Lower Primary Cottage News

students measuring the head of school
Thanksgiving girl dressed in pilgrim costume
students speaking in Chapel

November / December / January


Lower Primary Exploration Class

       Exciting times in Exploration class!!!! In November, we learned all about the different types of bears and where they live around the world. Each student chose his/her favorite bear and created a sculpture. Then, we studied the different Native American tribes and created our own villages to represent each tribe and the various types of homes where they lived. 
       In December, we discussed our different family cultures and traditions. We created passports and traveled to India, Ireland, Mexico, and Sweden to learn all about the holiday traditions in those countries. A big thank you to the Tejani family for sharing their Indian culture with us. Also, thank you to the many volunteers that helped us during our study of “Holidays Around the World.”
       In January, we discovered the wonders of the Polar Regions. We compared and contrasted the similarities and differences of the North and South Poles. We located the areas on maps and globes. We researched Arctic animals and created Antarctic food chains. We even learned a cool “Food Chain” song to help us remember the animals in the food chain. We studied the Inuit culture and created an Inuit Dictionary, while learning many new words from their language. We ended our study by carving a “soapstone” sculpture out of soap.
       Looking ahead, we will study Landmarks from around the world and past Presidents.

boy working on country project France

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 year we have learned-----grin, tidy, examine, seek, anxious, squirm, roam, frigid, exhausted, yank, ripe, drowsy, timid, stumble, furious, sway, sneaky and stare. 
       Students are learning different decoding skills and comprehension strategies to help us with their reading. They are so proud to read aloud and I get so excited when they want to read to me. 
       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/synonyms, syllables, and verb ending (-ing and –ed). We have learned about parts of speech (nouns, verbs, and adjectives). We 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 to 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. 

students with teacher creating volcano eruption outside

Level 3 Math / Science

      January has been a wonderful month in Level 3 Math and Science! In Core class and in Wild Math we have been exploring measurement and ordering. Students have estimated size, ordered items by longest to shortest and measured items with conventional and unconventional methods. We have explored measuring with paper clips, cubes, inches, yards and feet. We have estimated the length of the classroom in yards and measured it! Ask your student how his or her estimation worked with his or her measurement. Many students were very close. In Wild Math we have continued exploring with the Level 4’s! Last month we created stick sets that corresponded to inches on a ruler; one stick that measured 1 inch, one stick that measured 2 inches, one stick that measured 3 inches…etc. We used these tools to find objects both in and out of the classroom that measured accordingly. In the pictures you will see 
      Level 4’s and Level 3’s working together to find natural items in groups of ten and then ordering them from largest to smallest. It was wonderful to see their creativity and excitement! Many students worked together to move longer sticks or large rocks. 
       We have moved out of measurement into place value concepts; including writing number words, decomposing numbers and comparing greater than and less than. 
       In science we spent a wonderful time learning about weather, the water cycle and how to be prepared for extreme weather. Students researched, created posters and presented on a variety of extreme weather conditions. Students created their own water cycle experiments that they brought home to share with you. Our next science until will be a study of the body!  


Level 4 Language Arts & Social Studies

         In November, Thankful Day was another special morning.  Thank you for sharing your wonderful examples of acts of service.  The kids, and truly all of us, benefit from hearing such inspirational acts of giving.
       In December, we celebrated another successful Christmas Around the World.  In my classroom, the kids learned about Ireland.  We have many similar traditions in America, so we discussed these similarities as well as differences.  We watched a video to hear their lovely accent, enjoyed eating a kid friendly “trifle” and made a shamrock ornament for the kids to take home and hang on their tree.  Thank you parents who were able to help!!!
       We began the New Year talking about goals and resolutions and made posters for our lockers. Many mentioned goals to read more or longer books, such as beginning to read chapter books, which is an exciting new adventure for some.  Others mentioned learning cursive which will be a new focus for writing this winter/spring.
       Level 4 Projects and Presentations have begun!  The topics are follows: Round 1: Country project, Round 2: United States President project, Round 3: Biography project, Round 4: Book or Author project.  Each student chose two of these with me in class and took home an information sheet with the specifications.  I’m sure you’ve seen the emails about these presentations!
       We are now heading into Writer’s Workshop to make a collection of poems/stories/reports of their choosing to publish in their “Young Author’s Book.”  We will be writing up a storm! Each student will meet with the “Publisher” (aka their teacher) to proofread, and edit these stories before “publishing” them.  I love these meetings with the kids because I can individualize and we can work on “fixes” particular to that child’s needs. I have mentioned this to a couple parent volunteers, if you’d like to come help the children proofread and edit these stories, all are welcome! They will show these to grandparents on Grandparents and Special Friends day and then take them home to treasure.
       Don’t forget to enjoy shared reading experiences together whenever possible.  They are not too old to still be read to!  Enjoy!

Level 4 Math & Science

       2020 is off to a great start for Level 4 students in Math and Science! We are continuing to explore our natural world during “Wild Math Mondays.” Students have curated their own measuring sticks to help us explore, organize and quantify various objects we find in nature. We will continue our wild math curriculum throughout the spring semester in order to reinforce topics related to our core math concepts. Every other Tuesday we are exploring the garden with Ms. Mayo. Students are preparing the garden for spring planting and harvesting a few of the winter cold crops that were planted last fall. “Woodworking Wednesdays” with Mr. Zach continue to be a weekly favorite among the Level 4 students. Mr. Zach is helping to reinforce core math concepts such as 3D shapes, angles and patterns while introducing students to the art of woodworking. 
       Looking forward to the spring semester, students are beginning to work with currency and analog time clocks to develop useful life skills and lay a foundation for working with fractions. Not only will students find different ways to make totals using different amounts of change, they will also use their math skills to make change from different whole dollar amounts. We will not only learn to read analog time clocks but we will be learning to break the numbers down as we skip count by 5’s, 10’s, 15’s and 20’s. Learning the clock will be useful in developing a strong foundation for fraction math in Level 5. 
       During science class on Mondays and Wednesdays we have been working through our weather unit as we explored all types of weather from dust storms to blizzards, drought to monsoons.      Students created poster boards and gave a presentation about a weather topic of their choice to the class. We explored clouds, learning how to spot their differences and similarities as well as learning their scientific names. Finally, we ended our weather unit by studying the water cycle.  I sure hope you guys are enjoying their water cycle bags that came home; the one on our classroom window is doing great! 
       Moving ahead in science, we will begin our anatomy unit when we return from winter break. Students will explore bone structure, muscle configuration and the nervous system as we learn about the human body both inside and out.  As usual, we will continue to tie in math, technology, art and engineering into our science curriculum. 


ST NICHOLAS SCHOOL 7525 Min Tom Drive | Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421 | ph: (423).899.1999 | fax: (423).899.0109 | [email protected]