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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Classroom Summary for November 4 - 8

Here's what we did this week...

In Miss Varrell's Fundations group we began working with multisyllabic words. We learned that dividing a multisyllabic word into its individual syllables helps us to read the word more accurately. When teachers tell us to 'break the word into chunks' what they are actually saying is 'break the word into syllables'. We also looked at the spelling of the sound /ic/ at the ending of words. We learned that when a monosyllabic word ends with /ic/ it is spelled 'ick' but when a multisyllabic word ends with /ic/ it is spelled 'ic'. Test out the spelling rule with these words:

        Rick          politic          Triaminic          terrific          Schick

But of course, whenever you are learning about spelling rules in the English language, you can always be sure there is an exception not far behind:

        Bic (the pen brand)          chic (from the French language)

In Miss Varrell's reading group we continued to work with making connections but we also began retelling what we read in our IDR books to our reading buddies. We know that when we retell fiction stories we need to include the beginning, middle and end of the text. We also need to make sure we include the important character names, setting, important details and events in the story, problem, solution and ending to the story. We discussed how we can discover which events and details are more important or less important than others. If a detail or event that you leave out of your retell changes the story in any way, that event/detail needs to be part of the retell. If you leave a detail or event out of your retelling and it does not change the story in any way, then it is less important and can be left out. Retelling is the first step toward being able to write a summary.

In Writing Workshop we practiced inserting describing words and phrases into our stories. Miss Varrell modeled writing a first draft of a story about one of her friends, Mrs. Lane. As soon as she finished her story everyone in the class had questions about the story because there was not enough information in the story. There were so few details and describing words that no one really understood what Miss Varrell's story was saying. After listening to everyone's questions, Miss Varrell took the answers to the questions and inserted some of them into her story to revise it. Here is the 'before' story (and accompanying questions):

After Miss Varrell's second draft,  the class was much happier with the result! Below is the 'after' beginning to the story:

The children were so excited by the new story beginning that they wanted Mrs. Lane to see it. She was so excited, her hair turned blue! (Just kidding.)

In math this week we practiced writing and reading math number words. We also worked with 2 more operation signs: less than ( < ) and greater than ( > ). We practiced finding one more and one less and ten more and ten less on a hundreds chart. We also began working with place value skills.  We reviewed the ones place and the tens place and how a number in each of those 'places', or digits, determines the value of the number. For example, in the number 45 the five means 5 ones, or 5. But in the number 54 the number 5 means 5 tens, or 50.  Also in our enVision program we practiced working with even and odd numbers. We were extremely busy mathematicians this week!

Weekend Challenge Activity: Learn about Veterans' Day with your family this weekend. Below is a short video about the history of Veterans' Day. With your parents' permission, watch this History Channel video below:


  • Apologies for not being able to post any 'weekend challenge' math videos yet. Youtube has been experiencing uploading issues the past couple of weeks. As soon as our Explain Everything videos are available I will post them on our blog.
  • The school calendar has been updated with MCAS testing dates for grades 3, 4, and 5 and the pilot PARCC testing dates for third grade. You can find the dates on our blog under 2013-2014 Dates to Remember.
  • The next book order will be due December 6. Flyers will be sent home Thanksgiving week. 
  • Parent-Teacher conferences are Thursday, December 5. Reminder cards were sent home. Please check the box at the bottom (yes/no) and return the card to school with your child to confirm your time. Thank you!
  • Helpful Hint: Names inside mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and jackets are highly recommended. Items with names more frequently return home and are less likely to end up in Lost and Found throughout the fall/winter seasons. 

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