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Friday, November 18, 2011

Classroom Summary for November 14-18

Here's what we did this week...

In Fundations we worked with suffixes and basewords. We added the suffixes -able, -en, -ment, -ful, -ness, -ish, and -less to our suffix toolbox. We learned that some base words can be very tricky. Sometimes a word can look as though it has a suffix, but it's actually part of the base word. For example: ring, nest, table. All of these words have what LOOKS like a suffix at the end, but if you circle it, what's left isn't really a word! English is a crazy language!

In Miss Varrell's reading group we worked on the comprehension skill of visualization. We read A Tree is Nice, "My Baby Brother" from Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers and "Dry Skin" from Poppleton and Friends to be practice our skills. We did some reflecting about what kind of a reader we are by thinking about and discussing whether having a lot of pictures in a book makes it: a) easier for us to understand, b) doesn't make a difference, or c) if we never pay attention to the pictures when they're provided. We learned that some of us need to pay MORE attention to the illustrations in a book and some of us need to start visualizing more so that as we begin to read books with fewer pictures, we will continue to  progress with our  understanding of a text. After Thanksgiving, we will be working on the district-wide reading assessments called DRAs (developmental reading assessment). These assessments are not technology-based and are a way that teachers can check the progress of student reading by having them read benchmarked texts and listening as children retell or summarize what they read.

In math we continued working in our geometry unit. This week we focused on rectangles and the rectangle family. We had worked on rectangular arrays at Number Corner in September, but in our Investigations unit this week, we worked on understanding what makes a rectangle a rectangle. We learned that a rectangle has certain characteristics.

Here are some thoughts we had before this week's learning:

  • 4 sides
  • long
  • skinny
  • big
  • 4 corners
  • not a square
  • can be 3-dimensional

Here's what we know about rectangles now:
  • 4 sides
  • 4 corners
  • 4 right angles (a right angle is a specific L-shaped interior of a corner)
  • can be a square because a square is a TYPE of rectangle
  • is 2-dimensional; a 3-dimensional rectangle is a rectangular prism
  • is a type of quadrilateral

We also learned some new math vocabulary words that help us describe rectangular arrays. Instead of saying: "My rectangle has 15 tiles. It has 3 tiles going across. It has 5 tiles going down,"  we can now say: My rectangle has 15 tiles. It has 3 tiles in each row. It has 5 tiles in each column."

Be a Math Detective
See if you can find rows and columns in objects in other places that you visit this weekend!

In social studies we completed our world maps and hung them up in the classroom. We also got a chance to see real polar bears in the wild by watching a "live feed" from Canada. We got a chance to see what the Canadian tundra looks like (a landform that we don't have in Massachusetts) and we saw a polar bear lounging around in the snow! We also had a chance to listen to some real live polar bear scientists talk about their work and what they do to protect polar bears in Canada. We also saw the big train-like vehicle that is called Buggy One that has a special camera attached to it that allows the scientists to broadcast their polar bear footage to classrooms across the world. It was very exciting!

We are continuing to look at the moon at home (Miss Varrell hopes). After Thanksgiving we will spend the month of December learning about the moon and why it appears to change shape. Over the next few days we will focus on some social studies history and we will learn about the life of Squanto, one of the Pilgrims' first native American friends in the New World.


  • Thank you so much to Mrs. Murphy and Ms. Owens for arranging and shopping for our celebration treats a couple of weeks ago. We loved them! Thank you thank you thank you!
  • Cupcake and Snowflake will be looking for a home over the Thanksgiving break. If your family is interested, please send a note to school on Monday and you can have them for dinner. Sort of. 
  • Parent conferences are scheduled for Friday, December 9. A conference card with your scheduled time is going home in your child's backpack this Friday (11/18/11). Please check the box at the bottom of the card (hopefully "yes"!) and return the card to school. I have checked with all the teachers who have siblings of your child to try to make your visit to Pine Glen a more time-efficient one. I cannot guarantee that there won't be conflicts, however. If there are, please let me know and I will do my best to get you the next best time that's still available. :)
  • login sheets went home a couple of weeks ago for helping your child practice math facts at home. If your child did not bring home their student login sheet, please let me know and I will print out another one for you to use at home.
  • Enjoy your weekend and remember to read, read, read!

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