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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We're Busy

We have been SO busy at school! I can't believe how quickly October flew by. 

In reading we have been working on reading non-fiction text, specifically we are learning about COMMUNITY HELPERS. We read stories about Firefighters, Police Officers, Doctors, and soon we will read and learn about Dentists and Vets.
As we read, we listen to learn names of special tools community helpers use to do their jobs. We listen to figure out what each of these helpers does to help the community. 

We practiced fire-safety this month. We learned that we can call 9-1-1 if we are having a REAL emergency. 
We practiced stop-drop-and rolling as if we had to put out a real fire. 
And we even had a fire-drill during our story about firefighters. I couldn't have planned the timing of that if I had tried!

You should have received a music cd from our Health Curriculum: The Great Body Shop
We played 15 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble. Sorry to everyone who now has that song stuck in their head! We are learning about how rules help us stay safe. 

We completed a Science unit in which we investigated pumpkins. We worked on using adjectives to describe both the inside and outside of pumpkins. We even got to smash open a pumpkin (in a controlled setting). :) We all got to touch the inside of the pumpkin - almost everyone wanted to dig in and feel the squishy pulp and seeds. The cleaned seeds are now in a counting math center.

We have begun Walk to ELD (English Language Development). This means that for 30 minutes (right after lunch) kindergarten students work with a teacher on academic vocabulary. Students are grouped into 3 ability leveled classes - beginners, early intermediate, and intermediate. Mrs. Adams teaches the beginners, I teach the early intermediate, and Ms. Callaway teaches the intermediate students. In the old days students who were ESL were pulled out of classes for language time. Now, all teachers teach ESL (but we call it ELD). Our school district requires us to separate ability levels for approx. 30 minutes a day to work on language skills. Our groups are based on beginning of the year English oral language skills. In all classes we are learning the same type of content, however grammatical difficulty is increased as the classes go up. 

For example: this week we are all using community helpers as the content to discuss. 
In the beginner class, students might learn to say: The doctor is helpful. The doctor is kind. 
In the early intermediate class we worked on past-tense conversations: Yesterday, I went to the doctor. What was wrong? I had a (fever, sore throat, etc). *We have to be very careful to use past-tense words!
In the intermediate class students worked hard at using conjunctions to put sentences together: Can you tell me about the doctor? The doctor is helpful and smart. He/she (verb, helps people by writing prescriptions). 
Language is for EVERYBODY and this is a time for students to TALK, TALK, TALK. At least 50% of this time will always be for students to talk and practice oral language skills. 

We have learned the names and sounds of letters: Tt, Mm, Aa, and Ss. 
Tiggy Tiger, Mimi Mouse, Andy Apple, and Sammy Seal are the "alpha friends" your child has met. 
If you want to know all their names click here.

Using only those letters students should be able to sound out the following words:

at, sat, mat, Sam, am, Tam
To stay "right on track" your child should have 100% mastery of this word list. If they are struggling with writing and/or reading these words please help them practice at home. These words are in our reading books and children are expected to read and write them fluently. 

In Math students are learning to count quantities from 0-10 and write the matching numeral. Many students might have reversals (it's especially common on numbers 7 and 9). If you want to help your child at home, have them write from 0-10 each night. Click the picture below to find some free resources you can print at home. 

I hope this update helps you get a glimpse of what goes on in our classroom. :)
Mrs. Martinez

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