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Weekly Email from Kathy and Joanne
Sunday, September 22, 2013 1:25 PM

Dear 220 Families,

Each week we will send a brief synopsis of what has been happening in your child’s classroom. We hope this will help spark conversations and connections at home.

The week that was:

The class received a cheery email from Jaci on Wed. saying her surgery had gone well, she was tired, and she hoped everything was going well for them at school.

Reading:

We began an author study of a perennial favorite, E.B. White.  Most of you probably remember listening to or reading his stories as a child yourselves.  We will be using his three books, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little to take a close look at what good writers do and also to explore the theme of friendship and the notion of following a quest.  Ask about what has been happening in their stories thus far and how they notice friendship playing a part in their story.

FYI: Charlotte’s Web opened this weekend at the Children’s Theater and runs through Oct. 27.

Word Work:

This is our weekly work connecting vocabulary, word usage skills and spelling to a topic being studied in the classroom.  Each week there are three parts of work for your child to accomplish using the words and to be turned in on Thursday. We have given each student a special notebook and folder in which to keep their Word Work. They have time each day to work in class on their daily assignments. It would be a very helpful routine for you to review the work done and help them be sure they have finished and to check for accuracy on Wednesday evenings as home before they turn it in to us on Thursday. On Friday we will give them what we are calling an “I-Check”.  This is where they will check in with themselves regarding their focus on learning how to spell the words as they worked throughout the week. The basic premise is that to learn vocabulary children need to see/hear/write and speak the words often.  We believe that by connecting the words to classroom activities during the week we can best help them to do this.  This week our words connected to observation – a skill we all started to hone the second of birth as our senses came into play, and that serves well as a life-long skill for learning.   It is a great accomplishment for 3rdand 4th graders to work on this independent kind of assignment and get it turned in on time.  Please congratulate your child on their efforts to do so.

Math:

We continued with data collection, display, and analysis work that Jaci started with the kids.  Ask about the line plot graphs they have been making and what kinds of data they have collected and worked to display.

Science:

We are starting with both observation and measurement. Our first week the class also practiced observation skills with the orbs (they came home – we are confident you’ve seen them) and with loupes (small magnifying devices). This week we added the work with measurement skills. The underlying concept to be explored is that tools and mathematics help scientists and engineers see more, measure more accurately, and do things that they could not otherwise accomplish. We started with why a standard unit of measurement is necessary for communication between people across the world. Ask about the “Measurement Mess” story regarding the king and how tall your child is in “straws”. We made personal meter tapes on Wed. to be ready to learning how to measure and estimate distance with the metric system.  Eventually we will move into capacity, mass and temperature measurement tools also. They will have a homework sheet for you to do together measuring things around your home next week.

Writing:

We began character development work for story writing this week as well as writing letters to Jaci to wish her well.   

The Week to come:

This week our Goal Setting conferences begin. If you have not yet been able to schedule with us please check your email from several days ago regarding available days and times. [The email version of this included the dates/times of conferences that have already been scheduled.]

We have 3:00, 3:30, 4:00 and 4:30 times for each day on the schedule. There are additional times available for this week for those folks who are still able to schedule within a short time frame.

Word Work:

The topic will be metric measurement vocabulary. Please check in with your child each day to see how they are doing on the “one part a day” plan for success in class. Wed. evening is a good time to set aside 15 minutes or so to work with your child and check over their progress. We would greatly appreciate your partnership in helping them develop the habit of bringing it home on Wed. for this purpose – and then remembering to bring it back on Thursday.

Reading:

We will continue with E.B. White books.  Please check with your child each day to see if they have been able to keep up with the reading schedule for their group. (The schedule is on a bookmark in their book that they use everyday so they should always know if they are where they need to be.) You are invited to enjoy reading to, and with, them to assist with this in the evenings as needed.

Math:

The third grade will continue with additional data display and analysis work.

The fourth grade will be moving on to big numbers and multiplication. Reviewing basic facts (adding, subtracting, and multiplication) with students on short car trips or while walking your pet or doing other quick chores together is always a great idea so they feel comfortable with automatic recall as they work through story problems and problem solving with bigger numbers.    

Science:

We will continue learning to use and estimate with metric measurements for distance.

Writing:

We will continue with the story characters developed last week from their Thumbprint characters and work on developing the flow of the stories these characters will “star” in.

Please email with questions and/or concerns.

Kathy and Joanne