Dear Parents, January 4, 2017
Happy New Year! The kids seem happy to be back . January is typically a great learning month if we can keep everyone healthy. The children need to dress for the weather, wearing hats and mittens and zipping their coats. Boots and snowpants are required to go in the snow. Many people like to bring their snow things in a grocery shopping cloth bag. Here’s what’s up this month.
Social Studies/Immigration – We are having fun with this unit and learning a lot about the Ellis Island experience. Each child will represent one of six countries as an immigrant to the US during our third grade “Immigration Simulation” on Wed. January 25th. All children will experience the immigration process as they “go through” Ellis Island (school caf.) with their passports as immigrants. They will learn about the country they represent and earn money for their passage, storing it in the pouches that they sewed. Fun, fun! Parents will be able to help at the simulation. A paper will be sent home this week for it.
Thank you for completing the family history/ancestry information. It’d be great to have them all by Friday. It will make our study of immigration more personal and meaningful. Some of us have more info than others about our ancestry. Anything you know is great to share. Leave what you don’t know blank. We'll be doing an activity with the information soon.
If you would like to share something of your own ancestry, cultural experience or artifacts from your native country, let me know. It’d be a great learning experience for the kids.
Our Lowell Mills field trip is Wednesday, January 18th. Students need to bring a disposable lunch and be dressed for some outside walking. Chaperones may ride the bus unless they prefer to meet us there by car. All chaperones who have signed up may come.
Reading – We have been reading many fiction and nonfiction books about immigration in December. This week, we are changing reading group instructors and beginning a new chapter book.
I will be assigning our second book project sometime next week. The kids wil need to choose a “just right” book to read that I will approve, write a 4-6 sentence summary for it, and choose between a diorama, a storyboard, a mobile or a game. It won’t be due until Thursday, February 9th. Nothing needs to be done yet.
Math - We’re finishing up a unit on graphing and then we’ll begin a unit on fractions. We’re also still working on our math facts –addition and subtraction and we’ve moved on to x3 and x4 facts this month. Keep practicing!!! We’ll be getting back at the quizzing and moving forward in our facts this month, so practice at home is so important.
Writing/Language – The students' writing is really coming along. We will work on including thoughtshots (thoughts and feelings) in writing. We will be writing about a favorite item or memory which will use both snapshots (what we can see) and thoughtshots. The students are using a thesaurus to find vivid words for adjectives and expanding sentences by thinking about “where, when, why, and how”.
Rereading work to edit and revise, showing best effort is ongoing. Any possible misspellings are circled as they write to be looked up later. Writing ideas on the paper comes first. We revise our work by adding or deleting with a colored pencil. It’s fun to see all the improvements and changes they’ve made by looking at all the color on the page. Editing or proofreading for capitals, periods, and spelling are always expected before completion.
Other language and spelling skills that we continue to review and practice include –similes, using a & an, commas, plurals, adverbs, spelling rules, dictionary skills, hyphens, syllables…
Spelling Hint - A spelling pattern for this month is c, k, and ck words. There is a rule that works well. Although they all make the same sound, the ck only comes after a short vowel and at the end of a word or syllable (stuck, package). The c is a “fat” letter and comes before the “fat” vowels of a, o, and u (cashew, because, cucumber). If it comes before a “skinny” vowel (i,e,y), it makes the soft c sound like an s (mice, bicycle, cinnamon). The k is “skinny” and comes before the “skinny” vowels of e, i, and y. (kind, ketchup). There are always rule breakers but this little trick is very helpful.
It also applies with the j and g letters. The g makes the hard g sound when it's followed by fat vowels a, o, u (goat, gas). The g makes the soft /j/ sound when it's followed by the skinny vowels, e, i, y (giant, judge, gym).
I just realized that November and December’s homework assignments haven’t been displayed on my website. I’m not sure what I was doing wrong, but we’re all set for this week! I hope to get it right from now on.