My students' love for learning is truly infectious, and it was evident, not just in reading, but in everything we learned this week. A lot of new concepts were introduced in the last few days. Here are the new things we learned.
In reading, students finally learned the last component of Readers' Workshop: Read to Someone. Boy did they love it! They had so much fun reading with various friends this week. We also began to learn more about comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. We learned about main idea, making reading sound like talking, and tuning in to interesting words. We continued to work in our reading groups, getting time to practice various word-decoding strategies. Here are some pictures and a video of my students doing Read to Someone. Some of the pictures are of the procedures for this component.
Similar to Read to Someone, in math, we learned Math With Someone. This is simply a time where students have the opportunity to play math games with one another. A new favorite game is called Trash. If you have a deck of cards at home, then you can play with your child. Take out all of the face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) from the deck and have your child teach you how to play. I have included a video below of students playing this game.
Students have discovered there are many ways to make numbers. Most recently, we have worked on ways to make 10. Students also discovered the pattern that involves all of the ways to make 10 (see picture below). They also represented these number sentences with Rekenreks, a math tool. Ask your child to explain the pictures of the Rekenreks and of the number pattern displayed on the white board.
We have also continued to learn efficient counting strategies. One of the main strategies we have learned is called counting on from a bigger number. If we know the amount of objects in a group, we can say that number and count on with additional objects. In particular, students have had the chance to practice this strategy during Math By Myself. After each session, I pick 1-2 students to share his/her thinking. Here is a video of Micah sharing how he counted his counting collection and how he recorded his thinking. Here are some pictures of my students' recording sheets, Rekenreks, and our discovery of ways to make 10.
My students continue to work on their personal narratives. We have been reading published personal narratives to learn common characteristics that exist in all personal narratives. Students have then incorporated these traits into their own stories. Here are some of the characteristics we have highlighted:
-these are all TRUE stories
-the word 'I' is in all stories
-a beginning, middle, and end make up these stories
-sequence words (first, then, next, last) are often used
-details are included in both words and pictures (who? what? where?)
Most of my students have begun to write whole books that include all of these characteristics. I have seen the most growth happen this week in their writing thus far! I am excited to share these books/writing pieces with you at conferences. It could be coincidence, but the sudden growth might be a result of conferring. I began to meet with each of my students individually this week. In each conference, I highlight one thing that student did extremely well and one thing that student needs to work on to make the great writing even better. Essentially, this becomes their writing goal to work on all week. This goal might last for one week, or it could last several weeks. It all depends if they are successful with that goal.
I am sure you already heard, but we began science this week. We are working on a unit that centers around forces in motion. To get students excited, Ms. Schwery's class joined us for our first experiment. Students were given a real-world problem. They learned about the Berlin wall, of all things. They learned that the Berlin Wall separated East and West Germany because of some disagreements in how people should live. When the Germans decided to live in peace, the wall needed to come down. Now comes the problem. How do they take the wall down without the wall falling on houses and apartment buildings? Students learned that it would require more than a hammer to take down the wall. It would require something much bigger and heavier to take the wall down...something like a wrecking ball.
Before you begin to worry, we did not give students real wrecking balls. They were, instead, given a paper wrecking ball to solve this problem on their own. The goal was to take down a wall of plastic cups without the cups falling down on the paper houses. It sounds like an easy task, but students soon learned how difficult it is to not wreck the houses. After many attempts, students discovered that applying less force to the wrecking ball is essential. Too much force will cause the "wall of cups" to destroy the houses.
We had so much fun with Ms. Schwery's class that we will most likely continue to do science together this year. We will try to do 1-2 experiments per week. Here are some pictures and a video from our experiment.