Monthy Newsletter

      

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Dear Parents, 

I can't believe it is December already!  I hope you all had a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving. The classroom is all a-buzz with the excitement of upcoming holidays and family vacations!  It has been tricky trying to keep everyone focused on their schoolwork but I think the few special activities I have planned for December will be well received.  

Guided Reading

The best laid plans...Guided Reading groups did not get into FULL swing this November, as I had planned, though we dabbled a bit.  Too many days away from school and not enough hours in our school day are the reasons I pushed it back.  In order to properly place the children in guided reading groups, new assessments had to be done....which takes time since I’m meeting with one child at a time.  Here's a recap of what I said in my previous newsletters.  It still stands for this month: Guided Reading groups will begin this month.  Whereas in Reader’s Workshop the children are responsible for choosing the books they read, I will be making the book selections for the kids in guided reading.  During this time, the children and I will meet in groups of 3 or 4 at a time.  They will be reading leveled books and will work on a variety of “strategies” such as using the pictures as cues, looking at the first letter of the unknown words, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the sounds in the unknown words, reading for meaning, working on fluency, and making their story come alive. 

 

Reader’s Workshop

The children are learning several strategies to help them decode unfamiliar words.  We call these our Super Powers.  These include:

  • Using Pointer Power (touching under the beginning of each word as you read)
  • Using Snap Word Power (recognizing and reading the sight words we’ve learned in a snap!)
  • Using Picture Power (looking at the picture for clues)
  • Using Sound Power (looking at the initial letter sounds then reading through to the end of the word)
  • Using Reread Power (reading a sentence over again to see if the word can be figured out using context)
  • Using Partner/Book Talk Power (using our partners as a coach to help guide us)
  • Using Persistence Power (not giving up easily)


Power Words / Word Study

The Power Words (sight words) your child will be working on between December and January are: you, my, look, he, she, went, at, are. Please have your child review these words often.  As you read to your child (or as your child reads to you), have him/her point these words out in text.  Please keep in mind that the children should be able to spell, as well as write, these words from memory. The alphabet letters and sounds that will be reviewed this month are I,J,K.

The purpose of Word Study is it examines words in order to reveal the logic and consistencies with our written language system and it helps the children master recognizing spelling, defining, and using specific words. This can include playing with letters, playing with words, experimenting with word patterns, and creating word sorts.  I have been piloting a kindergarten phonics program. Your child may have mentioned our phonics mascot, Mabel the elephant!  The children really enjoy when she helps us with our names and with our reading and writing activities.  They also enjoy being her partner during reader’s workshop!  During the phonics lessons, we’ve concentrated on initial letters or patterns in our names, counting and comparing letters in our names, and counting the number of syllables in our names.  We’re also taking a look at how learning about word patterns aligns with learning our super powers (strategies) in reading and writing. Vowel work, as well as blending and segmenting the onset/rime of single syllable words (to produce rhyming words), has also been a focus so far.


Writer’s Workshop

  This month, the children will continue working on our Writing for Readers unit.  In this unit, the children will be working toward writing stories across three pages that others can read.  The stories must be experiences from their lives and must have a beginning, middle, and ending. It also includes working on using upper and lower case letters (where appropriate), adding punctuation, and, for those that are ready, working on some conventional spelling.  As with all our writing, your child's work will be sent home at the end of the unit. 


Math

The children are working on comparing numbers using the terms more than/less than/equal. 


Science/STEM

In November, the children worked in pairs to create a Native American drum.  Their drum had to withstand 20 drumbeats and had to have at least 2 design patterns on it.  The partners also had to work together to create and demonstrate their 20-beat drum pattern in front of the class. There were some very interesting creations and drumbeats for sure!  One partner from each group was chosen to take the drum home. The STEM activity for this month will involve creating a gingerbread house according to a set criteria.  Children will work in groups of 4 and one lucky student from each group will be chosen to take the gingerbread house home! ****Please note that the only parents that signed up to be a volunteer helper for the gingerbread house building will be allowed to come in.  I am, unfortunately, NOT able to invite all parents in for this activity.


 
Literature Studies

This month, I will introduce the children to my vast collection of Gingerbread Man stories!  We'll read the traditional tales but I'll also be reading The Gingerbread GirlThe Gingerbread CowboyThe Runaway Wok, The Runaway TortillaThe Matzah ManCatch That Pickle, The Cajun Gingerbread Man, and The Gingerbread Man Loose in School, to name a few!  We will use Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast characters and settings and will note the particular phrase each character repeats throughout the story.  Please ask your child to share with you the story du jour!

Days Off

School is closed from December 24th until January 2nd. We will have an Early Dismissal Day on the 21st.  Please note:  On early dismissal days, the AM session’s schedule does not change.  The PM students will start their school day at 10:30am and will leave at 1:00pm.

 
Special Activities
The children will take part in a few special activities this month.  On December 11th we will be entertained by our 3rd grade chorus.  This is always such a great show of talent!  Hats off to our 3rd graders (and former kindergartners
J) and to our awesome music teacher Mrs. Allesee!  On the 7th, the children will be working on their gingerbread STEM activity.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE DONATIONS!! On the 18th, we'll have our Winter Wonderland celebration.  A Sign-up Genius email has already been sent out so, again, thanks so much for your party donations and the extra hands of the parent volunteers slated to come in to help!

Have a great month and a wonderful holiday season and break.  Please remember to view your child's progress report through Genesis on December 21st after 3:00pm!

Kindly, 

Kim Moss