December 2013

Mrs. Thomas' Newsletter

Important Information:

Tip of the Month: Over the holiday break you can help to prevent any backslides in reading skills by having your child continue to practice reading at home. Try going to the local library to check out a few good books or read any books you have in your home. You can even have your child visit my website to practice reading skills. I have phonics and comprehension games available for your child's grade level. On the "More" tab, I also have the following: sight word practice, eBooks, test preparation (for 3rd and 4th), brain breaks, and other websites. Please visit

The Teacher Associate and I will be reviewing school-wide data on Friday, December 20th. We will look at students' scores from the SRI and F&P assessments and determine whether the intervention in place seems to be working for your child. If it is not, we will begin using a new intervention with him or her when we return from the holiday break. Students may also be regrouped based upon their current reading levels. This means some students may transfer from my class to Miss Drake's and visa versa.

Elf on a Shelf

The Elf on a Shelf visited our classroom during the month of December. The elf was in a new spot every day so the students had a fun time trying to find him. As you can see, he became very silly during the last week of school!!

New Learning Targets

I created a new electronic learning goal notebook for students to use to track their progress on specific learning targets. We began using this new notebook at the beginning of December. Students in grades 1-4 will be working on mastering the same four learning targets, which are related to: decoding strategies, comprehension strategies, writing, and using text evidence. See the pictures below for specific information. I also created SLANT posters, which is an acronym for Sit up straight, Lean forward and learn, Ask and answer questions, Nod, and Track the speaker.

Please scroll below to find the name of your child's group

Kindergarten- Kitties & Dinosaurs

There were only a few letters we needed to work on this past month. The letters we focused on were: -h, -u, -y and -e. One of our groups was able to begin reading and writing words with three sounds. This month we also worked on memorizing sight words from lists one and two. We also worked on rhyming, segmenting, and blending words.

1st- Texas Longhorns

We worked on reading level Level D books this month. Students at this point in the year should be reading Level E text. Some of the skills we worked on are: understanding and identifying patterns in words that end in silent e; recognize and use consonant clusters; recognize high-frequency words quickly and automatically; use meaning, language structure, and visual information to self-monitor; self-correct and solve new words; compose one or two sentences about a topic; write with good spacing, ending punctuation, and a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence; identify problem and solution in a story; and understand the series of events and the ending of a story.

2nd- Zebras

We continued to work on reading Level E books this month. Second grade students at this point of the year should be reading Level J text. We had many goals that we worked toward this month such as: recognize high-frequency words quickly and automatically; use meaning, language structure, and visual information to monitor reading and solve words; understand simple endings that are added to words (-ed and -s); understand the concept of a contraction; understand the parts of simple contractions; bring background knowledge to the reading of a fiction text; and recognize and use -y at the end of a word.

2nd- Puppies

We are currently reading Level G books. The goal for second grade students at this point in the year is to be reading Level J books. Some of the concepts we worked on this month were: recognize and use consonant clusters (blends) at the beginning of words; read with intonation, phrasing, and pausing (using the punctuation); use words in bold type to guide appropriate stress on words; use meaning, language structure, and visual information to self-monitor; self-correct consistently while reading; read and write high-frequency words quickly; see similarities and contrasts between a traditional story and a modern version; write with good spacing and ending punctuation; understand a simple plot and series of events; recognize and make connections among books in a series; and understand the story problem and resolution.

3rd Grade- King Cobras

We worked on reading Level K text throughout the month. Third grade students at this point in the year should be reading Level N text. Our goals this month were: to notice and use the sounds of consonant clusters (blends) at the end of a word; take apart multisyllable words by looking at the base word and endings; read with phrasing and fluency; recognize a book in a nonfiction series and have expectations about the content; find and remember important information from a nonfiction text; recognize words not typically used in oral language and clarify their meaning; write sentences summarizing information from a nonfiction book; read dialogue with expression; recognize the problem in the story and understand the solution; self-monitor and correct consistently; make inferences and provide evidence; and understand the lesson learned in a story.

4th Grade- Sea Monkeys

We worked on reading Level L text this month. Students in fourth grade should be reading Level Q text. Some of our goals throughout the month were: understand that some consonants are together in words and all three sounds can be heard (blends); recognize and use consonant blends at the beginning of words; read dialogue with phrasing, pausing, appropriate word stress, and intonation; read and write high-frequency words quickly when writing sentences to summarize a story; understand the problem in the story; take apart longer words while reading for meaning; understand that the -er ending on a word can show that someone is doing something or can compare two things; make inferences and provide evidence; make predictions about how both problems in the story are solved; self-monitor consistently; and compose and write several sentences to summarize a story.

4th Grade- Heat Readers

We have not been working on leveled text in this group, however; fourth grade students should be reading at a Level Q at this point of the year. Students in this group are currently reading independently at Levels N-P. Some of the concepts we studied this month were: categorizing and classifying, identifying elements of fantasy and realism in a story, and compare and contrast. Other goals we had this month were to make predictions before, during, and after reading; self-correct consistently while reading; use a variety of decoding strategies to solve unknown words; clarify unknown meanings of words in books; ask questions; and make inferences and provide evidence.