Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Posting of the Year

Well, this is it! The very last blog posting of 2010! The children have worked very hard these last few weeks and I know we are ALL look forward to a nice, relaxing vacation! I can’t wait to see what is in store for us in 2011!

Thank You!
I would like to take a minute and just thank all of your unwavering help and support thus far. Both Mrs. Glazier and I are so very grateful to be working with such a fantastic group of children and families. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know all of you and I really am looking forward to the rest of this school year.  Thank you for all that you do!!

Vacation is a great time to enjoy some reading as a family! Reading together allows parents and children to spend valuable time together and can prompt interesting and insightful discussions about reading/books! Some discussion starters might include:

 What is one question you have?
 Make a prediction about what will happen next. Were you right?
 Tell about your favorite part and why it is your favorite.
 Tell how you are like/unlike the main character.
 Make a connection to the story.
 Draw a picture of a setting.
 Retell. (beginning, middle, end)

Discussions about books help students to slow down and reflect upon the text. This, in turn, can strengthen reading comprehension skills.

Any time spent reading together counts toward the reading log – so read, read, read!  (The January reading log went home earlier this week - so students can start off the New Year with a good book!)

In addition (no pun intended), please remember to review those math facts! You can use the addition flash cards that I have sent home, as well as fact triangles. The triangles will help strengthen subtraction skills as well (that is next on our to-do list!). You can also ask your child a few questions in the car or while you wait at the grocery store: What’s 9 + 6? 5 + 7? By becoming more automatic with their addition facts, children will become more comfortable and confident in math!

Now, for our week in review!

This week was a review week for us in reading. We did not have a new story in our reading anthology, but we did review all of the reading skills and strategies that we have been working on during the last 5 weeks. Some of these important reading strategies include making predictions, drawing conclusions, identifying the main idea, and making inferences. Some of the tricky grammar skills include making plural nouns (deciding when to add s, es, or ies; making irregular nouns plural), identifying proper nouns, and using apostrophes to show possession. We also reinforced our understanding of contractions. Students applied their knowledge and understanding of these important concepts as they completed the Unit 2 Reading Assessment on Wednesday.

Students finished the drafts of their How-To Articles last week and worked VERY hard to revise and edit them this week.  Just about everyone finished their "final copies" (complete with illustrations) and they are hanging proudly in the hallway for all to read!  If you ever wanted to learn how to make Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes, Water a Plant, Make an English Muffin Pizza, Cast a Fishing Rod, Make a Snowman, or Get Dressed for the Snow, you can find out with a quick trip to Elmwood School!  I hope you all have a chance to see these wonderful masterpieces!

We worked a lot with contractions this week.  This can be a tricky concept - especially since we just learned about apostrophes as marks of possession.  We will continue learning about possession AND contractions when we return from vacation!

Students have been adding to their knowledge of geometry this week!  This is what they should now know/understand:

Polygon is a term that means “many sides.” All polygons are 2D shapes, but not all shapes are polygons. In order to be classified as a polygon, the shape must:

 have straight sides/lines
 have 3 or more sides
 have corners (vertices) and angles
 be closed (no openings)
 have an open middle (no criss-cross)
 have no “extra” lines

When talking about polygons, we use some important geometry vocabulary. Some of these words include:

Side – straight line segments
Vertex – where 2 sides meet (corner)  Plural = vertices
Angle – the “inside” of a vertex

A quadrangle is a 4-sided polygon. (They can also be called quadrilaterals!) All quadrangles have 4 sides, 4 vertices, and 4 angles. There are differences among quadrangles too, however. Students are learning about 6 different kinds of quadrangles and have been working hard to compare/contrast them using Venn Diagrams. Here is some information about these shapes...scroll down to see students working to compare them!

- 4 sides of equal length
- 4 right angles (square corners)
- 2 sets of parallel lines

Rhombus (a slanted/tilted square)
- 4 sides of equal length
- no right/square angles
- 2 sets of parallel lines

- opposite sides are equal length
- 4 right angles (square corners)
- 2 sets of parallel lines

Parallelogram (a slanted rectangle)
- opposite sides are equal length
- no right/square angles
- 2 sets of parallel lines

- no right/square angles
- 1 set of parallel lines

- no right/square angles
- no parallel lines

There are many other kinds of polygons, as well. Students have been introduced to the following list:

           Triangle –3 sides                 Heptagon – 7 sides
           Quadrangle – 4 sides           Octagon – 8 sides
           Pentagon –5 sides               Nonagon – 9 sides
           Hexagon – 6 sides               Decagon – 10 sides

Geometry Photo Hunt
As you all know, students participated in a Geometry Photo Hunt on Thursday - with the help of some wonderful parent volunteers!!  (Mrs. Budden, Ms. Chabot, Mrs. DiPietro, Mrs. Elliott, Mrs. Jerrett, Mr. Markey, and Mrs. White) Armed with digital cameras, students "hunted" around Elmwood for different polygons - photographing as they went.  These pictures will be used to create Geometry Photo Journals in Computer Lab when we get back from vacation!

Here are a few pictures of students working to make Geometry People and playing Snowman Man games as they wait to "hunt" for pictures:

Mystery Reader
We did not have a Mystery Reader this week (no school on Friday) but we DID have a special reader in on Wednesday.  My youngest sister, Elise, came in to read some of our read-aloud (Charlotte's Web).  She really enjoyed spending time in the classroom - and I think it reinforced her recent decision to become a teacher!  Here are a few pictures:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fabulous Friday!

I updated the blog yesterday with all the new and exciting things students have learned this week, but I wanted to share some of the pictures from today's Math Lab and Mystery Reader.   Enjoy!!

Math Lab
Parent volunteers today included Ms. Dineen, Mrs. Markey, Mrs. Budden, and Ms. Chabot.  Thank you all so much for your help!!

Mystery Reader
Our Mystery Reader today was Ms. Dineen - Cameron's mom!  (She did "double duty" today in our classroom!)  Ms. Dineen read two fabulous stories and the children listened very intently!!  Thank you!