Sunday, October 23, 2011

Story Book Parade

Our biggest news item is Samsula's Story Book Parade, that will take place this upcoming Friday the 28th. Our classroom's school bus is almost complete and we are gearing up and getting ready to represent our Junie B. Jones book. Students will be allowed to wear regular street clothing to school on Friday for our parade costumes and do not need to bring their school uniform to change into. Please make sure that student's "regular" clothing is modest in length and appropriate for the days weather. All students must wear tennis or athletic style shoes on Friday.

I would like to give a big Thank You! to the families who have participated and donated in our creation of our School Bus for the Parade. Take a glimpse at the hard work and effort paying off to make our Story Book Parade awesome!

Families and friends are welcome to come and view the Parade out back by the PE Pavillion. Festivities begin at 9:40am and then you are invited to stay and have lunch with the class. Don't forget to bring a chair or blanket to sit on! Parents are permitted to check children out for the remainder of the day after lunch.

On our regular classroom front there are many things to update you on. As a teacher I have been studying Thinking Maps for my own professional development. There are 8 Thinking Maps that correlate to the 8 different ways our brains think about and process information. As a class we have been learning and using these maps in all subject areas. I am excited to start using these maps to show what the students know and help them think critically about what they are learning. Below are some examples of thinking maps in use.

In Reading we have focused our skills on identifying the main idea of a selection and then providing the supporting details given in the text. Once the main idea is identified this allows students to better summarize what they have read and gain a deeper understanding. We also continue to retell what we have read paying particular attention to retelling the events in the correct order. We are practicing these reading skills through literary works, Thinking Maps and leveled practice cards. We continue to practice our reading in multiple ways, to self and others as well as working on phonics skills to support reading and spelling ability. In writing we are focusing on creating "how to" pieces where we identify and then describe the procedures or steps necessary to do, make or complete a task.

In math class we have spent some time learning about and reviewing our number sense and have moved into the concept of addition and have begun to practice our addition facts. I ask that each child in the class review addition flash cards for at least 5 minutes a day. This will allow for quicker recall of facts and make multi-step, and algebraic problems easier in the future. This upcoming week we will start to study subtraction and its relationship to addition and different ways we can find the answer or difference in a subtraction problem. Along with this study we are learning the touch math process for solving addition and subtraction. The touch math curriculum gives each number a pencil touch that will relate to the numerical value. This will allow students to add and subtract with a simple tap of their pencil. This same skill can be later applied to multiplication and division. There are multiple ways to solve a problem and I would like students to know a variety of ways and then choose the one that makes most sense and is easiest for them to use.

We continue to explore the World around us in Science. Recently we studied water and one way it changes its state of matter- evaporation. We conducted experiments in and outside of the classroom to see where and how evaporation happens. We also took a look at weather conditions and patterns as well as larger patterns such as seasons. Most recently we experimented and explored the force of gravity and magnets. This next week we are going to change gears and explore and study the relationships items have to water and how some items sink and other float. We will do many hands on experiments and draw conclusions from our predictions and observations to determine how this phenomena occurs.

Trick or Treating is right around the corner and in Social Studies we have been learning about needs and wants and how those needs and wants are met. As a school we are asking for our students to help kids in developing nations meet their needs by participating in Trick or Treat for Unicef. Student are provided with a donation box to carry while they are doing their regular Trick or Treating. The money they raise will go towards helping provide for the needs of other through food and clean drinking water. This is a great way to teach about the concept and get kids involved in helping others who struggle to have their needs met. We are also leaning about goods and services and where and how goods and services can be made, used or purchased.

As always I am enjoying every minute exploring, learning and growing with the students in the multi-ages enrichment class at Samsula Academy and hope you have enjoyed this little peek into our classroom. Check back again for more updates!
~Miss Ellis

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 7 was all about review

Our 7th week of school was a big review week for our reading class. We reviewed all of our reading skills and vocabulary covered perviously in Unit 1 of our reading series. With this review week we also presented our 1st of 6 Book Reports that student will complete over the school year. We also took our 1st Unit test in 2 parts on Thursday and Friday assessing all of the skills practiced. We then learned and practiced another part of our Daily 5 skills: Read to Someone. This skill allows students to become better readers and practice their fluency and prosody (or oral reading voices) while enjoying a book with their friends. Below are images of students practicing this new skill as well as a slideshow of students sharing their book reports.

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Math was all about comparing numbers this past week. We used our previous chapters skill of identifying place value to help compare numbers. Students traced and cut out their own greater than and less than symbols (> and <) to help them compare and they remembered that the "aligator mouth always faces the bigger number so he will get more to eat." Along with comparing numbers we learned our first of many dice games to build and compare numbers.

Next week we will review comparing numbers and move into basic addition and subtraction skills.

In Social Studies we finished up our map skills and started to discuss early explorers like Marco Polo and his important exploration. This next week we will continue to learn about and study explorers such as Christopher Columbus and the early settlers of the United States of America.

I would like to give 3 cheers to all those who have helped and participated in sending soil to our classroom for our soil map. We continue to put soil up and explore the different properties of soils from all around the United States.

Our soil map will stay on display in our classroom through the end of October and then it will be transfered outside of the main office to showcase it to the entire school. In science we have also studied evaporation, weather and seasons.