Sunday, December 18, 2016

Short & Sweet

     The week, your kids, this newsletter…take your pick.  Thank you again everyone for the wonderful class party after the concert Wednesday.  Thanks, too, for all the great gifts.  The kids are about half done with one of the puzzles already.
     The students are all reading a holiday story (Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins, Welcome Comfort, or Olive the Other Reindeer).  They are working on filling out a retell rope and then answering a couple questions about the text (author’s purpose and a place where the author drew them into the story).  We’re working on using complete sentences and using what we know about syllable types to make good decisions about spelling.  They will be meeting in book clubs this week to discuss the stories.
     We’ve been working to learn about money in math.  Counting change at home is good practice.  In second grade we learn to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  An activity the kids enjoy is to be given coins behind their backs, then identify what coins they have (without looking) and add them up.  Can you do it?  Skip counting forward and backward with money is also good practice.  The “Stores” activity I mentioned in the last newsletter will have to wait until the new year.
     The kids are in a variety of places with their fact fluency (as expected).  Some of your kids are doing Xtra Math (essentially on-line flash cards—but they ARE timed).  Some kids are working with ten grid cards or mini Rekl-n-Reks.  The visual part of the math is very important.  Also, very important not to time kids until they have strategies.  Keep encouraging your children to make progress from where they are.  Reading and Math logs are due tomorrow (Dec 19).  I will not be sending them back home over the holidays.  We’ll start back up in January.
     I added another page to the blog.  It’s called “Helpful Youtube Videos?”  More inspiration from the math conference.  I hope you have lots of fun and relaxing family time over the holidays!

Upcoming Dates:
Wednesday, December 21st  Last day of school before the holiday break.

Tuesday, January 3rd  First day back to school after holidays.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

     Or something like that.  I do love this time of year, and I need lots of reminders to enjoy what’s important and not sweat the rest.  The energy level is definitely up in Room 207.  Some of the whales in our classroom window now have Santa hats on and they are swimming through dreidels.  There are still a few black crows flying overhead, left over from Halloween, but the kids didn’t want me to take them down.
     In math this past week we worked on number lines.  An open number line is a valuable math tool for solving problems, showing your math thinking, and checking for accuracy.  It does, however, require that you are fluent with skip counting backwards and forwards by 10s and that you are familiar with the friendly tens fact strategy at the very least.  We are going to set the number lines on the back burner and start working on money.  For the kids who need more experience with the tens and ones, they will get that with dimes and pennies.  This is always a fun unit and just before the holidays we will set up stores in the classroom and students will take turns be shoppers and storekeepers.
     We finished the three stories we do in the Starting Off Strong book.  I sent the books home this past week.  I love the Starting Off Strong stories because they emphasize using evidence from the text to back up your opinions about the stories.  This leads us right into our book clubs.  We will be doing book clubs with holiday books starting this week.
     The kids have been working on narrative writing this past week.  We learned that narrative writing is about one small moment, includes details about actions, thoughts, and feelings, uses words that show the order of events (first, next, then), and has a concluding statement.  You can see if your child remembers the actions that go along with that description of narrative writing.
     For our classroom holiday party I have to make some changes to the original plan.  This year the students are doing separate performances for the school and for parents.  The snack time in between the two concerts is not enough time for a party.  If you would like to come back to the room after the concert (for parents--that starts at 10:30), we can do a potluck lunch and have a special holiday dessert.  I just sent out the Sign-Up Genius for it.  If you were signed up on the one that Ally Johnson sent out you will have to sign-up again—sorry for any confusion.  Here's the link:

Hopefully that link works!
Upcoming dates:
December 5th—Reading/Math log due
Wednesday, Dec 7th Hour of Code (our class will have an hour of code at school, this is the third year Ray has participated).
Wednesday, Dec 14th, Second & Third Grade Chorus Concert 10:30 am with a potluck lunch to follow in the classroom.
Wednesday, December 21st  Last day of school before the holiday break.

Tuesday, January 3rd  First day back to school after holidays.