Holiday party was awesome! Thank you to all who sent items in and/or came in to help out! The kids and I really appreciate all the wonderful things you all do for us!
Our kids have become EXPERTS about caribou from all the research we have conducted recently! WOW! They were so excited to share their non-fiction writing pieces they crafted from all the knowledge they have gained about caribou. Kids were asked to choose between sharing their work with a whole class from a different school via video chat, read it to an adult in our school or read it to a kindergartener in our school. This was fantastic because the kids could choose their comfort level in presenting to others. We had a lot of positive feedback from everyone who had a chance to learn from us. The kindergarten teacher made it a point to stop me today to say how impressed she was with their learning!
Our trip around the world to learn about other cultures and celebrations had us learn about Diwali and Hanukkah! We read books, researched online, watched video clips, did crafts (rangoli patterns that came home) and learned how to play Dreidel.
In word study we kicked off our unit on how understanding syllables can help us as readers and writers. We discovered that a way to count syllables in a word is to track when your jaw drops/ opens up (as can be seen in the picture of our 2 boys above!). We sorted all of our first names based on the number of syllables in them. We also "Drummed" on our chairs different words to count the number of syllables in them. Lastly we made the discovery through observing words split into their syllables that each syllable contains a vowel in it. Ask your kid to tell you how many syllables are in the words: alligator, panda, Mrs. Brothers, pencil, and book!
We have finished the research process of learning about caribou and taking notes to help us track our knowledge. This week the kids worked on taking their research notes and turning them into complete sentences to create a non-fiction writing piece on caribou. I modeled this process for them and have been conferring with kids while they are writing. When they are finished writing their non-fiction piece they are meeting with their writing partner to revise and edit their work. Lastly, they are reading aloud their piece next week to either an adult in our school, another student in our school not in our class or to a whole class through video chat. The kids picked what type of sharing environment they were comfortable with and I am organizing all their "appointments" to teach others about caribou.
Today we started to look carefully at subtraction strategies to help us solve story problems. The number one most helpful tip I can give is for kids to SLOW DOWN AND THINK about what is happening in the problem. I have them close their eyes and picture the story happening in front of them. I then ask questions like "What happened?", "Did the amount get bigger or smaller?", "Did a group join or leave?"...these questions help them comprehend the problem and then make a decision on if the problem is an addition or subtraction situation.
In the picture above you can see the various ways we discussed how to solve subtraction problems. Early subtraction solvers are going to draw out the picture and cross off to find the difference or count backwards. I have the kids write it all out so they can see their process and to hold them accountable for accuracy. Eventually we want kids to move towards using a number line or 100 chart or even use basic facts to help them.
We have continued to take a close look at digraphs in our reading and writing. We are finishing up the stage of noticing them around us in print. Today as we researched Caribou we took a moment to zero in on the "th" digraph in the text. We are also tracking words we read in books that have digraphs (th, sh, ch, wh). The kids are getting very quick at pointing out a digraph when they come across one. At home while reading books, looking at things online, looking at ads in the paper or anytime you are looking at print invite your child to search and find words with digraphs! Later this week we will move towards exploring making words with digraphs and paying close attention to when we write words with digraphs.
Today our whole school got the opportunity to go and see the Coffman High School musical "How To Eat Like A Child" performed by some of their staff members. The kids had a lot of fun and LAUGHED a lot!!! I was very impressed by their excellent behavior and very proud of them as well. In the last picture in the Cincinnati Reds shirt is Coffman High School's principal who is also my former math high school math teacher. It was a treat to be able to see him perform and afterwards introduce him to my students!
In Reading Workshop we have started working on more comprehension strategies - retelling and comparing/contrasting! We are going to read several different variations of the story The Gingerbread Man. We read the original to get familiar with the storyline. We then read 2 different versions so far - The Gingerbread Baby and The Gingerbread Man Loose In The School. Each day we talked about the elements of a good retelling: characters, setting, beginning, middle and end of the story and we need to include details. The kids first orally retold the stories to partners and then we worked on writing down or drawing our retellings. We are first doing this as a whole class so they can learn the expectations of a retelling. We then compared and contrasted these two versions as a class. Above is the result of our conversation!
We started discovering about Reindeer together this week by first visiting Wonderopolis.com to learn if reindeer live outside of the North Pole (http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-reindeer-live-outside-the-north-pole/). We discussed the meaning of the words frigid and tundra. We then started using the PebbleGo.com resource to read about the body and habitat of the reindeer, which are also called caribou. We are learning how to take notes while researching to keep track of our information.
We also started learning about fact families in math. Students were asked to work in groups to discover ways they could fill a toy box with dolls and trucks to come up with combinations of a total number of toys given to them. We then built models of this to create addition sentences based on those combinations. Then we talked about what would happen if they took the dolls or trucks out of the toy box and what subtraction sentences would be represented by that. There is a video of our conversation on our website (
We earned extra P.E. time with Mrs. Grissom and we wrote a letter persuading her to let us use the parachute. It worked! The kids had a BALL playing with the parachute the day before Thanksgiving break.