Friday, April 8, 2011

The Kenyans Are Coming!
We have been very busy preparing for the visit from the Kenyan marathon runners next Thursday! Students have been researching and learning all about some of our Kenyan visitors. This week, students began researching the Kenyan runners - reading short biographies about each one and identifying 3 important/interesting facts.  They used this information to begin creating a HUGE mural!  We hope to have this mural finished early next week and plan to display it in the hallway so everyone can read/learn about the many accomplishments of these elite athletes.

Ask: Who did your child research? What is one thing s/he learned about him/her?

In addition to this mural, students also “posed” in a running position and, with the help of our fabulous parent volunteers (Mrs. McCarron and Ms. Chabot), had their silhouettes drawn and cut out. These 19 silhouettes will look really amazing running down the hallway and if you have a chance, you should come by and take a look! I bet you will be able to identify your child just by his/her silhouette (I know I can)!

Marathon Fitness Challenge
Keep an eye out for some information going home next Monday about the Marathon Fitness Challenge. Students will be “challenged” to run a total of 26.2 miles over the course of the next few weeks (in PE class as well as at home). We will be graphing our totals as the weeks go on – I hope this encourages everyone to get outside and run!

Report Cards
Report cards were distributed on Friday. Hopefully there isn't anything in there that is too surprising!  If you have any questions, please let me know - otherwise, please sign and return the ENVELOPE as soon as possible.

Our Week in Review:
This was a review week in reading, during which students reviewed some of the important skills and concepts learned over the past 5 weeks, including making inferences, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, comparative and superlative adjectives, inflected verbs, compound words, contractions and more!  Students put this knowledge to the test with an assessment on Thursday!

This week, all students had the same spelling list. The list contained words with phonics rules/patterns that we have focused on in the last 5 weeks. These rules/patterns included:

“Bossy R” (r-controlled vowels)
• ar (start)
• or (porch)
• er, ir, ur (her, first, turn)

the “ugh” sound
• oo (book)
• ou (could)

the “ooooo” sound
• oo (moon)
• ui (fruit)
• ew (stew)
• oe (shoe)

the “awwww” sound
• aw (straw)
• au (pause)

As we do with every review, students' spelling test was in the form of a dictation this week, which assesses ALL of their spelling and writing skills!!  Check your child's spelling notebook next week to see how s/he did!

Over the past few weeks, we have been learning a lot about irregular past-tense verbs. (We call them “crazy verbs” in class!) Instead of following the rule and adding –ed when using these verbs in the past tense, irregular verbs change completely! This makes them tricky to remember (and spell)! As a class, we have identified and discussed a BUNCH of these verbs including:

see – saw           go – went        write – wrote
do – did             run – ran          dive - dove
give – gave        sing – sang       drink – drank

and my favorites:
catch - caught
bring – brought
(contrary to popular belief…   bringed, brang, and brung are NOT words!)

There are TONS more!! Now that students are aware of these verbs, please encourage them to use them correctly in their speech and writing!

Students have also been working more with contractions - including a BINGO game played earlier in the week! At this point, most students understand that contractions are a “short cut” way of saying two words and that the apostrophe takes the place of one or two letters. The tricky part now is remembering where to PUT that apostrophe! Help your child with contractions…practice makes perfect!

This week, we began Unit 9 – the Measurement Unit. Although seemingly straightforward, this unit can get a little tricky. I have discovered, for example, that many students automatically begin measuring objects with the very end of a ruler/measuring tape – without checking to see if that is where the “0” mark is! This can result in inaccurate measurements!
Interesting Fact:  Did you know that when the Hubble telescope was originally sent into space it didn’t work?  Astronomers soon discovered that there was a miscalculation in measurement by just 1 millimeter!  I guess it is important to be precise in our measurements!

On Tuesday, after reading a great math story titled, How Big is a Foot, we learned that it is important to have “standard units of measurement” so that information can be shared and understood by everyone to mean the same thing. To better understand this idea, we measured the length of our classroom with different children…and, as we expected, found out that the classroom was different lengths, depending on which children were used (and how tall they were).

For the rest of the week, we reviewed and discussed some of the different ways we measure straight lines (linear measurements). We compared different systems (U.S. vs. Metric System) as well as the different tools and units within these systems. As a refresher:

US Customary System:   inches, feet, yards, and miles

Metric System: millimeters, centimeters, decimeters, meters, and kilometers

We also determined these equivalencies:
1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches
1 foot = 12 inches

I meter = 10 decimeters = 100 centimeters
1 decimeter = 10 centimeters
1 centimeter = 10 millimeters

We will be working with measurement for the next few weeks.  Please review these concepts at home!
We finished learning about different landforms this week and, as a cumulative project, students created "landform mobiles!"   Each of these mobiles shows off 6 different landforms - complete with definitions and beautifully illustrated pictures.  I hope to have these mobiles hung for all to see/enjoy in the classroom next week!  Feel free to take a peek! 
Our Mystery ReaderS this week were Hayes' grandparents!!  (He was VERY surprised!)  They each read a story.  The first story was read by his grandmother and it was titled, Ibis: A True Whale Story by John Himmelman.  Hayes' grandfather read the second story by Harry Allard and James Marshall, titled Miss Nelson is Missing.  The students greatly enjoyed listening to these stories - and I think Hayes' grandparents had as much fun as the children did!

No comments: