We started our unit on the gingerbread man! We read The Gingerbread Man and The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School. The class compared and contrasted the two books. We have been doing some other gingerbread activities in our class to go along with the books. On Tuesday, we made gingerbread glyphs which involved students having to listen and follow directions carefully.
In math, we started writing math sentences. We talked about how just like when we read books, we can read in math. We learned that certain math symbols give us information and the proper way to write a math symbol. For instance, “3+3=6″. We also worked on story problems and predicted if we thought the answer would be a higher or lower number. We also talked about some nonsense answers. For example… 3 boys were playing on the swings and 2 more join in. How many boys are on the swings now? An answer of “2″ would be a nonsense answer. We talked about why that would be a nonsense answer and what some reasonable answers would be. We also did figure out the correct answer.
In writing, students are working in partners to help one another stretch out words and give feedback on each other’s stories. Everyone is starting to not only write more but introduce their stories with a beginning and adding their thoughts about they felt. It’s been wonderful getting students to share and read their writings to the class.
We learned more about liquids this week in science. The class came up with a way to test if an object was a solid or a liquid. We realized that a liquid could be poured into a glass and would take the shape of the glass. However, a solid could be poured into a glass but would retain its shape.
Last but not least, the students earned an extra recess because they filled up their number chart. I was amazed at how quickly they filled it up this time around!
Welcome back from Thanksgiving break! We got up and running right away. Even after the break, the class was ready to start learning! We reviewed the short “i” sound and then started to look at word families. For example, the “in” family consists of words such as “bin, fin, pin”. Everyone is doing such a great job sounding out and blending sounds to read CVC words that I am now emphasizing fluency in their reading. I have been telling the students that they should practice reading so that it sounds just like the way they talk. The students seemed to welcome this challenge.
In writing, we continued our work on true stories. Students are reading their stories with one another and asking questions about one another’s stories. We have talked about what makes our writing easy and hard to read. As a result, students are improving their writing by making sure there are spaces, a capital letter at the front of the sentence, and a punctuation mark at the end. They continually are challenged to add details to the story so that the reader can understand everything that went on. Some students are also asked to express the feelings that the people in their story had.
In math, we continued in our unit on numbers and addition. This week, we played a game which gave students the opportunity to discover how the numbers 6 and 7 can be split up into two groups. We also noticed that in addition, it does not matter which number goes first. For instance, 3 + 2 =5 is the same as 2+3 =5. If you would like to play the game at home, you can use 6 coins. Have your child toss the coins. Count how many are face up and how many are tails. Those two numbers will equal 6. After awhile, you can play the game but instead of counting the tails, quickly take any of the coins that land on tails away and have your child figure out how many of the coins are tails by looking at how many are heads. For instance, if 2 are heads, then they can figure out that 4 of the coins should have landed on tails.
We started a new unit in science on the states of matter. This week we talked about what solids and liquids. We grouped objects into the two groups. The class quickly realized that we have many more solids in the room than liquids. We then started to look at the different types of solids we have. Some are hard, soft, stiff, bendable, rough and smooth. The students looked at a chart showing the molecules of a solid and we came up with reasons why the molecules in a solid are so packed together. The class worked on figuring out how we could test if an object was a solid or a liquid. This helped us to learn that solids do not change shape. Next week we’ll take a closer look at liquids.
It truly was a packed week but everyone is putting forth great effort. I see many students being proactive and working with the end in mind. Those are two habits that the school has been learning about thus far. This past week, we had our school assembly that revolved around “setting goals”.
Thanks if you have read this far!
We had a great Thanksgiving lunch!
Thank you to all who helped out and sent in items for the class to enjoy!
We accomplished a lot this week! We introduced the words “here” and “this”. The students have been reading up a storm lately. We’ve been picking out rhyming words and creating rhyming words. We read the book Down on the Farm together as a class and compare and contrasted the beginning and ending. We are noticing that changes happen in stories.
We’ve also been writing and sharing our true stories with each other in Writing Workshop. One of our main lessons was discovering that each syllable has at least one vowel in it. This will help us to stretch out our words and put down more letters so that our writing is readable. The students continue to use a checklist to make sure all the components of their stories are in their writing. I have also noticed some students taking the time to think of their topics rather than rushing in and just writing anything. I was so proud of the thoughtfulness of this action.
