Sunday, February 27, 2011

March News

March Character Trait: Integrity

We are concluding our ‘critical learning pathway’ that focused on POINT-OF-VIEW. I will be sending home a package of your child’s work as well as a copy of his/her culminating task once it is completed. Overall, I am very impressed by the way the students can empathize and assume the perspective of others. When reading Lily and the Paper Man and The Lady in the Box, the students showed a great deal of sensitivity and compassion towards the characters in the stories. We have a very CARING group of first graders! It is wonderful to see them helping each other and offering kind words to those who need it. I decided to let the students themselves choose the student in our class to receive the Caring Award this month. Congratulations to Holly!

The strategies that we will be adding to our Literacy CAFÉ menu this month are ask questions throughout the reading process and use text features (titles, headings, captions, graphic features) in both fiction and non-fiction texts. Asking questions is an important comprehension strategy. Play the “I Wonder” Game when reading with your child. Even before you start reading a book, look at the cover and ask, “I wonder who this character is?” or “I wonder why that character looks so sad/happy/scared, et cetera.” Using just the cover of the book, talk to your child about your questions. Make it clear that some of the questions will be answered when you read the book, but some might not be. Questioning makes reading fun. It also helps your child clarify ideas and deepens his/her understanding. Refrain from asking your child questions – instead, model what it means to be curious by sharing the questions you have while you read. Don’t rush to the answers right away; let the questions hang in the air. Pose several questions and then let your child take a turn asking questions that come to his/her mind. You’re showing your child how to be an active player in the world of reading. (Zimmermann and Hutchins, 7Keys to Comprehension, 82)

Non-fiction texts contain common features such as titles, headings and subheadings, captions, maps, diagrams, charts and graphs, legends, bold and italicized text, glossaries, indexes, etc. Even the early emergent texts for younger children include these features. We will be learning to recognize and use these features to help us understand what we are reading. Students are encouraged to ‘tune in’ to these features and use their background knowledge (schema) about them to aid their comprehension.

Please continue to spend at least 15-20 minutes a night talking to your child about what s/he is learning at school. Support his/her learning by reviewing the word wall words that we are focusing on and rereading her/his book-bag book.

In Mathematics this month, we will be learning about money and time. Concepts in both areas of learning can be challenging for young students – time is based on a base-60 system (we are accustomed to working with base-10) and working with money requires students to unitize. One nickel means “five cents”. Helping students to acknowledge that one of something (a coin) represents a greater quantity (ie 10 cents) can be very challenging. Suggestions for activities that can help your child understand the concepts covered in these units are included at the end of this post.

Dates to Remember
 March 1 – Celebration Assembly @ 1:40 in the gymnasium
 March 7 – Learning With Logan – Baby visit (theme: Sleeping)
 March 11 – Student Council’s Spirit Day – wear green•
 March 14-18 –March Break
 April 1 – Carousel Players performance /$2 due before performance date please

Try some of these activities with your child:
 Together, look at both sides of a coin. Ask your child to describe how both sides are the same and different, how different coins are the same and different, and what objects are on different coins. Describe part of a coin (“I am thinking of a coin with a ship on it.”) and ask your child to guess which one you are thinking of. Ask your child to sing you the chorus of “Canada in My Pocket”.
 Ask your child to sort coins into groups, name the coins, and tell how much they are worth. How did your child sort?
 Have your child estimate (guess) how much money s/he has, and then count the actual amount. Start with pennies and gradually add dimes and nickels. (Children at this age will likely need help counting mixed sets of coins.)
 Allow your child to make small purchases at the dollar store, with your supervision.
 Search for different types of clocks: analog clocks, digital clocks, alarm clocks, timers, watches, and so on.
 Talk about times throughout your family’s day. For instance, you might point to the clock when it is dinner time and say, “We usually eat dinner at this time. It is 5:30.”

Congratulations to our February Award Winners!
Olivia - Achievement Award
Roshawn – Effort Award
Holly – Character Award - Caring

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