We finished our Chapter Book Read Aloud - The Wind in the Willows. We had a lot of fun giggling at silly Toad and his crazy adventures, but also discussed what it means to be Smug or Conceited.
The OK Google App definitely came in handy as we read together, especially at the end when (spoiler alert) the Weasels, Stoats and Ferrets took over Toad Hall and the friends had to win it back. We needed to know what those Wild Wood Animals looked like in real life, because we had no prior knowledge or schema about them, before we could start making mental images of the battle scene. *If anyone has a DVD or VHS copy of The Wind in the Willows (or even another in the series, like Willows in Winter?!) we'd love to borrow it for a class viewing :D
Next up for a chapter book read aloud - James and the Giant Peach; another fictional story full of animal adventures (and we go to see the play at Young People's Theatre this upcoming month!)
Daily Five Centres are running smoothly and we’ve begun Guided Reading at the Teacher’s Table. As students rotate, I call small groups to come and read with me – sometimes to focus on reading above their level, sometimes to read just right books to focus on comprehension, but this time we’re focusing on fluency in reading with a Reader’s Theatre piece. Our four groups are reading: Little Red Riding Hood, The Bremen Town Musicians, Little Red Hen and Jack and the Beanstalk – ask your son or daughter what role they play!
We've been meeting some of the Trait Mates (the six writing traits) during Writer's Workshop over the past few weeks and so far we've met:
Just like as an artist paints pictures with paint, a writer paints pictures with words. Willy uses colors like red, blue and green, but he also uses chartreuse, and crimson, and cerulean. In the same way, writers use plain words and fancy words. Willy Word Choice reminds writers that they must use just the right words to tell a story and paint a picture in the reader’s mind.
Just as clues are important to a detective, details are important to a writer. The trait of Ideas is about on generating details on a topic. Donna Details encourages writers to choose topics that they know and care about, and to add rich details that will be interesting to a reader. And just like a detective is always digging deeper for important clues, a writer must "dig deeper" to elaborate and extend the details they write.
We've been talking about our science theme - seasons and snow - and doing lots of Willy and Donna writing. After reading "All You need For A Snowman" students wrote their own Willy sentences in their writers journal, using the list of brainstormed words on our Smart Board as well as the sentence closer "is all you need for a snowman". Some of our sentences were: Three ginormous snowballs; Two shiny sparkly rocks; A nice crunchy and juicy orange carrot". Then, they chose their best one and 'published' it on chart paper - we cut out our sentences and combined them all for display on our Writing Board.
Later that week we read The Snowy Day and talked about all the `Willy Words` that Ezra Jack Keats used in her writing, as well as all the `Donna Details`. We brainstormed a list of `snowy`words, I modelled writing for the students, we co-created our success criteria - and then they were off! They wrote their own short pieces about a Snowy Day.
ote, I saw Lori Jamison, developer of the Trait Mates, speak at the Reading for the Love of It conference last year - she's amazing!).
*Going back to Parent Teacher Interviews earlier this month, I showed many of you the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) levelling Chart, so I thought I should share it digitally with you:
This is a Correlation Chart for when you`re at the library or buying books for home, because there are SO many levelling systems out there it could drive a person mad :P
We reviewed a bit of Number Sense this week and added a few pages to our Red Math Folders. First, we started with a BLANK hundreds chart, NO numbers were on it except for 1, 10, 25, 62, 75 and 100 as anchors. Using those #s as clues, students were asked to fill in a few other #s. For example, where would 69 go? Should we start at the way at the beginning and count by 1s? Some students used these strategies: start at 62 and count on until you get to 69; start at 10 and skip count down the last column by 10 until you get to 70, then just count back 1; count on bys 1s until you get to 9, then skip down the columns by 10s until you get to 69 (9, 19, 29 ... 69!); count back from 75. Try printing this blank 100s chart at home (you can add a few numbers to help as anchors) and then ask your son or daughter to find some missing numbers!
*Note, don’t just fill in the whole chart – that’s easy ;) Take the time to talk about how to use the chart: count on by 1s to the right of each row; count back by 1s to the left of each row; skip count by 10s as you move up or down in each of the columns.
If you’d rather try something interactive, this is a fun missing numbers 100s chart game.
Sorting and Patterning are still our focus. Grade 1s are using Snap Cubes to: create repeating colour patterns; name the core; share with a buddy and ask ‘what comes next?’; create NEW and DIFFERENT patterns with the same attributes (e.g., red & blue: red, red, blue is an AAB pattern, but you could swap it and try red, blue, blue to make an ABB pattern too).
