Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maps, Maps and More Maps

In Social Studies this past week we started to learn about the Earth's surface and hope you have found someone who is willing to share some of their Earth with us here in Samsula. We will put up our map at the end of this week to showcase the soil from around our country. Along with the Earth's surface we will begin our study of continents, oceans, our country: its states and neighbors. We look forward to the hands on activities using our map and globe skills to explore these regions.

In science we move our focus of the Earth's surface from rocks and soils to how it changes over time. Some changes take place over long periods of time like in weathering and others happen very quickly as a result of extreme weather or natural events like Earthquakes. Below you can see some of our hands on rock experiences as we sorted and classified rocks from our area.

Students will continue their study of place value in math class from last week through this new week. We will continue to practice with manipulatives to represent numbers through the 100s and maybe even 1,000s place value. It is important to remember that when we say a number our loud it may help us to know how many ones, tens and hundreds it has.

This week we will be practicing a new and very important writing skill associated with friendly letters. We will be learning how to write and address an envelope. In your child's homework this week I ask that you practice writing your home address with the students so that as we write some letters they can be addressed and mailed home.

As always I look forward to a new week of learning and growing and hope you do, too!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Patterns all around!

Our 4th week of school was a very successful one! We learned and practiced may skills.

In math class we practiced identifying pattern units and even made some patterns of our own. We also found mistakes in patterns and corrected them and extended them. Here are some examples of patterns made by students in our class this year.

Over the next two weeks we will explore numerals, place values, and different ways we can represet numbers. We will use base ten block and unifix cubes to practice these concepts.

In social studies we have finished up our unit on communities and different areas such as urban, rural and suburban. We explored common features of these types of communities and used our imaginations to pretend what it would be like to live in the communities we do not currently live in.

Science class brought us a lot of inquiry. We focused this week on the most important science question: "How do you know?" We created a list of questions about the items we could observe in our classroom and then narrowed those down to a list of 3 that we explored. We hypothesized, observed and drew conclusions to these questions through measurement and recording of data in our science journal.
Take a look at some of our inquiries below:

Next week we will start our combined study of the Earth's surface in both Science and Social Studies. As a fun and very scientific way to study the Earth's surface I ask that each family send a zip top bag to a friend or family member that does not live in the Volusia County area and have them mail the bag with a few scoops of the soil they have in their yard. We will use these samples to explore texture and content.

Comprehension is key in reading class and we continue to practice our reading daily. This next week we will practice our reading skills of plot development, characters and setting, as well as summarizing and identifying main ideas and details. These skills help students better understand what they are reading and allow for greater comprehension. We will also practice phonics skills centered around words with short /o/ and long /o/ following the o-e pattern found in words like mop and mope respectively in 2nd grade while 1st graders will focus on short /a/ and /i/ words such as cat and hit respectively.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Special, Special, Special!

Our community, school and classroom are full of special people and I am so pleased with the turn out we had this past Friday to celebrate all the special people in our lives.

This past week we finished our second week of reading skill study and move to our 3rd week. First graders will continue to practice their reading skill of retelling events in the right order. Their phonics practice will center around words with the short /i/ sound heard in the word "kid." Second graders will learn and practice the reading skill of summarizing what they have read and identifying main ideas and details. Second grade phonics practice will center on words with the long /a`/ sound and a_e spelling patterns found in words like "made."

In math class we will assess our knowledge of spatial sense and begin our study of patterns. We will look at the basic structures of patterns, and how to extend a pattern.

This past week in science we had the opportunity to use our process skills to investigate the world around us. We took time to go on a nature walk and practice our observation skills. This upcoming week we will continue to practice our scientific skills and begin to use inquiry skills. We will come up with our own questions about the world around us and create experiments to find out more about the world around us and possible answers to our questions.

In social studies we started our unit on the USA, its common symbols and recognizable monuments. This week we will continue to review these symbols and move into the study of of communities such as cities, rural areas and larger communities such as states and countries.

Below are some images from our Special Persona Day. Enjoy!

I remember...

