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Friday, December 17, 2010

Classroom Summary for December 13-17

Here's what we accomplished this week....

In math we began our new Investigations unit called "Stickers, Number Strings and Story Problems." We began working with number strings and understanding how to add problems with multiple addends.  We know that the order that we add them doesn't make a difference to the final answer. Everyone should be continuing to practice math facts at home. Over the next two months we will focus on facts up to and from 12. In February we will increase it to facts to and from 15.

In FUNdations we continued to work on our syllables unit. We introduced the new concept of the open syllable this week. We know that an open syllable is one in which there is only one vowel, it is usually at the end of the syllable and it says its long sound (its name). For instance, in the word "remote", can you find the open syllable? We would split the word like this:  re     mote. The first syllable is an open syllable and the second syllable is a vowel-consonant-e syllable. Here's a challenge! See if you can find other words that have a combination of different types of syllables. Check out the newspaper, or a menu, or a book someone is reading at home. See if you can be a syllable detective!

The reason why we learn to look for syllables in words to help us improve our decoding of new multisyllabic words when we read. If we can learn to break apart a word by its syllables rather than by each individual sound, we will read with more fluency and be able to spend more time understanding the meaning of what we're reading instead of how to read it.

In Miss Varrell's reading group the children finished up their fiction summary practice. We worked on writing summaries in groups, with partners and alone. We listened to and wrote summaries of Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack, The Amazing Bone by William Steig and Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto. The next time we write a fiction summary, we will be expected to demonstrate a brief "summing up" of the beginning, middle and end story elements including the title and a few significant details.

In writing we continued to work on building our stories so that they tell more. We shared with buddies and they helped us narrow down what we needed to add to lengthen our stories and what we needed to include to make our stories more visual.

In social studies we continued to talk about our family traditions at this time of year. We learned about Kwanzaa which is an African American holiday celebrated by some families from December 26-January 1. This is a holiday that wasn't established until 1966 and was an idea that came about during the civil rights movement to honor African Americans' heritage.  Next week Alexander M. will share his traditions of Christmas with us and Miss Varrell will share her family tradition of Boxing Day. In January we will begin our next science unit on weather!

This week our specials highlight is Mrs. Nicholas' gym class. Here we are doing some warm-up movements....

  • Secret Santa notices are coming home today (Friday). The letter explains the process of the game, but if you have any questions please feel free to call/email. The children should be able to explain most of it to you.
  • The children have been sworn to secrecy about NOT GIVING AWAY ANY SECRET PAL NAMES. This is very important as hurt feelings are usually the result of any secrets given away. :(
  • Our holiday party (with treats) will be held on Wednesday 12/22 after art, thanks to our room parents!
  • Our exchange of Secret Santa gifts will be Thursday 12/23 before lunch/recess
  • Next week the homework will consist ONLY of compliments written to secret pals. There will be no homework packet sent home on Monday. Below is the schedule of homework:
    • 12/17 Friday: brainstorm ideas for what you will make for your secret pal gift
    • 12/18-12/19 Saturday/Sunday: if possible, begin making secret pal gift
    • 12/20 Monday night: write first secret pal compliment (disguise writing and sign the note "From Secret Santa"!) and bring it to school Tuesday; continue working on your secret pal's gift
    • 12/21 Tuesday night: write second secret pal compliment (disguise writing and sign the note "From Secret Santa"!) and bring it to school Tuesday; continue working on your secret pal's gift
    • 12/22 Wednesday night: write final secret pal compliment (disguise writing and sign the note "From Secret Santa"!) AND finish making/wrapping your secret pal's gift; bring BOTH to school Thursday 12/23!!!

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