Students had so much fun playing in the snow on Friday. We were able to get outside just before the temperature dropped, and my goodness, students reveled in the snow! Their love and excitement for the white powder was contagious! Here are some pictures and videos from that recess. I had to include a picture of my infamous mittens, which have been named Hedgie and Hoggie (since they are hedge hog mittens)! I, too, had so much fun!

Not only have my students had fun in the snow, they have also had so much fun learning in the classroom. Read to find out what we are doing in each subject area.

In reading, students have learned several strategies to help them comprehend and decode unknown words. For comprehension, students have learned to stop and check for understanding by asking themselves, 'What did I just read?' Students have learned to retell the story at that point. If they are able to retell, students know they understood what they read. If they are not able to retell, students understand that they need to back up and reread. Students have learned that the most important thing they do as a reader is to understand what they are reading.

Decoding strategies have involved getting their mouths ready to say the first sound, as well as cross-checking by asking this question: Does it look right, sound right, and make sense? If the answer is yes to each part of that question, most likely the word is correct. One thing you can do to reinforce these strategies if your child comes to an unknown word is to remind him/her to get his/her mouth ready to say the first sound (have your child say the first sound). Then have them search through the rest of the word to think of a word that looks right and makes sense. Then ask them, "Does that look right, sound right, and make sense?"

In addition to comprehension and accuracy/decoding strategies, students have learned that fluency involves more than just expression. Students have learned that reading at an appropriate pace is also important. They understand that pace is really important...that reading too slow or too fast can affect all areas of reading. Students recognize how important it is to read at an appropriate pace.

One of the other exciting things that happened over the last few weeks in my classroom is something called I-Pick. This stands for Independently picking books. Students have practiced selecting books from my library and have done this for the past few weeks. These are the perfect books for students to practice reading the pictures, and depending on the book, reading the words as well.

Once students had a few months to really explore my library and learn the different ways my library was organized (by author, genre, topic, and series), my students were able to pick 3 books to add to their browsing boxes to read for the week. I-Pick will be done each Friday by returning books and picking out new books to learn or to enjoy. Students have learned that there are two reasons to pick a book: to enjoy and to learn.All in all, my students see themselves as readers and love every aspect of it! I am so proud of their passion and love for learning.

Guided Reading has gone well. I am still meeting with two groups a day. I'm hoping to begin meeting with three groups a day after Thanksgiving break. Every lesson involves rereading a book from the day before, word work (when students work with letters and/or words), reading a new book, and then discussing that book to check for understanding.

**Reading**In reading, students have learned several strategies to help them comprehend and decode unknown words. For comprehension, students have learned to stop and check for understanding by asking themselves, 'What did I just read?' Students have learned to retell the story at that point. If they are able to retell, students know they understood what they read. If they are not able to retell, students understand that they need to back up and reread. Students have learned that the most important thing they do as a reader is to understand what they are reading.

Decoding strategies have involved getting their mouths ready to say the first sound, as well as cross-checking by asking this question: Does it look right, sound right, and make sense? If the answer is yes to each part of that question, most likely the word is correct. One thing you can do to reinforce these strategies if your child comes to an unknown word is to remind him/her to get his/her mouth ready to say the first sound (have your child say the first sound). Then have them search through the rest of the word to think of a word that looks right and makes sense. Then ask them, "Does that look right, sound right, and make sense?"

In addition to comprehension and accuracy/decoding strategies, students have learned that fluency involves more than just expression. Students have learned that reading at an appropriate pace is also important. They understand that pace is really important...that reading too slow or too fast can affect all areas of reading. Students recognize how important it is to read at an appropriate pace.

One of the other exciting things that happened over the last few weeks in my classroom is something called I-Pick. This stands for Independently picking books. Students have practiced selecting books from my library and have done this for the past few weeks. These are the perfect books for students to practice reading the pictures, and depending on the book, reading the words as well.

Once students had a few months to really explore my library and learn the different ways my library was organized (by author, genre, topic, and series), my students were able to pick 3 books to add to their browsing boxes to read for the week. I-Pick will be done each Friday by returning books and picking out new books to learn or to enjoy. Students have learned that there are two reasons to pick a book: to enjoy and to learn.All in all, my students see themselves as readers and love every aspect of it! I am so proud of their passion and love for learning.