Grade 2s are: creating their own repeating patterns (shapes, sizes, colours etc.); describing (naming) patterns in various ways using letters (AAB), words (red, red, blue) numbers (112); and also answering questions like ‘What are 4 ways to show an AAAB pattern?’. Soon, we will get into growing and shrinking patterns with the grade 2s. Try some of this game at home as an extension activity, PLEASE be sure to click on the 1-100 Chart when you use this interactive Number Patterns Game
Skip Count and find repeating number patterns (2, 4, 6, 8, 10 OR 5, 10, 15, 20) or harder still, creating a GROWING pattern, for example, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 (doubling) OR 1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 16, 22, 29 (grows by 1 more each time). Play with it and have fun! If you print any, be sure your son or daughter writes about the pattern rule, then bring them in and I can support your homework practice by offering descriptive feedback.
If you’re having trouble, check this example online before you begin with your son or daughter. Full of visuals and examples of number patterns.
Scholastic Holiday Gifts: The Scholastic Flyers went home this Wednesday and are due back by this Monday December the 1st! We need to get them to Shelley ASAP as the December items sell out quickly AND because we want to ensure delivery before the holidays :)
Royal Winter Fair on Wednesday November the 12th was SO MUCH FUN! First, we all sat down in a huge arena to watch a horse show; we noticed some similarities and differences in the animals, like some could jump or run really fast, while others were big and slow. Afterwards we were lucky to see a Super Dogs performance! Ask your son or daughter which dog trick they liked the best. Afterwards, we divided up into our groups to explore until the end of the day. Some highlights were: the petting zoo; live cow milking; live sheep shearing; the aMAZEing maze (of foods); food competitions (best of, biggest of etc); but most of all – the stalls upon stalls and cages upon cages of ANIMALS that we could see and sometimes touch, but also ask the owners tons of questions about!
Roots of Empathy is an amazing program that we will begin NEXT WEEK! Our facilitator, Ilse, met with me last week and told me a little but about our momma Melissa and her baby boy, Sasha. The students will have their first session with Ilse next week, to learn a little bit more about what the program is and then we will get to meet our family. Check out Roots of Empathy.
Respect & Responsibility while I'm away: A big thank you to parents and students alike, for checking in with one another and making use that the days run smoothly when I'm away, at sporting events or PD. I appreciate your support!
Thank you all for taking the time to come and partake in Parent-Teacher Interviews. 15 minutes goes by very quickly, so if there's anything else you'd like to discuss or if you have any follow up questions, my door is always open. Call and leave a message with Marlene, send me an email or a tweet.
Here are some of the common topics that we discussed:
PLEASE BE SURE TO VISIT ALL THE PAGES OF THE WEBSITE; ANNOUNCEMENTS MAIN PAGE, HOMEWORK, LINKS - EXTRA PRACTICE; anything and everything you might need can be found on this website. If you still have questions please feel free to reach out to our class Rep Claire email@example.com
If you don't have a Twitter Account, it's easy! You don't have to get super involved and follow anyone else, you can choose to just follow our class - you can even keep your profile private. While this website is full of information, the Twitter Account posts live pictures, links and info about what we do each day. For example, we live tweeted about our field trip to the Royal Winter Fair all day Wednesday! It's a pretty awesome tool to for communication between home and school : ) Click HERE for Twitter for Beginners
In our grade 1/2 class the majority of our Homework will be 'Practice' homework: any work that reviews and reinforces skills and concepts taught in class (TDSB). Take 15 - 20 minutes an evening to choose ONE topic to practice: printing and letter formation, writing & developing ideas, reading to or with someone, math concepts like number sense or, our current strand, sorting & patterning.
I will talk to students this coming week about our Homework Policy and let them know that I expect them to be practicing at home; if you would like to send in some type of documentation of your practice, I would be happy to support you and offer feedback and encouragement for your son or daughter. Nearing the end of Term 1 we will begin a more formal homework program, where each student will be completing the same type of task (e.g., Reading and Responses for Borrow A Book) and I will be offering feedback.
