Lower Primary Cottage News
December 2018 Curriculum Newsletter
Lower Primary Cottage News
Exploration Class has been a whirlwind of excitement. We began November with dividing the students into Native American tribes. Each tribe had to study the type of home that they would build inside of their village. The students planned and gathered materials to create a village that represented their Native American tribes. The students had to present their villages and explain their designs to their fellow classmates. We displayed the villages in the library for all St. Nicholas students and teachers to enjoy. December was filled with discussions, activities and games focused on Needs vs. Wants and Goods & Services. We discussed being a producer and/or a consumer. We also discussed how we import and export goods all across the world. We looked at the tags of our clothing to find out where they were manufactured. Then tracked the countries on our large world map in the front of the cottage. We discovered that our clothing comes from all over the world. We learned the difference between trading and bartering. We played an exciting bartering game where we had goods or services that we had to barter with other classmates in order to collect certain “needs” on our own lists. We ended our “year” with a lesson on “Farm to Table” where we learned where our food comes from and the hard work it takes to get to our “table”.
Level 3 Language Arts
We have had such a great couple of months in Language Arts. We are busy learning new sight words and having a blast studying our “Word of the Week” vocabulary words. So far this semester we have learned-----grin, tidy, flee, upset, drench, gather, furious, timid, destroy, reek, seek, frigid and attach. We are learning different decoding skills and comprehension strategies to help us with our reading. We have learned how to log into Accelerated Reader and how to look at EACH choice BEFORE deciding on an answer. A REMINDER that your child should bring home an AR book each week or read one from home. The goal is for every student to take an AR quiz at least once a week. An AR report will be sent home with your child at the end of each month indicating the title of each book he/she has read, the reading level of each book and the number of answers correct for each AR quiz. We are really focusing on understanding what we read instead of just “reading” the words.
In grammar, we have focused on rhyming words, antonyms and synonyms, syllables, and verb ending (-ing and –ed). We have learned about parts of speech (nouns, verbs, and adjectives). We have started our study on contractions and will continue this throughout next semester. We also learned about “SILENT E” and what it does to change a vowel sound. Learning “vowel pairs” can be difficult so we have learned to use “Flip Flop Froggy” when determining long or short vowel sounds.
In writing, we have been learning how to add details our sentences to make them more descriptive and more meaningful to the reader. We have been busy learning the importance of using those adjectives to create “mental pictures” for the readers. We have also continued to practice the mechanics of writing (capital letters, punctuation, and spacing). We have learned that proper nouns begin with CAPITAL LETTERS!!!
Students are doing a great job with the Word Study sorts and homework. Some of the words have been a bit challenging and I am proud of everyone’s commitment to applying their strategies when learning new words. Remember that homework is due every Thursday unless indicated because of holidays. I can’t wait to see what “next year” holds for our Level 3 students!
Level 3 Math and Science
November brought a deeper understanding of addition and subtraction to Level 3 math class.
Math has been a little different in December. Level 3’s completed three weeks of YOU CUBED activities. We learned BRAINS GROW AND CHANGE, MISTAKES ARE POWERFUL, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, and THE IMPORTANCE OF STRUGGLE. Furthermore, we learned about representing information in a graph with different dimensions but without numbers. We even collected data and created our own graphs. In another activity students played with triangles and created as many new shapes as possible following particular criteria. Students were also noticing similarities and differences in shapes and designs which is an important part of being mathematical. There were a lot of struggles, mistakes and mind growth! In science we completed a turkey research unit. December science brought a study of caribou. We wrapped up the month with some fun reindeer games.
November and December were jam packed months full of literary fun! We loved having the Level 4 families celebrate Thankful Day with us. It was a special morning. We continued to enjoy the Leaf Story class book compiled of original stories that each Level 4 student wrote. We then moved on to create stories about the theme: “The Night My Snowman Came Alive.” Some of the students made snow families, snow boarders, snow pets, and even snow Yodas. Each student met with the “Publisher” (aka their teacher) to proofread, and edit these stories before “publishing” them in the class book. I love these meetings with the kids because we can work on “fixes” particular to that child’s needs. The children then enjoyed reading each other’s stories together at a reading station. We began reading various books with our “Book Buddies.” The kids had discussion questions about their books to write about and we discussed these at the teacher table. We are practicing: waiting for your turn, listening to each other’s comments with respect and using active listening as well, such as looking at the speaker. During Christmas around the world, we have learned about how Australia, Brazil, France and Russia celebrate Christmas. This helps to broaden our horizons and recognize that while there are differences, we have many similarities as well.
*Special note: The second semester brings the much anticipated Level 4 projects and we will begin in January. Your child will have the opportunity to work on projects to present to the class. This provides a great opportunity for the children to develop speaking and listening skills, as well as how to summarize information. The topics will be as followed: Round 1: Country project, Round 2: United States President project, Round 3: Biography project, Round 4: Book or Author project. Your child will choose two of these with me in class and he/she will take home an information sheet. Parents are invited to come be a part of the audience when your child presents. I will send everyone emails with specific dates and times. I will also send reminder emails about a week or so prior to each presentation, as the “line-up” sometimes changes due to requests from parents. The kids make a project, but the emphasis is placed on the students gaining experience summarizing facts from a wealth of information as well as speaking to a group. The students practice listening to these presentations as well.
Level 4 Math and Science
In math we have been working on addition with regrouping. When adding double (or higher) digits the students have learned “9 or less, let it rest. 10 or more go next door.” We have hand signs to accompany these chants. The students were eager to test this new skill! When we returned to school after Thanksgiving Break we dove into Borrowing Bootcamp. We began the week with a brief review of adding, and then we started subtraction with borrowing. This is one of the more challenging concepts of the year so we break it down. We start by saying that you have to be very gentle with yourself when learning something new, and that this is a safe place to make a mistake. We begin by examining our ones, the babies as we call them, and we compare the top and the floor. If we have more on the top we have no need to stop, if we have more on the floor then we need to go next door. Once we feel confident that we know if we need to borrow or not we move on to “take a 10, give a 10”. That is when we go to the tens and take a ten away and give it to the ones. This can be confusing, some students will add 1 or 11 or 20 instead of just 10. We talked about these mistakes when we played “Oh NO Miss Cantelou!” That is where I do a math problem wrong and the students help correct me. Throughout Borrowing Bootcamp students were challenge and supported. It was one of the best weeks of the year so far.
November and December led to many fun activities in math and science. The students enjoyed their holiday themed stations. Wild Math focused on estimating and measuring leaves using customary units. Also, the children participated in ice experiments with Ms. Mayo. It is a special time of year and we take time to reflect on the season.
We started day with our Advent calendar and it has been a touching and lovely time together. I wish you all a warm and blessed Advent and Christmas. Thank you for the gift of your child to be my student.