains! See the pictures below. My students sure know how to make the most of different situations!
We have continued to learn how people are different. We have also learned how we grow and change over time. When we get our duck eggs, we will see firsthand how all living things grow and change. We will watch the embryos grow and eventually form ducklings. It will be such a great experience for students. We should receive our duck eggs in about a week.
For Mother's Day, we are going to work on a special book that will focus on how we have changed over time. Baby pictures will be needed for this special project. Watch for more information to come home soon regarding the baby pictures.
Today we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday. This day is also known as Read Across America Day. We had so much fun celebrating this amazing author by reading his books, learning more about him, as well as eating Green Eggs and Ham and making Oobleck. Thanks again to the parents who donated items or time to this great day. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Yes...it was quite messy!!
Last Tuesday, we went to Iowa Western and heard the symphony play. It was quite a cute production that was very kid-appropriate. It was performed like a play. There was an "animal guide" who was trying to get the animals to go back into their natural habitats. The music had to match the animal's mood to get the animals to go back to their original habitat. Students helped decide which music matched the mood of each animal. There was even a part in the symphony where students could play their "instruments" along with the music. We all brought "shakers" to shake during that part. They absolutely loved it. We also got to sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" at the end of the concert. It was darling!! My favorite photo is the last photo in the bunch. Apparently, this field trip was not only fun, but it was exhausting as well!
Students had so much fun at our Valentine's Party. Thanks to everyone who helped out in some capacity. We couldn't have done it without you. Our stations included cookie decorating, games, a photo booth, crafts, and donuts on a string. I know there are a lot of them, but check out our pictures below:
Emma's mom (Dr. Jessica McCool), who typically volunteers each Tuesday, was asked to do a lesson on the human body. Since she has extensive knowledge about the body parts and their functions, I thought it would be good for students to understand how doctors use their knowledge about the human body to help people. She taught us about the different systems that bodies have and about the 5 senses. She showed us different instruments doctors use to check different things in the body. She also taught us about germs and how they can spread easily and cause infection. Students have a deeper understanding of why it is so important to wash their hands.
Students had the chance to listen to a heart and lungs with a stethoscope. They also participated in a fun activity about germs. Each student put lotion on his/her hands. Then one student was given a really bad germ on her hands (a bunch of glitter). She then shook each student's hand. By the end, each person had a bunch of "germs" (glitter) on his/her hands. Students could visibly see how germs are easily spread. They also learned how to properly wash their hands and had a chance to practice this after the lesson.
Students had a wonderful time learning more about the human body. It might not surprise you that many of my students said they wanted to become a doctor after this great presentation!! Thank you Dr. McCool for teaching us more about the human body! This was a perfect lesson for our science unit.
When my students first come into the room in the morning, they are to read books until everyone arrives. The other day, I noticed a few of my students congregating around Alyssa reading a few of her favorite books to her. This moment was one of the most precious scenes I have ever witnessed, and I just had to capture it on video and share it with you all. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The video isn't very long, but I can only download videos that are 1 minute in length. I had to splice it into pieces.
It just goes to show that young children can be teachers too...sometimes even better than adults.
Listed below are the skills we are working on in math. Please help by reinforcing these things at home:
In reading, we are focusing a lot on phonics with a heavy emphasis on short vowel sounds. To help with this concept at home, provide your child with simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) and have them read them. These can be real words (fat, can, sub, leg) or made up words (bov, tup, cad). If students are able to decode these simple words, they will be ready to move on to more difficult words.
We are also focusing a lot on comprehension by retelling stories. To accomplish this, I have taught my students story elements. Students are learning what each of these terms mean: characters, setting, plot, problem, and solution. To reinforce this skill at home, have your child retell various fiction stories including these elements.
As you already know, we are learning more about non-fiction books. After studying published informational books, we are writing our own books about a chosen animal. In addition, students have continued to learn more about personal narratives. We have been writing personal narratives all year, and my students have improved a lot with this style. Students will share both types of writing with you at conferences.
We will soon be making time lines based on our lives. Students are learning how we, as humans, are constantly changing. We will focus on terms such as past, present, and future. A note will soon come home regarding this project. Students will be asked to bring in a few baby pictures to help complete this project. Thanks in advance for your support!
Braylyn's Taekwondo teacher, Master Sanders, was invited into our classroom to teach us more about our human bodies. For science, we are learning more about different body parts and their functions, so this was a perfect demonstration for us. We learned about how exercise increases our heart rate and more about specific names and functions of bones and muscles. Here are some pictures from that demonstration:
Our Polar Express Party was so much fun. Students wore pajamas to school and enjoyed hot chocolate and some treats while watching the movie. Students loved receiving their golden tickets and jingle bells. Thank you to Jennifer Roane, Jessica McCool, and Katie Warner for helping with the party.