Mrs. McDonald's Newsletter

January 4th-8th, 2016



  • We will be starting a new unit on nonfiction text that will last the next four weeks. During this time, we will be learning about text features and how they help us understand what we are reading or enhance our understanding of the topic.
  • We will specifically focus on headings, pictures, captions, diagrams, labels, and maps.
  • Additionally, we will be talking about finding the main idea of a section (several paragraphs). Although we have practiced this a little, we will be practicing being more specific with what the main idea is. For example, instead of saying the main idea is Ants, we will be more detailed by saying the main idea is "Ants have many unique features that help them survive."


  • The students will be learning about how to write an informational paragraph. This includes having a topic sentence, three facts, three supporting details, transition words, and a closing sentence.
  • We will also be practicing writing compound sentences. While we have done this all year, we will be learning more conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, yet, for, so) to combine our ideas.

Parts of Speech:

  • In December, we started learning about adjectives and we will continue to practice identifying and using adjectives for the month of January.

Word Work:

  • This week's word study words use the 'ea' vowel team pattern. This vowel team is tricky because it can make the long 'e' or the short 'e' sound.

Comparing Two Texts, Book Club, and Silent Reading :)


  • We will continue to work on adding larger numbers. This week we will be working on adding triple-digit and double-digit numbers together. While the students can select any strategy that they are comfortable with to add the numbers, we will primarily be focusing on the Base-Ten Way (using base-ten blocks) and the Vertical Way (using the traditional algorithm going vertically).
  • All of the students are doing well at adding larger numbers. However, many still struggle with remembering to bundle a ten or carry the ten over. As your child is doing homework this week, please try to check his or her work to make sure that they are remembering to do this.
  • We will continue to have speed tests each week. Yet, the goal for fluency will be increased to 20 in one minute. This will be a struggle for many so please be practicing addition facts within 20 with your child (there are also many online games to do this...if you need ideas, please email me). This goal is based on the fact that fluency is considered within 3 to 5 seconds to answer a math fact.

Place Value Christmas Lights and QR Code Addition Problems


  • On Monday, we will be starting a new case study on habitats. We will be learning about habitats and why certain plants and animals can live in different habitats. As a whole class, we will learn about the desert habitat and then the students will divide into five groups to learn about one of the following: ocean, rain forest, polar regions (Arctic and Antarctic), Savannah/grasslands, and wetlands.
  • When the students begin studying their selected habitat, they will be looking for what plants and animals are found there, land formations that can be found, and the climate of the habitat. After gathering the information, they will teach the rest of their crewmates about the habitat they studied and as a class we will complete a Habitat Matrix.

Winter Holiday Party with our Big Buddies! It was a STEM Bridge Building Task!

Upcoming Dates

  • Wednesday, January 6th: Early Release

  • Wednesday, January 13th: Early Release

  • Monday, January 18th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no school)