Friday, April 13, 2018

What we're up to...                                          

April 2018

Reader's and Writer's Workshop

Please log into Seesaw to see your child's latest published book! During Reader's Workshop each Kindergartener worked hard researching an African animal using different resources such as Epic! Books, informational books from the library, and PebbleGo. They studied their animal's habitat, food, life cycle, interesting facts, and much more. Then during Writer's Workshop they used all of this new learning to write their own informational book to teach others about their animal. Their books include text features such as headings, maps, key words, a table of contents, illustrations, and labels! I am so proud of how hard they all worked and I know they are all proud of themselves for becoming authors.

Math Workshop
We are working on building a strong foundation for addition and subtraction skills through various games, story problems, and hands-on activities. Students are learning to identify if a story problem is asking them to add or subtract depending on the language that is being used in the problem. They are learning what different math symbols like the plus sign, minus sign, and equal sign mean and how to use them in number sentences.

Creating balanced class lists that meet the needs of all students is a difficult endeavor.  This process involves hours of thoughtful dialogue between classroom teachers, administrators and other staff members.  We know that creating a strong learning environment is essential to students’ success and we therefore take this responsibility seriously.  Please be assured that we take each child into consideration.  Please see our process below.

·     Teachers identify the social and academic needs of each student.  They refer to existing data and record pertinent information to assist them in their decision-making.

·     Teachers meet as grade level teams to form class lists that are balanced.  Balanced classrooms meet each student’s academic, social and emotional needs.  Teachers consider each child’s personality, academic strengths, needs and friendships. Learning specialists, the specials team and administration also collaborate with classroom teachers to provide feedback.

·     Each grade level team submits a draft of class lists.  I review final lists to ensure all parent input has been considered.  Classroom teachers approve any changes I suggest given parent feedback to ensure classes remain balanced.

·     Class lists are finalized in mid July to reflect the addition of students joining Gold Rush in the summer.

This process is consistent across grades K-4.  Our 5th grade team collaborates with the teachers at Cimarron Middle School to ensure students’ success in 6th grade.

We strongly believe that this detailed and collaborative process creates learning environments that benefit all students.  Please remember that our ultimate goal is to create classes that promote the success of each child.  Please also know that your child is placed in a classroom for specific reasons and that our process benefits all students.  Because of the input and thought given by teachers, parents and administrators, we are reluctant to make changes once this process is complete.  It may be hard to believe, but moving one child can disrupt the balance of an entire classroom.

We do value parent input and welcome any insight you wish to share about your child’s strengths, needs and learning style.  We will take into consideration all pertinent information that you share with Principal Jenny Brown on or before Friday, April 25th.  While we welcome your input, we cannot honor specific teacher requests.  Please put your thoughts in writing and address them to Principal Brown through either a letter or email (jjbrown@dcsdk12.org).

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


What we're up to...                                          

February 2018

February 14th 9:00 to 10:00 am -
During the party students will pass out Valentines, have a snack, and do a quick craft.

Please send in a decorated mailbox with your child’s name on the front by Tuesday, February 13th.  Be sure your students name is large, readable and on the front of the box.  Have fun and be creative!  I love to see all the amazing ideas that families come up with. Don't forget to design a box that allows for cards or candy to go IN but also be REMOVED from the box when ready--- We have had a few boxes in previous years come in with only a small slit opening and then the students couldn't get their valentines or candy back out to read :)

We have 23 students in our class, be sure to have your child bring a valentine for each student.  Most students leave the "To:" part of the Valentine blank and just write their name next to the "From" that way it is easier to pass one valentine to each box. If you would like to have your child put individual names on Valentines you can use the class list on this website.
Reader's Workshop
During Reader's Workshop we have been diving into Informational Text! We have discussed how informational text is different from fictional text because informational books "teach us REAL" information! Students are learning all about the different text features that authors use to help readers better understand informational books. They have been working hard to find these different text features in their books while reading during reader's workshop and are excited to share how it helped them as a reader.
Writer's Workshop
We have made the switch from writing small moment stories to writing informational "How To" books during Writer's Workshop. Students pick something they know how to do and write the steps into a book! We are concentrating on using order words such as " first, next, then, now, last". They are using diagrams with labels as a text feature when writing their own "How To" book since this is one of the text features we learned about during Reader's Workshop. 
Math Workshop
Students are working on simple addition through tile arrangements. First students make any arrangement using tiles and color that arrangement onto grid paper. Their arrangement must fit the rules: #1 All tiles in the arrangement have to be touching #2 All tiles in the arrangement have to share at least one side with another tile. Next, they make 2 groups of their choice within that arrangement. Last, they show the groups they made into a number sentence at the bottom of the paper. I challenge them to do as many arrangements as they can on one grid paper and to see if they can come up with different groupings and therefore different number sentences.  
Kids had so much fun creating and sharing their 100th day projects!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's great to get back to school and I look forward to an amazing second semester. Now that routines and expectations are in place, we can dig deeper into every subject and use our new skills to do some truly fun activities. The next few months are crucial as they strengthen skills and begin to synthesize and apply what they know. To make the most of our time, each student has set individual reading and writing goals. Ask them what their goals are. They did a pretty good job choosing goals that were appropriate without much help. I love to see them own their growth and learning at such a young age. 

The new year also brings a new focus in homework.  Last semester students needed to read each night and do an activity. This semester they will continue those activities and add a writing component. This is SO important for their growth and doesn't have to take much time. It helps them get more confident and automatic in applying their knowledge. Let them choose a special notebook or folder to get started to make it fun. If you need my help with this let me know and I can create one with your child. The important thing is that they have a special writing journal to use at home. Below are the basics to Homework 2018. This can also be found in their homework folder.  

Read every day.

  • Books will continue to come home each night for practice and review with you. 
Write every day.
  • Keep a journal and write at least one sentence about your day or a book you read.
1.    Students stretch the word out and write the sounds they hear.
2.    When they get stuck, support them by giving them their Alphabet Chart instead of telling them the spelling.  You can also print one from the blog.
3.   Let them read it back to you. (pointing to words and sounding them out)
4.  If they know some sight words, I would let them find and copy them from the back of the alphabet chart. You can add other ones to the back as they learn them. If they can’t read them yet…just let them use phonetic spelling.
*** If you are doing this…you are practicing sounds, letters, blending, segmenting AND sight words. It is the best bang for your buck!

Practice letters and sounds.
  • Finish learning any letters or sounds. Do the weekly sorts each night to help, and review vowels regularly. Prepare for spelling test on that sort on Fridays.
Practice blending and segmenting.
  • The blog has word lists and directions for this.
Practice sight words.  
·      Look on the check-up for sight words to work on

Practice MATH skills.

  1. Identify numbers to 20 or higher.
  2. Writing numbers to 20, 50...100
  3. Counting to 20, 50…100
  4. Skip counting by 10s, 5s, to 100 and by 2s to 22
  5. Compare numbers and sets (greater than, less than, equal)
  6. Addition and Subtraction to 10