Dear Families,
If you are like me, you can probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing ten years ago when you heard the disturbing news of what happened on 9/11. Despite the tragedy that day was for our country, in tribute this year on the 10th anniversary I would like our class to participate in the 9/11 Day of Service.
This September 11th, please join millions of others who are taking the time to adopt a charity, volunteer, donate, or engage in other charitable service work to help those most in need. It’s completely up to you to decide whom you’ll support and what you’ll do. This can be a great way to help your child learn at a young age that serving others is much more important that only serving ourselves.
Here are three simple ways to get involved:

1. Visit and adopt a cause or charity for the day, or post a good deed that your family or child plans to perform in observance of 9/11.

2. Create a volunteer or charity service project with your family. There are literally thousands of things you can all do together, and a service project is a great way to teach your children about the importance of setting aside time to help others in your community. You can:

✩ Clean up a neighborhood playground, beach, or park
✩ Volunteer at an animal shelter
✩ Donate books and toys to a shelter

✩ Create homemade gifts for the residents at a retirement home
✩ Collect sports equipment donations for a youth group
✩ Volunteer at a food pantry

3. Contact local community organizations, schools, and faith-based groups to see if they have any service plans for 9/11. Then you and your family can volunteer to help.

On Monday, I would love for the students to share what type of service they did with the class. You may even want to make a poster or take pictures that your child can show the other students. I can’t wait to hear the creative ideas your families come up with. We would also like for all the students to show their patriotism on Monday by wearing red, white, and blue shirts to school.

If you are unsure how to talk to your child about the events of September 11th there is a wonderful video available at that talks about the events of that day in a way that is appropriate for children. Many of the children know that this day is important in our history but don’t understand why, and this video is a great way to teach them about the events of 9/11 nonthreatening way. I hope we can come together as a class to help rekindle the spirit of service and unity shared by so many of us immediately following 9/11.

Miss Ellis

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Special Persons Day

Next Friday the 9th of September we will have our anual Special Persons Day. Each child is aloud to invite a special person or two into the classroom to take part in some small activities and book reading. This will take place close to our classroom lunch time and our guests are invited to stay for lunch as well. With all of the extra people staying for lunch our lunch times will be extended so that everyone can get through the line and have time to eat. Due to the changes in lunch times for the school I anticipate that I will have an exact time that the festivities will start in the classroom on Tuesday. I will post that time here on the blog as well as send it home in your child's yellow School-Home Folders. We look forward to having all our the special people in our lives share this time with us at school.

Common Sense

I am very pleased with how well week 2 went!

We finished our first reading unit where we studied plot structure: beginning, middle, and end, as well as characters and settings within the stories we read. First graders practiced their phonics skills with words that all had the short /a/ sound that you hear in the word man. Second graders practiced short /a/ and /i/ found in words like hit and bat. We also focused on becoming better readers by reading to ourselves and listening to books on CD every day. Next week we will continue our reading study, practicing the skill of retelling events in order.

In math we used hands on manipulatives to deepen our understanding of plane shapes and 3-D solid figures. Students also practiced paper pencil skills to show knowledge of shape names, vertices (points), angles, faces and edges. Next week we will review shapes and move into a study of spatial sense.

We all use our 5 senses every single day to observe the world around us. In science class we spent time exploring our sense of sight using scientific tools like hand-lenses and microscopes to increase our ability to see. We used cup-telephones, whisper-phones and head-phones to explore our sense of hearing. At the end of the week we all took part in a smell experiment to see which liquid we might prefer to drink. All the while we used our Science Journal to record what we learned in class. Next week we will finish up our study of the 5 senses with a look into our sense of touch and tase.

In social studies we learned about communities, cultures, families and traditions. We discussed the thing we do in our families and communities over and over again as well as some other cultural aspects like food and holidays we celebrate due to the vast varieties of cultures we have in the United States. Next week we will look more carefully at our Nation and some of the Symbols that represent our country.

As a final note I would like to share that at our Health Screening on Tuesday our 1-2 Enrichment class was told we were the most well behaved class that participated. Due to this achievement Mrs. Conrad gave each student and myself a Panther Paw. With this and other times we were caught doing what was right by other staff members we earned 22 Panther Paws total in the first two week. I am so proud of the good behavior demonstrated thus far!