Guided Reading has gone well. I am still meeting with two groups a day. I'm hoping to begin meeting with three groups a day after Thanksgiving break. Every lesson involves rereading a book from the day before, word work (when students work with letters and/or words), reading a new book, and then discussing that book to check for understanding.

**Writing**My students have continued to deepen their understanding of how to write personal narratives, or true stories, from our lives. One of the big focuses has been to include a beginning, a middle, and an end. Students understand that the beginning should tell the reader what this book is about (i.e. One day I went to the park.). They have learned that the middle tells what happens in the story through a sequence of events (i.e. First, I went down the slide. Then I went on the monkey bars. Last I went on the swings.). Students have also learned that an ending should include how they felt (i.e. It was so much fun. I was so happy!). This understanding of a narrative structure will continue to serve them well for years to come.

Another aspect we have focused on has been adding details to make our writing even more interesting. Instead of just saying, 'One day, I went to the park', students have learned that a few details might be, 'One HOT day, I went to a REALLY FUN park.' They have also learned that if they want to add a word to their pre-existing writing, they can add a caret instead of erasing everything.

In addition, students have learned how important it is to reread writing to see if it makes sense. If it doesn't make sense or if it's difficult to read, my students understand that they need to make changes to their writing to make it easier to read by adding/erasing words or rewriting sloppy writing. They have also learned when to use a capital letter (beginning of a sentence, the word 'I', and names), as well as how to add punctuation to the end of their sentences. They have been asked to reread their writing to see if any changes need to be made with capital letters and/or punctuation. This is really my students' first experience with the revising and editing process, and they are doing pretty well! With some more practice, students will grow in independence.

My students have written some amazing personal narratives thus far. Last week, students had the chance to choose their best story to revise and edit even more. This week, they will prepare that piece to eventually share it with a first grade class. On Thursday, my students will read their writing to the students in Mrs. Hahn's first grade class. This will be a fun way to end our unit and celebrate all the amazing writing going on in our classroom. I will try to take some videos of students sharing their stories when the celebration occurs. All of the writing from the 1st trimester will come home in a manila envelope next week. I am excited for you to look through your child's writing from the beginning of the year to now. The progress and growth is truly amazing!!!

One of the reasons my students have made so much growth has been through the use of conferring sessions. I meet, or confer, with each student once a week. Each session involves affirming what students are doing well and identifying one things students can work on to make their great writing even better. This becomes their goal. Students have a goal page in their folder that helps them remember their new goal. If the student has applied the goal by the next time we meet, he/she receives a check mark. The goal stays in the folder until the student has received 3 check marks. At that point, the goal/strategy has become a habit. Here is a video of a conferring session with Kroy. His new goal involves leaving spaces between his words. I comment at the end that he's not Quentin, his brother, because I couldn't believe this was really Kroy, a kindergartner, and not his brother who's a 2nd grader. I'm so proud of his work, and he was too!

In math, my students have really grown in their problem solving strategies as well as their understanding of how number sentences work. They have been introduced to new symbols (plus sign +, minus sign - , and equals sign = ). They have learned to count on from the biggest number to be more efficient in their counting strategies (i.e. if they have a group of ten items and three more, they have been taught to say

One of the ways students have developed a deeper sense of how numbers work together is through a practice called number talks. To do a number talk, I usually show students a dot card. Students are then given a minute to look at the dots and see how many different ways they see the dots. Students hold up their fingers to show how many ways they saw the dots. Then I call on a few students to come up and show one of the ways they saw the dots, while I record their thinking. Here is a picture of one of our number talk sessions (see below).

This number talk in particular led students to understand how turn-around facts work (i.e. 1+5=6 and 5+1=6). They saw how the addends were just turned around. Through doing these number talks, my students will become much more comfortable in recording their thinking by using number sentences.

**Math**In math, my students have really grown in their problem solving strategies as well as their understanding of how number sentences work. They have been introduced to new symbols (plus sign +, minus sign - , and equals sign = ). They have learned to count on from the biggest number to be more efficient in their counting strategies (i.e. if they have a group of ten items and three more, they have been taught to say

__, 11, 12, 13). They have also learned a few more games that reinforce the things we are learning regarding addition, subtraction, and number sequencing.__**10**One of the ways students have developed a deeper sense of how numbers work together is through a practice called number talks. To do a number talk, I usually show students a dot card. Students are then given a minute to look at the dots and see how many different ways they see the dots. Students hold up their fingers to show how many ways they saw the dots. Then I call on a few students to come up and show one of the ways they saw the dots, while I record their thinking. Here is a picture of one of our number talk sessions (see below).

