On Thursday, we had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to enter into our new writing unit on How To informational books. The students loved this experience, as I knew they would. I had someone record the ceremony and wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do
Our Elf on the Shelf arrived today! Students were so surprised and excited that The Book Fairy and Santa left us this wonderful gift. Of course, we had to give our elf a name. To do so, we voted on a name and created a graph (the names were quite interesting this year!). The five names voted upon were: Charcoal, Mark, Zoey-Joey-Gumble-Star, Mer, and Scout. As you can see in the graph below, the name Scout won by a small margin to Zoey-Joey-Gumble-Star! I was a little relieved at that outcome, since I know I would have trouble remembering that name!!
Scout will fly to and from the North Pole to report if my students are doing their best work and are respecting one another. It will be fun to see where the elf is and what the elf will be doing each morning when we come to school. Check out our pictures of our graph, elf, and other Christmas decorations.
With the beginning of the new trimester already underway, we are hard at work learning all sorts of new things. Here is what we are learning about in the following subject areas:
We have focused a lot of attention lately on reading/decoding simple CVC words (consonant, vowel consonant words). Some examples of these CVC words are log, big, leg, fun, dad. With the use of the reading strategy finding the first part and looking through the whole word, students have been successful reading most of these words. We have also practiced this strategy with nonsense words (i.e. bov, nig, paz). The reason we work with nonsense words is because many students automatically recognize these simple CVC words without having to work through the word. We want to make sure they know how to decode any unknown word in text, hence the use of the nonsense words. This would be an easy skill to practice at home with real words or nonsense words. Write words down or use the cut up letters I gave you at conferences to make up the words. Have your child decode each word using the strategy find the first part and look through the whole word.
In addition, we have been learning about the importance of comprehending a story. We have just begun practicing retelling fiction stories, focusing on who is in the story (characters), what happened in the story (plot), and where the story took place (setting). We will be learning about problems and solutions in stories in the near future.
We have also started talking about the importance of fluency. Students have learned that good readers make their reading sound like talking. Students understand that reading should be fluent and expressive. As books come home, have your child practice reading with fluency and expression. Fluency is best practiced with books students know really well or with books that are just right or even a bit too easy.
We just wrapped up our first writing unit on personal narratives. Though we will come back to personal narratives again later this trimester, we will take a break for the next eight weeks to write How To books. This particular type of informational text will be fun for students to write. They love writing about things that have happened to them as well as things they know a lot about.
In order to be successful with this type of writing, students must first be exposed to many published examples of How To books. After reading these books, we will develop a list of text features commonly found in this type of informational book, and then we will begin to write our own How To books. These books will be about something your child knows how to do really well. Begin talking to your child about some possible ideas of things he/she could write about. Here are some examples of things students have done in the past:
These are just some ideas. Your child is free to pick any topic. Keep in mind also that they will write multiple How To books over the course of the next eight weeks. To assist with your child's writing, simply talk to them about some ideas and talk through the important steps they should include in their book.
We have been learning more about teen numbers and how teen numbers are ten and some more. We have done a lot of problem solving using ten-frames, which has really helped us recognize what a group of 10 looks like. Students have learned that when a 10-frame is filled, they don't need to count every single item in the frame. Instead, they can say 10 and count on from that number. Students are learning that this is a much faster and more efficient way to count.
Students are also learning about the concept of one more and one less. We have referred to these numbers as neighboring numbers. Some skills you can continue to work on at home are:
*counting to 100 by ones
*counting to 100 by tens
*counting to 100 by fives
*writing numbers to 20
We are going to learn about shapes and measurement this trimester. Students will have a lot of fun discovering that our whole world is made up of shapes, and they will learn the importance of measuring.
In addition, we will continue to work on problem solving. Two days a week, we will complete an addition or subtraction story problem with various number choices. They have learned that there are many different ways to solve problems. Some of the strategies they have learned to solve problems have been drawing pictures, acting out the problem, using a 10-frame, and using a number line. When selecting a strategy, it's important for students to consider which way would be the most efficient. This is something we have just begun to discuss.
We have been learning about the 5 senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) in science. Students have learned how scientists use these senses to explore the world around them. They have also learned the importance of sorting. We have practiced sorting noodles and buttons in various ways. Students also came up with various ways we sort at home. Students realized we sort dishes, clothes, food, toys, books, tools, and even movies at home. Have discussions about the various ways you sort. Sorting certainly makes our lives much easier.
In Social Studies, we are learning about how we are all alike and different. We will be learning about how we, as humans, are constantly changing. We will learn how we have all changed over time and will focus on the terms past, present, and future. At some point this year, students will create a book about how they have changed over time.
This page is going to be used throughout the year to tell you about the learning going on in the classroom. I will post pictures, possibly some videos, and descriptions about our adventures!