Thank you to everyone who came on the trip to Udvar-Hazy Museum with us! We had a great time. We saw planes that break the sound barrier, many wartime planes, mail planes, the Whooping Crane assist plane and of course the Space Shuttle!
We have been busy in the classroom and here are some highlights:
Math: Students have been breaking totals into two parts. We use these parts to write addition and subtraction equations. In November we were focused on totals of ten or less. As we head into December and January we will be looking at numbers greater than ten. We have begun to explore the idea of place value...the idea that 17 is really a group of ten and 7 extras. Please look for letters in both English and Spanish that will come home to explain this in more depth! Students also have a chance each day in class to play games that build their number sense and help them practice their addition facts. Ask them which ones are their favorites!
Reading: Our focus in November was the idea that good readers compare and contrast books, characters, settings and events in stories. We read oodles and oodles of books and even took our comparing and contrasting skills to Discovery Lab where we compared and contrasted insects. This month we are focused on getting to know the characters in our books. We are learning about character traits and how evidence from the book can support our opinions about their traits. We will be reading many versions of the Gingerbread Man and looking at the traits of the different main characters. We will celebrate the end of this unit by making gingerbread houses on December 19. More details to come! January will bring a focus on what we call story mapping. We will be looking at plot and story problems /solutions in fiction texts.
Writing: I hope everyone enjoyed reading their child’s book from the beginning of the year. We have published another round of books this time focused on non-fiction HOW TO books. Stop by the board outside the room to learn about topics from How to Mop the Floor to How to Draw Sonic Shoes! This month we are focused on making our writing easy to read. Students are concentrating on making their work legible by sitting the letters on the line, using capitals and lowercase letters appropriately and spelling the words we have been working on in homework each week correctly.
Journals: Thank you to everyone for your support in getting the November Journal done! As a parent I know that can be challenging at times! For December, as you know, we have reduced the entries to five. We have given some story starter ideas but students are welcome to write about whatever they like! I have enjoyed reading those that have been sent in. Please encourage your child to write at least three sentences per entry. I’m looking forward to reading more of them this Friday!
Social Studies: In November we learned about the parts of a map. We made our own maps of real or fictional places. We began learning about what city (county),state, country and continent we live in. This is challenging for young children. Most of them know Virginia and what it looks like. You can help by reinforcing this whenever you have a chance at home. COUNTRY v STATE is the biggest confusion.
Science: In December we are beginning a unit of Matter. We will be investigating solids and liquids and becoming clear on the definition of both. We will look at solids dissolving in water and liquids mixing with other liquids. As we head into January we will turn our focus to Force and Motion. We will experiment with how objects become in motion and the pathways objects take. We will look at how you change the path and the speed of an object. Both of these units are very hands on and the children love them! Dr. Sullivan and Ms. Cohen will follow up on these units in their classes helping the children to solidify their understandings!
Thank you once again for making my birthday so special. Some of the flowers are still hanging on strong! Your kindness is much appreciated!
Be on the look out for a letter about how you can help us prepare for the Gingerbread House activity!
Happy Winter to all!
We have gotten off to a fantastic start to the year! It was great to spend more time getting to know you and your child at Parent-Teacher Conferences. Thank you for making the time to be there.
I wanted to let you know what we have been up to in class over the last month and give you a peek at what is coming up!
Math: Students have been learning how to write addition equations to represent problems they build with cubes or tiles. They have been listening to, reading and writing their own addition story problems and representing them with equations. Ask them if these equations are true, 8=8 and 5=2+3 or 4+2=3+3! They were pretty excited to learn this type of notation. We also learned how to represent an expression that was NOT equal, see if they remember! Moving forward into October we will continue to build on this base and begin learning about representing subtraction equations. We will also look at the differences in representing equations vertically and horizontally.
Reading: We have been busy reading reading reading! Each day I have read at least two books to them introducing them to different types of books that they can use to practice their reading of words. We have I Can Read Books, Dr. Seuss Books, collections of Biscuit books, Pinkalicious books, non-fiction books, and oh so many more. We have learned that good readers make connections when they read. They make text to self connections, text to text connections and text to world connections. This month we are looking at comparing and contrasting characters, settings and plots in books we read.
Reading groups have also started. Your child meets with me for 15-20 minutes multiple times throughout the week. Some students work also with Mr. Stewart during this reading time. Students who are not meeting with the teacher are reading independently or working on a computer on RAZ-KIDS.com. Your child can access their assignments at home if they want. Simply go to raz-kids.com. Click student login. My class is : jfloresaaa. They click on their name. Type in their student number/lunch number and off they go. You can access this as a parent by clicking parent login and using the same information. Let me know if you have any trouble!
Writing: Students have been very busy being writers. They have all published a book and if you didn’t get a chance to read it during conferences it is still hanging outside our classroom! We have been working on writing more on one topic, sitting our letters on the lines and making sure we have spaces between our words. We have also had some formal handwriting practice and that will continue throughout the year. Next week we begin our word study program which you may think of as spelling. There will not be a formal list to study at home, so do not worry if you don’t see that!
Science and Social Studies: Students are busy learning about the sun and our moon. We have learned about why the sun appears to move in our sky each day. We have discussed rotation as the reason we have day and night. This week we have been learning about the lunar cycle, moon phases and where the light on the moon comes from. Next week we will review the cause of shadows and look at how and why shadows change shape and position throughout the day.
Prior to this students learned about the symbols of they United States of America. We discussed the flag, the Washington Monument, the Liberty Bell and the bald eagle. Later in the year we will have a teacher from the White House come visit us to lead us on a symbol hunt through the Presidential Seal, the White House and the Oval Office through materials she brings.
Halloween: We are busy reading lots of great Halloween books and poems in class and students are getting excited! We will be having our annual Halloween parade at school this year. It will begin at 2:00 pm on October 31st. If you would like to join us you can arrive at 1:45 to help children change into costumes and walk with us around the neighborhood. When we get back I would like to have a small treat for the students. If you can donate plates or napkins, a donut or cookie treat, fruit or small water bottles for 20 please let me know!
Thank you for all your support and communication thus far! We are off to a great start!
:) Jen Flores