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Friday, January 14, 2011

Classroom Summary for January 10-14

Here's what we did this week...

In math we reviewed both addition and subtraction story problem-solving techniques, but we adapted them to work with problems with larger numbers. It's very important that we understand different ways to solve problems are used for different types of problems. For instance, it is more efficient (doesn't take as much time) using expanded notation and number strings to solve an addition story problem where the numbers are larger than using the "draw a picture" method. Think about the problem below and decide which would be easier: drawing a picture or using tens and ones and number strings:

If Mrs. Ogren has 45 fairy tale books on the shelf and she gets 32 more fairy tale books to add to her collection from the book fair, how many books will there be on the shelf all together?

Ask yourself: will it be easier for me to draw 45 books and then 32 more books and add them together or will it be easier to look at 45 as 40+5 and 32 as 30+2 and then add the number string addends together? You make the call!

We have also been learning about fractions at Number Corner time. We have learned the definition of the word fraction (a part of a whole or a part of a group of things) and we have looked at some ways of making wholes INTO fractions. Next week, we will participate in a fraction activity called:


What is Snack-tion Fraction Action? It is a math game where we bring our snacks to class (as usual) but we look at them as fractions or wholes. For instance, if you usually bring an apple for snack, ask your mom or dad if they can cut it into fractions with you. When you bring your snack to class, you can show your apple in SNACK-TION FRACTION ACTION! You can show how your snack is either a fraction, a whole, or both! Any snack can be part of Snack-tion Fraction Action week. If it can be divided (cut) into equal parts it can be a fraction (ex. apple, pear, orange, etc.). If your snack is a group of foods, you can show a fraction with it (ex. package of cheese and crackers, bag of grapes, box of raisins, etc.)!

In FUNdations this week we began working with the sound and spelling of r-controlled syllables. We specifically worked with ar and or this week. We played a game called Sound Switch! where we made words with different r-controlled syllables and tried switching them with others to see if they made a real or nonsense word. We learned that when a vowel is controlled by r, the r is always behind it and the vowel says neither a long nor a short sound. It has an r-controlled special sound. We also learned that when /or/ is the sound at the end of a word, it is almost always spelled with a silent e after the /or/ spelling like in the words core and score.

In reading this week Miss Varrell's class completed the computer reading assessment called DORA in the computer lab. The DORA is a computer generated assessment that allows teachers to see strength and weakness trends in the literacy areas to better inform their instruction. Over the next two weeks, Miss Varrell will be conducting individual reading assessments in the classroom to gather more detailed information about the reading progress of each student.

In writing class this week we focused our writing on how to tell more about a character. We listened to the story Sheila Rae the Brave by Kevin Henkes and focused on how Mr. Henkes used different ways to tell the reader how brave Sheila Rae was. We also learned how to participate in a peer conference. A peer conference is when two classmates (writing buddies) sit together and share their stories with the purpose of helping the partner improve his/her writing. We did a great job listening to each other's stories and asking pertinent questions to encourage and guide our partner in telling more about a character in his/her story.

In social studies this week we learned about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he changed the way we think about ourselves, our society and our government. He was a great problem solver and Nobel peace prize-winning humanitarian. We made mini books about Dr. King and next week we will finish them, read them and bring them home to share.

In science we began our unit on weather. We made a water cycle wheel to help us understand the three major components of the water cycle: evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Next week we'll learn a song to help us remember the components and we'll also learn about storms that give us different types of precipitation.  Check out the link below to a water cycle quiz! (If the link doesn't work, copy and paste into your address bar window.)

  • There is no school on Monday, January 17 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
  • Our field trip to the Discovery Museum in Acton, MA is next Friday, January 21. Our three chaperones will be Mrs. Kaye, Mrs. Girouard and Mrs. Fogarty. More details about the field trip will be sent home next week. This field trip focuses on the properties of water and engineering concepts!
  • Please continue to have your child reading 20 minutes every day as well as mastering addition and subtraction math facts up to and from 12. Beginning February 1, children will be responsible for mastery of math facts up to and from 15. Math fact response times need to be 3 seconds or less to qualify as mastered.

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