Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holiday is Upon Us!

What a spectacular month we have had in school. The holiday feeling began when all of the grandparents and special people joined us for their special day and continued on to the last minute of school before the vacation began. Your children have been so excited and joyful, they have truly been a magical holiday gift to Ms. Thomas and I. It seemed like whenever we turned our gaze from one child to another we were seeing acts of kindness and true holiday spirit. If you continue to read all the way to the end of might even get pictures! 

 Of course, the candy houses were a huge hit! What child wouldn't gaze upon trays of candy in sheer delight!  I did warn them that when they took them home.....the candy might be all dried out and too hard to eat. However, I believe that there were a few diehards who said that they didn't care and they were going to try and eat them anyway. (Good luck on that one!) Also from my previous might want to keep the candy house out of reach from doesn't end well. ;)

The Hanukkah party was a lovely event. The kids got to eat latkes, play with the dreidel and make paper menorahs. Of all of the events this month, this was the calmest of the it was nice to have a bit of a break!

The excitement of putting on the advent with a second grade class was beautiful. Mrs. Merrill's class and ours joined forces to put on a 20 minute advent gathering. We were in charge of lighting the 3rd week of advent candles (light, promise and hope) and then add a story of a person who personified the meaning of the 3 candles. The person that was chosen was Santa Lucia in that she was giving person who brought light into peoples lives when it didn't look like there was a lot of hope. The students handed out paper Santa Lucia buns that had one of those words on it ....and the audience was to make a personal wish of light, promise or hope for someone in their lives. Another feature of this was that some of the students were able to share their musical talent. Throughout the entire day, we had so many words of appreciation given to our class. They did an awesome job!

Amazingly, throughout all of this....we were able to publish our books in the writing unit of "How To's" . We have everything from How to Brush Your Hair, or Paint a Picture....even one on "How to Listen to the Teachers" ! They are delightful. We will be sending them home the week we get back from break.....but as soon as you have read them, they need to come back for our class library of published books!

Were you able to see our rock museum? The students proudly displayed their favorite rocks. We got a lot of amazing remarks from the lower school students! When we get back from break, we will get a chance to tumble our favorite rock and make them beautiful enough to hang as a necklace!

As many of you saw, the Holiday Program was a huge hit. We had 3 different rehearsals throughout the last week and the final product was beautiful. We have some true performers in our group!

Many of you have probably already received the mid year comment cards. When I write my comments, I am mindful to tell you how amazing each one of your children is and also the goals that I have set up for them for the rest of the year. Your children all have been progressing beautifully and I am anticipating so much more in the next five months!  In the math section, you will see that a lot of the markers have been marked with a N/I. That is either because we haven't introduced them yet or it is due to the new math program. Please read this note from Peg Bailey to explain more:

Dear Parents:
At the end of this week, your child's first semester progress report will arrive in your homes.  It's always a great time to reflect on all that our student's have accomplished . . . both as learners, friends, and classroom citizens.  You may notice that there are several markers in the Mathematics section of the report that are marked as "not introduced".  As you know, we've shifted our curriculum to Math In Focus (MIF), which has a different emphasis in content and sequence.  We will be revising the math section of our progress report for next year, giving us this year to implement MIF and identify our priority learning objectives in the curriculum.  Please refer to the narrative comments to gauge your child's progress in math this year.

As for what you can do over the holiday break? We did send home - "just right" books that your child  can read to you.  "Just right" meaning ...that they could read through most of it....but might have a challenge word here or there. These books are to be read when you have some relaxing time that you can enjoy and encourage your child's reading growth. They are not meant to be a daily assignment. 
The other thing that I encourage if you have a few extra minutes....or if you are standing in long lines...or on a long road practicing math facts. The last week we have been spending a lot of time with math facts to 10.......doubles (2+2, 3+3, 4+4 etc....), doubles 3+3+1. 8+8+1 etc.....) and some math facts that include a teen number and a number up to 10 (13+6, 17+2 etc...) The students are capable of solving all of the equations that we have been working on.....but need some additional support with automaticity. We have been working on many strategies to get them to solve these equations...but sometimes the basic speed of the math fact can get in the if you have time....take a few minutes here or there to run some math fact practice. 

Here it is.....I promised you!

I hope that your holiday vacation is filled with lots of love and time to rest. We all need it after this very busy month!