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Jane's Jan. 18 parent letter
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:00 AM
January 18, 2013
Dear Classroom 120 Families,
The new year is off to a great start in Classroom 120! We continue to read, write and work on math together each day. Many students have been excited by the progress they are making! I am planning a portfolio-sharing event for the morning of Wednesday, February 27th from 7:30-8:30 a.m. This is a great time for students to share their self-selected “Best Work.” You will not need to be here for the whole hour; it will likely only take about 20-30 minutes to get through the portfolio; the one hour allotted is intended to be a window of time that you can come in for your child to share. I hope you can make it to this. The students work hard to organize the portfolio (which is good learning in itself), and it provides a time for you to consider goals as you view your child’s actual work. I will also be sending home a conference sign up schedule soon.
We have been enjoying books together both in reading groups and as a whole group. I have read some stories -- Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand, and A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams are two examples -- to share authors as mentors as we pay special attention to the way the authors stretch a small part of a story across many pages. We also enjoyed reading Winn Dixie as a whole group. Many students have asked that I share the movie in class. I just don’t see time for that in our school day, but thought if I pass it on, maybe you could let them watch it at home. We also continue to read in small groups, and the fluency and comprehension skills are growing. We are finishing up our writing unit and will soon start the next, which is called Writing for Readers. In this unit we will start to pay closer attention to the way our writing looks (neatness) and continue to include interesting details and descriptions.
First-grade math has recently focused on number operations such as comparing numbers, counting forward and backward, and solving addition and subtraction problems. The have also worked with two- and three-dimensional shapes. Second-graders have gathered and represented data using bar graphs and line plots. We have also been working hard to learn about ratios and how we can use them to think about the relationships in higher numbers.
Finally, I am excited to be working with Kate Lynch (Jojo’s mom) as she teaches us to sing. Please watch for a hard copy of a letter explaining the project to come home in your child’s mail this week and if possible, share a song with us!
I hope the New Year is off to a great start for you too. I look forward to seeing you all at our Portfolio Sharing on February 27th.
Jane's Oct. 21 parent letter
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 10:35 AM
Dear Classroom 120 Families,
Thank you all for the awesome conferences! The participation and enthusiasm toward learning was consistently apparent!
The organisms unit continues to build. We have compared two freshwater plants; elodea and cobumba and will be adding them to our indoor environments as we put together our aquariums.
Every student has begun reading with a small group. The “Trains” worked to act out and build open and closed syllable words. They also read Max’s Box. The Cars read Freddy the Frog and made a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting turtles (they were in the book too). And the Airplanes read Talk, Talk, Talk and made a character web.
The students learned a lot about squirrels during our science specialist time with Sue B. Hopefully they will teach you some new facts about the many ground squirrels and tree squirrels that we see locally. We start Gym with Pete tomorrow (10/22)--please wear tennis shoes.
We will continue to build on the aquariums we are setting up. We will compare the terrarium plants to the aquarium plants and will be adding other living things!
I am looking forward to finishing up the first unit of writing. I am also continuing our routine of introducing 7 new words from the most common words list for our word wall, printing practice and writers’ workshop often follows on Monday mornings.
First graders continue to work on using on writing and solving equations and finding many combinations for a number. Second graders are moving through the geometry unit. Studies include combining shapes to make new shapes (both 2D and 3D), learning about vertex and angles and mirror symmetry.
We will be learning also be learning about the election.
Classroom 120 will have a Fall Festival Costume Party on Wednesday, October 31st. 7:30-8 we will be attending an All School Morning Meeting with our Big Buddies; 8:00-9:30 we will have games and an art project in our classroom. It is important that your child wear clothing underneath the costume and tennis shoes for gym. We will be taking our costumes off at 9:40 before recess; please provide a bag where your child can safely store the costume. Costumes are optional. I am looking for helpers--especially if you are available to do face painting that morning and/or if you could help lead a game or art project. Please email me if you're up for helping that morning.
Friday routines include getting together with Big Buddies, writing our Friday News (the notebooks are helpful!) and media return and checkout.
Thanks again for your great participation in conferences!
Jane's Sept. 25 parent letter
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 12:10 PM
Dear Classroom 120 Families,
We have been very busy in Classroom 120!
Writers Workshop is well underway. Our themes have included stretching words and writing as many letter sounds as you hear. Drawing even hard-to-make ideas; do your best and keep on going. And, using both pictures and words, like famous authors do.
I have finished assessing students’ reading levels and am in the process of pulling “just-right-books.” We have been working on what makes a book good for us and choosing spots where we like to read. We are also connecting with fond memories we have of books; remembering that books are fun!
First graders have been working on comparing and ordering numbers as well as solving story problems. Second graders have been working with coins, sharing addition strategies and solving story problems too.
Writers’ workshop will focus on stretching our stories across more than one page.
Reading groups will start next week. We also received our first delivery of Time for Kids. This will surely spark some interest in current events. Topics include: Nutrition, Explorers and the Olympic Games. I was able to pay for this with the donated money. Every student will receive his or her own copy to bring home when we’re through reading it. There is also a guide to help kids think about the upcoming presidential election (no magazine to cover this).
We have started to think about organisms. We will be planting a seed next week as well as setting up terrariums to eventually house other living things.
I am having a great time with conferences! Thank you so much for your wonderful participation!