One big important concept we have been discussing a lot in class is choosing "good fit" books when we are doing our independent reading. This is a very hard concept for them to internalize because they all have the desire to jump into large chapter books. However, while some of us are ready to be reading such books, many of us just aren't ready for those books yet. We have also been discussing how we all have different needs and it's ok that some of us aren't ready for those books. I conferenced with all of them about what level books would be good for them last week to help them make better choices. Please try to encourage your child to be reading "good fit" books at home for their nightly reading homework as well. Their nightly reading should be something they are able to do independently. If they don't know most of the words in the book or can't recall the details of what they read then they should select a book that is less challenging. Remind them that with practice that challenging book they are trying to read will become a "good fit" book in the future.
We kicked off our study of American symbols and government last week with an introductory activity where students observed several pictures of American symbols and monuments. They then wrote either an "I think..." or an "I wonder..." about the pictures. This activity helped them to activate their prior knowledge and allowed me to assess what prior knowledge and/or misconceptions they may have. It also helped get them excited about our upcoming learning.
We continued our novel study of The One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes last week as well. We are nearing the end of our book and read a very important chapter last week about standing up for others. This has been a very powerful read aloud for the students and I hope they are internalizing the central message of the book. This book has also been wonderful for expanding our vocabularies. This week we once again learned some new challenging vocabulary words. We learned the words dilapidated and disconsolate. Let me know if your child is able to recall what these words mean so that I can recognize them for their active listening.
In math, we started using our Math journals this week. Each morning when the students enter the classroom they are taking out their journals and solving a given math problem. Their job is to not only solve for the correct answer but to also show their thinking. Each morning after they have solved the problem of the day we do a number talk where students take turns explaining the strategies they used to help them solve the problem. This is a powerful time of day where the students are really solidifying their number sense and expanding their toolbox of math strategies. During our daily number talks we have been discussing the idea of using more efficient strategies now that we are working with larger numbers in math. The students are beginning to discover that drawing a picture with dots is no longer the best strategy.
Finally, your child will be brining home their Eagle Walk sponsor sheet this week. This is our only fundraiser that goes directly to our classroom so please help your child collect sponsors if you are able. This money helps pay for several of our field trips as well as classroom subscriptions and supplies and anything else we may need throughout the year.
Have a wonderful week!