Thursday, November 10, 2016

November News

Dear Families,
We can’t believe that it is November already. This is the month to catch our breath, steady our pace, use our practice time well, and be more reflective in our work. The students have grown so much in their responsibilities as learners, that we can’t thank you enough for the time, encouragement and support you give to your child each day. The excitement your child displays for learning and the cheerful smiles that come into our room each day are clearly the result of a partnership we feel that’s occurring between home and school. Your home has extended our school lessons well, through consistent attention to the homework activities. Our classroom community has become a respectful and resourceful extended family.  Here is a quick update on things in our classroom:

Rm. 25 is a fun place to being during Language Arts.  We have worked hard to build our stamina for reading our “just right” books independently.  The children enjoy “book shopping” once a week for new books to add to their book boxes.  During small group instruction we have been focusing on the habits of strong readers.  Here is what we have focused on this past month:
·      Understanding the expectations for independent reading time.
·      Learning how to take care of books.
·      Learning strategies for working with and talking to a reading partner.
·      Learning the system for taking books home and bringing them back.
·      Learn how to use a variety of print strategies and practice using them with flexibility.
·      Making sure our reading makes sense.
·      Learning how to self-correct.

Our word study groups have been an opportunity for us to study how words work.  Some of the concepts we have focused on include:
·      Hearing beginning and ending sounds,
·      Rhyming,
·      Listening for (and clapping out) syllables,
·      Learning High Frequency words,
·      Making plurals

We use a variety of methods for word work – picture cards, games, writing, and letter tiles to build words, songs and rhymes. 

We also continue to enjoy read aloud.  In addition to picture books daily, we are worked our way through the “Mercy Watson” series – what fun it is to watch 16 children eagerly get their backpacks packed so they can listen to the next few chapters of our book.  If you have noticed a request for “buttered toast” – it may be coming from our love of this book.   

The connection between reading and writing is gaining strength and the more children read, the more ideas they get for their creative stories. Also, the more students build word families, the more they spell conventionally in their story writing. (When you think of it, the students accomplished a great deal during the month of October and beginning of November).

We are just finished our “Small Moments” narrative unit in Writer’s Workshop.  We have focused on some of the conventions of writing including periods, exclamation points, as well as representing accurate sounds in spelling.  Our job was to make sure other people could read our writing.  We’ve had a busy week of editing individually and then with our partner before we started “fancying up” our pictures.  Our stories are being published and we celebrated with our class last Friday.  We hope you enjoyed reading these books over the weekend.

We continue to our study of rocks by sorting and classifying our collections of rocks.  We are using our rock guidebooks to record rocks we have observed.  We are always looking for rocks as we walk around school and the playground.

This month, we are focusing on Responsibility.

As the weather gets colder, please remember that we go outside every day for recess.  You may want to start gathering snow pants, coats, boots, hats and winter gloves to keep at school.

Social Studies
During much of the month of November we will be celebrating families. Social studies lessons will include how each family is special and how family traditions create a sense of culture and belonging.  Reflecting on how fortunate we are to have such wonderful people in our lives is a great preparation for Grandparents’/Special Guests Day and the Thanksgiving holiday. On that note, we are so thankful to be the teachers of your thoughtful children and to be able to work with supportive and caring parents.  Have a great month.

Dates to Remember:

·      Wednesday November 23rd  Grandparent’s Day (school in session 8:30-12:00)
·      Thursday and Friday November 24th  and 25th   – No School – Thanksgiving Break
·      Thursday December 15 – Lower School Holiday Program (6:30 PM – Chapel)

Marie Murphy and Tara Madden

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