Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Primary A Families,

It has been a busy and full week!  In reading workshop we read a nonfiction book, Owls by Mary R. Dunn, to model the accuracy strategies we are learning to use daily. We practiced chunking words to read them, stretching out words slowly, and using our “eagle eye” to look for picture clues.  We introduced a new strategy, “skip it, and hop back.”  This strategy allows the reader to skip an unknown word, read to end of the sentence, and then go back to reread to figure it out.  The beautiful photographs and interesting facts about owls in this book kept the students actively engaged. We also continued to work in groups to discuss books and read independently to build stamina.

This week in writing we continued our nonfiction unit with writing “How-To” books. We gave instructions for activities we think we do well. As we began to share our writing, we took some questions from each other that helped us give directions with more clarity.  In order to connect to our writing this week, we also worked on sequencing a book, Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London. Students had lots of fun retelling the events of this funny story.  Some students also worked on a sequence activity that had them sequencing everyday activities.  This exercise included how to brush your teeth, how to make a sandwich, how to plant flowers, or how to pop popcorn. This was a nice connection to our “How-To” books.

As we continue to expand our thoughts about neighborhoods, we learned the cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west.  The class was abuzz about the directional signs on the walls in Primary A. We used the directions to begin a conversation about maps and what we use them for. The students then used what they learned and their prior knowledge about mapping to draw a map of the classroom.  We mapped using our bird’s eye view. These maps really captured the important aspects of our classroom. As we continue our theme unit, we will be brainstorming the important and interesting things in our neighborhoods.  This list will help us take a critical look at neighborhood needs.

Things to Know:

In an effort to be mindful of families' busy schedules, the Primary Unit is changing the date and format of our March learning celebration. Rather than having a one-day event, we will be holding "open houses" in our classrooms on Monday, 3/13; Tuesday, 3/14; and Wednesday, 3/15, from 7:55 - 8:15 a.m. You do not need to sign up for a particular date or even let us know when you're coming -- just show up with your child, and he or she will take care of the rest! If you are unable to stop by during these dates and times, reach out to us and we will find a time that works.

The Primary Unit Chorus will still be performing on Friday, 3/17, at 9:00 a.m., but we will not be inviting families to visit our classrooms before or after the concert. We realize this means we are asking you to join us for two events in one week, but we are hopeful that the timing, flexibility, and informality of the open houses will make it easier for more families to attend both.

By now you should have received the information about Reach Out and Read and the sponsor sheet. If you have not, and your child would like to participate, please send us a quick email so that we can send another form home.

Friday, February 3, is Crazy Hat, Hair, & Pajama Day. Students and teachers can wear crazy hairdos, weird hats, and comfy pjs. (No slippers, please.)

Monday, February 6: Soft pretzel sale in Primary Unit. Stay tuned for more details.

  This week, ask me:

  • What’s Pippi up to in our amazing read aloud, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren? 
  • about my “How-To book(s).  What does it mean to sequence something? What about my sequence activity?
  • about my classroom map.  What are the four cardinal directions? What part of Philadelphia do I live in?  What important, interesting, and enjoyable things are in my neighborhood? 
  • about the masterful storytelling by Charlotte Blake Alston. To find out more information, go to 

In partnership,

Bernadette and Cinda