We’ve had a wonderful start. It seems as though everyone is glad to be back at school. We have been sharing our summer fun and beginning to think about our hopes and dreams for a new year of learning. We are getting used to our new schedule and classroom routine. U.A. classes are at different times from last year and we are all working to learn how to be our best together. The class feels kindness and working to understand others is important. We have a great draft of class rules started. It is feeling like we are going to have a thoughtful, caring year of learning.
Home School Communications
I intend to send a note home every Friday. It is important to me for you to know what we are doing and why. I know my children were skimpy on the details when sharing what was happening in their classrooms (for years I worked in the school they attended, and I still didn’t know) – so I am guessing some of you might wish for more information. I will share what I can through these notes. At first I will send this message both in paper and post it on the blog. I like the blog best because the news can be shown with photographs so you can see what the children are doing in the classroom.
I hope the weekly memo will provide you with conversation points. When children feel their families are interested in what they are doing in school they do even better. Hopefully this note will give you things to talk about.
Knowing Ourselves and Caring for Others
Our Social Emotional Learning Focus
Our SEL learning focus for the first month of school is becoming more aware of ourselves as learners, friends and members of the school. We have to be true to ourselves, but we also must be respectful and aware of others. We have spent part of all four of our days defining the kind of learning community we want to build and be part of. We read The Recess Queen and Do Unto Otters. We talked about the nice things that people can do and the not quite-so-nice things people can do. We talked about the difference between self-advocacy and tattling. We talked about kindness and what is important to do to support our classmates’ learning and our own.
We had fun reading Quick as a Cricket and Wallace’s List as a way to add to this discussion. Each of the children made a self-portrait and wrote a few sentences to describe themselves. We interviewed each other about “favorites” and listed our “passions.” We also explored the idea of how our choices lead to success.
Estimation – Reasonable Answers
In math we have been working with place value and developing number sense through estimation. We compared the amounts of the same item in jars of this same size. We are developing strategies for comparing and learning ways to describe what we see . We are identifying the information we are actually using to guide our thinking – our estimates are not random guesses after all.
Part of our math block consists of problem solving most days. There are four problems and the children have been asked to choose at least one that challenges their thinking and abilities. Making this choice – some feel too hard, some feel confusing, some feel quick. – can be tricky but it will come with time. Some of the children took real risks in the problems they selected – they weren’t sure how to approach them. I am pleased they chose to do that. Trying something new is they only way to learn more. Other children selected problems that they felt secure in doing. They were quick and easy, but they knew they could do them. With time they will all move on to greater challenges, whether on their own or with direction.
As you look at the work in your child’s folder don’t be alarmed if they are incorrect and I did not tell them. I am using the first two weeks of work to understand them as mathematicians. The feedback on the problems is meant to let them know what they are doing well and what they may want to focus on next time. I am hoping to build the confidence and to establish a routine of independence and self-correction.
This week we shared the story of one piece from our ephemera collection. After reading Ralph’s Story, we met in small groups to help each other tell and develop our stories. Mrs. Wyman, Mrs. Outsen, and Nurse Julie joined us to help as grow our ideas through telling and questioning. We have started some great pieces and are excited to write more.
Bits and Pieces:
- We enjoyed our first chapter read-aloud this week, 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos. It’s fun that the 3rd grade in the book had fish as classroom pets and we do too. We are planning to get some neon fish like those in the book. Fun!
- Talk to your child about science – what is it and how might it change the way we think and understand the world.
- We have added a Library time to our day on Friday. See the printed memo for the full UA schedule
- Nearly twice a month we will have challenges with Mr. Caron on Thursdays. The first is on September 26
- Grade 3 Curriculum Night – September 26, 2013 – Music Room