This number talk in particular led students to understand how turn-around facts work (i.e. 1+5=6 and 5+1=6). They saw how the addends were just turned around. Through doing these number talks, my students will become much more comfortable in recording their thinking by using number sentences.

Students have continued to do well solving problems in their problem solving journals. One way to help students truly understand the action of the problem (addition or subtraction) is by presenting wordless problems. Replacing the numbers in the problem with the word SOME helps students focus on the action of the problem and not just on the numbers. Students come up with things they notice and wonder about the problem. Then numbers replace the word SOME. Since this picture was taken, students have gotten better about the notice and wonder part of the problem. Students now notice things such as whether we add or subtract and if the amount is getting bigger or smaller (more or less). Students also wonder about the necessary parts of the problem (how many we started with, how much was added or taken away, and how much is there now?).

Students have begun to record their thinking when counting their collections. Many of my students have begun to count collections of objects that have more than 10 or 20 objects. Students have learned the importance of making groups of 10. Here are a few pictures of a couple students' counting collections and their recording sheets (see the last two pictures). Notice how each child made circles and wrote a 10 in the center of each circle, representing the groups of ten he made with the objects. The small circles at the end represented the number of objects left over on the ten-frame.

Students had fun sorting buttons this past week. Students learned that you can sort buttons in lots of different ways: color, size, shape, number of holes, texture, and material. Students also learned that you use sorting in every day life; dishes, laundry, toys, tools, food, etc. Here are some pictures and a few videos of the button sorting.

Many of you have asked about or commented on the number rhymes we use in our classroom. These rhymes help students remember how to write each number. Students said they wanted to share these with you, so I decided to make a video of students writing and saying each number rhyme. Enjoy! I'm sorry for the amount of videos...I'm not talented enough to splice each video into one video!

My students have LOVED science this year. They have learned that scientists ask questions, study the things around them, and think. We continue to learn about forces and motion through the use of experiments. It has been so much fun to discover how we can use pushes and pulls to help solve real-world problems. One of the experiments involved trying to knock a wall down with the use of a pretend wrecking ball. The goal was to knock the wall down without knocking houses down. Students realized pretty quickly that too much force would knock the houses down, but by using just the right amount of force, the houses remained safe. Another experiment involved students trying to keep a bolder from knocking houses down. They had to use push pins to push the bolder to go in another direction. Take a look at the pictures and videos below to see these experiments in action. Sorry, in advance, for the noise. Science can be a bit noisy!

**Science**My students have LOVED science this year. They have learned that scientists ask questions, study the things around them, and think. We continue to learn about forces and motion through the use of experiments. It has been so much fun to discover how we can use pushes and pulls to help solve real-world problems. One of the experiments involved trying to knock a wall down with the use of a pretend wrecking ball. The goal was to knock the wall down without knocking houses down. Students realized pretty quickly that too much force would knock the houses down, but by using just the right amount of force, the houses remained safe. Another experiment involved students trying to keep a bolder from knocking houses down. They had to use push pins to push the bolder to go in another direction. Take a look at the pictures and videos below to see these experiments in action. Sorry, in advance, for the noise. Science can be a bit noisy!

Another science experiment we did last week involved bowling. Students had the chance to think about how bumpers can be used to help the bowling ball knock down all of the pins. Students learned that the bumpers help push the ball in another direction. Students were able to try this out with white boards acting as the bumpers to try to get a strike. Here are some pictures and a few videos of the experiment.

A presenter from Hitchcock Nature Center came in last week to teach us more about pushes and pulls. Students learned that beavers have to use their paws that don't have thumbs to help push logs to make their dams. Students had to work together to cause a harder force to move the pretend logs. Students also worked together to move pretend mud (which was a sheet). Here are some pictures from that presentation.

With this trimester soon coming to a close, I am so excited about all of the things my students are learning. They have made so much growth! As the year continues, I am sure of one thing: I am very lucky and blessed to be these students' teacher. They are an amazing bunch of kids!