This week we will finish up visiting some different countries and learn some more new and interesting holiday traditions. We will travel to Australia (who is having summer right now!!) and learn about how they celebrate Christmas with pools, beaches and warmth! We will travel to India and learn about Diwali and color rangoli and learn about their festival of lights. Last, we will travel back to America to talk about some American traditions we have. They will get a chance to talk about their traditions at home, so if you have time, maybe talk about the word tradition this weekend and what you may do as a family for your tradition! After they share they will draw and write out their family tradition during the holidays!
Then Thursday at 2:30 is our holiday party! Please let me know if you haven't already if you are attending so I can pass that information along to our office staff. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!
Lots of other fun stuff will be going on this week! We will work on putting different sentences together that are holiday based (presents, bells, Santa and trains). They will practice putting nouns and verbs in the proper order and looking for capitals (start of the sentence) and periods (end of the sentence) to use as clues to help them place the sentences in the right order.
We have been reading and will continue to read some really great holiday books:
Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
The Night Before Christmas
I'll Be Home for Christmas
The Night of Las Posados
The Legend of the Poinsettias
Stop that Pickle
Mille and the Snow
How Santa Lost His Job
Hanukkah Lights Everywhere
The Magic Dreidel
Winter is the Warmest Season
The Runaway Wok
The Polar Express
We will also work on a syllable sort with lots of fun holiday words! They will clap out the syllables as a class and each student will get to come up and place their word under the correct number. There is also a fun science experiment with a gingerbread. I will bring in gingerbread cookies and pose this science question: Predict what happens if the Gingerbread Man gets wet?
They will make a prediction and then we will conduct an experiment to see what will happen when he gets wet. They will record their observations with pictures. Then write what steps they took to find their answer. They will record their answer and draw a picture of the final results. Should be a lot of fun!
During writing workshop we will respond to a few prompts that relate to The Polar Express story.
What would you do if you saw a magic train outside your window?
What would you do if you could choose the first gift of Christmas?
What would you do if you lost Santa's bell?
Each day the children will share their responses with their classmates to hopefully create some discussion as well as practice responding to a prompt/reading, work on conventions (spaces, handwriting) and use our snap words and spell other words as best we can with our spelling patterns.
We will end the week with an opinion writing (where we are headed after the winter break) on where they would like to travel out of all the places we have learned about: Australia, England, Israel, Mexico, Germany and Italy. They will answer why and what they would do when they were there. They are going to have a formative grade for this, since this something we are just beginning. I will also grade one or two pieces from their packets for a summative grade in writing. I think this will be a fun way to kick off opinion writing!
We will watch The Polar Express on Thursday morning as a fun culmination of all our studies!
This week we will work on a few more components of what helps make a good reader. Now these are all introductory and we will definitely go back and dig in deeper but The Polar Express has been such a fun way to get to know these concepts! We will reread The Polar Express and visualize the book as I read (no picture-which is a shame because the illustrations are magnificent)! They will form their own picture in their head of what they see. As a group we will brainstorm different ideas and thoughts we had. They will then write about their image of the North Pole. I am constantly talking about how great books can be because there are no pictures and that really lets you create the setting in your mind. We have talked about Harry Potter a lot because of the movies. Our conversations have lead us here actually! Movies are someone's interpretation of a story, and that's how the movie director visualizes that story! The discussions have actually been really great and in depth, we are half and half whether books are better than movies and vice versa. I'm always a fan of the books :) Except Harry Potter does do an amazing job :)
The setting is also an important part of how a story is told and how the author creates those visuals in your head. We will use the pictures and words from The Polar Express to determine and draw the 3 different settings the author uses to tell the story. They will write and draw in their Polar Express packets.
We will also write a letter to Santa, Father Christmas, Sinter Klaas! They will decorate a cute heading paper and then write a letter to Santa. They will work really hard on their handwriting, spaces and spelling so that Santa can read it! These will hang up in the hallway for you to see on Thursday and then go home so they can leave it for Santa on Christmas eve.