We finished up our unit on germs and what we could do to keep healthy and what to do if we get sick. Students wrote up a “prescription” for when we get sick. Many students wrote down “taking medicine”. Some students wrote down “getting lots of rest”. We had one student who wrote down “eating apples”. An apple keeps the doctor away.
In math, we introduced many new games. These games involve students adding and taking away. Students were introduced to the addition and subtraction symbol and we noticed when numbers get bigger and when numbers get smaller. The students are engaged in their games and strategizing to win which shows deeper understanding of number sense.
We spent some time coloring our turkeys and making disguises for them. We have many sports themed turkeys, ballerina turkeys, and a yoda turkey! We’ve also designed our vests to wear for our Thanksgiving lunch on Monday. Everyone can’t wait until Thanksgiving!
We learned a new vowel this week. The short letter”i”. Students are quickly adding to the list of words they can read. We tried to differentiate the difference in sound between the short “a” and the short “i”. For instance, the words “pat” and “pit” sound different and mean two very different things. We also learned the sight word “come”. In the last few weeks, we have been focusing on determining the important parts of a story. We also discussed how characters change in a story as we read Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm.
In writing, the students are writing many true stories. We introduced the checklist and practiced using the checklist to see if we have all the parts to writing a narrative. Many of the students are trying to make sure that they have a beginning, middle, and end to their stories.
In math, we introduced a couple of new math games. These math games have students adding small numbers together. We have not used the word addition during our math lessons. Our discussions are helping students make conceptual understanding of adding before we introduce the terms and math symbols.
In science, we have had great discussions and ideas about germs. We are coming up with a list of what we can do to keep germs from spreading. I have noticed many students putting this into practice as they cough in their arms (and not their hands) and use a kleenex.
In the midst of all our learning, we had the privilege of having two veterans come talk to us on Veteran’s Day. They shared about their experiences serving our country and explained some aspects of the military. We also have therapy dogs who come to visit our school. The entire class wanted to go and meet the dogs rather than go out to recess on Thursday. It was such a treat to meet these wonderful dogs! We’ve had a packed week and I’m so proud of all the effort and learning the students are putting in!
Meeting the veterans!
Meeting the therapy dogs!
We added a new word to the sight words we have been learning. “He”! We also quickly showed the class that s-h-e spells “she”. We have been working on reading and writing words with the short a sound. We had two different centers this week where students thought of words and wrote short a words down. They had to be able to read the word and then recognize it if was a real short a word or a nonsense word. The short i has not been formally introduced yet but we started to listen for it and point it out during our reading times.
In writing, the students are furiously writing up many true stories. They are getting the hang of writing down details to make the story more full and allow the reader to get a better picture in their mind. We will be reading with our fourth grade buddy class on Friday and listening to the realistic fiction stories that they wrote!
In math, we continued to discuss measurement and how we can measure length, weight, and temperature. Students continued to measure with sticks, but also explored measuring weight using a pan balance. We had many lively discussions about how to use a pan balance and how we can compare weights. For instance, if we weighed a cup using bears and then cubes, why would it weight 3 bears but 5 cubes?
In Science, we started our unit on germs. We had a flour and balloon activity that showed how germs spread. The students put flour on their hands and played with a balloon with each other. If flour represented germs, then we saw how many germs got on the balloon! We continued our discussion with how we keep germs from spreading.
Weighing with our pan balance
Weighing with our pan balance
“L-I-K-E, I Like it!” We learned the word “like” this week and used it in our reading and writing. We have been working on fluent reading and practicing the reading strategy of determining importance. We used the activity, “somebody wanted but so then” to summarize the stories we read. This week we read Caps for Sale and summarized in the story that “The peddler wanted to sell his caps but the monkey took the cap so then the peddler threw down his cap and the monkeys threw the caps back down.” We started our new unit on writing true stories for writing workshop. Along with putting down our stories in order, we also talked about how we put spaces between words and periods at the end of the sentences.
In math, we are in the midst of measuring our shoes and comparing our measurements with each other. To extend the lesson, we tried to figure out how we measure around curves. I passed out some string and gave students some time to think of ideas. We started playing games where the students are asked to increase and decrease numbers. This will lead us to addition and subtraction concepts in the near future.
We finished up our science lesson on ants and discussed how ants are like superheroes! We realized that they are more similar than we first thought at the beginning of the unit.
