goals and plans

Posted by Nancy Wollum on 5/15/2021

Hello Everyone!


A beautiful sunny week gave us lots of oppportunities for outdoor time.  We have begun our HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES  IB unit where we are exploring the connections between nature and ourselves.  We spent one afternoon just looking more closely at things (lots of magnifiers) that are so familiar we might not notice them anymore.  We discovered and discussed 'wonderings' about little bugs we found, dandelions, apple blossoms, and new pine tree growth. We talked about the consistancy of natural cycles - seasons, blooming, growth -that helps us feel comforted even in times of great change in our lives.  In the coming weeks, we will be exploring plant and animal adaptations, nature's effective designs, and how humans can learn from how nature functions. 


Students have signed up for another round of sharing;  T-F a selected student shares something with particular attention to the structure of their presentation:  introduction, some details, conclusion.  They have bcome quite adept at this;  although it is not required, many students plan and practice their presentations before their sharing date for a more professional presentation.  It is so impressive to see the growth and confidence these students have developed as public speakers.


We have begun end-of-year screenings. The kids have shown amazing growth in, independently and confidently, electronically accessing their test site and using their testing tools; this is a big change from our fall testing! Our testing continues this week and perhaps into the next.  I am trying to spread the testing out a bit so students have time to do their best and not feel stressed or overwhelmed with the process.


MATH:  more with fractions - sharing and grouping -with ants and food; ask your student about this fun group work! Daily rectangles are building rectangular arrays that go with each date of the month; we are learning concepts like 'area', labeling our answers, the addtion-multiplication connection, and introductions to prime and composite numbers.  We have also been looking at subtraction in yet another method: 'the trading of tens to ones'.  This is an important understanding that often results in errors when just learning/using the standard algorithm so we are really digging into the foundation of this process. We will continue to practice but much more is done with subtraction and ten trades in 3rd grade.  Our goal is to be really comfortable with decomposition and modeling (in numberlines and fact families and all addition and subtraction strategies) so the connection to 'ten trading' makes more sense in the future.


WORD WORK: We are on our last (WOW!) two week cycle of reading and spelling common vowel paired words.  This cycle is the /au/ and /aw/ sounds.  I hope you have seen your student's list of words; I have encouraged them to just look at the list nightly and practice spelling a few to get a feeling for the words.  Reviewing those trick words are important too as these are words that commonly show up in 2nd grade reading and that do not consistently follow a spelling pattern.  Knowing these words leads to more fluent reading.


In our Approaches to Learning (ALTs), we are focusing on taking responsibility for our own learning with more practice with goal setting and planning.  Your student brought home their Plan To Achieve Friday Fun for this coming week.  It is their own plan - I've only reminded them that there is no 'homework', just work to to choose to take home if they want to stay on track for F.F.  Time use and personal time management in class is essential for stress-free success: I try to plan class work to be work students can usually complete in the work time provided in class. Most days there is more than 45 minutes of choice free work time spread out over the day. (Using this time wisely is the key to work completion in class.) Your student's plan is their own... and there is a wide variety of plans in this class; we will talk about realistic planning this coming week and reflect on our goal and planning daily. The plan is coming home for your signature just so you can see your student's thinking process and perhaps talk with them about 'how the plan is coming along' each day this week.  As the leaders in your student's world, making connections to how you plan and set goals will help your student see the real world connections to this small but essential activity.


As we inch toward summer, typically students can feel the 'lessening of purpose' with school expectations. This can cause greater stresses with personal relationships, group work, time choices, and work completion. We will be spending more deliberate time with our mindfulness activities in the next few weeks and our Classroom Thoughts- To-Keep-In-Mind *Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated  *The Three Gates of Speech (meaning if a statement does not meet these 3 gates, it should perhaps not be expressed): 1)Is it true?  2)Is it kind?  3)Is it useful?  *What If Everybody Did? 


THANK YOU to all that are communicating regularly and helping with getting our students successfully to the close of our year!


SPECIAL THANKS to Laura Siebecker for her generous donation of new, FRESH writing tools for our classroom.  There is nothing like new markers and colored pencils to inspire our imaginations!