Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Tribe Names

Yesterday we looked at a variety of non-fiction books that had illustrations or photographs of different kinds of sharks.  We had to decide as a group, which shark we wanted to choose as our new tribe name.  After we reached a consensus about our new tribe name, we worked with our 'elbow partner' to measure the dimensions (length and width) of the tribe sign so that we could cut out a piece of paper the same size to illustrate for our new sign.  The results were amazing! 

We are going to continue to work on COLLABORATION.  This is one of the learning skills, that we have identified as a group, that we need to work on.  To date, students have primarily worked with a partner.  Working in small groups of four is much more challenging.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mathematics Update

Pumpkin Math

This week, each tribe had a pumpkin sitting on their table. Each tribe was asked to describe their pumpkin as well as compare it to the other pumpkins in the classroom. On Friday, we completed some investigations. We made some predictions about the pumpkins’ buoyancy and measurements. Some students predicted the pumpkins would float while some thought they were going to sink when we placed them in the tub of water. The pumpkins floated!

We also measured the circumference (“the belly”) of the pumpkins. The students measured the length of the stems, too. We also found out how much the pumpkins weighed. To discover the weight of the pumpkins, the students needed to weigh themselves and then weigh themselves holding their pumpkin. This provided a great opportunity to find the “difference”. The “difference” was the weight of the pumpkin!

This concept and the use of the term “difference” has been very challenging for the Grade 1s and 2s, so any chance to practice this skill should be utilized. Review of how to measure objects that are round, would also be beneficial. After trying to place cubes around the outside of the pumpkin, students realized that they needed to use a string first and then place the string on their table and place their cubes on the string to measure the pumpkin’s circumference.

We will continue to learn more about Measurement over the next two weeks. We will be measuring length, height, width, and perimeter. This week the students will be introduced to standard units of measurement – this is a Grade Two expectation.
Students will estimate and measure length, height, and distance, using standard units (i.e., centimetre, metre) and non-standard units
We will be using centimeters and meters to estimate and measure. We will be measuring using tools such as 30 cm rulers, measuring tapes, and metre sticks. Some activities that you can do at home to support your child’s learning are listed below.
  • Ask your child to estimate how much ribbon you'll need if you're wrapping a parcel.
  • Ask your child to estimate how many baby steps or giant steps it will take to walk across your kitchen, down a hallway, or to the front door, and have your child measure to check.
  • Gather some different-sized shoes and invite your child to line them up from shortest to longest.  Your child can use a ruler to measure the differences in the lengths.
  • make a family height chart and let your child estimate the height of each family member in centimeters.  Your child can use a measuring tape or metre stick to measure each height and record it on the chart.
  • Look for different ways people use measuring in their everyday lives.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November News

Our October Trip
Thanks to all the parents and family friends that volunteered to accompany us to the St. John’s Outdoor Center this past month. It was a beautiful day for a nature hike. Mrs. Stewart was a fabulous guide and the children were engaged the entire time. It was a great learning experience!

Hallowe'en Activities
We enjoyed working in multi-grade groupings in the morning.  We played Hallowe'en Bingo in Mrs. McDonald's Classroom.  We created "Funky Witch Shoes" in Ms. Sinclair's Classroom with oil pastels.  We watched a video and played a game with Mrs. Zelic.
We enjoyed a plethora of goodies yesterday, too! It was amazing! Our parents are so thoughtful and generous. We had a wonderful parade throughout our neighbourhood– another perfect day!
What are we doing in class?
We are continuing to work on writing descriptive pieces that enable our readers to “visualize”. We will have our ‘presentation copy’ of our gourd writing up on our Writing Bulletin Board for interview night this month.
On Wednesday, we welcomed Mr. Kore to our classroom. Mr. Kore joins us from Niagara University and will gradually be taking over more teaching responsibilities as the month progresses. He will be with us until mid-December.
Please continue to practice high frequency “lightning” words with your child on a regular basis. Reading every evening for 20 minutes has a dramatic effect on your child’s development as a reader – it benefits him/her in so many ways from attitudinal to vocabulary development and comprehension – it is one of the most effective things you can do for your child!
Please continue to support your child’s efforts to retell fictional stories and non-fictional information throughout the school year. The ‘story-bit’ bag will continue to be filled and sent home on a regular basis.

A New Math Game to Try
Let's play “Guess the Mystery Number”! We have practiced this game in class using a number line (see photo), a 0-99 chart, as well as a 1-100. You may like to try it at home. Ask your child how to play this game.

Cold Weather Reminders
The cold weather is coming! We have two 20-minute sessions outside each day, so it essential that your child come prepared with warm, winter boots, snow pants, a hat, and mittens. On snowy days, it is a good idea to have a second set of mittens packed.

Dates to Note
November 11
Remembrance Day assembly
November 17
This evening has been set aside for parent-teacher interviews. Please try to return your interview request page by November 7.
I would like to meet and talk with everyone once the progress report is sent home. I hope you will keep in mind that this report reflects only the first 8 weeks of Grade One or Grade Two. Your child will receive his/her first comprehensive report card that is reflective of a full term of learning at the beginning of February.

Thank You to Our Volunteers
Mrs. Brenda Grimo visits us every Friday afternoon to listen to the children read their Take Home reading selections. We appreciate all her help in making this program successful!
Take Home Reading Programme
I think I finally have a system for managing the Take-Home Reading requests that I am comfortable with.  The students go down to the ‘book room’ at the beginning of the day, just after announcements while we are doing our ‘bellwork’ to replace their books. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to find a system that works for us.
Spelling Homework
Because of our Hallowe'en activities, spelling words and homework books were not sent home this week.  We will resume our homework program on Monday, November 7.