Monthly Archives: February 2013

Social Studies Update!

This week, we reviewed the key words we have learned about in ECONOMICS so far:

wants, needs, goods, services, consumer, and producer

 I then showed them a box of candy that I had.  I told them that there were different kinds of candy and that they would be able to choose one piece to have.  After they had chosen, I had the kids raise their hands if they weren’t able to get their first choice candy.  I used this example to explain the idea of scarcity to the kids, we talked about how there isn’t always enough of something for everyone to have it.

I then shared how some of the kids had two pieces of candy that they really wanted, but they could only have one.  We talked about how when you can’t have both, then you need to make a choice between the ones you like the best.  I gave the kids the example of how I go shopping and see so many things at the store that I want, but I don’t have enough money to buy it all.  So, we have to make choices!

I asked the kids what you could do if you ended up with a piece of candy that you didn’t want and they came up with the idea to trade.  So, I had the kids who ended up with candy that wasn’t their first choice come to the middle of our circle and see if they could trade with each other.  Some of them were able to and some were not.  We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade.

We then read A New Coat for Anna, a book that dealt with a family who needed to get a new coat for their daughter, but they had no money.  So, they traded things from their home with the people who could provide the services they needed to make a new coat for the little girl.

After reviewing how the family used trading to get the things they needed, we talked about how we get the things we need.  Sometimes we trade, but the kids also focused on using cash, debit cards, checks, credit cards, gift cards, etc.

All of this has prepared our students for our field trip to Family Fare on Wednesday, March 6th.

Reading Update!

This past week, the kids continued to record their TEXT TO SELF connections in our googledoc.  We took a look at all the connections they have made since we started at the beginning of the month and some of the kids have been making them consistently and others not as much.  I gave the goal to all students to choose to be a writer and make at least two or three connections next week during our reading workshop time.

As I have been assessing the kids’ reading abilities, I have told them I am looking at three major things: can they read the words in the book, can they remember what they read, and do they sound like a fluent reader?  One of the areas that I have noticed that some kids need some support in is their fluency.  They might be reading all the words correctly, but they aren’t reading them smoothly (we will also focus on expression and taking notice of punctuation, later).

A strategy that I introduced to them, to help them practice reading the words smoothly, we call ‘scooping their words.’ I talked with them about how when they eat their breakfast cereal, they don’t just scoop up one piece of cereal in their spoon at a time, they scoop up many pieces at the same time.  And good readers do the same thing.  Reading one word at a time makes it hard for us to understand what all the words mean together, so scooping up multiple words at a time will help improve our comprehension.  I modeled for the kids what it sounded like to just scoop one word at a time and then they helped me practice scooping up a few words at a time.

Listen to your kids read their WEB books and after they have read their book the first time, have them go back to practice it a second time.  Listen to them read it the second time to see if they are scooping up a few words together or if they are reading one word at a time.  If they aren’t scooping, remind them what it sounds like to scoop up a few words together and have them practice again.  Thanks for your support from home!

Writing Update!

This week, we began our fifth unit in writing.  We are adopting Angela Johnson as our mentor for this unit and we will study many of her books to learn what techniques she uses to write her stories.

The students have already noticed this week that she uses ellipses (or …) in her writing.  They pointed out how she used them to slow down a reader, but also to build suspense at the end of a page and make the reader turn the page to find out what comes next.  Many of the students experimented with ellipses in their writing this week as well.

We also talked about how writers are thinking of ideas to write about all the time, not just during writer’s workshop.  They got out their ‘tiny topics’ notebooks that we used to keep track of our persuasive letter ideas.  We used them this week to start a running record of story ideas that they can have with them at writing time and then pull an idea from their list to write about.  It has been so much fun to see the students finding writing ideas all throughout the day. If your child comes up with an idea at home, help them write a little note in their notebook. Remind your child to bring their notebook back to school and in no time that tiny topic will become a spectacular story!

Thank you for your help at home!

Factory 104!

We turned our room into a factory on Friday afternoon to talk about producers and consumers.  We learned that we are all consumers (use, but, eat things) and we learned how producers make things.  We all became producers within Factory 104 and made a product to show off to the class.  Take a look at our producers in action:

Social Studies Update!

This week in Social Studies, we started our Economics unit.  The first things we learned were needs and wants.  A need is something we can’t live with out, a want is something that makes life more fun.  🙂  We talked about different wants- things that we have asked for for our birthdays or things that were on our Christmas list.

The kids know that we have 5 needs:

food, water, shelter, clothes, air

We also talked about goods and services.  A good is something you can hold in your hand, and a service is something that someone else does for you.  The kids did a great job of brainstorming different kinds of services- mailmen, waiters, policemen, teachers, and dentists…

We will continue this week reviewing what we have learned so far and moving on to consumers and producers.

*Please continue to practice your home address with your child– I have been so impressed so far with how well they are doing!

Calendar – whoops!

I can’t believe that I forgot to get the February calendar out until now…but, since you had to wait so long…here’s the March calendar in advance. 🙂  It’s a busy one!

App Update!

The kiddos have LOVED playing this new expanding vocabulary game for one of their word work choices: Endless Alphabet 
 It gives them a new vocabulary word on each page and then they spell it by matching the letters to the words.  Once they have spelled the word, the app reads the word aloud for the kids to hear.  It then acts out the meaning of the word.  It ends by reading aloud a kid friendly definition of the word.
This is a great resource for new vocabulary words and all the words are very animated and super cute, the kids LOVE it.  It is the first vocabulary app that I have been very happy with.  I believe that each time you play it, more words get added to the app.  It is a free app that would be easy for you to use at home!

Field Trip!

In Room 104 we are getting super excited for our upcoming class trip to Family Fare.  The big day is Wednesday, March 6th.  We will be gone for a portion of the morning, from about 9:15 until 10:30ish, but will be back in plenty of time for lunch.

For more information, please read our Field Trip Note.

*If you are looking for more ways to volunteer in our classroom, check out our Parent Volunteers Note.

**If you are interested in joining us for our next field trip…mark May 22nd on your schedule for a trip to the zoo!

Spelling Update!

We introduced new spelling words last week: be, this, from.  One of our lessons focused on double letters, when two of the same letter are next to each other in a word.  We noticed that double letters make just one sound together.  Some of the words we were using were  we vs. wee and be vs. bee.  At then end, I had them pick one of those words and put it in a sentence to email me.  Here are some of the cute sentences that I got.