Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Overview

We made it through our first week back from vacation - and without too many bumps along the way! :)

Math Facts
Before I get into our week, I want to let you know that 2011 brings the beginning of SUBTRACTION math facts.  We had a little “pre-test” on Monday to establish a baseline and see how many subtraction facts students could answer correctly in 3 minutes...suffice it to say, we have a lot of work to do with subtraction!  Students already took the -0 and -1 fact quiz (which most did well on) and we will continue on with -2 next week, working our way up every week, just as we did with addition.  Subtraction facts tend to be more difficult to learn/remember.  Please help your child by practicing these facts regularly.  Remember:  Our end-of-year goal is to complete 50-60 math facts (mixed addition and subtraction) in 3 minutes!!

Here's a look at what we've been up to this week:

We began Unit 3 in the Macmillan reading anthology this week by reading a folktale from Liberia titled, Head, Body, Legs. As we have discussed in class, folktales are fictional stories told in different cultures and passed down from generation to generation. They usually attempt to explain why something is the way it is. This story, for example, tells a story about how the human body was “put together.” Ask your child to tell you about it!!

Students were also introduced to a new reading strategy and a new reading skill this week. The reading strategy is to reread for comprehension. We all know how it is to read a whole sentence, paragraph or even a whole page without actually understanding/remembering what we have read! Good readers self-monitor their comprehension and will notice when this happens. They will then go back and read the sentence, paragraph or page again so that they understand what is happening in the story. Please reinforce this strategy at home and encourage your student to tell you when s/he has gone back to reread!

The reading comprehension skill that we have been working on this week is identifying cause and effect within a story. As we discovered, at least one cause and effect can be found on almost every page of any story!! It’s amazing!

A good way to think about/find cause and effect is to use the word so.
For example:

It was very snowy and icy (cause) .... SO ....  we had a 2-hour delay (effect).

This can be tricky at first, but with practice students will be able to identify many different causes and effects within the same book/story. Have fun!

Students completed 5 reading centers this week, including:

Grammar: Create Verb Man or Verb Woman by listing 5 different action verbs that his/her body parts can do - face, torso, arms, and legs.  Color and cut out your person!

Games: Play the Action Verbs game with a partner by identifying the action verb in a sentence.  Move one space for every correct answer.

Writing:  Write a persuasive letter to me (Mrs. Marzilli), trying to convince me to give you an extra body part.  Give at least 2 reasons why you  need/want this part and what it will help you do.

Comprehension Questions:  After reading in a small group, answer the comprehension questions in complete sentences.

Art:  Complete the Graphic Organizer by matching 4 different causes and effects from this week's story, Head, Body, Legs. Illustrate each circle/box. 

Choice:  Choose and read another folktale with a partner.  Tell about and illustrate your favorite part.

This week, we worked to identify and spell words with the long e (eeeee) sound. As I’m sure you child can tell you, there are many ways to spell the long e sound. Some of the more conventional ways include:

      e              ee                 ea               y/ey
     she           feel               meat           baby           
     began       between       eardrum       monkey

Unfortunately (for students) there are no steadfast rules that guide us in deciding which spelling to use when – other than the fact that y usually makes the long e sound when there is another vowel in the word/syllable. To confuse matters even more, there are a number of exceptions in which other letters make the long e sound (e.g. ski, Hawaii, belief) and when traditional long e spellings don’t sound like long e (e.g. bread, head)! The only way to get better with spelling these words is to read and write more often!

We are putting nouns to rest – for a little while, at least. I think students could use a little more action, don’t you? How about verbs?

Verbs are the words that tell what the subject is DOING in a sentence.
The verbs in the sentences below are underlined:

Bob threw the ball to Jake.

Mary sat down in the chair.

Action verbs don’t always clearly show action, however. Look the following sentences:

Johnny feels scared.

Sophia likes carrot cake.

Although they can sometimes be tricky, action verbs are the easiest to identify. I will be introducing other kinds of verbs over the next few weeks, so it is important that students are comfortable with action verbs.

Suggestion: Hunt for action verbs in your everyday life. Billboards, cereal boxes, and newspapers/comics are just a few places students can find verbs!

We finished up most of our How-To articles before vacation but a few more were completed this week!  Some of these included How-To:

• Make a Snowman
• Surprise Someone with a Gift
• Make a Turkey and Cheese Sandwich
• Make a Tire Swing
• Water a Plant
• Clean Your Room
• Get Ready to Play in the Snow
• Make a Fort
• Make an English Muffin Pizza

…and more!

What did your child write about? How many steps did s/he need?

Students have been working hard to create Geometry Photo Journals (using Microsoft PowerPoint) with the pictures you helped them take during our Geometry Photo Hunt. We still have work to do, but I will try to post the finished products on the website for you to enjoy!

Can you believe that we are almost through another math unit already? As you know, students were introduced to 3D shapes this week and worked hard to compare/contrast them, using the new vocabulary terms/words learned.  Later in the week, students learned more about pyramids …as I’m sure you know! On Thursday, they worked with straws and twist-ties to create their very own 3D pyramids! They then worked with a partner to create pyramids with different-shaped bases. What pattern did they discover?? 

Look at the pictures below to see students working to create their "masterpieces!"

On Friday, students were introduced to the idea of symmetry!  They were challenged to find lines of symmetry by folding and re-folding various shapes made out of paper.  This might be a concept to review at home and something to "hunt" for this weekend!

Some fun Geometry Websites include:
Geometry – Fling the Teacher

Geometry – ShapeShifter

We are wrapping up Part 1 of our Maps & Globes unit.  This week, students learned about a few different kinds of maps.  Here is what they now know:

• Climate Maps are maps that describe the climate – or long-term, typical weather patterns.

• Resource/Product Maps are maps that show the products that are grown, raised, or found in an area.

• Physical Maps are maps that show what the Earth’s surface looks like – e.g. mountains, rivers, and more!

*Students can expect an assessment in Social Studies sometime next week.

Our Mystery Reader this week was Mrs. White, Cassie's mom!! Mrs. White read TWO fabulous stories these week including Owl Moon and The Kissing Hand. After reading them, Mrs. White DONATED them to our classroom library for students to enjoy again and again! Thank you so much for your generosity, Mrs. White! I know that students will love reading these books!

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