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February Newsletter

 

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

                                                     Martin Luther King Jr.

 

In honor of Black History month we remember and acknowledge the work and sacrifices made by those who came before us, and continue their work by being the best we can be every day.

 

The students have been busy working on their writing skills, specifically on a persuasive piece, where they were tasked with the question “ Should elementary students have cell phones in school?”  As you can imagine there was a HUGE animated discussion over this topic which helped to engage and get their creative minds working overtime with the prospect of forcing me to bend to their will and concede on this topic.  We conferenced and completed a final copy which can be found in their Google classroom.

 

Along with reader response writings based our whole group read, we have begun a whole group writing piece that is research in nature, based on The River Ran Wild by Lynn Cherry.  Students have been asked to identify a social issue such as global warming, climate change, pollution, overcrowding, clean drinking water, etc. and have started a research piece that they will storyboard and write about. This will be on-going and take some time as it is our first formal research piece of the year as well as informational in nature.

 

The Bicycle Spy is our latest whole group read based on a young boy living in France in the 1940’s as the German occupation has taken hold of Europe. Marcel is a dreamer who one day hopes to participate in the Tour du France. We find Marcel becoming friends with Delphine, the new girl, when no one else has. Perhaps it is due to their shared love of racing. 

 

We have been challenging our skills in math by looking ahead into the future to see what it holds for us, while we continue to work hard on reinforcing our multiplication and division skills. This week we have done more work with fractions: finding equivalent fractions, simplifying fractions, as well as beginning to compare fractions. It seems a lot but the students seem to enjoy fractions more than multiplication and division. Please remember the multiplication and division facts are the foundation for all we do. Factoring is necessary for finding common denominators when working with fractions,  we can’t get away from it. Please have your child spend a few minutes each day reinforcing these skills.

 

The students have been working on an on-going NH Research project. To get the students started I began by assigning pages weekly to keep the project progressing. The students have been tasked with identifying major aspects of NH whether it be physical characteristics, state flower and bird, along with economical, educational, and historical aspects of the state. DUE DATE: February 12th. As a follow up to this project, our next whole group read, will be titled HALF A CHANCE by Cynthia Lord. This story takes place in New Hampshire and the students will be familiar with many references found within the text.

 

This week we will finish up Earth’s Structures and Processes with a final experiment in the category. The questions we will be asked is, “Will a mountain last forever?” We will see. What do you think? The students will work through trials to see what happens as friction begins to aggravate a stone structure.  Science will next take us through experiments based on plant and animal adaptations.

 

Valentine’s Day celebrations will be held on Friday, February 12th. Your child has brought home his or her “Charismatic Cupid” Secret Treat Bag. Please remember to remind your child  to  bring it to school on Friday so he or she has something special to celebrate with.

 

ZOOM Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on February 18th. February Break begins February 22nd. Enjoy the time with one another!. See you back here March 1st .

 

Thank you for all your patience and understanding and for all you do. Gina Udice





                                                             Happy Holidays

November / December

2020

   As we began the month of November , we continued our study of New Hampshire and used a mentor text to expand across the content areas of reading, writing, social studies and science.  Our study of New Hampshire took us on a tour of landmarks and Native Peoples. We created geopolitical maps and discussed the reasons why people may have moved around the state based on their needs.

  Upon returning from Christmas break, we will use A RIVER RAN WILD to storyboard on an environmental issue of our choice in the same way Lynn Cherry does in her beautifully illustrated story. This story will force us to discuss the environmental issues that took place in the past, are taking place in the present, and how we can prevent these issues in the future.

  As an independent project, the students will be asked to chose  an environmental issue that they feel passionate about and will storyboard causes and effects of the issue chosen. As always an informational writing piece will go along with the art. They will be busy!

  In small group, we continue to read articles that expose us to many different genres that allow us to develop skills. We are reading a piece now titled The Volcano that Changed the Earth where cause and effect and inferencing skills are focus skills to be explored and expanded upon. This story will allow us to jump back into science and discuss Earth’s structures, focusing on volcanoes, and conduct experiments based on them. Please take a moment to have a conversation with your child about the different stories we are actively engaged in on a weekly basis. You can also enjoy the stories yourselves by reading along with your child in Google classroom.

