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Friday, December 12, 2014

Classroom Summary for December 8 - 12

Here's what we did this week...

In math class we finished learning about mental subtraction strategies. We used the hundred chart as the main strategy but this time, unlike adding, we moved UP the chart to subtract tens and moved to the LEFT to subtract ones. We also used the 'keep one break one' strategy but we learned that when you subtract, you always have to keep the whole number whole and the only number you can break apart to subtract is the second number in the equation.

Dylan is using ten rods and ones cubes to solve a double digit subtraction problem.

We practiced subtracting tens and then ones, ones and then tens and we even subtracted multiples of ten with no ones! Brennan told us on Thursday that "Topic 7 seemed so short!" We are starting to notice that when we apply strategies we know to new concepts, the learning doesn't seem to take as much time! Bravo, Brennan!

On Thursday we had another meeting with our fourth grade math buddies. Once a week, right after lunch count and attendance, Mrs. Visocchi's fourth graders come down to help us work with our math facts with some social math games. So far we have played games with money, dice, animal cards, playing cards and whiteboards! We can't wait for next week's games!

In Fundations this week we began working with a new syllable type known as v-C-e (vowel-consonant-silent e). We practiced making words with the v-C-e syllable by constructing them from closed syllable words:

cut --> cute      pin --> pine      cap --> cape      pet --> Pete      ton --> tone

and we also deconstructed them and turned them from v-C-e syllable types to closed syllables. Being able to hear how vowel sounds change when the silent e is added or taken away is an important reading and spelling skill.

We also learned that syllable types cannot be combined within one syllable. For instance, although the v-C-e syllable type has a long vowel sound, it's not the same as a closed syllable exception. Take a look at these words:

                                                pile                              wild

Although both words have the long i (ī) sound, one is a v-C-e syllable and the other is a closed syllable exception. Can you see why? The difference is that the v-C-e syllable has the silent e kicking the middle vowel. The closed exception word has a glued sound (ild) that is creating the long vowel sound.

In Miss Varrell's reading group we began working on our reading assessments. Each reading assessment includes four parts: oral reading, silent independent reading, comprehension questions and a written summary (retell). Due to the length of the books the children are being asked to read at this time, most assessments take 1-2 class sessions. Assessments will continue next week.

In writing workshop we did some buddy writing! We had a choice of writing a personal narrative with our buddies (a real experience that both buddies have shared) or a fictional narrative (an imaginative story created by both buddies). We had a lot of fun working together and sharing our ideas!

In science we finished our unit studying the moon and we began our unit on World/Cultures. We started looking at the continents and oceans. As we learn a little bit about the landforms and bodies of water on the various continents we will begin to look at the people and cultures found in some countries. We will produce a cross-curriculum project in the new year that demonstrates our learning.

Weekend Challenge Activity: Using a well-known tune as the melody (e.g. "Twinkle Twinkle," "Jingle Bells," etc.) create a song about the continents and oceans of the world. The words you create to replace the words in the original song will be your lyrics!


  • Secret Santa information sheets (in red) went home on Thursday in your child's backpack. Feel free to contact me with any questions that come up. The wrapped, hand-made gift must be brought to school on Monday, December 22 so that we can exchange our gifts during the class celebration.
  • Homework this week is to write a compliment each day to your secret pal. Don't forget to disguise your handwriting!
  • Book orders are due on Monday (I apologize for the lateness in getting the flyers out to you)!
  • The gerbils are looking for a vacation home for the winter break! If your family is interested, please send me a note or email by Wednesday, December 17.

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