The children are feeling the pull of spring. They love their freedom from winter coats and the ability to run and play. They are excited to be out and feel exhausted by a longer day and many more in-school and after-school activities. With this has come a wave of impatience, unkindness and silly behavior. It is sad and disruptive as it creeps into our classroom. Children are being excluded and sometimes hurt, and those causing those feelings are having a hard time owning up to their choices. We’ll continue to talk about this and deal with issues as they arise.
In addition to these friendship challenges, were continuing to find ways to meet behavioral and academic expectations. It is likely that we waste between 15 and 20 minutes everyday. The cumulative effect of that loss is noticeable now that we are in our last 40 days of school. We’ve decided that those who chat and goof around when independent learning practice is to be happening, or those who talk over lessons will miss recess to complete the work they did not do. We hope this never happens – but can serve as a reminder to stay focused, and to behave as expected.
Open Circle – Problem Solving
This week we began a multi-lesson unit centered on problem solving. A problem is defined as a situation the caused people to be confused or upset. We’re learning a six-step problem solving process. The first is to stop, calm down and identify the problem. “I feel _____ because _____.” The second step is to decide on a positive goal and think of several solutions. Next each solution is evaluated. And finally, the last step is to make a plan and try it.
Social problems are tricky. Friends don’t always want to listen, and as I said at the beginning of the newsletter, our classmates do not own all of their behaviors and choices. It’s a learning process and one we’ll get through. Right now, however, there are some hurt feelings that are not lessening yet. L With attention and effort that will change.
Fractions in Math
We’ve begun to focus on basic fractions. We’re identifying them as part of a whole and as fair shares. We know that a large group can be divided into smaller groups. We know that piece can be cut into smaller pieces. Each of those parts is a faction if it is even and equal. We’re learning about numerators and denominators, proper and improper fractions and even mixed numbers. This is another challenging concept to understand. The class has been doing a nice job with that.
During our daily problem solving more and more of the class is comfortable with the standard algorithm with addition. Most of them are feeling secure enough with place value to understand how amounts will combine to be recorded. Subtraction remains a challenge for most and a super challenge when there are zeroes. This is to be expected, but we will persevere.
Global Geography Museum
This week we chose the name for the event where we will share the seven Wonders of the sixteen countries we have chosen. We have decided to call it Wonder World.
The museum will be on Monday, April 29. We’ll be set up and ready to share between 2:15 and 2:45 and again between 5:15 and 6:00. We hope those times will work for most, if not all of the children to attend. They will be prepared to tell you about the Wonders they uncovered and why those places, people and symbols are important to their country. They should also be able to tell you where in the world their country is located – which hemisphere, which continent and a bit about the general climate.
The deadline is fast approaching. If your son or daughter is expressing concern, get in touch with me, and we can schedule a time to come before school to work in it. They are welcome to bring it home, and some of the children have been doing that. I know they will do all they can and I think they’ll meet the deadline just fine. But I know how worry creeps in at bedtime, so let me know.
Bits and Pieces –
- The children will be filming their weather reports next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. Many of them want to wear fancy clothes for the filming. Yes, they can bring them to change into before they do the filming.
- We’ve begun Green Ember. It’s an animal fantasy full of intrigue, battles and adventure. The class is buzzing with what-ifs and maybes. It’s an exciting book to share together.
- Our plants are growing well in the classroom and the greenhouse.
- We’ve been exploring the idea of gratitude and taking time to notice and appreciate even the smallest of things.