We have been working on subtraction story problems. There are many different ways to approach a subtraction problem. It can be a simple take away or more complicated comparing problem. Or even harder, an algebraic one. Topic 2 has been a tricky one because not only are we learning how to subtract but we are also learning how to subtract listening to the language they are presenting. I'm going to take an extra day next week to do some math journaling and rotations (center type) to practice the different types of problems. We will hit up subtraction again in later topics but I want to make sure they have a good handle on the language. If we need more teaching after the assessment on Friday, I will spend some time reteaching. I use Whole and parts when describing addition and subtraction problems to them. I may also send a practice sheet or two home next week just to reinforce our learning here at school.
Since we are going to be studying Bats next week, these are some of the bat ones that they will work on during the rotations.
Reading is such a complex activity, no matter what age. As kids, we are learning how to read both accurately, fluently AND remembering all the characters, details and story events in order. I mean whew, that's a lot! They are 6 & 7 year olds! Yes, those things are very important but in that process I don't want them or us to lose sight of what we read. For the enjoyment of being entertained, scared, sad or learning new information. Sometimes at this age, it seems as though we are reading just to learn how to read. So how do we make it fun? How do we get them to like reading?
Now, I was one of those kids who always had a book to read. If a book wasn't in reach, the newspaper, back the cereal box, pretty much anything with words. Yes, I know, nerd alert. And I realize that not all kids are going to be like me. So, how do we get them to like reading?
I've started talking about reading outside of school with them. When I read: driving, shopping, online, signs, cereal boxes and of course my books before I go to bed. That's my routine. What's theirs? They shared out when they read, when they "have to" :) and when they want to. They were surprised at all the places they "read" that didn't seem like they were reading.
Offering them LOTS of opportunities to read all different kinds of books. Picture books, wordless books, nonfiction books, books online, chapter books, magazines, comic books, graphic novels, math/science sheets and listening to reading. I think it's so important for children to be read to and with. Listening to reading is just as enjoyable and a great learning experience as reading on their own. I try every week to curl up with a few of them and lap read. That time is just as important as the reading groups and instruction at the back table.
I talk a lot about practice. We read book after book about how important it is to practice to get better at things. If we practice, the better we get! And the longer and more detailed/interesting our books get! So practice, practice, practice (as Leo the Lightning bug would say) When they start to realize that (and it takes awhile) you'll see them grab all sorts of books to help them "practice".
Continue that encouragement and praise when you see your children reading, ANYTHING. They'll know they can do it. Because you and me are right there to help be their teacher and cheerleader along the way.
Our visit to the Pumpkin farm is this Friday! So in science this week we are going to dig into the life cycle and facts about pumpkins. We read a great book today called From Seed to Plant with step by step photographs and easy words to show the life cycle. We talked about what plants need to live: water, sun and food (mentioned photosynthesis :) ) and talked about how plants make their own food. They got a kick out of my analogy: have you ever seen a tomato or corn walk and get their own food like an animal? No? :) You'll see some informational pumpkin sheets going home with them this week. They will learn the different parts of the pumpkin and the life cycle before we head to the farm! In a few weeks we will do a super fun science experiment-details to come! They were really excited to share their own pumpkin stories and learn about pumpkins!
Last year we let a pumpkin decompose in the woods out back so we are going to check that out this week to see if it's growing! Fingers crossed?!
I have assessed all students using our developmental reading assessment (DRA) and have begun reading groups and word work. They will start working in small groups, one on one or in whole class instruction based on their needs. Reading workshop will consist of me working with students on various strategies to help them decode unknown words, work on comprehension, fluency/pace as well as word work (common patterns or high frequency words). Next week you will see "Bag of Books" come home. Then reading nightly, will be required if they aren't already doing it. Books in their bags will be based on the need/lesson/standard we are working on at that time. Sometimes they'll be easy, sometimes just right or a bit challenging. They are loving this! I try to make it more fun by letting them use "witch" fingers to help them read, colorful pens/markers/crayons for work word and other fun puzzles and games I have.
After reading Magic Tree House: Mummies in the Morning we did some researching and talking about how the Ancient Egyptians communicated and what hieroglyphs were. They were very excited and interested in this so we looked up an Ancient Egyptian alphabet. Now I can't guarantee it's absolute authenticity, but it was easy for them to draw! So each student at least wrote their first name, possibly their last name if they had time! I put a picture of the alphabet up top if you wanted to try it at home!
Part of the discussion was about how different places had different sounds (like n made 6 sounds in their language) and compared them to our language. Not sure how that stuck :) but they asked so I answered :)
Just a fun tidbit (which I will show you a picture of next week), we are using the Magic Tree House books to also put history in chronological
We started our nonfiction research on the "Great White" shark! (and yes, it does happen to be MY favorite, but they love sharks too)! Today we read a National Geographic for Kids: Sharks which they LOVED!! It's a great nonfiction resource for kids K-2. They have different levels (1-3) which go from easiest to harder. Today we learned A LOT about the Great White shark. Ask your child for a fact or two!
We learned about the different parts of a shark and how they help them in the water, find prey and survive. We labeled a diagram of a shark. We also completed a fact prompting sheet: Can Have Are (shown above) and filled in what sharks can do, what they have and what are they based on the facts we read.
We also used this information to compare the average to Katharine's size and weight! She's at the small end of length and average weight. I lined up kids on the floor to show how long a Great White can be on average. They were quite shocked! ha ha! We will continue to learn about Great Whites and their habitat, how they get food (cool videos on breaching), their teeth, cartilage (we talked about that today). This study will continue into next week where they will practice with me writing nonfiction research using the facts they collected.
This week we are discussing the look, feel and sounds of reading and writing workshop. We've talked a lot about what it looks like: in our own space, reading/looking at a book, writing in one area (may be by someone), some movement to get new material to read/write. For reading we talked about how quiet it is (especially when we are reading to our self) and that some people read aloud and that's fine. But not LOUD :) . It should feel like we are comfortable. Find the best spot for us to do our best work.
They practiced the right and wrong way to conduct both workshops and had a blast! Especially when they practiced how not to do it :) They did AWESOME and have already built themselves up to 10 and 15 min. with reading and writing respectively working. Normally classes don't' make it past 5 min.! I was so impressed!
I'm excited to get going on reading strategies and writing lessons soon since they have a great handle on the routine/expectation process! These books were a great way to express that they CAN read and write. And in order to get better we just need to practice, practice, practice!!