November flew by us! Our themes this month was Fall Leaves, Turkeys and Thanksgiving. Our finger play 5 Fall Leaves, with counting and taking away the leaves. We sang many fun songs, ABC Disco, Number Rock and the Freeze Dance, in the PM class we are also singing our alphabet Forward and Backward. Both classes use alphabet posters with letters and pictures on one side and numbers on the other side, the AM has numbers 1-10 while the PM has numbers 1-20. We also use pointers to track the letters and numbers, this month we used a turkey pointer. We made different kinds of funny turkeys by cutting, gluing and added features like eyes, beak, feathers and a waddle. In the sensory table, we have moon sand with trucks and letters. We enjoyed our first pajama day, and look forward to our next Christmas pajama day on December 21st!
Kindergarten is having a great time in kindergarten reading about that tricky Gingerbread Man. We have been practicing retelling, adding, and comparing and contrasting versions of the story. With winter break coming in a week, continue to practice writing numbers in order to 50, counting to 100, simple addition with sums up to 10 as well as letters and the sounds they make. Have a great break and see you next year.
First grade has been learning about different holidays and traditions. The children wrote about the holiday they celebrate and their family traditions.
Second grade as been traveling the world and learning about winter customs and traditions from around the world. The students are creating presentations about their own winter holiday traditions and will be presenting them in class. We are excited to learning about more winter holidays!
Third graders have been studying about Natural Disasters in our Weather and Climate Unit in Science. They worked together to design an emergency plan for a variety of natural disasters or natural hazards.
Math: 4th graders are working on multiplication. We are focusing on solving 3 digit by 1 digit multiplication, 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication and different strategies to work out the problems. We will test for this unit before we leave on winter break. When we come back we will be starting our new unit on division.
Social Studies: We are wrapping up our Northeast Region unit. Students are comparing products produced in the Northeast region with those produced in Illinois. They are taking this information and writing a paragraph for a magazine they will create about Illinois. This magazine project will continue throughout the year as we learn about the different regions in the US.
Writing: Paragraph writing continues to be the focus in 4th grade as we solidify an understanding of topic sentences, appropriate transitions, and excellent conclusions.
Science: Energy and Waves is our next focus in Science. We will start this prior to leaving for break and it will continue after we return. This is always a fun unit where the students learn about sound, light, and color before moving into energy.
Reading: The 4th grade classes are finishing up with fiction and comprehension strategies such as analyzing characters, inferring and understanding theme. We will be moving into Non-Fiction topics including text features.
Math: We are nearing the end of our division unit. In this unit we have been learning to divide two and three digit numbers by one and two digit numbers. For example: 237 ÷ 9 and 237 ÷ 94. We have also been learning how to interpret remainders in quotients. Our last topic will be dividing with decimals, including whole numbers by decimals, decimals by whole numbers, and decimals by decimals.
Science: Stars and Earth in Space. Part of this unit is on Earth’s movement in space and how its rotation affects shadows, tides and temperatures. We also learned why it is the tilt of Earth’s axis and its location around the sun that causes the seasons, and not its distance from the sun. We learned how our location on Earth, as well as its revolution, causes us to see different stars and constellations. We studied the composition and life cycles of stars (including our sun) and types of galaxies. Last, but not least, we are very excited as we prepare for next week’s field trip to Challenger Learning Center.
ELA: We have been practicing the strategies of comparing and contrasting to improve our reading comprehension. This unit will soon be followed by author’s purpose. We are also continuing to practice our writing, especially paragraph construction. This includes topic sentences, transitions, supporting details, and concluding sentences.
In PE class our students will finishing their hockey tournaments. Next up is our Paddleball unit which the kids absolutely love.
The students have been learning about new vocabulary words when they are reading fiction and nonfiction text. Vocabulary is the avenue, which helps students understand new concepts and information. Researchers such as Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown and Linda Kucan categorized teaching words into three different tiers.
Tier 1 words are the basic words such as boy, girl, house, table, family, etc. These words are part of the students’ daily conversation.
Tier 2 words are academic words that are more complex and have multiple meanings. Some examples include explain, expand, summarize, compare, contrast, etc. Students learn these words when reading text and receiving explicit instruction.
Tier 3 words are content specific words that are less commonly used words. Teachers provide specific instruction with these concepts in specific content areas. Some examples include respiration, photosynthesis, parallel, diameter, etc.
Some of the activities teachers have used to teach the vocabulary concepts include: vocabulary squares where the student will give the definition of the word, provide a connection to the concept, use synonyms of the word, and draw a picture of the important term. Another activity includes vocabulary ladders, where the students explain the meanings of words. They are able to organize the words that have similar meanings, use sentence clues to help them understand the meanings of the words, sentence stems to explain the words and they are able to write a response using the important vocabulary concepts.