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Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekly News: January 4

Welcome back to school! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year with family and friends! Thank you all so very much for all of your gifts and wonderful Christmas contributions! I am the luckiest teacher in the whole wide world! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!


Beginning after the holiday break we will now have each student write his/her first and LAST NAME on all papers, homework, etc.  If your child does not know who to write his/her last name please practice this at home (it can become part of homework writing!). Each student will now have last names written on GO Folders and name tags for support in the classroom.

Also beginning after the holiday break each child will have a “bank” attached to his/her new GO Folder. The “bank” is a ziploc baggie stapled to the GO Folder. Each day your child will have the opportunity to earn money at the end of the day - the money will replace the stickers. Students with clips on green will receive a nickel and students with clips on yellow, a penny. Money will also be used as an incentive for continued positive classroom and playground behavior throughout the day. Students with no clips on red at the end of the week will still earn a trip to the treasure box on Fridays, but now they will have the opportunity to spend their money on the items that are now “on sale” in the treasure box. Of course bigger treasures will cost more money, which I hope will reinforce self-control and teach students about saving. Each child will be responsible for keeping track of their bank and for counting the money in it. (This too will be great homework practice).  We will also work on trading coins, for example: five pennies for one nickel; two nickels for one dime and so on.  We even have paper dollars for those students who save and work really hard. Please encourage your child to take care of and keep track of his/her bank, as lost banks and/or money WILL NOT BE REPLACED!  Also, if students forget GO Folders at home, they will not receive money for that day. The bank is designed to teach responsibility and accountability and reinforce math skills.  This is a great life skill your child will benefit from in the future!! Thank you for your continued support.

Additionally (yes, there is still more info!), our kindergarten classes will begin working on fluency as part of your child’s reading homework. In your child’s book bag you will find a fluency passage. Your child is practicing reading fluent in reading group. Fluency refers to a student’s speed, smoothness, and ease of reading out loud. Fluent readers read more quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on comprehension.  Fluent readers gain more meaning from the text they read. Because fluency leads to comprehension, fluent readers enjoy reading more than students who devote all their energy to sounding out words. Your child will be timed in class for one minute on the fluency passage at the beginning of the week (a cold read) and then will be timed again in class for one minute at the end of the week (a hot read).  The goal is for your student to become more fluent with the passage by practicing it three or more times each night. On most fluency passages there are comprehension questions and word families. Please practice and complete this at home as well - this is an excellent test taking strategy. Your child will then graph the results of his/her increased fluency in class. Thank you for supporting this very important component of our reading program! You will be astounded by the growth your children make through this reading!

What Are We Learning This Week??:

Sight Words: WORD, ALL, US, JUST GOOD.

Letter Team: TION (sounds like SHUN like in vacation, invention, connection).

Leadership Theme of the Month: PUNCTUALITY - HELP OUR CLASS WIN! This month, we are having a tardy competition in which the class with the fewest percentage of tardies among our three school sites will receive $500 in classroom supplies of their choice!!! Each student will also be rewarded for each day he/she is "punctual" and on time to school!

Reading: This week we will continue to practice making connections as we read. We are practicing text to text, text to self, and text to world connections. We will also remember use our schema before, during, and after we read. This week, we will read books winter and our poem “I’m a little Snowman”.

Writing: We will continue to use our "Writer's Checklist" - a list of things that all good writers do, such as proper punctuation, uppercases at the beginning of a sentence and name, finger spaces between each word, spelling word wall words correctly, adding details, making sure our writing makes sense, and trying our best! We will read this checklist everyday to make sure we are applying each of those skills in our writing.  We are working on writing three to four good sentences on one topic.

Math: The students are doing well with the  MATH TIMED TESTS. I have seen so much improvement.  Keep practicing addition facts at home 5 to 10 minutes each day or more if your child is struggling.   Students are timed on addition skills and move up levels at their own pace. We will also continue practicing the addition "DOUBLES" in our fun DOUBLES SONG. Notice there is a copy of the DOUBLES song on the GO Folder for your child to practice at home. The goal is for students to memorize all the double facts. Please practice these at home.  Please also work on basic addition facts at home. We will practice the directions right and left.  Please continue to reinforce this at home.


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