In the last few months, we have been learning about measurement, comparing numbers, and problem solving. Students have learned how to measure using nonstandard units (cubes, paperclips, etc.) and have learned how to compare objects using weight, length, and height. They have also learned how to compare numbers and make statements such as, '5 is more than 3' and '3 is less than 5'.
Problem solving continues to be something we work on every week. Students are learning that there are multiple ways to solve problems. We are beginning to decipher the most efficient way to solve each problem.
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
- counting by ones from 1 to 100
- counting by fives and tens to 100
- writing numbers 1 to 100
- the concept of addition (adding more) and subtraction (taking away)
- addition and subtraction symbols and what they mean (+/-)
- the meaning of the equal sign (= means 'the same as')
- fluently adding/subtracting facts within 5
One of the things we have focused on lately has been the concept of equality. My students have learned that equals means the same as. They have had some practice determining whether an equality sentence is equal or not. For example, I have shown my students some of the following sentences:
- 5 = 5 (True)
- 5 = 5 + 0 (True)
- 0 + 5 = 5 + 0 (True)
- 0 + 5 = 2 + 3 (True)
- 0 + 5 = 3 + 3 (False)
- 0 + 5 = 5 + 1 (False)
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 while including these elements.
As you already know, we have been learning more about non-fiction books. After studying published informational books, we have been 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, using comparisons, giving tips and warnings, 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.
Once we have finished our How-To Unit, we will once again write 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. I'm excited for you to see their writing at conferences.
In science, we continue to learn about body parts and their functions. Ms. Schwery's class has come in for our science lessons, and as always, students have had a lot of fun. Students have had the chance to label various body parts on an outline of a body. We have also learned that each body part is useful and has a certain job to do. To help students learn the importance of each body part, we have performed a few experiments. Their first job was to eat a chocolate Twinkie without using their hands. Their second experiment was to get from one side of the room to the other using rolling carts instead of their feet. Students learned that it's much easier to do these tasks using their hands and their feet. Here are some pictures and videos from the experiments.