Mrs. Petersen's Class News

Week of April 19th, 2015

Spring has sprung!!! We couldn't be happier! I hope that everyone had a great spring break! It has been so fun to hear all about your fun family adventures through the mouths of your 5, 6 and 7 year olds! As a parent, it is also nice to hear that the "stay-cations" were just as celebrated as the "vacations". It has been inspiring to hear the things that truly made your children happy- trips to the park, reading stories together and playing board games as a family together!

These past few weeks have been BUSY in room 323! We ended our 3rd quarter (whaat?) with an amazing PBIS Celebration to celebrate positive behavior! The kids had a great time playing carnival games, inflatable obstacle courses and enjoying popsicles! We will have a 4th Quarter PBIS celebration and an End of The Year PBIS celebration closer to the end of the year. We have not been given the details of the 4th Quarter celebration, but have been told that the End of the Year PBIS celebration will be Water Day for K and 1 students!!!! So much fun! Please continue to encourage your children to display their positive behavior! Remember, students have the opportunity to earn 7 points each day. Students are responsible for recording their points in their planner each day.

First Grade went on a field trip to Downtown Concord! We had so much fun learning all about parts of the community! Thank you so much to all parents who attended the trip with us!

This past Tuesday, Bethel's Kindergartners and 1st graders went on a trip to JM Robinson High School to see musician Roger Day! This trip was sponsored by the Cabarrus Arts Council. We had a great time! The kids were hysterical! On the bus ride there, they were all looking for the "rock concert". Once there, I had taken 2 kindergarten boys to the bathroom. As I am standing outside the doorway, I hear one of the boys comment how high the paper towel dispenser was. The other little boy commented with, "Of course (child's name)! This is HIGH school!!!!" :) Seriously, I have the best job!

Next week, Kindergartners will be taking a field trip to Sea Life Aquarium! We are so excited for this trip as this will be Bethel's first field trip there! I will be sending home information to parent volunteers/chaperones as I get it! :)

Read on to see what we have been working on academically...

Reader's Workshop

In Reader's Workshop, we ended our unit called "Reading Across the Genres" in which we learned all about the many genres of books. The kids did really well with this unit and have become quite good as stating the books genre and how they know. So much of common core is about the child's ability to explain their thinking and the kids have done a great job of using "evidence" to support their answers!
This week, we have begun a new reading unit called, "Bringing Our Books to Life". This unit encompasses all of the reading work that we have done all year, fluency, expression, tricky words, character development, etc.. to bring scenes from books come to life. We are hoping to perform a live Reader's Theater close to the end of the year!

Math Workshop

In Math Workshop, we are working on strengthening addition and subtraction as well as solving word problems. First graders will be working on adding and subtracting 2 digit numbers and Kindergartners will mostly stick to adding and subtracting numbers to 20. We will also begin to review all of those math skills that we have worked on throughout the year; shapes, graphing, measurement, and so on.

Science

In Science we are learning all about plants and animals, and how they adapt to live in the different ecosystems of Earth. We will also be learning all about human's impact on Earth as well and the many ways that we can take care of Earth!
For a fun experiment and a healthy discussion of reducing water, have your child measure the amount of water that they use to take a bath and compare it to the amount of water they use to take a shower!

Writer's Workshop

In Writer's Workshop, we are working on writing our own Realistic Fiction stories! We have learned that authors introduce the characters and describe the setting in the beginning of the story. They build a problem and a solution in the middle of the story and state through the characters the lesson of the story at the end. The students have been doing a great job and are writing some really fun and dramatic stories!
Through this unit, we are going to really work hard on cementing those writing conventions.

By the end of the year, Kindergartners should ...
- Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
-Recognize and name end punctuation.
-Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
-Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

By the end of the year, 1st Graders should...
-Capitalize dates and names of people.
-Use end punctuation for sentences.
-Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.
-Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
-Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.

Please encourage these conventions as well as neat handwriting at home when doing homework.

Report Card Reading Levels

Your child should have brought home their 3rd Quarter Report Card. I would like to add a few notes about your child's reading level as stated on the report card...

As stated in the letter that came with your child's report card, their reading level was determined by the work that we are doing in our guided reading groups. In the next 2 weeks, we will be formally assessing student's reading for the final time this year through our TRC assessment. All students reading a Level F and higher not only have to read and comprehend a book, they also have to read and answer 2 essay-type questions about their books. In Kindergarten, and the beginning of 1st Grade, the foundation for this is through deep conversations about books. These conversations teach children to pull everything that they can, comprehension wise, out of a book. As your children grow and develop as readers, and the practice of thinking and talking about books at a deep level become a healthy habit, they will have a much easier time when asked to write those thoughts to answer a comprehension question. With that being said, for many of our children who are so eager to share all that they know, it has become equally as important to practice reading questions and writing an answer that matches the question. Many kids will "brain-dump" and write everything that they can about the book, rather than actually answer the question. We are working on this through conversations about our read- alouds as well as through guided reading and strategy groups.

Here's how you can help at home...
-When reading books together, stop and discuss what is happening and how the character is changing throughout the story through use of "think-alouds". Model by saying what you are thinking about the book and encourage your child to "think-aloud" too. Pay close attention to what the author isn't saying, and let your child make inferences about what is happening.
-Ask comprehension questions about the books that your child has read. Hold your child accountable for answering the question with supporting evidence, "I know this because...". No "brain-dumps".
-When working on Reading Response homework, hold your child accountable for writing complete sentences to answer the question. A complete sentence should restate part of the question in your sentence. For example, question; "Where does the story take place?". Complete answer; "The story takes place in New York City.".

Upcoming Important Events

Tuesday, April 28th
Kindergarten Field trip to Sea Life Aquarium
1st Graders will visit 1st Grade classrooms

Monday, May 25th
No School in Honor of Memorial Day

Wednesday, June 10th
Early Dismissal
Last Day of School :(