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!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy April and True Spring!

Yay, the sun is out, bright and warm ( I began this during the gorgeous weekend we had)! Phew, let's hope it is here to stay!

I just wanted to update you on a few things that are new in our classroom. The students have been hard at work with our new math unit about Geometry. We have been talking about the many different 2 and 3-Dimensional shapes and their attributes. The kids are becoming familiar and comfortable using a lot of new vocabulary that comes along with talking about shapes. When they have been counting the different characteristics of a shape, they have been looking at the vertex, edges, and faces. We are noticing that shapes can be congruent, but do not have to be. The students have also been working on making designs out of squares to make quilts and today they glued their patches together and a conversation came up that some patches would look the same no matter which way you rotated them, while others would change. When I presented the question on why this was so, the discussion became about the fact that some designs were symmetrical, while others were not and that those are called asymmetrical. I encourage you to ask your kiddos about these new words and have them share with you what they mean!

The students have also been hard at work on our social studies unit on Community. Our definition of community at the moment is centered around the idea that people work together in a variety of roles and there are different kinds of communities, urban, suburban, and rural. They have been having a great time talking and learning about the many different community helpers that work together to make a successful community. The students got to make their own community helpers and I must say, they were very creative! They came up with many such as Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and EMT's, but also a few that are less typically talked about, such as a librarian, a farmer, a vet and even a plumber! Once they finished making their helpers they got to come up with a name for them and write a bit about them. This was great practice of the revision process and I think the kids even surprised themselves with how much they can write and how great it can look. They then got to design a background for their creations and share them with their peers. Today we picked up from where we left off last week and discussed that now they all have these wonderful community helpers and we know how they help the community, but how do they work together? After a discussion about how Fire Fighters and Police Officers team together and Doctors and Nurses, the students each got a square piece of paper to draw two community helpers working together. Once we are finished painting them we are going to connect them altogether with the first graders working in Ms. St. John's room to make a big Community Quilt. Stay tuned for pictures of this soon-to-be beautiful piece of artwork!

Lastly, today was the kick-off of another new unit on Poetry, connected to our end of the year project, which is a Poetry Jam. Coincidentally enough, April is Poetry Month, which could not tie in more perfectly! We began today by making a chart about all the things we know about poetry and all the things we want to know as we begin this new study. It was interesting to hear that according to the students poems must rhyme and they must be long. They were quite stunned when even just today by reading a few poems we discovered that that is actually not the case. I explained that one of the most unique and fun things about poetry is that it really does not follow any of the writing rules that we have been learning about. Punctuation and capitalization is not a requirement (this was a biggie) and that you can actually make up words! For the next month, we will be reading, reciting, and writing all kinds of different poems. Stay posted as we dive deeper into the wonderfully wacky world of poetry!

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