Thursday, March 31, 2011

April News

We started our non-fiction literacy unit as soon as we returned from the March Break and the children have been demonstrating a keen interest in finding facts from books, magazines, and the database, Kids Infobits. Their enthusiasm for reading has been incredible – they show it in their requests for conferences and demands for “more books!” We are currently finishing up our All About Sharks books. This month we will continue to write ALL ABOUT books as well as review writing friendly letters.
The reading strategies that we will be adding to our CAFÉ menu this month are: recognizing literacy elements, using main idea and supporting details to determine importance, and using text features to improve our comprehension.
We will be analyzing texts – both fiction and non-fiction. This is our third Critical Learning Pathway. In the Ontario Curriculum, analyzing texts is a specific expectation-
By the end of Grade 1, students will: identify the main idea and a few elements of texts, initially with support and direction (e.g., narrative: characters, setting, problem/solution; information text: introductory statement, facts, photographs).
I know I sound like a broken record, but it is essential to continue to spend at least 15-20 minutes a night reading to, and/ or with your child. Support his/her learning by reviewing the word wall words that we are focusing on and rereading their book-bag books. Rereading is very powerful – so many children after rereading a book in their book box tell me “it’s so easy”. It is easy for them because the words and the language of the book have become familiar to them! They are becoming better, fluent readers by rereading!
In Mathematics this month, we will be working with addition and subtraction by increasing our repertoire of strategies. Solving problems within meaningful contexts will be our primary focus. We will also revisit measurement – learning to measure mass and volume. Suggestions for activities that can help your child understand the concepts covered in these units are included later in this post.
As part of our recognition of Earth Day this month, I am encouraging the children to try and bring snacks with less packaging and to make healthy choices. A reusable drink container for juice or water is preferable to all the juice boxes that are usually half full, even after our second nutrition break. We will continue to reuse and recycle as much as we can from our lunches.
Dates to Remember
April 5 – March Celebration Assembly @ 9:15 in our gymnasium
April 7 – Me to We Club is sponsoring a Movie Night! They will be showing “Tangled” in the Forestview gym from 6-8pm
April 17 – DSBN Road Race
April 22 Earth Day and Good Friday (no school)
April 25 Easter Monday (no school)
The children continue to work diligently everyday and make us proud!
Three students who were particularly successful last month were:
Aidan – Achievement Award
Michael – Effort Award
Stefan – Character Award Integrity
Try some of these activities with your child:
 Ask your child to help you solve problems such as:
 We need to put 4 big plates and 4 little plates on the table. How many plates should you get out of the cupboard?
 I have washed 8 plates. If I dry 5 of them, how many will you have to dry?
 Show your child some pennies and have him or her count them. Ask your child to close his or her eyes. Add or subtract some pennies from the pile. Have your child figure out what you did and tell you a number sentence (equation) to explain it. Switch roles and have your child add or subtract the pennies.
 Play simple games that require your child to add and/or subtract, such as adding or subtracting numbers or dots on two dice or the numbers on playing cards. You might also take turns with your child rolling two dice or drawing two number cards from a homemade deck. Use the numbers to create either an addition or subtraction question. See who can make up the funniest story that explains the numbers correctly.
 Practice ‘doubles’ by using this term frequently when opportunities arise.
 Discuss the sequence of your day and important ‘times’ - bedtime, time to go to school, meal times.
 The benchmark unit for us is THE MINUTE. For fun, see how many times you can write your word wall words in one minute, count how many jumping jacks you do in one minute, count how many times, you blink your eyes in one minute, etc.
 When setting the table for dinner, put different sizes glasses at each setting and ask your child which glass will hold the most/least amount of milk.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Learning with Logan

We had a lovely 'baby visit' this morning with Logan. Because we hadn't see him since the beginning of February, we were surprised by how much he had changed! With his mother's help, Logan was walking around the green blanket and smiling at us! We even noticed that his babbling sounds different; it is almost as if he is trying to say actual words to us.

Prior to Logan's visit, we learned how all living things require SLEEP. Babies sleep a lot and more of their sleep is 'DREAM SLEEP' because their brains are very busy learning and growing. We discovered that Logan has a transitional object - his soother - that helps him when he wakes up during the transition from DREAM SLEEP to DEEP SLEEP.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Understanding Text Forms and Features

We began the week by looking closely at examples of fiction and non-fiction texts about a common theme (trees, animals, etc.) and discussed similarities and differences. The children quickly identified differences in form for our anchor chart.
During daily mini-lessons we are identifying text features and explaining how they help us as readers. When we completed a Venn-diagram to sort text features, we noted that BOTH fiction (chapter books) and non-fiction texts have a Table of Contents.
Our chart describes how the Table of Contents in a non-fiction book helps us by giving an overview of what the book will teach us and where we can find specific information that we are seeking (page numbers).