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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Classroom Summary for October 9-12

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

In Fundations we worked on adding some new glued sounds to our reading "toolbox." We practiced using the sounds /ang/, /ank/, /ing/, /ink/, /ong/, /onk/, /ung/, and /unk/ in words and syllables. We also talked about the glued sounds /am/ and /an/ that sometimes have a slightly different short /a/ sound than others. We will continue to practice building and spelling words with these sounds throughout the year.

In math learned how to play Plus 1 or 2 Bingo, a math game from our Investigations book. We used a deck of cards, bingo chips and a bingo board filled with numbers. We found that this game helped us learn our quick +1 or +2 math facts to any number. When we play this game more frequently we will notice our math fact fluency increases.  Ask us how to play at home! We also spent some time learning how to explain our thinking when solving story problems. We practiced working in small groups with Miss Varrell and showed what we had learned independently. Here are some tips to remember what to include when explaining your thinking:

  1. Draw a picture that represents what is happening in the story problem, with labels as necessary. Don't get too complicated and don't worry about how fancy your picture is. Remember, the important part in problem-solving is the math, not the artistry!
  2. Write an equation (number sentence) that matches the problem being asked.
  3. Write the answer to the problem in the equation (number sentence) and label the "units" the problem is talking about (for example, is the problem about books? pencils?).
  4. Circle your final answer with the label.

In Miss Varrell's reading group we began working on expectations and routines for our reading class: how to choose books for IDR (individualized daily reading), completing IDR reading logs and reading response journals and reading silently during IDR time. Next week we will be introduced to some different centers and practice the routines we have learned so far.

In writing we did some "free-wheeling sketches" in and around school to help us develop some ideas for stories we will write later on. Miss Varrell read an article about Donald Crews where he described how he never leaves home without a sketchpad or a camera. He uses memories of real-life events (Big Mama's storyline is partly autobiographical) and sketches and photos of daily observations to help him with story ideas. We took a page out of Donald Crews' book (pardon the pun) and did the same. Some of us have some really interesting sketches we can use next week when we write. Later in the week we changed our writing focus to writing scripts for our iPad tree presentation! We will use our scripts to read from next week when we add audio entries to our projects.

In science we were very busy! Not only did we continue to broaden and strengthen our knowledge of trees through working on our tree books, but we also got to work on our iPad activity with Mr. Callahan. On Tuesday we brought the iPads outside and took photographs of different types of trees. Our goal was to collect evidence to show what we have learned about deciduous and coniferous trees. Mr. Callahan took the coniferous team and Miss Varrell took the deciduous team and we all set out to collect photographic evidence that supported our knowledge. On Thursday we reviewed our photographs and inserted the best ones into the Explain Everything application to make a photographic collage. But that wasn't all we did in science....

Our field trip to the Discovery Museum in Acton was such fun! Mrs. Russo, Ms. O'Connell and Mrs. Daly were wonderful chaperone helpers while we were on our trip and took lots of photos for us (Miss Varrell's camera was left on the reading table at school, unfortunately). We had a wonderful time working with all different science concepts on all three floors of the museum and we especially enjoyed our engineering challenge in the classroom. We had a chance to use the scientific method to think about, plan, design and build a solution to a real-life problem. We worked in teams and really had to apply our cooperation skills in order to complete our task! Even though we were starving by the time we finished our activities, everyone remarked on how well-behaved we were and Miss Varrell was very proud of how we represented our classroom, Pine Glen and Burlington Public Schools.

*Discovery Museum photos courtesy of Mrs. Russo!


  • As you aware, the autumn season is upon us and many children bring similar jackets and sweatshirts to school each day. Please be sure your child's outerwear is well labeled with his/her name so that you can be sure that the correct clothing is returned to your child when/if there is every a clothing "mystery."
  • If you have not already established one for your child, think about setting up a "homework buddy" for your child so that if there is ever a time during the cold/flu season that your child is absent from school for multiple days, there is a homework buddy at Pine Glen (same class/grade or different class/grade) to bring your child's missed work home.  You can return the favor if/when the time comes. :)
  • Keep reading 20 minutes every night!
  • Due to technology issues we have been experiencing over the past few weeks your child may not have always had a chance to log onto his/her account to practice facts each morning.  Please be sure that your child is accessing the site from home daily and/or continuing to practice facts via alternative means. Thank you for all your support!

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