We have almost completed our family heritage shares. We tasted great food from family recipes, listened to songs, saw many pictures and immigration papers and learned about the flags and cultures of our classmate's ancestor's countries. Some shares provided a window into a special family tradition. Our classroom is filled with posters, pictures and displays. Hopefully you can stop by and check them out! This unit has been a wonderful celebration of how diverse our backgrounds are, but how similar we all are in so many ways.
To complete our study we are now working with dance resident artist L'Ana Burton. Her first day was today and what fun it was! We learned how to move with gestures (some of us needed to use the technique of improvisation), a wake-up dance, and the negative and positive spaces that dancers use. We also chose a partner to dance with the next time we see L'Ana. I hope the children shared the paper she sent home with the logo of her dance company, along with a report of something new they learned with her today. Please visit the photos page for some great snapshots of our family heritage projects as well as our first day with L'Ana.
In other classroom news, we have almost completed our work with place value in math and will begin reviewing subtracting as well as learning about measurement. Language arts has been filled with writers having publishing conferences. Almost everyone has had a piece accepted by the Literary Board so be on the lookout for these pieces of writing on the Writers' Wall! Bookmaking will begin soon. We have been learning about the writing diamond and have been mapping stories for beginning, middle and ending elements. We are also learning about character's feelings and powerful feeling words. The reading comprehension strategies we have been focusing on include questioning, cause and effect and retelling. Long vowel patterns has been our phonics focus.
I would also like to remind families to spend time reading stories and chapter books together. Listening to stories that may be above the student's independent level of comprehension helps them develop many higher level skills. Advanced vocabulary, deeper understanding of the character's actions, details relating to the setting, figures of speech, and author's tools such as using similies, personification, and forshadowing are all areas in which your child can develop a better understanding when reading a book with an adult. Independent practice is necessary as well, but please make some time to cuddle up together and share a wonderful book!