We had a very packed week! We had a mystery reader, a school assembly and a Halloween party! Thank you to all who helped out with the Halloween party! So many of the students talked about how much fun they had. Thank you!
The class dressed up!
We added a new sight word this week. We learned that “t-o” spells to. We have been saying, “t-o, to school we go!”.
Students have been working hard in their guided reading groups. During this time, many have been stamping away and writing words that have the short a sound. Others have been playing Bingo with the short a words. The class started to use the activates (voters) with our promethean board. It has been a fun way for students to practice reading various short a words and voting in their answers. I’m impressed with how they are learning so quickly!
We finished up our introduction unit in writing. Your child should have taken home their pieces of writing from the unit. This unit was focused on getting them used to the writing process. We learned that writing is an avenue for people to express their thoughts so that others can read it on their own. Our next unit will be on narrative writing and will focus on writing true stories from their lives. At the end of the unit, students will take home their writings to show you. I will keep one of them for their portfolio, but will make a copy for you to see.
We finished up our unit on comparing numbers and measurement. We will be starting our new unit that will extend their understanding on the number system. They will be introduced to strategies that help them solve addition and subtraction problems.
This week was a very busy week with shortened days from conferences. We added a field trip and a visit from Officer Friendly in there too! The class had a great time at the field trip despite the cold and hopefully enjoyed bringing home a pumpkin! I am always fascinated by the things we learn about on our visit to The Grove. Hopefully your child told you about the different things we got to learn and see in nature right here in Illinois. Officer Friendly discussed with the class about fire safety and what to do if there is a fire on our clothes. The class practiced how to “stop, droll and roll”.
Field trip at The Grove
Visit from Officer Friendly
We worked a lot on the short “a” sound by reading words that are in the “at” family. We realized that all those words rhyme with each other. If we know how to read the word “bat”, we can then easily change the begging sound to read the word “hat”. The class spent time in their reading centers writing/stamping words. We also continued our discussion on what are main ideas and what are details in the books that we read. In writing though, we switched it around to talk about how we can add details to our stories. We learned that details help us to have a better picture of what our story is about.
The class did a lot of activities in our science lessons about ants. We made a class ant mural with ant nests and tunnels. We started comparing and contrasting how ants are like superheroes. There are a lot of ways that they are similar! We moved onto study about how ants have different roles. The students were a bit sad to hear that there are no such things as King Ants and that most ants are girl (female) ants. We ended off the week by describing the worker ants, scout ants, and the guard ants.
In math, we worked on comparing numbers and also measuring. When we measure, we make sure to line up the item and our measuring tool. We’ve been comparing what is longer and shorter. We also compared the length of our first names and realized that there are some people in our class with lots of letters in their first name!
We had an exciting week! A mystery reader came to visit our class, we had an assembly and got to watch some contemporary dancing, and we had fourth graders come visit us! The fourth graders are our writing buddies. The kindergarteners shared their writing piece with their buddy and received compliments and feedbacks. We can’t wait for the fourth graders to finish their writing so they can read their story to us!
Reading our stories with our fourth grade buddy!
We learned a very important letter this week. The letter a! More importantly, we learned the short a sound as in Andy the Apple. Students are not only recognizing the short a sound as we read, but are using the short a sound to write simple words correctly. We read a book called Bee Bim Bop together as a class and talked about the setting, characters, and the sequence of the story. The story is about a girl who cannot wait to eat bee bim bop, a Korean rice dish with mixed vegetables and meat. We had a great discussion about what dishes students in the class get excited to eat.
In science, we started our unit on ants. We looked at the ants and observed them as closely as possible. We discussed first what we think is the purpose of the different parts of ant’s body. Then we learned the names of the body parts and started to think about how they use those body parts.
In writing, the students are doing an amazing job with their writing. They are going back and adding pages and new ideas to extend their writing. Some are writing full sentences and adding details to both their pictures and words. I see most students staying on topic as they write rather than coming up with a new topic for each page of their story.
Last but not least, we had our first celebration of the year for filling our “100s chart”! The students chose to watch a short movie. We watched Stellaluna over a couple of days and discussed the things we learned Stellaluna’s actions at the end to help the birds out.
We had a wonderful week and looking forward to more!
We filled our 100s chart!