Grades 1 to 6: There is a strong connection between reading to or with elementary children every day in English or in one’s first language and student achievement. As a result, homework assigned in the early grades shall more often take the form of reading, playing a variety of games, having discussions and interactive activities such as building and cooking with the family. For more on the TDSB Homework Policy
These sites already posted on our website's links page, but a reminder never hurts ;)
http://www.starfall.com/index.htm A phonics based website, with 4 varying levels of difficulty. The ‘ABCs’ can be used for emergent readers, whereas the ‘I’m Reading’ level is great for fluent readers. Lots of games and interactive fun!
http://www.storylineonline.net/ Listen to favourite books online read aloud by some well known actors and actresses!
http://www.kizclub.com/reading1.htm A great site where students can listen and read a book online, but can then print the book and read it on their own once they’ve mastered the text! Click on Level 1, 2, or 3 to listen to lots of curriculum related books (and don’t miss the blue ‘next’ button at the top of the page to get even more!).
http://nlvm.usu.edu/ Choose PreK-2 and the math strand to find interactive manipulatives (bar graphs, attribute blocks etc). We use MANY of these manipulatives in class, so ask your son or daughter to show you how they show their understanding!
Choose K-2 to find games. LOTS of Number Sense stuff! I like: Five Frame, Ten Frame, How Many Under the Shell, Deep Sea Duel,
Grouping and Grazing, Concentration.
Many of our grade 1 and 2 students need to work on proper letter formation and size, lower case letters and neatness. Please incorporate some printing practice at home as part of your homework program. Practice sheets can be downloaded here (these are available on our homework page). If you'd like, send them in for my review and I can support your son's or daughter's practice. If you feel you need a more specialized program, please let me know.
What does 'Reading' and practice look like at this early stage?:
- you read to your child; it's late at night, they're tired, you're tired - just enjoy a good book! Foster the love of reading : )
- your child flips through a previously read picture book and retells the story in their own words (either using some of the text, or not)
- your child reads, word for word, a text at their level; they sound out unknown words and decode as much as possible
- if your child gets stuck on a word and is getting frustrated - try one of two things:
a) skip it and come back (go back to the beginning of the sentence and reread what you know, say 'mmm' when you get to the word you don't know, keep reading on and then see if you can guess from context clues what that word might be)
b) just give them the word so they can keep going and feel a sense of success with the words they DO know
- play I Spy with a more difficult text, rather than reading everyword; focus on the words that they do know!
- don't 'read' the book, just have 'word competitions': with a sticky note, choose two words that you want to compete against each other, for example "the" and "to"; every time one of those words shows up on a page, it gets a tally mark; at the end of the book add up all your tallies and see which word won!
Just Read It:
This is a TDSB Program that engages our students in the joy of reading and sharing reading experiences with one another. After you've read a book, review it for your chance to win a Book Prize! Need a title suggestion? See what other grade 1 and 2 students are reading across our school board.
This particular learning skill is all about the independent strategies that students use, making choices, developing resilience and engaging in social interactions.
Consider how well your child:
- sets his/her individual goals and monitors progress towards achieving them;
- seeks assistance when needed; BUT ALSO
- independently perseveres when facing challenges.
November is Empathy Month! To launch this new character education trait, we read Big Al. Ask your son or daughter to retell the story to you and how empathy was involved.
We have a field trip to the Royal Winter Fair next Wednesday! Parent volunteers will be contacted first thing Monday morning (just working out some logistics with Lillian's class as well, trying to accommodate all the request we received!). Remember to wear comfortable shoes, a light jacket as we're walking around indoors, a litterless lunch AND a water bottle or juice box.
See you all next week, Thursday or Friday for interviews. Please contact me if you're unable to keep your time slot. For more info about the TDSB Report Cards, please read here
Over the past few weeks, we've been practising our Daily Five literacy stations through a Gradual Release of Responsibility model - "Show Me, Help Me, Let Me" ... well I tell ya', they're ready to get going! I've modelled all the stations - 1)Read to Self 2)Read to Someone 3) Listen to Reading 4) Work on Writing and 5a) Word Work 5b) *Special* Word Work Games when we have volunteers. They have practised, with my support and re-teaching, as well as peer support (e.g., 'Shh, you're not using your daily five voice!' or 'Here, let me show you where to get the materials for Word Work'). Next week, is the release step - 'Let Me' - and students will be expected to rotate through two Daily Five centres each morning, one Reading centre and one Writing Centre. As students work independently, this will give me the opportunity to work with students 1-on-1 or in small, guided reading groups at the Teacher's Table.
*PARENT HOMEWORK* please ask your son or daughter each day when they come home next week about their Daily Five Centres! Here are some prompts:
Which Reading/Writing Centre did you do today?
What materials did you have to use? Did you know where to find them?
How might you help someone if they don't know how to use the Listen to Reading (or other) centre?
Why will Daily Five Centres help you with your reading and writing?
