# December 2014 Happenings

## Kindergarten

December has been a busy month in kindergarten! The children have been working on writing their true stories. We are enjoying sharing the books they have written describing their fun adventures and learning about each other! It is incredible to see growing writers. In math, kindergarteners learned about the numbers all the way up to 20, counting and working with five-frames and ten-frames as they develop their number concepts. The children have also worked with some number bonds and beginning equations! Learning our ordinal numbers was important for us this month too. In science, the five senses fascinated us! We learned about sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. We read non-fiction books about the senses and we tried different experiments. Using jello mix, we made scented paintings that were very fragrant. One investigation into camouflage was particularly interesting for the students!

Kindergarteners are super-readers! We are learning to use our super-reading powers as we attack texts and win the battle by breaking the code and reading some beginner books. With the help of our reading teacher, Mrs. Bowie, we performed some little dramatizations of some of our class’ favorite books. Acting our stories out helps us identify characters and follow the text with a narrator’s help. We really loved sharing the plays with other kindergarten classes.

The Polar Express was a fun activity that the children enjoyed! The children had their tickets to ride, and the conductor punched the tickets as we climbed aboard! We all took a ride on the Polar Express using our imaginations and a good book! After the reading of the story, the children relaxed with hot chocolate and cookies. Everyone looked happy in pajamas on the Polar Express! Kindergarteners have learned and grown this December and we can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for us!

During the month of December the first graders at Searingtown School were very busy. The holiday’s and festivities were in full swing. The student’s learned about different traditions and holidays that are celebrated during the month of December.

In writer’s workshop we finished up our “How To” books and introduced the idea of writing to inform, another non-fiction topic.

We learned all about Blizzard and Polar Vortexes. If you do not protect yourself with warm clothes, you could get frost bite!

The Brain Challenge came to Searingtown and tested all of our brains. Our teachers even participated, they are pretty smart! We all had fun and did a great job!

Here is to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

December was a short month in school, but it was no less exciting. The time between Thanksgiving, and winter break seemed to fly by, with classrooms buzzing with anticipation of holidays, vacations and special treats.

In reading, we turned our attention back to fiction reading as we focused on the study of characters. We explored various character traits, and feelings characters can have. Reading is more meaningful when you think about the characters in your stories, and what motivates their actions.

Throughout December second graders finished up their information writing. It is unbelievable how much everyone knows about so many different topics! By writing the information books, students were able to teach others all they know about these topics.

Place value is the most important aspect of developing number sense. Second graders continued their exploration of place value by using a variety of tools, such as place value disks, base ten blocks, bundles of straws, one, ten and one hundred dollar bills, and hide zero cards. A strong understanding of place value will really help our second graders understand how to add and subtract larger numbers.

We began our social studies units on the community, and what it means to be an active citizen. We talked about rules in communities, and responsibilities of citizens, including the responsibility to vote in elections. We had a class election to pick a favorite cookie. We also discussed symbols of the United States, and even created our own symbols to represent ourselves.

December ended with celebrations in each classroom. Some second graders performed in the orchestra concert. The PTA generously sponsored the Great Brain Challenge, a game show that all students participated in the day before vacation. Great fun was had by all!

The third grade students are hard at work studying nonfiction reading and writing. They are learning so much in their reading and teaching us so much with their expert topics in writing as they take on the role of “teacher”. They are truly amazing to watch!

We are all learning about the science of sound while working very hard on mastering multiplication and division. Remind your students about the 5 P’s ~ Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance.

☺ Thank you for encouraging your children to read every night and practice those multiplication facts! And please remember to check out Compass Learning online which is directly tied to your child’s individual NWEA scores.

A special thank you must go out to Mrs. Kliegman who organized a holiday card exchange with children from around the world. We were all treated to cards from children in Slovenia, Canada and Russia. It was so cool to hear from children in different parts of the world! A common thread ~ Physical Education is their favorite “subject” too! LOL!

We capped the month off with another excellent Brain Challenge brought to us by our wonderful PTA! The screams reached an all time high and the excitement lasted throughout the day!

We, your 3rd Grade teachers, want to take this time to wish you all a peaceful end to 2014 and all good things in 2015. Today and every day, we thank you for the gift of your fabulous children

Fourth grade students are exploring multiplication and division in most sophisticated ways. Students are using number disks and tape diagrams to facilitate deeper math comprehension as they learn to be more flexible thinkers and approach problems in various ways.

As we navigate through Social Studies, we are living through the experiences of the First American. Using documents and texts we are learning where they lived and how the geography of the land affected how they lived.

