Friday, September 30, 2011

Newsletter September 30, 2011

MathWe are in the middle of the second unit which is all about numbers.  We have worked with adding and subtracting whole numbers with decimals and will soon start to work with multiplication of such numbers.  Students need to know their math facts so please have them practice if they are not secure in the.
Social Studies – We started our new social studies curriculum this week with projects, discussion of reading strategies, particularly compare and contrast, as well as projects for some.  We love how we are getting to work with smaller groups, really focusing in on the comprehension strategies as well as all of the great information for them to explore.  Groups will be reshuffled every chapter depending on how a child needs to be challenged.
Reading – The second week of the Global Read Aloud has been great.  We skyped with three 4th grade classrooms in Ohio, who had wonderful questions for us and we did a lot of predicting and summarizing in here.  Our buddies in South Korea also created a video for us, which can be seen on our website.  We are currently working on the strategy of asking questions, which the students are very good at.
Writing We are still blogging, the students know that they can ask to blog during recess and many are taking me up on that opportunity to not have to do it at home.  We are also journaling, where I encourage the students to use more difficult words and simply circle them if they are unsure of the spelling.  Most kids are finding enough time in the morning to get their spelling work done, however, some are handing it in late.  They all have the option of bringing it home and work on it there if they feel they need more time.  Spelling is an essential skill for all people and it is something they have to practice.    
Science – We are halfway through variables and had a lot of fun with our lifeboats this week.  Students created hypotheses, tested them and then graphed their results to make predictions.  We are working on using our science language to show our understanding as well.
Special Notes
* Our video goes live on Monday and I will send the link for you to vote on it (if you want to vote for us).  It was incredible for me to hear what the kids would spend the $10,000 on if we won.  They had ideas from fun stuff like tree houses, carpet, more computers to things like more books for the library or fixing the gym floor.
* Blogging is going really well and we now have gotten more than 400 comments on the blogs.  I am in touch with several teachers across the world that are watching our blog for ideas and to see how the kids are developing in their writing.  We had a 3rd grade classroom constructively critique our blog posts this week, which was a wonderful learning opportunity for all of the kids.  We will be doing the same for them.
* We are having some issues with filling out assignment notebooks in the switching of the rooms so for the month of October all students have to have their assignment notebook checked by their math and social studies/reading teacher.  This is to secure the habit of writing down your homework in the room you are in but after October the responsibility falls back on the student.
* The students were great with the sub and I am finally feeling better.  I am so looking forward to a full week with the kids next week with no sub in our room.
* Dates for your calendar:  PTO Back to School Hawaiian Party Night is Friday, September 30th 6 PM,  Scholastic Book Fair runs October 10th through  the 13th with family night on the 11th, Picture Re-Take day is October 21st , CRT is Wednesday, October 27th and No School Thursday October 28th and Friday, October 29th.


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