Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's get these weekly newsletters rolling!

I hope your students have had a good start getting back to school, and please accept my apologies for not getting a newsletter out sooner. Typically I'll update our blog each Friday with a recap of our week. Starting school and getting back into the swing of things can be challenging for us all! I'm hoping to start posting pictures of students and their work more regularly as well...that takes me getting back into the routine of it all too!

A few things to keep in mind over the next couple of weeks:
  • No, I really don't give your students homework. Really. The verdict on whether homework is truly beneficial for younger students is still up for debate, and I know you are busy with many things. I DO, however, ask that you read with your child each night for at least 20 minutes FOR FUN. Don't stress this time. Read TO them if reading is too much right now. Let them hear the words, how they sound, what they are. Relax with it and help them to love reading. Maybe make it part of your bedtime routine, just like taking a shower or brushing teeth.
  • Happy Labor Day this Monday! No school!
  • Soon you will see spelling lists come home (in the next couple of weeks). I teach spelling on an individual basis, so I have to evaluate where your child is before I can give any spelling work, which is why you haven't seen a list so far. Your child's list will be exactly the spelling patterns s/he needs to learn based on her performance on our in-class evaluation. Because this is a very complicated and lengthy process, there will be some weeks we won't have spelling tests. If it is a short week, often we will have two weeks between tests because I spend lots of class time working on spelling and phonics patterns, and if we aren't here to study them together, I don't think it's fair to ask the kids to take a test.
  • We've received several new books for our classroom thanks to YOU ordering books from our online book club. Keep it coming! Remember, the link for this is on the right side of our blog near the top.
  • You might be wondering why you are seeing hidden pictures and word searches and things coming home from time to time. Shouldn't we be doing "work" at school??? Hidden pictures, word searches, and dot-to-dots are a great way to strengthen early readers' eye muscles in a fun way. :) These all help kids focus their eyes, which in turn helps them with tracking print and noticing details of words and letters.

So what have we been doing for the last three weeks? Well, we have:
  • learned second grade routines and expectations.
  • started writing stories like crazy! We're studying illustration techniques of writers as well as techniques writers use with words. We've talked a lot about capitals, punctuation, and spacing in our words so that our readers can easily read our important stories. 
  •  reviewed first-grade reading strategies to help our reading get stronger.
  • spent lots of time on vowel sounds.
  • reviewed addition facts, including doubles and near-doubles facts.
  • Here you can see some of our learning and work in writing:

  • Greyson has been making sure his words are easy to read.

    Chloe has made a cover that will make readers excited to read her story!

    Parker learned to make the most important part of an illustration large and make everything else in the background.

    Alexis added lots of detail to her cover to make her readers want to read her story!

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