Aligned nicely with our delve into Native Americans, fourth grade researchers are learning how readers rev up to read nonfiction using text features and structures. Students are honing their skills as they read all kinds of non fiction material so they can become expert researchers!

Finally, fourth graders are becoming global citizens by learning how they can protect the environment and natural resources for future generations. Are you doing your part to be green?

December was a busy an exciting month for the Searingtown fifth graders!

Shop Until You Drop:

The fifth graders were excited to find that perfect gift for their family and friends for the holidays. It was great to see them budget their money and make quick mental math calculations in their head while shopping. They truly enjoyed the experience and it got them get into the holiday spirit.

Brain Challenge:

Are you ready for some fast paced trivia questions and fun physical challenges? The fifth graders were geared up to show their knowledge and physical capabilities and compete against other grades in the school. From the hula hoop challenge to ‘Simon Says”, the students enjoyed cheering their classmates while they completed in each event. The highlight of the program came when it was the teachers turn to compete. The students were excited to see their teachers in the hot seat and see if they could handle the pressure of the buzzer. Thank you PTA for this team building experience!

Fractions, Fractions and More Fractions!

The students are enthusiastic as we embark on the next unit of study in mathematics, fractions. Students’ will further their conceptual understanding of adding and subtracting fractions and deepen their mathematical knowledge to include visual representations.

The Study of Non-Fiction Writing

The students are continuing their study of non-fiction. They are focusing on finding the main idea and supporting details in challenging texts. They are also learning how the study of different text structures can lead them to a deeper understanding of the text. Through text analysis, the students are developing theories about different non-fiction texts and the author’s purpose for writing.

## Global Holiday Card Exchange

The highlight of December was certainly our holiday card exchange, a project we participated in through iEarn! The third grade classes created cards that were mailed to classes in Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Slovenia. We were so excited to read the cards that came to us! Our Canadian friends even sent us pretend snow and a Santa hat!

As you enjoy opening your presents this holiday season, remember:

A book is a present you can open again and again!

## Speech Tip of the Month

December is packed full of events, holidays, celebrations and the change of seasons. This time of year provides a great opportunity to build your child’s language skills as you partake in all of these exciting activities. You can teach your child more about the vocabulary and concepts related to holidays and activities in which your families participate. This season also provides a chance to expand your child’s knowledge about the world around them by teaching them about holidays, traditions and winter activities that others enjoy. Being familiar with the vocabulary and having a greater understanding of these celebrations and activities expands our children’s functional language and foundational skills. Vocabulary development relates to experiential knowledge, in which children use their experiences and prior knowledge to help them learn new concepts.

Building your child’s vocabulary does not need to be an overwhelming task. Look at the calendar together to plan fun family events. This will improve your child’s sense of time and understanding of time concepts, as well as improving their sequencing skills. If you decorate for a holiday, talk about all the decorations you are using and share any stories about the decorations. Baking and cooking can be a big part of celebrations, and there is a wealth of vocabulary regarding the specific kitchen utensils used. Winter activities such as ice skating, snow boarding, sledding, skiing provide great opportunities to learn about new sports. It expands your child’s world just to know more about these activities, even if they don’t partake directly in them. And who knows, talking about all the season’s fun events may inspire you and your family to try something new!

## ESL

Mrs. D’Egidio’s kindergarteners finished their fall unit. We completed the unit by reading the story, Squirrels All Year Long and Busy Squirrels by Melvin Berger. We learned so many fascinating facts about squirrels.

Mrs. D’Egidio’s first graders enjoyed reading the Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth and the Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. We summarized and compared the two stories. We also read about the special holidays celebrated around world.

Ms. Vanore’s second graders are exploring number related words. We can describe “how many” without using a number. For example, socks always come in a pair, we can buy donuts by the dozen, and so on. We are enriching our language!

Second graders continue to maintain school calendars in our classrooms. We are recording holidays, birthdays, and special events on our calendars. The children love this ongoing practice! They also have a holiday binder.

The third grade social studies curriculum begins with map skills, so Ms. Vanore focuses on what she is passionate about: the Polar Regions. Children love hearing about these harsh climates. We are reading Angela from the Arctic, a wonderful book about a girl from Alaska.

Ms. Macri’s third graders compared and contrasted the characters and events in the The Gingerbread Girl, with the classic tale, The Gingerbread Man. Fourth and fifth graders worked on writing longer and more complex sentences. They did this by taking a boring sentence and answering the 5 W’s to add details. For example, students were able to stretch the sentence, “They went skating” and expand it into the sentence, “Joe and Max went Ice Hockey skating at Central Park after school.”

## Searingtown School December Happenings

Written by the Searingtown School faculty.