We had a fun April Fool's Day on Friday with a mixed up Morning Message, written bottom to top, and a Did You Know Fact about a new discovery of rainbow lemons. Some students even fooled Ms. Hamilton by switching the read aloud book for another. She was really fooled! Some children chose to continue these pranks in their Family Message Journals. Did you get fooled?
EARLY SPRING WEATHER
The weather this time of year can be different day to day and it always seems to be be colder on our playgrounds than forecasted. Please make sure your child comes prepared for daily outdoor play. We recommend layers and light-weight hats and gloves and rain boots when necessary. Boots continue to keep your child's feet warm and dry and also keep the mud out of the classroom.
I want to thank each family for your generous donations to our classroom gift. We now have a wonderful new classroom camera that allows me to take more quality photographs and post them easily to Twitter and our webpage. I carry the camera wherever we go so look for many more photos in the Gallery in the upcoming weeks.
MAPLE SYRUP STUDY
The children have been planning and writing the steps for how to make maple syrup. Each child will use photographs from Chellburg Farm and our field trip to complete an ebook using the app called Book Creator. This week, we will spend much of our time completing these books so we will not write in our Family Message Journals. As soon as the ebooks are complete, we will celebrate with pancakes and Indiana maple syrup. Stay tuned! Be sure to see the Gallery for all the photos from our wonderful field trip!
SCHOLASTIC BOOK ORDERS DUE 4/8
Scholastic book catalogues were sent home Friday. Please place your Reading Club orders by April 8! Online orders only please. Thanks for your support and happy reading!
One-Time Class Activation Code: L7MMV
Last week, Ms. Hamilton introduced the children to the spelling patterns ou/ow as in mouse and cow. Each week, we practice the new spelling pattern along with some red words and complete a dictation activity to see if the kids are applying what they learned in context. Red words are also known as sight words that need to be memorized or learned by sight because they do not often follow phonetic rules.
Ms Hamilton also introduced synonyms. words that have the same meaning. We've had lots of fun coming up with synonyms. We are even working on an activity called "synonym rolls." Be sure to ask your favorite second grade about synonyms!
In math, we have been working on double and triple-digit and subtraction problems. We have mainly focused on the regrouping (borrowing) algorithm that we call Trade First. We have taught the children to start in the ones place and then move on to the tens place, etc. Children need to look at the ones place to determine if the amount is enough to subtract. If it is not, they need to borrow (or trade a ten for 10 ones or a hundred for 10 tens). Many children have picked up on this strategy quickly and have memorized the steps. We, however, also want children to understand the problem conceptually. We use special blocks called Base Ten Blocks that include ones, tens and hundreds. By manipulating these blocks, children learn place value and we can easily model subtraction problems.
To challenge students, we are working with bigger numbers and with problems that have zeros in the minuend (top number) so that children have to borrow more than once. We encourage your child to continue practicing both single-digit addition and subtraction facts are home to build fluency and automaticity. Just 5 minutes a day can help! Happy calculating! Our next unit of study is geometry.
In May, we will travel in a wagon train across the Oregon Trail and learn all about the pioneers and Westward Expansion. Children can look forward to experiencing a one-room school house, play games that pioneer children played, learn about the importance of quilts, play inside a life-sized covered wagon, and dress like pioneers! We have several costumes and accessories to share but not enough for everyone. We'd like each child to be able to dress like a pioneer and could use your help in bringing items from home or helping you child assemble a pioneer costume. Here are some other ideas for pioneer 1800’s clothing (think Little House on the Prairie): bonnets, aprons, simple long-sleeved dresses, suspenders, straw hats, vests, bandanas, stockings, and a lunch tied to a stick with a bandana or in a metal pail.
To get the Knicker look for boys, any pair of dress pants can be rolled up and cuffed just below the knee. Uniform or knee socks will cover the legs. Wear dark shoes or boots. Shirts can be button-downed and long-sleeved, dark solid colors, white, striped, plaid, or even flannel. Knickers and shirts are worn with suspenders. Golf caps or driving caps are a good substitute for newsboy caps and sweater vests are appropriate and acceptable.
Hopefully, you can find what you need to wear already at home but thrift stores are also a good place to look. Be creative! Costumes can be sent in any time but we'd like them by the first week of May. Thanks for your support!
We are excited to have a turn in the new Primary School Makerspace. This year, teachers helped created a makerspace in the Learning Lab across the hall. This space is filled with lots of materials from reusables such as cardboard, plastic lids, etc. to motors and circuits. There are also lots of tools and adhesives available. It's a place for kids to tinker, build, make mistakes, work together, be curious and creative, think critically, problem-solve, share their ideas and celebrate their successes. Here is a nice article called, Why Makerspaces Give Kids Space to Fail, and Why That’s a Good Thing, that describes the benefits of having a makerspace.
During our sessions, the children have been given a challenge to complete:
Transport the heaviest amount of blocks across 6 feet of varied terrain. That terrain may be artificial grass, wood chips or gravel. To build their vehicle, partners can only use cardboard, toilet paper rolls, straws, skewers, tape or a glue gun. The base or "footprint" of the vehicle can only be 4" x 12". Children will use a string to pull their vehicle across the terrain.
The kids are working with a partner to plan, design and complete this challenge. "Making" is a wonderful, engaging process. As children test their designs, they get immediate feedback if it works or not, make improvements, and try again. They also learn a lot about collaboration and making mistakes. Be sure to ask your child about the Makerspace and see the Gallery for photos that capture our first two sessions. This week, many children will be ready to test their vehicles.
Have a great week!