Our Week – February 8

Thank you for making our Holiday Palooza such a success.  Thank you for touring the displays and talking to the children about all they’d discovered about holidays, researching and informational writing.  Thank you for taking the time to play their games and to learn from them.  Many of the kids were able to design a Palooza blog post this week – it seems like they had a great time sharing with all of you.

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

We’ve begun our 8thchapter read aloud, The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney.  The book is set in rural Sassafras Springs, Missouri in 1923. Eben, the main character, wishes he could travel the world and see things like The Seven Ancient Wonders of the world.  He complains that his life is too dull and too boring to bear so he father offers him a challenge.  He’s got seven days to see if he can find seven wonders in his sleepy town.  If he does, he’ll get a train ticket to travel to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to visit cousins there.  With this exciting prospect and a pad of paper to keep track of his collection, Eben sets off to see what he can find.

So far in our reading, Eben’s been able to find two Wonders in two days and things are looking promising. We’ll use this book to guide our next research project.  We’ll be searching for Wonders around the world in different countries we explore.

Global Geography

We have read about each of the seven continents and completed K-W-L (What we think we Know – What we learned from reading- What we’d like to Learn more about.) charts for each.  In addition, the children were able to explore one longer continent book on Tru-Flix.  This is an online book that is linked to lots of videos and a variety of resources to extend their understanding.  (They can explore more at home by going to the eboard and choosing the Resources tab.)

We’ve begun to explore books that share pictures from many different places around the world.  I hope to inspire the children to begin thinking about places in the world they’d like to know more about.

Next week the children will each select a country they would like to learn more about.  You may want to talk to your child this weekend about places you’ve traveled to or know lots about.  Just like the national holidays, understanding how countries, habitats and cultures can be a little tricky and I don’t want to support the development of cultural stereotypes.  We’ll be talking about this so we are careful and develop respect for differences without calling them weird. We’ll also need to take care to not make assumptions based on only one piece of information.

Math and Measurement

We’ve continued to measure things using both inches and centimeters.  I think the children are becoming more familiar and comfortable with writing mixed numbers when parts are involved.  They are feeling more certain about what basic fractions are and how they are represented.

We’re also exploring the concepts of perimeter and area.  It is part of the pattern on our calendar this month.  It is reminding us of the relationship between addition and multiplication that we introduced at the beginning of the school year.  We are learning the perimeter is the total distance around the outside of a 2D shape.  Add up the length of all sides and you’ll know the perimeter.  We are also learning that you can calculate the area of shapes made up of rectangles by breaking them into individual rectangles.

Bit and Pieces –

  • Thank you everyone for your generous support of the 100thDay collection of shampoo for Gather.  We were able to reach our goal.  In fact 1stgrade shared that the school’s grand total was nearly 1,250 items collected to support families in need.  This is an amazing school wide community service project. Thank you.
  • We wrote about what it could be like when we are 100.  Most of the children wrote pros and cons of being old.  Those quick-writes will be posted in the hall next week if you happen to be in the school.  They’ll make you smile.
  • We are part of a Kindness read-aloud project.  We began by sharing I Am Human and writing about what our big dreams are.  We have a lot of dreams to be a professional athlete or to travel the world to discover new animal species.  A few children dream of becoming scientist – one want to be a nuclear chemist and another wants to be a geneticist who creates an entirely knew species.
  • Remember the Valentines Day brunch next Thursday morning.

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