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Friday, January 20, 2012

Classroom Summary for January 17-20

Here's what we did this week...

In Fundations we worked on learning the r-controlled vowels ar and or. We built words with our tiles, marked words on our dry erase boards and practiced our spelling of r-controlled words in our composition and student notebooks. We learned that r-controlled vowel syllable types can be combined with any other type of syllable within a word, just as the other syllable types can. Here are the syllable types that we have learned about so far: r-controlled (ex. core, smart), closed (ex. bun, tap), closed exception (ex. wild, find), v-c-e (ex. tape, mule), v-c-e exception (ex. give, active), open (ex. no, shy). We have also added several more trick words to our list of words that don't always follow "the rules." Our three new words this week were: carry, something and different.

Miss Varrell's reading group has been working on the skill of inferring this week, using the book What Mary Jo Shared by Janice May Udry. Building on our other skill work with visualizing and making connections, inferring is a higher level comprehension skill that utilizes the reader's ability to draw conclusions and make connections with information in a story that is not directly stated by the author. This is a skill that takes lots of practice and requires the reader to be reflective with his/her reading all the way through a text rather than waiting until the end to gather information. One of the ways that we have used to help us scaffold our inferential thinking is to use a T-chart while we read our  independent books. On one side of the T-chart is the heading: "What did [insert character name here] do?" and on the other side of the T-chart is the heading: "What does this tell you about [insert character name here]?" As we read our books, we completed our charts and then shared our inferences with each other. We will continue to work on this skill over the next few weeks.

The pictures below show us working on our partner summaries using our second grade core book Frog and Toad Are Friends and Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel.

In math this week we finished the third unit in our Investigations book, focusing on counting by groups and beginning place value skills. We worked on counting all different numbers by different groups (e.g. 2s, 5s, 10s, 3s, etc.) and also worked in reverse by taking numbers and separating (dividing) them into groups to see how many groups we could make. We worked with groups of ten, the 100s chart and discovered patterns in the numbers that are even and odd. Using our discoveries we used those patterns to determine whether much larger numbers were even or odd and how many tens they would contain.

In writing we have been finishing up our poems that we will be publishing. At the present time we are awaiting the special publishing paper to write our poems on so that we can submit our pieces to the publishing company. We are very excited to get our poems finished! As we finished our poems, we also had some time to work on our independent stories. In the coming weeks we will be learning how to draft topic sentences and  supporting detail sentences to begin our paragraph writing unit. As we learn to write paragraphs we will be able to apply that skill to all different types of writing: letters, stories, reports, and especially informative, persuasive and narrative pieces of writing, all three of which are often required writing responses in the MCAS examinations in future years.

In social studies we have been finishing up our unit on understanding some of the major land forms and bodies of water found on earth. After learning about the geography of the moon, we moved to the planet earth and made a mini book illustrating various geography terms: mountains, hills, plains, peninsula, valley, lake, river, ocean, sea and bay. We worked very hard to add realistic details to our illustrations to highlight the uniqueness of each geography term.

In science we are just beginning our unit on the water cycle and how it influences our weather. We will be spending a lot of time on the concepts of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. We will also be looking at types of clouds, temperature and different types of storms. Watching or reading weather forecasts at home will be very helpful over the next few weeks to help us become more familiar with weather terms like rain, sleet, snow, hail, blizzard, hurricane, tornado, cumulus, stratus, cirrus, forecast, temperature, precipitation, etc.


  • Book orders for January were placed on Friday 1/20 and should arrive in 1-2 weeks. 
  • If you have any empty tissue boxes (preferably the larger size) that you can send in to class, they would be greatly appreciated!
  • The Science Center is looking for cardboard tubes for their animals. If you have any extras that you can donate, we will gladly send them along to the science center for you. Please send your cardboard tubes to school in a plastic or paper grocery bag clearly marked "SCIENCE CENTER". Thank you!
  • Chaperones will be randomly selected from the volunteer slips submitted and will be notified on Monday, January 30. Thank you!
  •  Because our first field trip will be held on Valentine's Day, we will not be having a traditional party. [More information about our Valentine's Day celebration will be sent home closer to February.] However, we WILL be exchanging valentines after the field trip! Please do not feel that your child has to bring valentines to school. On the other hand, if your child would like to bring valentines for the 14th, please know that a valentine for EVERY child in the class is requested as we do not want to encourage exclusions or cliques within our classroom. A list of student names will be sent home so that it is easier to include everyone. :)
  • If anyone is interested in hosting our gerbil sisters, Cupcake and Snowflake, over the February vacation, please notify me by email or note by Monday, February 6. The girls look forward to their next Spa vacation!

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