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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Classroom Summary for September 22 - 26

Daniel's newly cleaned and organized desk!

Here's what we did this week...

In math we finished our first topic on addition and subtraction review and began working on Topic 2: addition strategies. We began by reviewing adding 0, 1 and 2 to any number. We also reviewed 'doubles' as a type of math fact that means you are adding a number to itself (the numbers are the same on both sides of the plus sign). We will continue to work on more addition strategies next week.

In Miss Varrell's reading group, we began working on the first unit in our Fundations phonics lessons. We reviewed consonants, short vowel sounds and digraphs. A digraph is when two consonants pair together to make one sound that is different from the sounds each consonant makes on its own. Here are some words made with digraphs:

duck                   ship                  moth                  chat                 when

We also reviewed how to 'mark up' words to show what we know. We learned that a breve is the symbol used over short vowel sounds (looks like a u over the top of the vowel) and a macron (looks like a hyphen over the top of the vowel) is the symbol used over long vowel sounds. We reviewed how to mark up digraphs (underline) and syllables (scoop).

In reading group we also began learning the routines we will be using all year. We were each given a red folder that has a response journal and a reading log inside. We will keep our dictionaries in this folder as well. We found out who our reading partners will be for the fall and wrote them in our response journals. Each season we will change partners so we have different experiences working with different readers.

Miss Varrell explained that our focus in reading class this year will be improving our comprehension. We will learn different comprehension strategies to help us read longer and more advanced texts. We will also need to develop our stamina and fluency in reading so that we can sustain our focus and attention to comprehension clues in both nonfiction and fiction texts. One of the best ways to do that is to read, read, read! Miss Varrell has built in time to our schedule every day where we can read and enjoy our independent reading selections (from baskets she recommends for us). During that time we will be expected to use and practice the skills we have learned in reading class.

In writing workshop this week we continued to work on strategies for choosing topics to write about. One of our strategies is drawing a picture first and writing about what we drew. Below is a video of Dylan and Brennan discussing Dylan's picture and what he might want to write about:

Another strategy we learned this week was writing about a memory. We listened to Miss Varrell as she read the book Big Mama's. This story is an example of how the author, Donald Crews, wrote about one memory of his childhood when he visited his grandmother every summer.

In science this week we continued to work in our tree books about deciduous and coniferous trees. Next week we will learn to identify some of the trees around Pine Glen by looking at leaves with our iPads.  Also, be on the look out for a tree project coming next week!

We also had a special science presentation by Mr. Musselman from the science center. He talked to us about pumpkins and the science of fire. We learned that fire needs three elements to survive: heat, fuel and oxygen. We also got to see a chemical reaction take place inside a pumpkin. Mr. Musselman's jack o' lantern spewed pumpkin vomit! Ask us about the show. We LOVED it!


  • Thank you for coming to Open House on Tuesday! It was wonderful to meet you all. 
  • Book orders were placed this weekend. Books should arrive in about 2-3 weeks and will be distributed to the children to take home in their backpacks. If you would like to keep your book purchase a secret,  just notify me by email and I will hold aside your book order and notify you when it comes in for you to pick up. :)
  • If you have not yet joined, please consider becoming a member of the Pine Glen PTO. PTO meetings are held one Thursday a month at Pine Glen beginning at 7PM. The PTO is a great way to meet Pine Glen families, learn about what's happening at school, and a wonderful way to support your child's education through enrichment opportunities and extension activities. You can read more about our PTO in this blog. The next PTO meeting will be held on October 2. 

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