Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September Highlights

Hi parents!

We are off and running at full speed now!  Here are some highlights from this month.

Reading Workshop
This month in reading workshop the kids are activating their background knowledge and connecting new learning to that knowledge as they read a variety of nonfiction texts.  I've learned that your kiddos have a wealth of information in their invisible backpacks; they know so much about so very many topics.  It's amazing!

In addition, the kids are reading self-selected texts at their reading level and making meaningful and deep connections to their reading.  They have been working hard to explain how their connections help them better understand the text.  These deep connections have been made at home as the kids complete their weekly readeng logs.  I have seen enormous growth with their reading logs and the quality of their connections.  Thank you for your support with the weekly reading!

Next week we will move to a new comprehension strategy.  We will begin to focus on the strategy of asking questions.  A variety of nonfiction texts will be used as I model the strategy for the kids and slowly release them for independent practice.  You will see a change in the weekly reading log; it will soon focus on asking questions vs making connections.

This month in writing the kids have selected a topic for their realistic fiction piece.  We are writing a class story together so that I may model how to develop characters, draft a plan for the story, create a story arc to map out scenes, create a variety of leads to choose from, etc.  After modeling and shared writing with our story the kids spend workshop time applying the strategies they just learned to their own story.  As of today, we have created a story arc to map out our scenes.  We are about to begin the drafting process.  This will take us a few weeks.  The kids seem to be very excited about their stories and the problems they have created for their character to solve.

In math we are currently wrapping up unit 1 on factors and multiples.  The kids have been learning about prime, composite, and square numbers.  We have focused on finding the factors of numbers and creating arrays to represent the factor pairs of numbers.  Lastly, our focus has been on multiplicative comparisons; the kids have been writing and solving equations for the word problems in this portion of the unit.  Two math quizzes have gone home so far, one will come home in the next day or so followed by the unit assessment.  I hope you have seen these.  If not, I made copies to show you at conference time.

Next week we will begin unit 2 which will focus on data.  The kids will learn how to create survey questions, gather data, and represent data using a variety of graphs.  This is an exciting unit which the kids enjoy each year.

Finally, we have been using the Chrome books to differentiate and enrich our learning.  The kids have had the opportunity to explore a variety of different math games related to the current unit by accessing the google classroom I set up as well as logging on to and playing the math games introduced throughout the unit.

In Science we have been learning about ecosystems.  The kids have learned about biotic and abiotic factors, predator/prey relationships, the different types of ecosystems, and all about physical and behavioral adaptations.  Soon we will extend our study of ecosystems by investigating food webs and the relationship between biotic and abiotic factors within an ecosystem.  This unit of study will culminate with the creation of a brochure.  The students will select an endangered animal and demonstrate their learning of the unit as they detail the animal's habitat, diet, its place in the food chain, its adaptations, as well as create a call for action asking for steps to be taken to help take the animal off the endangered list.  Our fiedl trip to the Cheyenne Mountain zoo is on September 30th.

Buddy Time
We have begun Buddy Time!  The kids are so excited.  We are paired with Ms. Wilson's pm Kindergarten class.  Thus far, we have met our buddies, spent some time learning about each other, read together, and helped our "Kindie" use learning apps on their iPad.  This will be a weekly activity for both classes.  The kids develop a very special bond as the year progresses.  It's a beautiful thing to watch!

Next week will be our first co-taught technology unit with Megan Fleet.  Megan and I will co-teach a unit on fossils which is part of our Science curriculum.  We will utilize google classroom as well as teach the kids how to use multiple tabs as they investigate a mystery.  The premise of the unit is a based on a mystery that the kinds must solve regarding found fossils.  They will study a variety of texts while gathering clues about where the fossil could have been discovered.  Once they have concluded  where the fossils was discovered they will create a google doc which they will share with the class.  The is google doc will explain how they came to their conclusion.  It's going to be a very exciting unit!


  • Words Their Way, our spelling curriculum, has begun.  This is the first week of the program.  The kids went home Monday with their spelling words as well as an orange piece of paper which listed a variety of different activities the kids may do to practice their words.  Their test will be on Friday.
  • Please periodically check your kiddos HW planner so you can help me ensure that he/she is copying and completing the HW each night.  I've had quite a few friends in study hall during extra recess over the past few weeks.
  • Reading logs are given out on Monday and are due the next Monday.  Please sign your child's reading log after they complete it.
That's all for now!