  We have completed our second whole group read titled The One and Only Ivan. This story is another heartwarming story about a group of animals caged in a mall forced to find a way to survive. It is a story of friendship, perseverance, and determination. Students are connecting on many different levels and sharing in the emotions the author hoped to evoke in readers. It’s fun to watch their faces and hear them giggle as they listen along to the story read aloud, most definitely a highlight of the day.

  We began The Lemonade War during Remote Learning Recess, a story I often use as a jumping off point to create entrepreneurs! The students will be asked to become involved in the story themselves and design their own lemonade stand. From soup to nuts the students will begin the process of owning their own lemonade stand from the ground level up and be involved in all the decisions it takes to be a successful business owner. We have had discussions about this project with the expectation that they will incorporate aspects of the story we are reading to help them complete the project at home.

  We continue to review multiplication and division facts on a daily basis. The students still seem to struggle with the memorization of these facts. While it is review, it is important to remember that 4th grade expectations require students to be fluent with their facts up to the 12 times tables. 5 minutes each night on a website of your choice to help reinforce these facts would help tremendously for those who have not achieved an 80% or greater on their checking progress assessments. It will also serve to boost confidence, which is equally important to a child’s abilities. Fractions are on our horizon!

      We have been actively engaged in many different types of writing on a daily basis. If you have been able to take a peek at your child’s writing section of Google classroom, there are 3 whole group writing pieces that can be found in each of their classrooms. Every writing piece started off with a piece of literature as well as whole group discussion before my modeling of the writing expectation. The students have been working extremely hard developing their skills. We have conferenced on their pieces and they have taken my direction and worked on edits and rewrites. Aside from the whole group writing pieces, which are organized, they have also been busy with their reader response journals where they have been responding to prompts based on our whole group reads.

  Thank you to those of you who helped to make Remote Learning Recess a Success. The class did an amazing job staying on task and keeping up with classroom expectations while being remote. Please remember I am here for you always. If ever an issue arises, please reach out and I will make myself available to help in any way I can.

Thank you for all you do!

Wishing You All Good Health and Happy Holidays with your loved ones!

Gina Udice


October 2020

 

We have been busy getting to know each other and building our community. Setting the tone and creating an environment that is conducive to learning for all students was the main goal for the first month of school.  We started off by reviewing our “Proclamations” of what a good learner is and how one behaves in order to create a community that is kind, caring, and respectful of one another. The students have enjoyed working together in small and whole group settings and have made fast friends as giggling is almost a constant in the room. A good sign that we are off to a great start!

 

Because of Winn Dixie has been our novel focus and we continue to meet new characters, explore their story lines, and feel empathy for these wonderful people that have become real to us. As we listen to their stories unfold, one can’t help but wonder what “sorrow tastes like” and  why does Otis feel such a strong connection to the animals in their cages, and more importantly, where can we get a dog like Winn Dixie? We have put ourselves in India Opal’s shoes and wish that we too could eat peanut butter sandwiches with Gloria Dump. Text to World connections are being made all throughout our classroom whether it’s to people in our families, friends, or strangers on the street that may also be a “ less fortunate.”

 

Our next story is titled The One and Only Ivan, a tale about a group of animals that finds themselves forced to make a change of their own, finding a courage of their own to keep a promise made to a friend. Our whole group writing will consist of answering the question Do you believe animals belong in a zoo? It will be a persuasive piece that the students have already formed their opinion about. I do believe I have a budding group of activists on my hands!

 

Along with the creative pieces, we have been working with skills such as summarizing, inferencing, comparing and contrasting characters, using perspective to determine what their mind’s eye sees. This more focused and detailed work can be found within the small groups/ guided reading setting and the students are super focused and busy! Look for their hard work in their green folders!

 

Yes, it is only October!

 

Six Traits and finding focus on the main Idea will help us to better improve our writing abilities and we will continue to use different literature pieces to help create ideas for creative writing pieces.

 

Our Community Read will take center stage this month as we read WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE, a beautifully woven picture book featuring a story about “making your own courage so big it brightens your heart, fills your fingers, and flows to your toes.” Stay tuned for the wonderful things to come out of this tale!

 

This class loves math! We have been busy with reviewing subtraction and multiplication skills along with the more challenging ones of division and distinguishing place value. Our WIN block will afford us the opportunity to challenge ourselves using centers, small group instruction, and computer time using Freckle and Prodigy Math. All passwords for these two additional math sites can be located on colored index cards in the back flap of the green folder Keep up the good work friends! 

