Welcome back!

It was a great week back!  I spent today reading with the kids to see how they’ve grown, and it truly was incredible.  I am always amazed to see how much progress they have made since the beginning of the year!  What a great way to finish the week!
This week we began our opinion writing unit, so we discussed the difference between a fact vs. an opinion.  We did a fact vs. opinion sort, and let’s be honest, we love to give our opinion, so it was fun to talk about!  😉  
During reading we talked about “bossy r”.  He’s such a bossy guy because he bosses the vowel around to make a new sound.  We searched for words with: -ar, -er, -ir, -or and -ur.  
We learned some wonderful new games in math, which helped us solve for an unknown in an addition equation, think of appropriate and efficient strategies, and use <, > or = symbols.
Something we’re also really working hard on is handwriting and correct letter formation.  We have some serious work to do!  😉
I hope you all enjoy the long weekend!  Take care and stay healthy!  

A December to Remember!

We continue to be very busy in math! In Number Corner this month, we learned about shapes. We discussed the attributes of a rectangular prism, cube, sphere, and cylinder. We categorized our calendar cards as one of the above shapes and found patterns within these shape cards. We also found other objects in the classroom with similar attributes. We continued to learn about time and identified specific times of day we do certain activities.

We’ve spent a great deal of time learning our doubles and near doubles facts. Knowing these facts has helped improve our addition fluency. We’ve been working on using more math talk when justifying our answers. When solving doubles plus one facts, we are getting very good at stating why we know the answer. For example, when solving 3+4, we would say, “I know that 3+3=6 so 3+4 must be 7”. Our addition strategy chart has helped us remember that we can solve problems in many ways: counting on, using doubles and near doubles facts, using manipulative to count, hopping on the number line, and knowing the facts from memory. We continue to practice subtraction and counting down from the bigger number on the number line to help us figure out the answer. We’ve also been working on some number sense activities like ordering numbers, identifying numbers that come before and after, and comparing numbers using the greater and less than symbols. Counting and writing numbers by 5’s was also something we practiced. Counting by number patterns (2, 5, 10) is something great to practice in the car if you have a few extra minutes.

Language Arts and Writing Workshop:
This month we learned that Y can make two sounds at the end of a word when it acts like a vowel. It can either sound like long e in multisyllabic words like puppy or like I in monosyllabic words like try. We were great detectives when we hunted for these words in books! We also learned about the suffixes -ed, and -ing. After break, we will learn about bossy r vowel combinations.

In writing, we have completed our unit on nonfiction teaching books! The students have worked so hard to publish their completed teaching stories. We will be celebrating our hard work by reading our published pieces to another class. Way to go, writers! Our next unit will be on opinion and persuasive writing.  Here are some pictures from our celebration yesterday!


We have officially wrapped up our animal unit. We had a great experience learning about different animals when Steve and Christine from The Flying Fox came to visit! We had the opportunity to see an African fruit bat, a parrot, a chinchilla, an opossum, a sloth, a python, and a kinkajou. What fun!

Candyland Fun!  

One of the pieces of our Candyland Gameboard was to take a picture in the snow.  Well, we did our best and took it with Olaf!  

We were also lucky enough to get a visit from Mrs. Wiescholek’s 5th grade class, who came to read to us!  It was so much fun to meet some older friends in the building!

What an incredible end to the year!  Here’s to a fabulous 2018!  


We have been so busy!

Daily 5
In the last few weeks, we have completed a review of all short vowels, learned about magic E, diagraphs (the H brothers: sh, ch, wh, th) and the difference between common and proper nouns. I hope you were able to listen to them read their magic E words that came home!

We have been very busy in math! Our November Number Corner found us learning about time to the hour and fractions (whole, halves, and fourths). Over the course of the month, we collected hours and discussed what we were doing at each time of day. Every day we flipped over a new date card that represented a fraction. We found patterns with these fraction cards and recorded number sentences about the fractions and what they represented. We spent a great deal of time using dominoes and playing domino games (Domino Top Draw and Domino Equations) to help us learn and practice new addition strategies. Some of the strategies we’ve been practicing include learning how to accurately use the number line to add and subtract, counting on from the bigger number, adding by 10’s, and counting the dots. We are also practicing using standard notation ( <, >, +, -, =) to record expressions and compare quantities. Some of our workshop games this month had us recording numbers that were one more and one less, writing numbers from 1 to 120, becoming more confident adding and subtracting ten on the hundreds chart, practicing adding 2, 3 or 4 addends to different numbers, and using math talk to discuss what math strategies we were using to solve problems. We also learned about the relationship between numbers and how they can create a fact family! Over the next few weeks we will continue to build on these skills, as we solve addition and subtraction problems with larger numbers and develop fluency with doubles combinations.

We snuck in a tree observation earlier this week… thank goodness the weather cooperated! We will be observing the same tree as the seasons progress to watch how that specific tree changes.

