Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Primary A Families,

Wow, February is off to a great start! In reading, we continued to focus on story elements, namely examining character traits.  We discussed how the characters we meet in books can be described by their actions and their words. In order to support our description of a character, we also said we need to use evidence from the text.  We learned that the words we use to describe characters are called adjectives. 

To model and practice identifying character traits, we read a funny book titled Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. The main character Tacky is a cleverly odd but lovable penguin that had the Primary A students giggling while visualizing his silly behaviors. As we began to describe Tacky, we continued to ask “Why?” about our opinions. This encouraged the students to use examples from the story to support their opinions about him. Please take time to talk about characters with your child as they read at home. This is another important way to help students demonstrate their comprehension, which helps them continue their growth as readers.

This week our theme work had us working cooperatively to do some decision making. As we continue to think critically about neighborhoods, we worked to decide what a neighborhood would need in order to be a productive place for everyone to live. Our classroom is divided into five sections: north, south, center, east, and west.  The students are grouped and assigned to one of these prospective areas of the classroom, where they will be creating a neighborhood. 

This week we revisited our list of things we thought made an area a neighborhood.  Our task was to decide how many of those features would be needed in our city classroom. Some of things we identified as being useful neighborhood features included stores, police stations, post offices, schools, libraries, and parks.  It was fascinating to watch the students debate and consider input from others as we discussed these neighborhood features.  We made certain to bring out some compelling arguments that had the students moving beyond themselves and considering the needs of others in a neighborhood. 

A great example of this was when many students thought they needed one library in the whole city.  We discussed how libraries may be the only way some kids have access to good books.  As we talked about this, it became clear that the students understood that we do not all have the same access to resources that seem so attainable. As we continue to explore and challenge our thoughts about neighborhoods, we will be examining community helpers and their connection to the functioning of our surroundings.

This week, ask me:

* what Pippi is up to in our amazing read-aloud, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. What character traits would I use to describe Pippi?  Why? 

* how I have added to my nonfiction writing this week.  What did I write about? How did the third grade's published nonfiction booklets help inspire my own writing?

* about Encuentro.

* about the math games, Number in My Pocket and Fifty Bust. What is the February calendar all about? How did we use unifix cubes to show equivalent names for numbers? What does it mean if shapes are congruent? (Gr. 1 math)

* how we used information about 1991 Olympics world record long jumper Mike Powell (who jumped an amazing 29 ft, 5 in) in our math work.  How are we using jumps on number lines to compute efficiently?  (Gr. 2 math)

Things to Know:

February 14:  Please remember that we ask that there is no candy or treats given out during Valentine’s Day.  We know the students like to give cards. Please be sure if your child is giving Valentine’s Day cards, they have one for every student in the class. 

February 17 & 20: No School

February 21:  Reach Out and Read will be coming to an end, so please be sure to get your money and forms in before the due date.

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, 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!

The Primary Unit Chorus will 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. 

Enjoy the weekend,

Cinda and Bernadette