Dear Families,
    Ok, is anyone else wondering if this wintry weather is ever going to end?!?!!!
General Classroom News:
    Please remember to send your child in with warm snow gear every day~ we go out at the end of the day if at all possible (not when it is below zero tho!). Waterproof snow mittens/gloves would be great! Boy, I can't wait until I don't have to remind you of that anymore!!
    When your child brings home the UFO Box please have her/him help write as much of the clues as possible. Help your child to sound out words and remember, your child's spelling will not be "book" perfect ~ Kindergarten spelling (as it sounds) is ok!!
    I have a reusable shopping bag with a barn on it that came in with robot making supplies. I have no idea whose it is. Just let me know if it is yours and I will send it home with your child!
    We continued working on Unit 4 this week. In this unit, we will be working on identifying the vowel sounds in words, segmenting the individual sounds of words and will continue with tapping/blending to read and write words. I introduced 2 new trick words: have and do.

Writer's Workshop:
    This week, we continued our All About unit about writing teaching books. We talked about and practiced "stretching ideas" to write and teach more. I encouraged them to re-read their writing often to make sure it sounds right, check for mistakes, think of what makes sense to come next, etc. We reviewed an informational writing checklist (write "big ideas" as well as details, include teaching pictures, etc); a copy of the checklist was added to each child's writing folder. We took some time to look at student writing to practice checking for and correcting mistakes, as well as giving suggestions for improvement.

Reader's Workshop:
    Our small group reading jobs this week were: Pop for Words game (practicing trick and tap words); practicing 1st & last names, upper & lower case letters on Writing Wizard on the iPads; rainbow writing some upper case letters; collecting St. Patrick's Day stickers for reading & spelling CVC words when they met with me.
    We continued the unit Bigger Books, Bigger Reading Muscles. We talked about what to do when the book pattern is gone. I compared it to Pete the Cat ~ do we cry? Goodness no!! We keep reading!!! On Tuesday, we read a new trick word reader together to practice using all of our reading powers. On Wednesday & Thursday, we re-read the same book to practice reading more smoothly. I introduced the idea of "scooping words" into phrases to sound more like when we talk, instead of sounding like a robot when we read.

Math Work:
    We begin our math time with some whole group work. This week, the children did count around and sit down, counting by 10's to 100. We looked at different dot patterns and the children practiced subitizing (identifying a quantity without counting) as well as explaining how they knew. Talking about their thinking is tricky, but they are getting better at it! I showed them a quick image of a number on a Rekenrek and they wrote that numeral on whiteboards, again talking about how they knew. I read The Icky Bug Counting Book ~ one day starting at 10 & counting backward; another day, progressing through the teen numbers; then finally completing the book to 26. Each time, they were asked "What number will be next?". The math problem the worked on this week was: "I want to collect 10 pennies to trade in for a dime. I have 4 pennies so far. How many more do I need to make 10?".
    The activities in the math bins this week were again: Pop for Numbers (comparing numbers more/less); I Sea 8! (finding numbers that go together to make 8); Count & Link with the teen numbers; Ready, Set, Count! (different representations of a number ~ dot die, math hands, numeral, pictures); counting & representing teen numbers with digi-blocks; teen numerals/ 10's frame memory match; dot to dots to 20; Roll It, Write It, Show It (roll 2 die to make a teen number, write the numeral & show it on 10's frames). They did various math activities on the iPads when they went to computers. When they met with me, they practiced recognizing teen number quantities shown with my math hands and then representing that amount on bead strings and 10's frames.
    Mrs. Hoben came in and introduced representing teen numbers as 10 and some more on 10's frame trains with unifix cubes.
Fun Friday:
    Mrs. Callahan had a bit of a temper tantrum on fun Friday! I was sick of seeing wintry weather outside our classroom windows, so I asked the children to make me Spring to hang up on our windows to look at!! They made me paper flowers, rainbows, green leafy trees and beautiful water-color painted butterflies! They also did a Signs of Spring picture cut & paste activity and cut out & rearranged the words for the sentence "I love the spring weather." and illustrated it. They watched a short video about habitats ~ see if your child came name & describe some of them for you (they learned about 4 different ones). We read Let's Find Out: Whose Habitat is That?
    Mrs. DeBellis came in and talked to them about the parts of the brain and their jobs. They learned about: the pre-frontal cortex ("wise leader"), which helps to make good decisions; the amygdala ("guard dog"), which helps protect us; and the hippocampus ("scrapbook"), which helps us to learn and remember.

    PBiS is a school-wide behavior program, with school-wide behavior expectations. The over-arching expectations are:
    P personal best
    A act responsibly
    W work and play safely
    S show kindness
    They earned another school reward for filling our school PAWS container. Eeveryone seemed to enjoy the black light dance on Friday ~ even if it was difficult to get pictures of them!   


    Have your child practice writing the lower case and upper case letters on the school lines. Your child can also practice writing the trick words and his/her first and last name, the school way on the school lines. Your child should also practice reading the trick words. Your child can practice writing the numerals 0-9. Please have your child practice tying his/her shoes!
    Your child will also be coming home with reading homework most nights. Sometimes it will be a new book that I worked on with them that day; other days it will be a book he/she chose from his/her book bin. Don't worry if your child comes home with the same book on different nights ~ re-reading is very powerful!! NEVER cover the pictures of the story and deny your child picture power!! Encourage your child to use picture power, sound power, and trick word power when reading.
    Never make homework a battle!!! That's not the point. Mostly, it's to let you see what we do at school as well as to give your child some extra practice. Reading with your child every day is the single most important thing you can do to help support your child's learning! Have your child "read" a favorite storybook to you. You can play Go Fish to practice numeral recognition or Compare (we know it as War) to practice comparing number quantities. See if your child will draw a picture and write a letter to a family member who lives farther away. Also, know that I am a parent too and I understand that sometimes you just don't have the time to do homework I send home with your child. Get it done and sent back in when (and if!) you have the chance!! No judgments here!

School Sing:
    School Sing is a K-4 activity that takes place every Friday morning from 8:30-9 a.m. in the cafeteria. We sing songs (of course!!), birthdays and individual students are celebrated, and we collect for various service agencies in our community. Each child in our class will have a turn to be celebrated. When it is your child's turn, I will send home a poster for you to fill out and have your child decorate. We will display the poster, and any 5-7 photos you might want to send in, in our classroom for the week before it is shared at School Sing on Friday. Families are always welcome to join us for School Sing!
    We will be collecting items for our local soup kitchen (Martha's Kitchen) from Feb. 3 - April 7. They are in need of: canned foods (vegetables, fruit, baked & other beans, tuna, chicken, pasta, chicken noodle & tomato soup); other non-perishable foods (boxed macaroni & cheese or other pasta mixes, boxed/bagged rice, pudding & jello mixes, kool-aid & other drink mixes, coffee, tea bags, boxed cereal); other items (paper towels, garbage bags, napkins, plastic silverware).

Upcoming Dates:
    March 31 ~ No School (Inservice)