Friday, 30 January 2015

Reading Goals for February

February is I Love to Read Month at Reston School and we have many fun and exciting things in store to encourage reading and books this month.  You can look at the calendar of events here and read a letter from our librarian, Mrs. MacKenzie here

Everyone in our class has set a goal for themselves for the total number of minutes they have pledged to read this month.  They have been given a calendar like this one to keep track of their reading this month. If they exceed the goal, that would be great!  Everyone who meets the goal they set will be eligible for a special certificate from the Premier of the Province of Manitoba.

We have discussed that some nights they might be too busy to read so it would be okay to read more another night to make up for it.  This reading time can include reading aloud to an adult, an adult reading to them, or silent reading on their own. 

Parents, please let me know if you would like reading material sent home from the school.  Library day is every Friday and they are encouraged to choose books that they will use to work toward their goal.  Some kids even thought they would get a jump start by reading tonight and tomorrow - even though it's still January! 

My goal is to encourage regular reading at home and if parents have any questions, please contact me!  Happy I Love To Read Month!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Ready Freddy

Our latest read aloud in the Grade 2-3 class are from the Ready Freddy series by Abby Klein.

Our first one, The Reading Race, was a good one to introduce us to the characters, even though it isn't the first book of the series.  I read a chapter or two each day as they were finishing the cursive work for the day and it was finished in just over a week.

It was fun to predict who would win the Reading Race at Freddy's school.  They kept track of how many minutes they read at home for a week and the winner would receive 5 free books from the School Book Fair. 

Ask your child about the ending!

Our current read aloud is called Don't Sit on My Lunch and we have been discussing how the title and the front cover really doesn't give us much of a clue of what this book is about.  Freddy tries out for the hockey team with his friend Jessie's help and Max (pictured about to sit on Freddy's lunch) does as well.  We are doing lots of review and predicting as we go through the book.

I think it is very important to read chapter books like this to students so they can learn about how to think while you read and have the text made into a "movie" in your head as you read.

Birthdays and Half Birthdays

Birthdays are a pretty big event in your life in Grade 2 and 3 and I like to make it a special day at school for each child as well. They are given the choice of a few special privileges for the day like choosing their own spot at the table, picking a book to be read to the class, choosing the number of the day, or eating lunch with the teacher and 2 friends in the MPR.

For those whose birthday falls in July and August, we will be celebrating their “half– birthdays” in January and February. If their birthday or half-birthday falls on a weekend, they will choose to move it to the Friday or Monday. It is a day they wait for all year!

P.S. - Are you wondering what a "Go Noodle" is?  Check out this post

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cursive Handwriting!

After Christmas break, the Grade Twos started to learn to handwrite using the Cursive Alphabet and the Grade 3's began their review of it.  A link to the blog post I wrote last year is  here.

It is an exciting time for them to learn something new that they see adults using and that they can finally read some of what they see in handwriting.

Parents, please don't worry that you will teach them "wrong" if you show them some letters at home.  Cursive has many styles and as long as others can read what you wrote, it is perfectly acceptable.

Eric Carle

We began the new year with an Author and Illustrator Study about Eric Carle.  You can link to his website here. Our classroom and school libraries had many of his books but we learned that there are many more.  The picture above shows the one he is likely most famous for, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

 Each book was read aloud and the pictures were studied as well.  They were popular books for individual and buddy reading time too.
 Brown Bear, Brown Bear is another well known book of his and we used that as inspiration for our Art project that is now on display in the hallway. We painted the pieces of the bear and then used various tools to create texture while the paint was still wet.  Then the pieces were cut out and assembled and more details were added.

We modelled the book The Very Busy Spider and used it as an opportunity to work on using quotation marks in writing around what is being said.  We also used glue to make 3D spider webs on  the last page of the book,

We have so many more ideas for Art projects like painting on tissue paper to create collage paper and making a tissue paper sun like we saw in so many of his books.

Telling Time

Happy New Year!  We started the new year off in Grade 2-3 with a study of Time Measurement.  We discussed vocabulary words like decade, century, and millennium as well as learning about the concets of seconds, minutes and hours.  Calendar time is also an important skill in Grade 2-3 and we practiced saying the months of the year and the days of the week. Reading books about it is one way that we are working on being able to tell time. 

We have a board game that is popular with the students  to match the digital time to the analog time and get to the end first.  We also have BINGO games that make being able to use a hand clock something everyone wants to learn!
Our classroom has various other materials and manipulatives that students can do on their own or with a partner or small group.  Technology also plays a part - we have activities on Mathletics and some IPad apps that help us practice and get immediate feedback if we are correct or not.
We have flashcards and flip books as well and with lots of practice, we are starting to understand clock time.  It can be a tricky thing to learn and it seems easy to forget without continual review and practice.  Our calendar helper needs to record the clock time each day during the Smartboard calendar activities and extra review and practice at home would be a good thing!