Sunday, April 29, 2012

Class Catch Up

Each week I give the kids time for catch up so that they can get up to date on their work. Well, seems like I am the one needing a little of it today! Here are a few photos of creations done during Math Stations and Choosing Time over the last little while.

 a house for the stuffies

bunny wedding mural (still not finished and the crew that started it seems to have lost interest)

I really am not sure where the time has gone. For a little while it was positively dragging and now it is flying by so fast that it seems I never have enough of it! It seems crazy that Sports Day is only 3 weeks away!!!!

Last week was Earth Week at school. Each day we had a different theme. Things like working without the lights on, bringing a litterless lunch, walking or wheeling to school etc. Well, our class won the Sitting Lorax prize for having the most kids walk or wheel to school on the same day. The cheers when they called our name over the P.A. were deafening. In fact, some of the kids were so busy cheering that they didn't even know what we had won! Here he is in all his Lorax glory.

I was also very busy last week putting together report cards that reflect how students did in first and second term. We never wrote report cards because we were doing job action. Now we've been told we have to. I am not sure how it is helpful to parents to find out how their child was doing at school 2 or 4 months ago but on high dictated that they be written and written they were.  I am really hoping that parents will understand that a report card is a reflection of how a child is doing at that time. It may or may not be accurate a week or month later. 

It is that time of year when students start to take off. One student recently went up 2 reading levels in just under 2 weeks! Another who does not speak English at home just wrote 3 sentences by herself that I could read! Awesome and amazing things are happening each and every day. Change and growth are happening very quickly for some students now. So, hopefully, parents will not get caught up in the marks that are on the reports when they go home. More important is how their child is doing right now. As I said earlier in the year, no news is good news. If I had any MAJOR concerns about how a child is doing I would have had a meeting with the parents already.

To that end, I thought I would give a quick idea of where each grade should roughly be at this time of year.

In reading, grade 1's are aiming to be at a DRA level 16 by the end of June. This is a RAZ kids level I. They should be able to read the words (decode) and understand what they are reading about (comprehend). I would expect the average student (and remember that to have an average you have to have students who are higher and lower) to be reading at about a level 12 at this time (RAZ kids level G).

Grade 2's in reading...They are aiming for a DRA level 28 by June. This would be a RAZ kids level N to P. At this point I would expect the average grade 2 to be reading at a DRA 20 or 24 (RAZ kids level L or M). I find that what often happens is that students get better and better at the decoding of text (reading the words accurately, with expression and fluency etc) but as the texts get harder many students do not do as well with comprehension. There is, after all, more to remember! You can help your child at home by asking them to stop after a page and tell you in their own words what they just read (a Daily 5 method called Check for Understanding) or you can have them retell you a chapter or story from beginning through the middle to the end. Making them stop to think about their reading makes them better readers. 

In math we have been working a lot on basic addition and subtraction facts in grade 1. Addition has been covered extensively. Subtraction has been introduced and will be covered a lot in the next 6 weeks or so. I am finding that the concept of subtraction is very tricky for a lot of the grade 1's. We will be working with manipulatives and using different math strategies to fully understand this concept. That said, math fact practice at home is never a bad idea!

Grade 2's have been doing addition and subtraction without regrouping. i.e. 25
Again the addition comes pretty easily to all of them but some of them are getting stuck on the subtraction. In the case of the grade 2's, it is not because they do not understand the concept of subtraction but that they need to practice, practice, practice their subtraction math facts. We are moving into addition and subtraction with regrouping.
i.e. 49

where they have to carry a 10 over to the tens column in order to solve the equation. This is a more complicated concept and having a solid base in math facts is super helpful. If a student has to spend all of their time figuring out what 9+7 equals then they often forget the next step to take to solve the equation.

We have also been learning about ordinal numbers, telling time and adding money. Though they keep telling me I need to take out all of the pennies in the worksheets! I suppose I will have to eventually but I am leaving them in this year.

May is looking crazy busy. We have Mother's Day coming up. The kids are working on a very cool gift so cover your eyes if you come into class! Sports Day is on the 17th and, fingers crossed, it won't rain! At the end of the month we are going on a much awaited for fieldtrip! Yes, I said fieldtrip!!!!! Details will be coming in the next few days. I am going to need a lot of parent helpers so I am counting on my class parents being as awesome as they have been all year.

Anywho, it is late. The Amazing Race is calling my name from the Living Room. Can't you hear it? The faint but steady sound of  "Olwyn, Olwyn, come watch me....come watch me..." Far be it for me to say no to one of my favourite shows. Catch you next time!

Ms. Hughes