Sunday, December 2, 2007

December is here...

and so is the colder weather and first snow! Wintry weather brings a change of scenery both outside the classroom and in. December brings with it the Nutcracker theme that will peak with all of first grade attending the Nutcracker Ballet on December 13.

Open Court Reading recently introduced the phonetic letter combinations wh-, ch-, th-, and sh- and also qu-. As these combinations become familiar, focus will shift to vowel/letter combinations and sounds such as oa, ou, ea, and aw. We will continue reading in the themed big book "Our Neighborhood at Work."

Everyday Math has now progressed past the initial "exploration" period of rulers and thermometers and is beginning to focus on smaller units both these instruments offer. Measuring things to the nearest foot and inch will becoming commonplace as well as reading temperatures (in degrees Farenheit) to the nearest degree. Time-telling, both analog and digital, will move to reading clocks to 15 minute intervals.

You should have all seen by now a "Four-Square" writing activity. "Four-Square" writing can applied in a number of ways but at this point is being utilized for themed writing of four sentences. How "Four-Sqaure" works: A blank piece of paper is folded and unfolded horizontally and vertically. A topic is then written in the center. Each square then has a category for which each student picks (from a list on the board) words of their choice. These words are then arranged into a complete sentence in the corresponding box on the back side of the paper. When all four sentences are complete, students are given lined paper to "publish" their writings. Published writings are occasionally displayed in the hallway and/or classroom. This has been a productive activity for modeling the early stages of writings. It is my hope that modeled writing will help to mold more complete sentences and thoughts in students' journal entries.

Hope all is well in the homes and please send your children to school prepared for the weather. We will continue to have morning and lunch recess as the weather permits. All children should have a warm coat, hat, and gloves. Stay warm!