In reading this week we have been using a magnetic fishing pole to choose construction paper fish that have comprehension questions, literacy terms (e.g. fiction and nonfiction) and book parts (e.g. title page). The class really enjoys the challenge of pulling a fish out without dropping it, and having a goal to guide their reading. After 10-15 minutes of reading time, each student presents to the class or a partner their question and the answer(s) they found in one of their books.
We introduced a comprehension reading strategy: retelling the story to someone using ordinal words like First, Next, Then, Last. Obviously not all stories have four even parts, but the idea is to reinforce telling a sequence of events in order (and eventually, the elements of cause and effect).
We also introduced two strategies to increase reading fluency:
1. Rereading (or practicing) a sentence over and over until we can read it like we are telling a story.
2. Looking at the characters' faces for clues about how they are feeling so we can read with the right expression.
Next week we will be reading some short plays to reinforce the importance of fluency. I will be sure to record those readings and post the videos of them on here.
In writing we worked on adding details to our stories to stretch them out and make them more interesting. We called this "zooming in." Before writing we practiced telling our story to a partner, tracing our finger along the page as we talked so we could get a sense of how long our story could be. We also talked about using interesting words and not just the ones we knew how to spell or find around the room. Please encourage your child to keep a journal and write stories or letters on his/her own at home to build up his/her writing stamina and confidence!
In math this week we have been studying polygons and made some out of straws and yarn. We had a range of polygons in the class, from triangles to trapezoids to rectangles to hexagons to octagons and even a tridecagon (13 sides). Thanks to all the families who sent in three dimensional shapes so we could compare a circle to a sphere and a cylinder, among others.
We also learned a place value and regrouping game called "Race to 100" in which students roll a die and take that many individual cubes. When a student gets more than 10 cubes s/he trades them in for a long (a group of 10 cubes), and then s/he gets 10 longs s/he trades them in for a flat (a group of 100 cubes). There was so much enthusiasm for the game that we then played "Race to 1,000" and I made dice with higher numbers so the game wouldn't take all day. We used base ten blocks but this game can be played at home with pennies, dimes and dollars, or other small items to represent ones, tens and hundreds.
The new sight words of the week are: soon, far, their, end, from
We listed words that rhyme with "end" and "and" to compare the differences, and we next week will look at more words with the "oo" sound/spelling.
I will be at another Responsive Classroom workshop all day on Tuesday, March 31. The April snack calendar has been updated online and a hard-copy was sent home with the print-out of this posting.
Have a great weekend!