I'm looking forward to meeting with each of you on Monday. We'll talk about your child's progress academically, socially, and emotionally at school. It's a chance for you to share observations from home and ask any questions. When I first started teaching, I was very nervous about parent-teacher conferences, and then I went through my first round. It was truly satisfying. One of the gifts of a small class is that I know your children's school selves pretty well.
Our Theme: Weather
We worked on making water droplet stories this week. All of our practice with our puppet water droplets has helped everyone have ideas about where water can be in the world. We made circle books for our stories to help get the sense of the cyclical nature of water. Everyone worked with a partner to trace some careful circles, and we even tried using our scissors while lying on our bellies, a strategy suggested by on OT I worked with at BCS. Everyone made a rough draft story map so that we know what is happening to our water droplets. I was so pleased to hear them using them using the terms evaporation, condensation, and precipitation correctly and easily. Not surprisingly, many water droplets traveled into thirsty animals and then ended up being peed out. It's not often you get to talk about pee and avoid getting accused of potty talk.
You may have heard that we met our final Alphafriends this week "Zelda Zebra" and "Mr. X-Ray." It was an interesting challenge coming up with words that began with these letters, but we worked hard to find that sound. All the Alphafriends serve as useful touchstones for our writing and reading work. "What sound does 'u' make? Think about Umbie Umbrella." We also began work in our Zaner-Bloser handwriting books. Ultimately legibility is my biggest goal with handwriting. I want other people and students themselves to be able to read everything they write.
As part of getting ready for our conferences, I had each student do some rote counting, real counting, pattern work, addition, and subtraction with me this week. We also began to work explicitly with place value. All of the students help to count the straws that represent our days in school each morning, and they know that when we get ten straws we turn them into a bundle of ten. Everyone agrees that counting by tens is much more efficient than counting by ones. When I asked them how many tens were in the number 46 (the current days in school number), they all looked back at me blankly. We looked at the straw count again, took out the bundles of ten, and counted, "Ten, twenty, thirty, forty." Then, we counted the single straws, "One, two, three, four, five, six." This physical representation made it easier for them to see that there are four tens and six ones in 46. We'll keep learning about this concept using real objects. I remember my teachers in elementary school telling us not to count on our fingers, but luckily I can encourage your children to use their fingers (and toes and any other concrete object within reach) as a helpful and important step in figuring out so much about numbers.
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday!