Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 29- Earth Care

This week, we explore a new science topic. We will be exploring different 
ways to help care for our planet. We have a parent volunteer coming in to 
lead us in some Earth Day activities on Monday! We may also have an 
environmental scientist joining us later in the week.

We will be reading several books about taking care of nature as we continue 
to practice our comprehension skills. We will be focusing on new, interesting 
words this week. We will also begin to investigate how an author supports 
his point. We will be looking for what they want us to learn and think. We 
will then be figuring out how they use their words and illustrations to 
convince us.

In our narrative writing, we will be learning about the importance of a 
detailed “middle”. We will also be emphasizing feelings through our 
writing and our illustrations.

In math, we expand our work in creating combinations to include various 
sum amounts. Fluency is a big part of mastering this skill so multiple 
experiences with combining smaller amounts to make larger amounts 
while discussing the parts and the whole is super important.

We will be continuing our investigation into what makes the books we love 
so great. I hope you are going to be able to join us for our visit to the library. 
I would like to clarify that children do not have to have their own library card 
to attend and explore- a parent’s library card will do just fine :) Just a reminder 
that our get together will begin at 10:00 this Friday at our lovely local library! 
 This is an optional part of our project as parents need to provide 
transportation and supervision of their children at the event. I do hope to see 
you there!

Student binders are getting a bit thick. It may be a good idea to move some 
of the older poems and sight word lists to an "at home binder. This would 
keep them handy for review, but free up some space in their at school binder.
We've noticed that some of the student work folders are also getting a bit full,
If you could empty them out at your earliest convenience, it makes it easier 
for students to put in papers when asked to do so. Thank you!

I enjoyed being able to sit down and discuss your child with you. I know it 
isn't always convienent to schedule and attend a conference- I appreciate 
the time you took to share with me!

HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in 
the binder, and practicing sight words.

Try for a combination of paper familiar reads and trade book read alongs. 

Some notes to guide book discussions:

When reading together, remember to ask questions and share thoughts about the 
characters and what they are thinking, feeling, or doing. It is also a good idea to 
talk about the problem the character had (the uh-oh part of the story) and the  
solution-how it was fixed (the phew part of the story).  See if your child can tell you 
most of the important things that happened in the story.

If you are reading a non-fiction book together, some of the things you can discuss include:
* facts that you learn
* things that surprised you
* things you are wondering about
* connections to other things you have read
* connections to things you have experienced   

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
IXL does offer several objectives that allow for practice with Addition up to 5 
(skill section I), however they use the math symbols + and =. These are not 
yet included as a focus in our math instruction. We are working on laying a 
strong foundation with the important part-part-whole concept so we emphasis 
the language of ___ and ___ make___ at first.

For homework this week, if you wish, you may try out the IXL I skills and 
simply connect the symbols to the language used in class. If this makes sense 
to your child and is not causing confusion or stress, this can be your child’s 
homework practice.

ALTERNATIVELY, you may continue to do the below type of math practice,
 preferably with an emphasis on solving math stories or addition based dice or 
card games. It is best to start with lower numbers/amounts and work up to 
larger amounts as your child builds confidence and fluency.
This is a great time to play math games with your child. You can use materials 
from Math Night, online or printable activities, or traditional board/card 
games that have a math component.

Revisit any skill from the Comparing (G) section. We will be reinforcing 
comparing smaller amounts for a couple of days, before moving into 
comparing the teen numbers. IXL does not have objectives for comparing 
items within 20, so this is where materials from Math Night or collections 
of items from around the house can come in handy.  If your child seems 
pretty solid with comparing within 10, move on to comparing groups of
real items up to 20. Using terms, such as “more”, “less”, “fewer”, 
“the same”, and “equal”. It is also great to practice “how many more/fewer”. 
For example if I have 12 crayons and 10 pencils, I could talk about how I 
have 2 more crayons or 2 fewer pencils. When making such comparisons, 
noting groups of 10 or how far away from a group of 10 is valuable too 
(I have 7 gummy bears- that’s just 3 away from a whole group of 10). When 
using real items you can physically group them into 10s. You can also 
physically line them up item to item to see how many more/fewer there are.

If it seems appropriate for your child, you may also spend some time revisiting 
any D section skill.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Week 28- Sharks (Student Selected)

This week, we start to explore a new writing focus: narratives. Not only
will we be writing our own narratives- we will also be exploring what 
makes a story great. What makes a book become a favorite? To help us 
explore this question, your child may bring in a book or two from home 
that they really enjoy. Please make sure your child’s/family’s name is 
clearly labeled so we can help ensure that it comes home with your child 
when we are done exploring. These are books that we will be sharing 
with each other, so if the book is super duper beloved (like a family 
heirloom) or is somehow worth a lot monetarily, it may not be one you 
want to send in for this project. These books may be needed by our class 
for an extended time, so please consider that when selecting books to share 
as well. Our main chunk of time this week to explore these books will be 
on Wednesday, but your child may bring them in earlier for extra 
exploration.

I met with a lovely local librarian this week and she is on board with 
helping us enrich our exploration of narratives! I am super excited about 
this endeavor, but admittedly also a little nervous because I have never 
done this specific project before and I really need your help to make it 
successful.

A couple of parts of this project will be taking place at our local library 
which means participation in these aspects will be optional as parents 
will need to transport and supervise their children.

We will be having a special gathering at the library on Friday, April 20th 
at 10am. The children’s librarian will be sharing a favorite story or two. 
This visit will be an opportunity for the children to get (if they do not yet 
have one) and then use their very own library cards!

To do this, you must send in the appropriate paperwork to me no later than 
Conferences this Friday. (You can send in the appropriate paperwork in a 
sealed envelope if you wish.) Applications will be coming home in binders 
this week. You may also take your information directly to the library. Please 
note, it does take several days for the library to process applications.

From the library website:
Get a Card
  • Library cards are issued to Nevada residents at no charge and to people 
    of all ages.
  • Bring a Nevada picture ID or a military ID.
  • Proof of address and out-of-state picture ID will limit you to 2 items at 
    a time.
  • A contact, someone not at the same address as the applicant, is required.
  • A parental signature is required for minor children.
  • Temporary cards are issued to non-permanent patrons for a refundable 
    $5.00 fee.
  • Library card application is available here. Fill it out, bring it to the 
    library, and get your card.
You can check out:
for more details about checking out library materials.

We have tentatively scheduled a culminating event to allow your child to 
share what they have learned about quality stories with others at the 
library. This would be another optional part of our project as parents would 
need to provide transportation and supervision of their children at the event. 
Right now, we are planning for Friday, May 18th 4:30- 5:30 (the library 
closes at 6). The details of this event are subject to change, but I will keep 
you posted.

This week, we will be continuing to practice our comprehension skills 
while reading about sharks- a topic the students selected to learn more 
about. We will be reading two nonfiction texts and a fiction text with 
an endearing shark as the main character. We will also be revisiting 
including meaningful details in our illustrations as we use our illustrations 
to help us share information.

We begin a new math unit this week- Addition! This week we will be 
spending a lot of time on developing fluency with combinations to 5. 
We will, in fact, be spending a lot of time on addition (and subtraction) for 
the remainder of our year as these are skills that we strongly desire 
students to have fluency with.

We will also meet another special author and illustrator this week- the 
hilarious Mo Willems. His characters are memorable and his use of 
feelings is fantastic.

We have some artwork activities coming up that will be using paint. If you 
are able to donate any acrylic (or even tempera) paint it would be greatly
appreciated. I’ve tried stocking up at the dollar store in the past- it didn’t 
turn out well. Along these lines, if you have any old adult sized t-shirts or 
button up shirts we could use some more- I don’t quite have a class set. 
Adult sized ones work best because they cover more of the painting 
Kindergartner :) This week, we will be exploring expressing feelings with 
our painting. Later on, will be exploring the unique collage technique of 
Eric Carle. This will involve exploring textures. If you have items that you 
think could lead to interesting textures (things we could use to paint with 
or drag through paint such as bubble wrap, q tips, toothpicks, cooking 
implements, pine cones, ribbon...) that you do NOT want returned, we would 
love to use them. Also, I wouldn’t turn helpful parents away if they wanted 
to be an extra set of hands during our painting sessions as art is fantastic, 
but it can get messy. Please email me for details if you may be interested 
and available.

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up for a conference time. 
If you have not yet done so, please do. I really look forward to getting to sit 
down with you!

HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in 
the binder, and practicing sight words.

Your child should ideally be spending time with familiar texts (such as the 
printed books they bring home), as they help reinforce sight words in context 
and using word solving strategies. However, these books are not real meaty 
when it comes to comprehension, so they should also be spending time with 
trade books (high quality children’s literature- like from the local library or 
bookstore). These books lend themselves better to conversations. When you 
read to them, you are also providing important modeling of a fluent reader 
and a pleasant reading experience.

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night. 
IXL does offer several objectives that allow for practice with Addition up to 5 
(skill section I), however they use the math symbols + and =. These are 
not yet included as a focus in our math instruction. We are working on laying 
a strong foundation with the important part-part-whole concept so we 
emphasis the language of ___ and ___ make___ at first.

For homework this week, if you wish, you may try out the IXL I skills and 
simply connect the symbols to the language used in class. If this makes sense 
to your child and is not causing confusion or stress, this can be your child’s 
homework practice.

ALTERNATIVELY, you may continue to do the below type of math 
practice, preferably with an emphasis on solving math stories or addition 
based dice or card games. It is best to start with lower numbers/amounts and 
work up to larger amounts as your child builds confidence and fluency.
This is a great time to play math games with your child. You can use materials 
from Math Night, online or printable activities, or traditional board/card 
games that have a math component.

Revisit any skill from the Comparing (G) section. We will be reinforcing 
comparing smaller amounts for a couple of days, before moving into 
comparing the teen numbers. IXL does not have objectives for comparing 
items within 20, so this is where materials from Math Night or collections 
of items from around the house can come in handy.  If your child seems 
pretty solid with comparing within 10, move on to comparing groups of 
real items up to 20. Using terms, such as “more”, “less”, “fewer”, 
“the same”, and “equal”. It is also great to practice “how many more/fewer”. 
For example if I have 12 crayons and 10 pencils, I could talk about how I 
have 2 more crayons or 2 fewer pencils. When making such comparisons, 
noting groups of 10 or how far away from a group of 10 is valuable too 
(I have 7 gummy bears- that’s just 3 away from a whole group of 10). 
When using real items you can physically group them into 10s. You can 
also physically line them up item to item to see how many more/fewer 
there are.

If it seems appropriate for your child, you may also spend some time 
revisiting any D section skill.