Friday, October 11, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Man, how about this weather? Unfortunately, Field Day has been postponed from today until next Friday, October 18.  This is the first year we're doing Field Day in the Fall, but last year it got so hot in the Spring that we couldn't even have one at all! Both scheduled days reached the heat index limit. My fingers are crossed for a beautiful, cool day on the 18th!

This week in language arts we've been finishing up the daily preview of our letters.  Next week we start teaching a letter a week with in-depth focus on proper letter formation, hearing the sound the letter makes and applying the letter sound in beginning sound sorts.  As we finish up our whole group instruction/story time, students have been working on their letter font sorts and going to 1-2 stations, depending on the time.

Students who are talking during their seatwork, do not do their seatwork or are using materials improperly at stations do not get to go to stations.  Stations are a way to make learning more fun and interactive, but they are a privilege.  Students not following the rules have to go back to their desk and "read" their bag of books quietly.  (I write "read" in quotation marks because most students are unable to actually read the correct words at this time.)

Why have students look at their books if they can't read them yet?
Students are instructed to use pre-reading strategies.  Students should look at the pictures to make predictions about what will happen next, activate background knowledge/make connections and form a purpose for reading.  Students learn how text is structured.  They learn the proper way to hold a book.  Looking at the pictures can help them generate questions that only the text will answer.  It will make students eager to learn how to read so they can figure out the unanswered questions.

It is important that students are working quietly and I can trust them to be on task because when I have a group of 4-5 students at my reading table, I need to be able to hear them and I cannot get up to help other students around the room. We use the "Ask 3 Before Me" strategy, so if students have a question at stations they ask three friends to try and get help before interrupting a reading group.

Monday we start PALS testing! That's what so much of the "Voice Level 0" is for.  It's not fair for students to be asked to listen for rhyming pairs if friends around the room are talking and they can't hear! If you are interested in learning more about PALS or would like to help your child prepare, you can find a monthly activity HERE. 

In math, we've been working on patterns (AB and ABB for now) and the pattern vocabulary.

Units are really difficult for students to grasp because in AB patterns it's two pieces, ABB, AAB or ABC it's three pieces and ABCD has four pieces that comprise one unit.  You can practice patterns at home with virtually anything you have lying around! Make sure that your child completes the pattern with a full unit (the bear pattern shown above could not end in purple or it would be incorrect) and can show you one unit if you ask.

Social Studies has been all about Fire Safety! To review fire safety with your child at home, visit THIS SITE. We transitioned into our unit on colors yesterday and will complete the unit next week.

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