We have also been learning about animals in science! We started this unit by identifying, sorting, and classifying different types of animals. We then moved on to learning about animal body parts. We read, “What Would You Do with a Tail Like This?” and learned all sorts of fascinating ways animals use their body parts to move, see, eat, touch, hear, and protect themselves. Before break we did a Mystery Science lesson and discussed how different animal parts help them to survive. Our first lesson was called, “Why do birds have beaks?” We had a blast trying different beaks (bent straws vs. a cut cup) to decide which one was better for scooping and which one was better for picking up smaller objects. We had a blast!

We are excited for our upcoming animal visit next week! Please remember to turn in money if you have not already done so.

Writing Workshop
In writing, we continue to work on writing nonfiction teaching books. There are so many topics the students are experts on, and they are really enjoying teaching others through their writing. When writing, students have learned to keep their readers in mind and pretend that they know nothing about their topic. This is to help make sure that many written and visual details are included. In addition to writing words and facts about their topics, students have also learned to use pictures and diagrams with labels to teach others. Some of our mini lessons have included: using a Table of Contents to explain what the book is about, writing in twin sentences, and using expert words and specific vocabulary to enhance writing. As we finish up this unit, we will learn more about writing introductions, conclusions and what different types of writing are included in teaching books.

Things to note:
New December and reading and homework calendars will be sent home today. Please return the November calendars if you haven’t done so already.

Notes about Dreambox, our new math app, are being sent home today as well. Included with the introductory letter is your child’s login information so that you can have access to this at home.

Mrs. Geidner has shared information about the SixFlags Read to Succeed Reading Program. Reading logs can be found in your child’s home folder tonight! If you have any questions, please let me know!

As the weather turns cooler, please make sure your child is dressed to enjoy morning PE and recess outside! Also, please make sure that the extra change of clothing your child has in their locker is seasonally appropriate.

Alphabet Fluency

We have been discussing punctuation, and how, as we read, each symbol is like a road sign, telling our voices how to work. You don’t ask questions the same way you say something with excitement. Here we are practicing how to use punctuation with the alphabet. For example, one card reads:


As you can imagine, there were lots of laughs! 

Here We Go!

What an incredible start to the school year we have had!  We have been working overtime to learn our classroom routines and expectations.  We also began our classroom jobs last week, so be sure to ask your child about his/her job!  One of the first activities we completed was to put a puzzle piece together to create something.  What each group didn’t know was that they were putting together a puzzle of a letter or an exclamation point.  Once they figured out the letter, they then realized that we could spell the word, “TEAM!”  


A gorgeous rainbow the night of Parent Orientation.  What an amazing year it’s going to be!  


Math:  We have been measuring like crazy, and measuring all sorts of objects around our room using different non-standard units such as tiles, unifix cubes, paper clips and popsicle sticks.  We also ordered objects by length, and our math vocabulary words thus far include: compare, equal,  greater than, least, less than, measure, and most.  Below are some fun pictures of us playing math games during guided math.


Daily 5:  We have been doing reading groups and reading activities in our classroom for the last few weeks.  Every day, when students are not in a reading group with a teacher, they have five literacy choices: Listen to Reading, Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing or Word Word.  We have been having a riot reading with silly glasses on, practicing our word sort words using old keyboards, reading to friends, and using the iPads to read books on RAZ Kids or practice our handwriting.  Our first word sort assessment is coming home this week.  We did a great job! Please remember to record your nightly reading minutes (at least 20 minutes per night) on the reading log, located on the back of the October homework calendar.


Social Studies: We have started our year with some incredible habits that we will put into practice for the rest of the year (and hopefully, the rest of our lives)!   We are using the book, “The Seven Habits of Happy Kids,” by Sean Covey.  So far, we have covered the first five habits:

Habit 1: Be Proactive – you’re in charge of you

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind – have a plan

Habit 3: Put First Things First – work first, then play

Habit 4: Think Win-Win – everyone can win

Habit 5: Think First to Understand, Then to be Understood – listen before you talk

Throughout the year, we will be referencing these habits and using them to set personal and classroom goals.  They are such an important part of our time together at school!


Writing Workshop: We’re off to a great start in writing workshop!  We’re learning how to write small moment stories (personal narratives) about real experiences that we have had.  The trickiest part for us as writers is finding a topic to write about.  Luckily, we filled out a heart map, which reminds us of people, places and things that mean a lot to us.  This map stays in our writing folder so we can reference it whenever we need to.  We will soon discuss telling our stories in “itsy-bitsy steps” and writing more details across many pages.   


School Rules: Avoca West is working hard to be “BRAVE.”  Because the words and concepts can be tricky for us, we wrote down ideas of what BRAVE behavior looks like around our school.  Here is our list.

Here’s to a great start to the year!