Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Field Study and Exploring Personal Choices

What a great week we had! We prepared for our field trip to the Barberville Pioneer Art Settlement, spending some time learning about the early American and Pioneer life style only to get to experience it first hand. It was a fun learning day where the students participated in hands on activities such as candle making, butter making, spinning, weaving, farming and word working. Below is a look into the past where our class participated in all of these things on our wonderful field study!

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I would like to take this time to thank all of the wonderful parents who participated in this field trip and made it possible.

In other news a congratulations are in order for our Kindergarten students. This past week we studied our very first word family, the -an family, and took our very first spelling test. None of the words were sent home to study, but were covered in class and every single one of the students showed mastery of reading, writing and spelling the words chosen from that word family. This week we will be working with the -ap family found in words such as map and tap.

Since this is a week 6 review week in our reading curriculum I have decided to use this week to implement some new teaching practices that allow for more creativity and enhanced meaningful and personal student achievement in literacy. Today was our first day starting a Writer's Workshop. Within the Writer's Workshop you can expect your child to think of and write about their own ideas and in the formats that they prefer. The students will learn about the full writing process from brainstorming through drafting, peer conferencing, teacher conferencing and creating a final writing piece. All of this writing will be supported by mini-lessons on different genre writing and an emphasis on grammar and techniques.

As a counterpart to writing I will also be implementing some of the techniques of the Daily 5 in our reading class. The daily 5 focuses literacy instruction through 5 components in the classroom. Those components are 1. reading to self, 2. reading to someone, 3. listening to reading, 4. working on writing (writers workshop), and 5. spelling/word work. All of these essential literacy components will be worked on each day along with specific skill instruction from myself. As the students and myself become more comfortable with the new approach to teaching and learning literacy the students will be able to explore self directed learning by choosing reading books and reading "best-fit" books and also creating and working towards meeting their own reading goals.

In mathematics Kindergarten has finished their number study, reading, writing and counting orally to 100. This week we begin our unit on measurement which will be followed by time and money. This week we will focus on specific concepts such as length, weight and capacity. In first grade we continue to practice our addition and subtraction facts daily and are now working with larger numbers and therefore larger sums and differences.

In science we will be reviewing movement and studying more in-depth how movement can be affected, increased, changed and stopped.

As always I am looking forward to another great week here at Samsula Academy!
Miss Ellis

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year and a New Week

Happy New Years to all and welcome back!

Now that we are all back from our winter vacations we are jumping right back into the thick of it and are hitting the ground full seed. In first grade math this week we are furthering our understanding of addition and subtraction. We are adding more than 2 numbers and using multiple methods to solve mathematical problems. In Kindergarten we are reviewing number 0-90 and will be working our way up to 100 by the end of the week.

This week our reading unit focuses on families and we are reading a play called Smile, Mike! in reading class. We are focusing on generating questions to ensure understanding while reading. Our comprehension skill for the week is making predictions and confirming them. First grade spelling is on long /i/ words spelled i-e. Spelling words for the week are: bike, hide, like, mine, ride, and spike. Spelling words can also include previously learned spelling words and high frequency words. First grade high frequency words to know are: how, there, so, more, funny, and call. Kindergarten is currently reviewing short vowel sounds this week in reading. Kindergarten sight words for the week are: ride, saw, say, she, and so.

In social studies we are preparing for our first field trip to the Barberville Pioneer Arts Settlement on Thursday January the 13th, 2011. We are learning about the life style of Pioneers and how that life style is similar and different to our own today. We are very excited for this trip and I remind you that field trip permission forms and money are due the beginning of next week.

As always I am looking forward to another fun week of learning with your children!
Miss Ellis