Our Week – September 13

We’ve successfully completed our first “sort-of” five-day school week, and it was a good one.  We are settling into our routine.  Some days have been smooth, focused and really productive.  Some days have been a bit chatty and distracting, but we’ll work on that and improve.  It feels as if we are developing a supportive community right from the start and that is great!

S.E.L. – Identifying Habits That Lead to Success

Many of our early discussions throughout these past three weeks have been about how we can help each other do the best that we can and succeed in achieving our goals.    After much discussion, we decided that these would be our classroom rules.  We agreed that these should be the guidelines we are attempting to meet and follow.

We agree to:

  • be respectful by listening to each other, speaking quietly and doing the right thing at the right time.
  • be kind by being helpful, staying positive and using nice words.
  • keep our selves and others safe.
  • do our best.

If we follow these rules we will reach our goal:  to have fun in our community.

As we further define the expectations for each part of our day, we are hopeful that we will become better able to follow our guidelines more of the time. You may want to ask your child what if there is one behavior change he or she could make that would help our class be more successful in following our rules more of the time. For some of the children there will be many, but for others there will be very little.  It’s just good to ask.   It helps them realize their choices in the classroom and halls, in UA classes, on the playground, washing hands before lunch and in the lunchroom matter.

Math Problem Solving

Math each day starts with a warm up to get us thinking about number and amount.  This week we’ve continued to review strategies for subtraction. The children are selecting three equations to solve from a grid of 12 and then they are asked to solve story problems.

There are six problems most days for the children to choose from.  Their goal is to find at least 2 problems that feel like a “just right” challenge to them. This means they should be able to visualize the actions in the story and understand which operation(s) they should choose to solve it. At this point in the year, this process has been challenging for the children.  The problems have at least two steps and usually two different operations. Several of the problems are using thousands, and the size of the amounts adds another thinking challenge.  Some of the children are trying to do all of the problems.  They like math and are up for a challenge.  After two problems, there are several different math activities where they can practice addition and subtraction facts and have the opportunity to develop fair play.

Just like last week, if you talk to your child about the that comes home each week, don’t be alarmed by mistakes.  My comments on the problems at this point may not even help your child know if he or she has been accurate or not.  I hope the comments make them think.  (The children are asked to look through their work folders every morning. They aren’t reading the feedback yet.) At this point in the year, I am learning about them and their problem-solving approaches.  I am coming to understand who has strong number concept and recognizes the relationships between amounts.  The end goal is solving multi-step problems with accuracy and efficiency.  That takes time to develop, but we’ll do it.

Bits and Pieces:

  • We’ve been reading about reading.  We’re learning how to select books that support reading growth and we’re thinking about strategies that help us record our thinking.
  • We’re exploring the difference between narrative and information writing.  We’re getting ready to write an informational piece next week.  We’ll use this as a “anchor” of our understanding and ability so we can see how we grow throughout the year.
  • Landon represented our class in the school-wide Rules Congress run by Ms. Snyder.  Landon reported to the class on the process and procedure taken to create a set of school-wide goals that all Pre-K to 8 students will follow.  It seemed like a great opportunity to strengthen our school community.
  • We are celebrating Dot Day on Monday, September 16.  The Dot by Peter Reynolds was published on September 15th, so we’ll celebrate the book’s birthday on the school day closest to that date.  It is a fabulous picture book celebrating growth mindset.  It has become an international celebration to encourage children to tackle hard things and to do things even when they think they’re not as good as others.
  • Picture Day is on September 17th.  Your child’s selection form was sent home Friday, September 13.
  • Curriculum Night is September 18th.  We’ll begin our presentation in Mrs. Oliver’s Music Room – it’s near the library.  Ms. Coronato and I will share a thirty-minute curriculum overview and then invite you back to the classrooms.  You’ll have time to see how the classroom has changed and an opportunity to respond to the work you child would like you to see.
  • We’ve been exploring Character Traits as we read Word After Word After Word.  There are five main characters and we are thinking about how we might describe them based on who they are, how we think they feel, what they have and what they do.
  • We have planned our first field trip.  We will be going to Camp Lincoln on Monday, September 30th.  It will be a day of community building and exploring nature with a scientist’s eye.

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