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Friday, September 20, 2013

Classroom Summary for September 16-20

Hello Room 211 Families and Friends!

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on learning school routines and behavioral expectations in school. We established class jobs and have been taking on the responsibilities that go along with keeping our classroom an organized, healthy and fun place to learn.

As we continue our learning throughout the year, lessons will change from 'review' to 'new'. Right now, we are still in the review stage and much of our learning is making sure we have a solid foundation of skills before moving on to new ones. That being said, here's what we did this week....

In Miss Varrell's Fundations class, we learned where the Fundations materials are kept and how to care for the materials correctly. We began Unit 1 which reviews consonant digraphs, finger-spelling (known as 'tapping out the word') and 'marking up' words for better sound/symbol awareness. The consonant digraphs we reviewed are: ch, sh, th, wh, and ck.

In Miss Varrell's reading class, we learned how to choose a book that is 'just right' for us by using the Five Finger Method:

  1. Choose a book you want to read.
  2. Read the first page (or first two pages if there is not a lot of text on the first page).
  3. While reading the first page of your book, keep track with the fingers of one hand how many words you have trouble with (i.e. you can't decode the word, you don't understand what the word means, etc.).
  4. If you read the first page (or two) of your book with fewer than 5 fingers being held up, this is good choice for you!
  5. If you read the first page (or two) of your book with 5 or more fingers being held up, this book is not right for you at this time. Try reading this book again later in the year!

Once we learned how to choose books that were appropriate for us, we learned how to use our Reading Logs. We will keep track of the books we read independently by completing an entry that includes the date we read the book (or chapter), the title, the author and a comment that shows how we connected with the text. Next week Miss Varrell will teach us how to use our response journals and assess our sight word vocabulary to make sure we are ready for the new skills we will be learning throughout the year.

In math we completed topic one, "Understanding Addition and Subtraction," from our enVision math program. We worked with cubes and tiles to solve story problems and create story problems. We also learned the relationship between addition and subtraction by learning about fact families. Some of the math vocabulary words we worked with this week were: comparing, more, fewer, addition sentence, subtraction sentence, related, sum, difference, part, whole, subtract, add, and equal.

In social studies and science we began working with globes and trees. We learned how a woman in Africa saved the trees in her community from being completely *decimated* when we listened to the story Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter. We located Africa on a globe and pinpointed where the equator is.

We also learned how people and animals use trees. We found out that there are three categories, or types, of trees: tropical, deciduous and coniferous. We learned that tropical trees do not grow outside in Burlington because the climate is too cold for them. However, we did learn that deciduous trees and coniferous trees do! We will focus our learning on the two types of trees found in Burlington over the next several weeks. Stay tuned for more tree facts!

Weekend Challenge Activity: Find the word in this blog post that is between two asterisks (*). On an index card or blank piece of paper, write the word and its meaning on one side of the card. On the other side of the card, illustrate what the word means. Children who bring in their cards on Monday morning will receive a surprise!


  • Field trip permission slips went home in the green folders Room 211 parents received at Open House night. Please sign and return them as soon as possible. Our first field trip of the year is scheduled for Friday, October 18 so it is imperative I receive your child's permission slip ASAP. As soon as all permission slips are in two chaperones will randomly be selected and notified. The cost of all our field trips for this year is a grand total of $45.00. Please send in your cash or check as soon as possible. Thank you!
  • Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the last few days of summer!

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