 

 Our social studies curriculum begins with the discussion of communities, past and present, how NH came to be, who the people were and are that got us here, and how can we make things better not only for us now but for our future selves and families and the rest of our communities as well as the world we live in. Community outreach, organizations, clubs, becoming young activists are all part of the town, county, state, country, and world that we are a part of and strive to make better.

 

 

A quick reminder, that we are a NUT FREE classroom and as we begin to celebrate each other’s birthdays please know the policy has changed for sending in items to celebrate your child’s birthday. The items have to be store bought and individually wrapped. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

That’s it for now friends! Thank you for all you do and for the patience you display during these unprecedented times!

 

 

Enjoy the beautiful colors of the Fall……gina udice.

  September 2020

 

Dear Parents,

 

We are off to a great start! The students have done a beautiful job jumping right back into a routine with excitement and determination and have been busy reviewing many skills over the past few days. We are already 10 chapters into our whole group read Because of Winn Dixie. The students have fallen in love with the characters and are making text to self connections that they are sharing with each other as well as writing in their response journals.  We are even coming up with a list of 10 things we hope to remember about someone special just like the main character India Opal has done.

 

The students have begun their first whole group write based on THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE. We have used Six Traits IDEA bubbles to organize our thoughts and will begin adding fluff  (details) to those ideas to weave a story that you can picture in your mind. Many of you may find yourselves one of the things that make your child smile!

 

Guided reading will begin this week. Students will read Finding the Titanic and begin working on comprehension skills such as inferencing and drawing conclusions, identifying characters and setting along with plot and summary. I have assigned Finding the Titanic in their Google classroom. Here they can read the story again or choose to listen along to the audio as it is read to them. They will also find extras that they can listen to and/ or watch to learn supplemental information on the Titanic. Feel free to sit and listen along or read with your child and join us on our reading journey this year. All your child has to do is sign into their Google account, click on the icon that looks like the rubik’s cube in the top right, choose the classroom option, and it will take your child to where he or she needs to be. I will have assigned the story from STORYWORKS weekly, and they will have access.

 

Math has become an interactive white board event! We have been busy reviewing skills from 3rd grade along with learning something fun and new called Greg Tang math. This is the skill of looking at numbers and visually finding groups of 10 to help us add numbers in our minds (if possible) quickly without COUNTING on our fingers. They have come to love this and already feel more confident in their abilities. We have reviewed addition and subtraction as well as dabbled in multiplication as part of the review process. We started Math in Focus today, which is our district math program that begins with place value, comparing and rounding numbers.

 

We will be utilizing Google classroom, Google docs, and Google slides right from the start. Practice makes perfect! While I will provide many opportunities for your child to write traditionally with paper and pencil, I will often ask your child to write their “whole group writes” in Google classroom so I can interact with your child’s writing and provide feedback while he or she is writing.

In hopes of answering some questions about homework, here are a few tidbits of information:

 

Spelling began today. For some the list may be a review although no one remarked they remembered specific lists. This week’s spelling for me is more about review and ROUTINE.  Spelling is very routine and DAY SPECIFIC and can be turned in daily. You will see a spelling menu on the bottom of your child’s spelling list paper. The list that has the date on the top of it is the list for the week.  Each day has a specific skill. You will notice Wednesday’s assignment also works with dictionary skills. PLEASE CHOOSE HALF of the words to do dictionary skills with unless asked to do something different. If your child’s list consists of 15 words- do 7, if it consists of 12 please do 6, etc.

 

Although the spelling is day specific, if there is ever a time you want to swap out one day’s homework for another please feel free to do so.

 

As we progress into the month, I will add more homework. Typically it will go something like this:

 

Math Mondays – math paper and spelling

Techno Tuesdays- a technology math based assignment and spelling

Word of the Day Wednesday- a vocabulary writing and spelling

Thoughtful Thursdays - word problems and spelling

Fun Fridays- we will celebrate ourselves somehow : )

 

20 minutes of reading is typically expected every night. Feel free to use the STORYWORKS story of the week to reinforce comprehension skills as re-reading text adds to greater understanding of content.

 

Thank you for all you do in helping us be as successful as we can be during these unprecedented times. If ever you have any questions or concerns, please email or call and I will do my best to solve any problem I can. Look forward to seeing you all soon.

 

Gina Udice


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

  

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


    

 

 

 

 

 

 






   

 

 

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