Welcome back! Our second year together has had an amazing start and the students and I are excited to share our learning and experiences with you. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts with us as well. Enjoy exploring!

Friday, December 3, 2010

We're Back!

We had a great first week back after Thanksgiving!
We've been busy in math beginning a new round of work places about money, trading coins, and writing number sentences. The students are doing a really great job working in partners and teaming up to solve problems. Coming home today is a math game that the students learned the week before Thanksgiving. The game is all about trying to make it as close to 50 without "busting" and going over. You will quickly learn that it is a game of strategy and it has been interesting to hear their different approaches and why they pick certain cards. Ask them to share their reasoning with you!
In reading we are continuing to "Stop and Jot" when we make observations from our books. This week we talked about how readers notice when something unexpected happens in a story. To help us understand this concept, we read "Little Red Riding Hood" and discussed how it is unexpected for a wolf to talk and dress up as a grandmother. It was great to see the students enjoy such a classic fairytale. Coming home today is also an update on the new plan for bringing books home. I would like the students to be able to keep the books for a few days and this way if for some reason we do not meet as a reading group they still have books from school to read. Next week will be the first week that we try this and my goal is that each Monday they can get a new collection of "Just Right" books to share with you. I am trying to keep it simple by having the return day be the same day as Library (Thursday).
Monday was the beginning of a new writing unit and the focus in the beginning of the unit is learning how to write a friendly letter. The kids are doing really well with this and seem to be really enjoying it! They have been writing to friends, family, and even some teachers. A really fun book that we read to help us get excited about writing letters is "The Jolly Postman" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I am not sure if you are familiar with it, but the book has actual envelopes and removable letters that the kids had a blast listening to. I can't count how many times I heard, "Read that letter Ms. Stein!".
This week was also the beginning of our new science theme unit on matter. Much like the unit on senses, the lessons are broken down into workshop form. This means that all four Synergy classes are mixed together and rotate through each workshop taught by a different teacher. My station is on mixing a liquid, such as laundry soap or corn syrup, with water and seeing what the outcome is. The students have to make close observations of what it looks like before and after shaking the bottle, as well as after it has settled for a bit. Again, this called for partner work and each student worked with someone from another class and grade. The first graders definitely stepped up to the plate and the second graders are great role models, it is really fun to see them all work together!
We were very busy today with having both Four Winds and Friday Explore. The Four Winds lesson was on prey and predators, which the students loved! They got to see a "live" squirrel and coyote and learn the saying, "Eyes are in front, go and hunt. Eyes on the side, run and hide". They also got to play a tag game and do an acting activity where they played either the prey or predator.
For Friday Explore the students got to pick between making snowflakes with Mrs. Eaton, Food Drive posters with Ms. Rogers, a Tic-Tac-Toe game in Ms. Kate's room, play in the Kiva or spend time outside. Again, it is great to see all of Synergy mix and mingle!

I am keeping my fingers crossed for some snow this weekend--have fun!

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