Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Week Gone By!

It's hard to believe that we are halfway through October already!!  The weeks are flying by!  We have been very busy in Room 13 this week - keep reading to find out more!

This week, students were reintroduced to “SNEAKY E” (aka: King Ed, or Silent E). Students’ spelling lists had a few short a review words (with the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern) as well as some words with the a_e pattern. This pattern creates a “long a” sound (aayy). The _ (underscore) represents a consonant. Words that follow this pattern include:
game                 slate
made                place
grape                 lane

The e in these words is silent, but it causes the a to “say its name” (aaayyy). Students should be aware that this is just one way to spell the long a sound.

Suggestion: Point out words that follow this pattern as you go about your daily lives. They are more common than you think – and students will enjoy “hunting” for these words. (This activity will reinforce and strengthen students’ ability to identify and recognize spelling/word patterns!)

This was an exciting week in reading because we read our first Time For Kids article! This week, the selection was titled “Fighting the Fire.” From this selection, students learned all about forest fires and the many different roles that firefighters have. They were even introduced to an old friend, Smokey the Bear! (He was actually a “new friend” to most of them!!) Ask your child to tell you a few interesting facts that they learned about fires this week!
Since this was the first nonfiction story that we have read from this reading program, we spent a lot of time talking about the different features offered by a nonfiction text. Some of these features include:

 Real/authentic photographs
 Factual information
 Captions
 Glossary
 Index

This week, we have been working really hard to identify the main idea and supporting details of a text.  This is a difficult, but important, skill – one that students will need to utilize throughout their academic career.  It takes a great deal of practice and I really encourage you to reinforce it at home.  You can do this by reading a book together and then coming up with a good sentence that tells what the WHOLE story is about.  Then, work to identify 3 details that support/give information about the main idea. (Students sometimes get confused with facts/details that are interesting and facts/details that are important/supportive). 

Centers and Reading Groups
Students were responsible for 4 reading centers this week, including:

Phonics Center - This center focused on Word Families (words that all share the same rime/ending.) Words in the –ame Word Family, for example, include name, game, shame, etc. The ability to identify Word Families helps students read and spell more difficult words. In this center, students worked to create Word Families with the following rimes:  -ame -ate -ack -ash -ake
They then used tangible cubes to create real words and recorded their ideas.

Grammar Center - This week, students were reminded that every complete sentence must have a subject (who or what the sentence is about). In this center, students cut out 2 pictures from a magazine of a person or animal. They then wrote a complete sentence about each picture and circled the subject.

Buddy Reading - With a partner, students read the short story, Let's Bake a Cake, and hunted for words with short a and long a (a_e) patterns!
Writing Center - Students look through photographs from the 2007 wildfires in California and wrote one statement, one question, and one exclamation about the fires.

Graphic Organizer - After reading a story in their small reading group, students created a web identifying the main idea and details. 

We have been focusing a lot on Name Collections these past few days.  Name Collection Boxes are boxes in which we represent a number in many different ways.

On Friday, we connected math to reading with the story, Pumpkin Heads, by Wendell Minor. After reading and discussing the story (and all the great pumpkin faces illustrated in the book), students created their own Name-Collection Pumpkin Heads! You can see a few below - and check out the rest in person at the Harvest Festival!

This week, students learned more about solids and liquids. They should now understand that solids are a type of matter that has its own shape. That’s not to say that solids can’t change their shape, but it is important for students to understand that they HAVE their own shape. Solids can be hard (desk) or soft (pillow), natural (wood) or people-made (plastic).

Liquids are another type of matter. Liquids take the shape of whatever container they are in. They do NOT have their own shape. Liquids can be thin or thick, heavy or gooey. Ask your child about the fun experiment we did with different containers!

Mystery Reader
Our Mystery Reader today was Mrs. Markey - Julia's mom.  She read two wonderful stories.  Take a look at the pictures below!

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