Our week has been full of reading, writing, science and math. The children seem excited about what they are doing. They seem to enjoy being together each day. They are creative and hardworking. They are enthusiastic and kind. They like challenges and are learning how to support each other through them. They are eager to learn and do all they can. They’ve added a daily survey writer to our jobs list and created a storyteller’s time so that one student a day can read a book or poem of their choosing to us. They’ve added their personal touch to even the smallest things – this year, the teacher’s helper on our jobs chart is “The Teacher’s Pet.” ♥
Last Friday we began talking about setting goals and finding ways to document growth and learning. (We are preparing for Student Led Goal Setting Conferences to be held in about a month.) Because of this discussion, our class wondered if we could meet the challenge of reading 3 just-right books each month for the remainder of the school year. If we each do our part, the class collectively will have read 405 books. That seemed possible and exciting. I checked in with them on Monday, and they still wanted to give it a try. It feels exciting and doable if we keep our focus. We decided that we’d start keeping track by recording finished titles on strips of paper as if they are the spines of books on a 2-D bookshelf. We’ll put them in the hall so everyone can see our progress.
In the meantime, each of the children set personal reading goals. We also set reading goals as a class. Reading growth is tricky because much of it is invisible. We are excited to describe ourselves as readers now, and are looking forward to seeing how we change throughout the year.
What Is Multiplication?
Together we’ve developed an understanding that multiplication is repeated addition. One way we’ve practiced this model is with the game Circles and Stars. We are looking forward to learning more and more of multiplication facts. It is challenging to count or add on accurately when the amounts are large. We know about repeated groups: four groups of three can be represented as 3+3+3+3 and also as 4×3. We’ve learned about arrays and know the rule of reading down and then across so that four rows of five is 4 by 5 or 4 x5. The last way we are learning about multiplication is as a ratio model. If there are six horses then we can figure out how many legs there are as well. This week we’ve created some three-step riddles multiplication riddles. We’ve been having fun with the format. Our plan is to illustrate them and post them in the hall so everyone can try to answer them.
How are thing going with homework this week? A few of the children have mentioned that it has been challenging to find the time. They are busy and tired. If homework doesn’t fit in easily, we totally understand. Your child’s best effort is all that is expected and is appreciated. Learning to find and make time is a habit we are hoping to help the children develop over the course of the year.
Scanning briefly through the folders, I can see that some of the children have remembered to record their reading, while others have not. Some children have kept their reading record in their folders to bring it back and forth, while others have taken it out. Presumably it is being kept in a safe place. Whatever works best for your family is fine! Most of the children said they are already reading each day (Yahoo! Thank you!), so recording is the extra step. Thank you for reminding them. Hopefully it will only take a few gentle nudges before this becomes routine. Next week I plan to send home directions for a couple of games we’ve been playing in the classroom. They are really great for developing fact fluency. I hope you’ll be able find a bit of time for game playing next week. I know you are busy, so thank you in advance.
Bits and Pieces –
- We’ve reach the part in The One and Only Ivan where he’s made his promise to Stella to help Ruby get to a better place than the Big Top Mall. We wonder what he will do.
- We’ve continued to build and fly gliders. We are trying to discover the best wing and horizontal stabilizer combination for a long, straight glide. Next week is our final step in the challenge. In our simulation, we’ll be trying to send relief supplies into an area that has been devastated by a typhoon. It will be interesting to see how the teams use what they’ve learned through the flight trials to design their final glider.
- We’ll be having our first challenge with Mr. Caron on October 16. It will be outdoors, weather permitting, so the children should be prepared. It can be chilly on the Nature Trail.
- We’ve completed learning all of cursive Clock Climber letters and will practice writing words using those letters next week. It is an exciting accomplishment. The class is looking forward to the next letter set.
Thank you for talking to your child about what’s happening in the classroom and supporting their learning efforts. Thanks also for talking to them about the work that is coming home – most of it math at this point. Their thinking and organization is interesting to note at this point in the year. It will change so fast.