After 335 days, Chicago finally broke the record of less than 1 inch of snow! On Thursday, we went out with our snow catchers and magnifying glasses to observe the falling snowflakes. Children were also able to see delicate, undisturbed crystals that landed gently on the walls and the ground. Be sure to ask your child which kinds of snow crystals he/she identified. Because it was our first time in the snow this season, it was difficult for the children to focus on the science of it all and many wanted to play instead. After such a long wait, we can't blame them for their excitement! We will keep the snow catchers at school for one more week and hope to do some more observations.
Be sure to see the Gallery for our Snow Study Pictures. You will also find the snowflakes that the students created on their iPads. For this activity, the children used the "My Flake" app to virtually cut out paper snowflakes. To save it on the Camera Roll, the children learned how to take screen shots and how to crop their photos. They also chose a photograph of themselves and added their newly created snowflakes to the background. Finally, the children learned how to email their images to Ms. Harrison from the iPad. More of these snowflakes and photos will be added this week. Lots of iPad learning happening in the classroom!
This week, we introduced something known as a "floss rule." When a word has one syllable, one short vowel, and ends in s, l, f, or z, the final consonant is doubled. These words include floss, pill, stuff, buzz. This rule can also be applied to individual syllables such as in the word dismissal (dis/miss/al). We introduced a fun mnemonic device to help children remember this rule: "Sammy loves fuzzy zebras." Of course, there are always exceptions in the English language. Words that end in -all (as in ball) have a short vowel /o/ sound, instead of a short vowel /a/ sound. This is just something children need to recognize and memorize. We encourage the children to be word detectives and look for these words in their environment and as they read.
We continue to work on number stories and will now solve one story each week as a part of our Day Starter routine. We also introduced the concept of line symmetry. A shape has line symmetry if you can fold it in half and both halves match exactly. The fold line is called the line of symmetry. Some shapes, like a square or a circle, can have several lines of symmetry.
As a fun way to practice symmetry and sharpen visual/spatial skills, we introduced the app called Symmetry Shuffle. In this game, students need to flip, turn, or slide shapes to make them align with other shapes nearby. There are different levels of difficulty and it is a fun, engaging game for all!
We also explored photographs that show symmetry in nature (like snowflakes). While nature's symmetry isn't perfect, it can be found in the wings of butterflies, in leaves, in a sliced orange, etc. The kids have really taken to noticing symmetry in their surroundings. Hannah even noticed that her sandwich was symmetrical and where it was cut in half became the line of symmetry.
MAPLE SUGAR FIELD TRIP
On Wednesday, March 6th, we will be taking our annual field trip to the Indiana Dunes to learn about how maple sap is gathered and made into maple syrup and sugar. We have room on the bus for 3 parent chaperones so please let Ms. Harrison know if you’d like to join us. As with the trip to the apple orchard, anyone welcome to join us but you may have to drive your own car. This will be an all-day field trip. More information to come!
We will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Thursday, February 14th with a pizza lunch & party! The cost of the pizza will be billed to each family through the FACTS system. As soon as we know the details of this billing, we will let you know. Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to bring decorating supplies, paper goods or other food items for our celebration. Please see this note for a list of names of children and teachers for Valentine's Day cards so you and your child can plan ahead. If you plan to include candy with your child's valentines, please make sure the candy is peanut/tree-nut free.
We have updated the Gallery. Be sure to see new photos of our Mystery Readers! If you click on the individual photo, you will see the book title. This will help you decide on a book of your own and also make sure there aren't any repeats!
Before I melt,
Come, look at me!
This lovely icy filigree!
Of a great forest
In one night
I make a wilderness
By skyey cold
Of crystals made,
All softly, on
Your finger laid,
I pause, that you
My beauty see:
Breathe, and I vanish
-Walter de la Mare-