Our Week – January 24

This week we began our global geography inquiry.  In Open Circle we’ve been talking about speaking up and setting goals.  We’ve been reading books around the theme of kindness while we learn about plot lines and we’ve been practicing our kite string letters in cursive.

Speaking Up

This week we’ve talked about speaking up.  Sometimes speaking up can be stating a fact and that would be something we all agree upon. Sometimes speaking up can mean stating an opinion and that would be something not everyone agrees with.  We talked about speaking fairly – and behaving according to our words.  It’s one thing to sit in circle and talk about behaviors and choices.  It’s another thing to make the right choices at recess or in the hall.

We’ve read several books this week that help us consider what it means to be kind.  It seems that it is the little things that matter most. We’re trying to see how we can make choices throughout our day that show others we are choosing kindness by following the rules and meeting classroom and school expectations so everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Country Inquiry

The children have begun to explore books and websites about the country they chose to research. Children in our class are learning about:  China, France, Iceland, Peru, New Zealand, Russia, Chile, Italy, Australia, Brazil, Panama, Japan, Egypt, Mexico and Thailand.  If you’ve been to any of those places and have things to share the children would be very grateful.

The children started learning about the flag and are now exploring geography and landforms, unique plant and animals, historic sites, cities and the countryside, museums, parts and monuments and cultural festivals and celebrations.  The final project will be to create a travel journal demonstrating what you know about nonfiction features in writing and creating several souvenirs collected along the way.  The children will“pack” the journal and the souvenirs into a suitcase they will have created and present their journey.

We need boxes for this project.  I know some families already read this, thank you – we have seven or so boxes already.  We need at least eighteen boxes in the shoebox or large cereal box size range would be greatly appreciated. If you have any boxes that we could use for our souvenirs, could you please send them in? Thank you.

Math Centers

Throughout January we’ve been learning about fractions and how they compare.  Fractions are featured on our calendar this month.  We’ve played fraction bingo and are creating our own fraction bar sets so we can learn more about equivalent fractions.

We are also learning how to track time – what can a person do in a minute, five minutes, or ten.  We do we consider to be important use of our time and finally how do we calculate elapsed time.  This means we need to be able to read analogue clocks and keep track of how minutes transition into hours.  Many of our daily problems are written to help us develop and practice these skills.

We’ve also continued to learn about perimeter and area.  The children have worked through several different activities and are now beginning a robot challenge.  They are designing and creating a robot blueprint for “NASA’s Mars Mission.”  It will be fun to see all the different creations.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve completed our second set of cursive letters – the kite strings.  These letters include: i, u, w, t, p, r, s and o.  We’ve learned half of the lower case cursive alphabet.   We’re having fun with that.
  • We’ve begun Winterhouse.  We’re keeping track of what we think is most important in each chapter.  This is a complex book.  There are lots of characters and several different sub-plots developing as the story continues.  Ask your child about the story and how s/he thinks the story will unfold.
  • Many of the children were able to finish and post blogs they’ve been working on for several weeks. We’d be grateful if you’d check out their blogs and leave a comment.  They do feel very excited when they know you’ve read their posts.
  • Ask your child about writing dialogue.  Perhaps you can write a short one together and he or she can show you how it is written. (End punctuation is still hard.)
  • I’ll send home a notice and sign-up for parent conferences on Monday. Ms. Snyder has asked us to offer a mid-year meeting prior to report cards so you’ll know what to expect when they are sent to you in March.

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