Friday, November 19, 2010

I wasn't sure if we were going to make it - but Friday is here! :)  I'm sure you are all looking forward to the weekend - it sounds like some of you have some great plans!

Before I get started with an overview of our week, I would like to remind you of a few things:
1.  Permission forms and money for the Field Trip are due no later than December 3. If you need another permission slip or more information, please let me know ASAP.
2.  I am still looking for 2 parent volunteers for Tuesday's Math Lab from 8:45-9:45am.  Please email me if interested/willing!
3.  Next week is a super-short week.  Students will NOT have a spelling list next week OR a Math Fact Quiz.  Please remember that Wednesday is an Early Dismissal Day (11:25) and lunch will NOT be served.  (Students should still bring in a snack, though!)

Thank you, as always, for all of your help!

I'm Not a Turkey!
First of all, I have to say that I LOVE the turkeys-in-disguise that found their way into our classroom this week!!  After sharing their hard (and creative) work, students worked to complete short poems, told from their turkey's perspective.  They are great!  I hope you have a chance to come in to school and see them.  They are proudly displayed outside our classroom! 

This week, we read Joan Hewett’s story, A Harbor Seal Pup Grows Up. This nonfiction selection tells about a seal pup named Sidney who was abandoned by her mother, rescued, and nursed back to health by caring scientists. Sidney was then released back into the wild to live (happily) with other seals.

This week, we worked really hard to accurately identify and sequence (put in order) important events in a story. At this point in time, we are really trying to sequence events according to what happens first, next, and last.

Suggestion: To reinforce summarizing and sequencing at home, ask your child to tell you about his/her day (orally). Encourage him/her to tell you about the important things that happened at school and to tell them in order. Using time-order words (such as first, next, then, after, finally, and last) will be helpful!

This week, students were responsible for 5 reading centers. They included:

Art Center: Students read and sequenced three groups of sentences about this week’s story. They then illustrated and colored each one.

Phonics: Students created real words with the Phonics Cubes by combining blends and different word families. After recording their words, students highlighted the blends and wrote two complete sentences using their new words.

Graphic Organizer: After reading a small book with their reading group, students recorded 6 newly learned facts.

Games: With a partner, students played the “S” game. After drawing a card, students move 1 space if they just add –s to make the word on the card plural or they move 2 spaces if the word is made plural by adding –es.

Grammar: Students created a flipchart demonstrating their understanding of “tricky” plural nouns.

Nouns & Blends Packet:  Students completed a short packet reviewing the concepts learned this week.

Choice - Antonyms: Students match ice cream cones to ice cream scoops by matching the antonyms. After recording each match, students then create two of their own.

Community Reader
Speaking of reading, Friday was Community Reader Day at Elmwood School!  Our Community Reader was Mr. da Mont from the Hopkinton School Committee.  Mr. da Mont read the story, Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel - which tells the fictional story of Miss Bridie's journey to America and the one possession she was able to take with her...a shovel.  Ask your child to tell you about the usefulness of this shovel!

We moved away from short and long vowels this week and looked more closely at consonant blends. A consonant blend is when two consonants are “blended” together in a word – but you can still hear both sounds. (FYI: SH/TH/CH are NOT consonant blends because you don't hear both sounds!!) 
For example, “st” is a very common consonant blend (think: still, rest, etc.) and you can hear both the “s” and the “t” when you say words with this blend. Although they are frequently found in the beginning of words, consonant blends can be found in the middle and end of words too!

There are many different consonant blend combinations, but this week’s spelling list focused on the following four:     sp sl dr sk

Although both sounds are heard, children often forget to include one of the letters when spelling words with these blends. Slowing down and sounding out words as they write will help!

Who knew there was so much to learn about nouns! By now, students should know what a noun is (a person, place, thing or animal) and know that all complete sentences must have at least one noun. They should also know that some nouns are common (everyday, ordinary) and some are proper (special, unique). Common nouns begin with lower case letters, while proper nouns are capitalized.

Common nouns        Proper nouns
boy                        Joey
town                      Hopkinton
dog                        Spot

This week, we learned about singular nouns (just one) and plural nouns (more than one).

Students should now understand that we make MOST nouns plural just by adding s.
Some nouns, however, need an “es.”
** We add “es” to words that end with s, sh, ch, x, and z
(because if we just added “s” they would sound funny…try it!).

regular         s              sh           ch            x
trees         glasses      ashes      benches     foxes
moms        buses       wishes     itches        axes
schools      dresses     dishes     watches     boxes

Be careful – this can be tricky! 

We have been working really hard this week to elaborate upon our Personal Narratives.  I am hoping these will be completed early next week.  Pictures to come!

We wrapped up Unit 3 this week, and students were assessed on Thursday. (Please make sure to sign and return these math tests to me ASAP!) Students should now have a more concrete and comfortable understanding of money, place value, and time.

*Please encourage your child to keep practicing how to make change! This is a difficult concept and one that needs a LOT of review!

On Friday, we began Unit 4, which focuses on more advanced addition and subtraction strategies. Students were introduced to a new diagram to help them organize important mathematical information.  The name of this diagram is the Start-Change-End diagram, which is used to organize information about something that changes over time (like weight, temperature, etc.).

** Heads-Up! This is the unit in which the double- and triple-digit addition is introduced (with and without regrouping). We teach a very specific algorithm - called Partial Sums - to help students understand the process…no more “carrying!” Don’t worry - additional information will go home with students after Thanksgiving about this new method so that you can learn along with your child!

We are moving right along with our study of Maps & Globes.  This week, students learned about early maps and how they were made. Paper had not been invented yet, so how did people draw maps? What did they use? See if your child remembers that early maps were made in/on:
* dirt
* clay
* stone
* tree bark
* animal skins

Later in the week, students worked to identify some of the common features of maps, including a title and a compass rose.

1. The title tells us what the map is showing.

2. A compass rose tells us the cardinal directions: North, South, East and West. This concept was just introduced, so we are working to solidify understanding.  One way we have been doing that is through some physical activity - students truly enjoy hopping north, taking baby steps east, jumping west, and spinning south!! 

Our Mystery Reader today was Mrs. Potenzone - Ryan's mom!  (He was definitely surprised!)  Mrs. Potenzone read THREE stories to us this afternoon, including The Missing Mitten Mystery,  Fidgety Fish, and The Commotion in the Ocean.  Thank you so much for spending some time with us, Mrs. Potenzone!!

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