2P "Team Badger" Newsletter

January 4 - 15, 2016


  • School is for learning but it also needs to be FUN!! Research (and common sense) tells us that children learn best when they are happy, having fun, and engaged. We are trying to start 2016 off with a bang! We want the children to WANT to come to school and be excited to be here! We celebrated Cuddle Day, have started Freeze Dance Friday, and introduced 2 new fuzzy friends to class - a narwhal and ninja. We will be naming these next week and using them to help with all sorts of activities. More to come! :-)
  • Happy New Year! We started off our return to school by thinking about what we wanted to do better this year - it could be eat more vegetables, be nicer to my brother, try out for football, or clean my room every week! They are very inspiring.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. As part of a district-wide initiative, the students learned about compassion and thought about how they show compassion for others (people or animals). We talked about compassion as being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine how they feel. We showed a Kid President video and then talked about how the Amazon commercial (below) shows an act of compassion and how they could put themselves in the shoes of the lonely little horse.
  • Writing a Full Sentence. The children are writing fantastic descriptive sentences! We have previously talked about nouns, adjectives, verbs, capital letters and punctuation. This week we put it all together and learned that every sentence needs a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb). We then practiced writing sentences on white boards using photos from class for our inspiration. We then each write a sentence on a sentence strip to display our new knowledge and confidence! (See middle photo below)
  • Dictation - While this may seem like a throwback to "Mad Men", we use dictation in class to quickly assess how well the children can apply the spelling patterns that we are learning. A student will think of a sentence, using one or more words from the word wall, and then say it loud for the class. Everyone then writes it down using their best spelling and punctuation.
Kid President - How To Change The World (a work in progress)
New Amazon Prime TV Advert Featuring A Lonely Little Horse


We are Experts!

Each student has chosen a topic in which they are in "expert". For our purposes, being an expert means that they can think of 12 facts about their topics.

In order to do this, we need to:

  • understand the difference between opinion and fact. We incorporate this into our morning meeting questions and general dialogue in the classroom. "In my opinion, narhwals are really cute!". "It is a fact that cookie cutter sharks live in the deep ocean". (You wouldn't believe the things these kids know!!!) We learn something new everyday. We love it!!
  • be able to organize our thoughts. We have color coded paper help us organize our facts into three main sub-headings. These sub-heading will become paragraphs. For instance, if my topic is TJS, my three sub-headings might be "Supplies", "People at TJS", and "Places at TJS".
  • be able to write a topic sentence. A topic sentence starts off each of our three paragraphs. We talked about different ways to keep our writing interesting: 1) simply make a statement: "We use a lot of supplies at TJS", 2) Ask a question - "Did you know that there are more than 200 hundred students at TJS?" or 3) Use a True/False question - ""True or False? Every classroom has only one teacher".
  • understanding the parts of a paragraph. We use the analogy of a hamburger to describe the parts of a paragraph. The buns are the topic and concluding sentences, while the meat and toppings are the facts that give our paragraph meaning and interest. Just like with a hamburger, the more toppings (or facts) the more tasty your hamburger!

We will be using these facts and paragraphs to create individual (large-scale) brochures about our topics.


Non-Fiction is Fun!

We have been learning about non-fiction texts! We have been examining various text features including headings, sub-titles, graphs, diagrams, tables of contents, indices, and more! We are learning to slow down and think before we open our books - what do I think I know? What do I want to learn? We're also being aware of learning new things and jotting them down. "I wonder...!" Is a big thought with non-fiction and drives us forward with our reading. Just like when we read fiction we want to be actively thinking while we're reading.

As part of reading, we are also learning how to paraphrase to ensure we understand our text. When we take notes, it's important to write our facts down in our own words. This can be really tricky!

We are encouraging the children to read non-fiction in class, but also giving them time to read their fiction books as well. Please continue to encourage them to read just-right books at home for their nightly reading!


Chapter 5 - Multiplication and Division

We have started our 5th chapter - Multiplication and Division! In this chapter we want the chidlren to understand that multiplication is repeated addition ( 3 + 3 + 3+ 3 = 4x3) and division is repeated subtraction (12 divided 3 = 4; 12 -3-3-3-3=0). This is a very visual unit. We use lots of manipulatives and physical objects to show the groups coming together and breaking apart. We read 4x3 as "4 groups of 3" and 12 divided by 3 as "12 put into 3 groups = 4 in each group".

The other key concept which is emphasized in this unit is the idea of "balancing an equation" and having the children understand that everything on the left side of the equal sign must equal the same as everything on the right. It's a pre-algebra concept and one that we will continue to emphasize throughout the year.

We love it when the students encourage each other! One student wanted to write an encouraging note on the Smartboard and a few others joined in as well!! :-) See below.

Big image

Social Studies

Our Communities!

We continue to explore different kinds of communities. We have learned about the differences between urban, suburban, and rural communities. We have talked about the pros and cons of each and where we would rather live. We will also be exploring community leaders and what makes a good citizen.

The student's Creative Communities are displayed in the hallway. Please take a look the next time you're in school.

Teaching Team: Suzanne Pelkey (Classroom Teacher), Carolyn Rommeihs (Special Education Teacher), and Doreen Patrone (Teacher Assistant)