## What's Up in the Classroom?

Reading - We've been practicing quite a few different reading strategies this week. We've focused mainly on identifying the beginning, middle and end of a story but also hit retelling a story, comparing and contrasting between stories and listening carefully and answering comprehension questions to prove understanding within stories.

Math - Math has been all about "making a ten" to find the answer to a problem in the teens. For example, students will have the problem 8 + 7. They will make a 10 (so the 8 goes up to 10) and then add on the other 5 which gives them the answer of 15. Of course, if they do not prefer this method, there are many others. A favorite is starting at the biggest number and simply adding on the other number (keeping track on their fingers). We will explore a few more options but in the end, the students can pick the one that works best for them.

Writing - We wrote letters to Santa this week. Students learned about planning their letters and filled out a graphic organizer to help them. They were instructed to ask him some questions, tell him how they've been good and finally ask for some gifts. We sent them off to the North Pole and should get responses back by Tuesday the 22nd so the students can bring them home to share with you.

Social Studies - We've worked on maps this week. We read stories about maps, watched a couple of short Brain Pop Jr. videos about reading maps and recreated a map. This was a favorite of the students. I used Google Maps to show an arial shot of the Forest Glen area and one child saw their house. This led to EVERYONE wanting me to find their house on Google Maps! Needless to say, we only had time for a few!! I told the students to go home and ask you to show them their house using Google Maps.

Spelling - Students have been doing very nicely on their spelling sorts. Please don't forget to take a look at their sorts each night for a couple of minutes if you have time. They are always sent home in their reading book bags on Monday. Students can sort their words into categories, write their words, do a speed sort, a blind sort and finally paste them down to another piece of paper. Just a reminder - A blind sort is where you put the categories down and your child points to the category the word goes in after you read it to them. They do not get to see the word! The speed sort is you timing them doing their sort and seeing if they can beat their time on the 2nd round. Another option would be using the computer. If you go to a site called Spelling City (spellingcity.com/lists), you can hit the "search" button next to the "home" button and type in my name (Stephanie Faccio). You will find our spelling words there. This is a site we use in school so the kids are familiar with it. There are games and practice tests there to work with.

## White Elephant

Our class has been reading The Christmas Party From the Black Lagoon and got a fun idea. A white elephant exchange! It's not what you may think of when you think of a white elephant exchange though.... It's a little bit different and doesn't cost a penny. What I will do is have each child pick a name out of a hat (boys pick boys and girls pick girls) and then go home and look around their room for something they think their person might like and they no longer want. They will wrap it up and bring it to school on Monday the 21st. We will open the gifts on Tuesday the 22nd. I will assume that all children are able to participate unless I hear otherwise from you. They were so excited about this idea!!