We have been working very hard on a unit about shapes. Students have learned that shapes can be 2-dimensional or 3 dimensional. They have also learned that shapes have different attributes or characteristics to help describe them. These are the shapes we are working on: triangle, square, rectangle. circle, trapezoid, hexagon, cube, sphere, cone, cylinder, and pyramid.
Listed below are some other skills we are working on in math. Please help by reinforcing these things at home:
- one more/one less
- 10 and some more (i.e. 10+3=13, 10+5=15, 10+7=17)...this concept has been developed through the use of ten-frames (see above)
- counting from 1 to 100
- counting by fives and tens to 100
- writing numbers 1 to 50
- the concept of addition (adding more) and subtraction (taking away)
- addition and subtraction symbols and what they mean (+/-)
- addition/subtraction facts within 5
Comprehension is the ultimate goal in reading. In the end, I want students to understand what they read. We have also been working on accuracy (reading words correctly). As books get more difficult, students will encounter trickier words. One way I encourage students to help them figure out unknown words is to think about what word would look right and make sense. This strategy is called cross checking. As your child is reading at home and he/she comes to an unknown word, encourage him/her to think of a word that looks right AND makes sense. This is a skill that will help them for many years to come.
In addition, 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 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 how to do something. They have learned that the purpose of writing this type of book is to teach other people how to do something. Students have studied a variety of published How-To books to learn common characteristics found within this type of writing. They have in turn attempted to incorporate these characteristics in their own books. Here are some of the characteristics: using the words you and your (not I and my), listing steps in order with numbers, using sequence words to help explain the steps, including detailed pictures and/or diagrams, and incorporating a beginning, a middle, and an end. Students have enjoyed writing this type of book and are excited to share one with you at conferences.
We will work on these How-To books until the end of the month, and then we will, once again, work on personal narratives. It will be important that students understand the difference between these two types of writing (one is to teach or to inform, and the other is to tell a true story). Whether writing personal narrative or how-to books, students are making a lot of progress in writing. A few skill
We have learned about how calendars work. We have also studied the importance of holidays and traditions. Students have learned that we are all very different and that we celebrate holidays in different ways.
In science, we continue to learn how to think like scientists by studying various concepts. We have studied weather, the five senses, and states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases). The main thing we try to do in science, is question why things are the way they are. One experiment we did last week dealt with water. I challenged my students to think about how to change water into a solid and a gas. Using knowledge they already had, students realized they needed to freeze the water to change the state from a liquid to a solid. I asked how we were going to do that, and one student suggested we put a container of water outside in the snow. Sure enough, this worked! I cannot even begin to explain how excited my students were when we discovered that our experiment worked. Then, I asked students how we were going to change water into a gas. Knowing that heat is necessary to change liquid to a gas, students suggested we heat water in the microwave. We are going to test that out this week. It will be fun to see if this works!