This week we will begin our study of holidays around the world. We will study how different countries celebrate and various traditions they have! We will being our journey in the Netherlands and read traditional Gingerbread stories. In the Netherlands, Sinter Klaas comes to visit the children on his white horse. The children put shoes outside their door to be filled with surprises! Maybe Sinter Klaas will visit our room! :) We will also learn about Las Posados and the tradition of laying down Poinsettias around the lane on Christmas Eve. They have a party and a parade to show the Jesus and Mary. Next we will travel to Germany, where the tannebaum or Christmas tree tradition came from. Kristkind visits children and brings gifts, very much like our Santa Claus. When we visit England, we will learn about how Father Christmas slips into their houses on Christmas eve and leaves treats in their stockings. England was the first country to write and send cards to Father Christmas. On Friday we will visit Israel and talk about the Jewish winter festival of Hanukkah. Each evening a candle on the Menorah is lit to celebrate the 8 days of oil. They play games and exchange gifts. We will learn how to play dreidel! If we can squeeze it in, I will talk about how latkes are made and cooked in oil to celebrate the oil lasting 8 days and I will make latkes to eat!
During writing workshop they will also put themselves in Santa's shoes! They will brainstorm what they think they would see if they traveled with Santa (or were the big man himself) and where they would go! We will chart those ideas together! We will use maps to help us identify different parts of the world, as well as talk about different things they would see in those areas (birds, animals, weather etc).
After we brainstorm our ideas and thoughts, they will take this information with them to write a narrative. We will talk about how to answer multiple questions in writing! It should be a fun, creative way to learn about writing! I'm excited to see what they come up with!
Writing workshop is going to be a bunch of different elements this week! At the beginning of the week we will be working with nouns, sorting different holiday items into noun categories: person, place or thing. There will be both whole group, small group and individual work. We will also sort out words by their syllables (train, candy and other fun holiday words)! We will clap out and chart the pictures we use. At the end of the week we will write a how-to make hot chocolate. I have borrowed from the library a few cookbooks with hot chocolate recipes as well as my Fine Cooking magazines to show them there are different ways to make a recipe, as well as what we need to include in writing a how-to so that the person reading it has what they need! Afterwards, they will each make their own mug (design/color) and then put marshmallows in based on the letters in their name! It's a fun way to introduce how to writing and give them a sneak peek, as well as share different types of literature. Maybe you can use their how to recipe to make some of your own this weekend! :)
This week we are going to use the book: The Polar Express to make predictions and connections. Both are important parts of reading. Making connections will help students better understand the events going on as well as comprehend. Making connections will also make the story more interesting and get them more involved in the events.
So before we jump into the story I will read a sentence. We will use both clues from the reading, our background knowledge (what we know about The Polar Express) to make a prediction about what the author is describing. The Polar Express is a great book to really bring a story to life! The words and sentences grab the readers attention! We will also make connections to the story (text to self or text to text). They will learn how to respond to connections based on events that have happened in their own life or based on characters or stories from books they have read. They will write about a time when they were curious like the boy in the story. The adventure of The Polar Express takes them to the North Pole which is so exciting! So they will respond in writing to about a time when they were excited just like the students in the book!
An important part of reading is learning how to retell a story. Since we will be reading The Polar Express more multiple times, this is the perfect opportunity to use the beginning, middle and end elements to help us retell a story. They will independently work on sequencing the story after we do some whole group and small group. Having seen and heard the story multiple times, this is a great way to teach and support learning to retell a story. They will use pictures to help sequence and eventually, they will work on retelling orally using various character names and details. This is a fun way to introduce retelling.
This week during our content time we will be doing all sorts of various things! Today we went outside and did an observation of our decomposing pumpkin. So far, it looks exactly the same as when we placed it out several weeks ago, except for one scratch. But upon further observation (I touched it :) it was very mushy! It almost caved in! So we are curious to see what will happen since the air outside SHOULD (key word) be getting colder and the weather changing. We will do an Image of the Week centered around migrating winter animals-I have a really cool picture of the Christmas Crabs migrating (see pic on side) and they will respond with a question, observation or a reason they like it. We will also do What Stuck with You about caribou/reindeer towards the end of the week after we are jammed with facts!