For more about the Daily Five program
During Writer's Workshop this week, grade 1 students have been working on Retelling while grade 2 students have been working on 'How To' instructions. Both require students to use the language 'first, next, then, finally'. For instance, after listening to the read aloud Click Clack Boo, grade 1 students were asked to include the characters, the setting, the problem and the solution in their retelling, while the grade 2 students were asked to include detailed information about 'how to' throw the best Halloween Party.
PARENT HOMEWORK: if your son or daughter is in grade 1, rather than read a book before bed, get a favourite they've already heard and ask them to re-tell it to you (first, next, then, finally, characters, setting, problem, solution); if your son or daughter is in grade 2, encourage them to talk-aloud as they *get ready for school *eat their dinner, - get them to explain orally, the routines that they're doing everyday!
We've transitioned from Data Management (survey's and graphing) into Patterning, because both units deal a lot with 'sorting' information. Many of you have already started practising with your son's and daughter's at home by sorting and creating Halloween Candy patterns - THANK YOU FR YOUR TWEETS! There are many ways you can sort and lots of 'sorting rules' we can follow based on object's attributes, for example colour, shape, size, width. Students were given a bunch of Halloween stickers and asked to sort; skulls and pumpkins, happy pumpkins and scary pumpkins, things that fly like witches/bats and this that dont fly like spiders/cats. As they sorted, they were encouraged to explain their sorting rule and write about it in their Writing Journals.
We've also started playing with our Attribute Blocks; ask your son or daughter how they've sorted them! *Note, grade 1s are sorting by 1 attribute while grade 2s are sorting by 2 attributes. Grade 1s sort with two separate cirlces, e.g., red and not red, while grade 2s sort with two, connected circles and two different attributes like colour and shape: red, red circles, circles. This is an awesome online and interactive game that really helps explain sorting with two attributes - and it's all about zoo animals, yay for integrating science and math! This game is great for BOTH grade 1 and 2 because you get to choose your sorting rules, one hoop, two separate hoops, or two connected hoops (a Venn Diagram). Need to know more about how Venn Diagrams and sorting really works?
Other, Integrated Learning
We had Kirsten come in for a visit just in time for that Halloween Candy rush, to answer all our questions about teeth! As students were book browsing through our 'Community' bin, they came across the book "Meet my Neighbour the Dentist" and they had quite the debate over how teeth fall out, why they fall out, when they fall out. We realized that we needed to reach out to a community helper, someone who provided this type of service and who could answer our questions; because Kirsten had filled in her Family Questionnaire at the start of the year and let me know that one of her special skills/interests was dental hygiene - I reached out to her and called her in! Thanks Kirsten for answering all our of questions, and for sharing that lovely take away with new toothbrushes and toothpaste.
If YOU'RE interested in coming in for a short, half-hour workshop, here are some of the other questions we've wondered about:
Halloween is always so much fun : D Lilly , Krissy and I dressed as storybook characters from Click, Clack, Moo - I was the Cow, Lilly was Farmer Brown and Krissy was the Duck! We took a short break from reading Wind in the Willows to read The Littles and the Great Halloween Scare. Students also got to take home their very own copy of a Reading A to Z book Maria's Halloween *Grade 1 parents, this book is a Benchmark Book: November's 'at grade level' is a DRA 6 - 10 , and this Reading A-Z book is a DRA level 6. Practice at home please!
As you know, we're learning about Our Local Community and this past week we were presented with a real life problem to solve - Helena's daughter found a lost / stray dog, running around the streets near Dundas/Annette/Dupont/Old Weston in our Junction Community. The kids were ready to spring into action and help and wow did we brainstorm. We decided on a three pronged plan 1) Tweet information (a picture, big idea FOUND LOST DOG, contact info) and hashtag/mention Junction organizations to get the word out, 2) Create posters to hang in our local community (on a telephone pole outside our house, at our grocery store, coffee shop or restaurant) 3) TALK to people we see and ask questions - are you missing a dog? do you know of anyone missing a dog? if you hear of someone who's looking for a puppy, tell them to call HPAS! We'll keep you up to date!
With this whole "How might we help a lost dog in our community?" inquiry, here are just a few of the Social Studies Expectations that we've been able to cover:
- formulate questions to guide investigations into the interrelationship between people and the community
- identify some services/occupations in their community and describe how they meet people’s needs, including their own needs
- create a plan that outlines some specific ways in which they can responsibly interact with the local community
(FYI: Helena took the dog to the Vet, but he's got no microchip. He's about 1-2 years old, black with a white neck, short legs, long body.)
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.