October News

Monthly News




THANK YOU: Thank you to all of you who have made time to volunteer in the classroom and/or donated supplies! It helps our class so much. 

PARENT CONFERENCES: Almost everyone has chosen a time for parent-teacher-student conferences. If you haven’t yet, please do so as soon as possible by visiting the schedule at: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C0C4CAAAA2CA0FC1-orange2

HOMEWORK: Please help your child remember to turn in completed homework on Fridays. It is your child’s responsibility to make sure the cover sheet of the packet is filled out & initialed by you. This includes reading 20 minutes a night & logging onto ST Math for 20 minutes a night.

HELP NEEDED: We can always use extra reading buddies and writing partners. If you are ever free between 8:30-10:25am come on in and we’ll put you to work. 

FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL:  This fun day is coming up on Sat., Oct. 27th! Bring your friends and family and help Orange Cluster’s booths. We need volunteers to set up and staff the day. Please sign up to take a shift or two:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4aa4ae29a7fe3-orange

Our room moms, Sheri and Joanne, are working overtime to make the Fall Family Festival super fun. Sheri (Brooke’s mom) is organizing the day and Joanne (Kia’s mom) is in charge of Orange Cluster’s gift basket for the auction. We’re doing the same one as last year, Gift Cards Galore, so please let Joanne know if you can contribute anything.


Classroom Update:


In Reader’s Workshop, each child has been assigned an "animal basket" for books based on Columbia Teacher’s College reading assessment system. This is their “just right” book. They will choose books from this basket for reading independently at Reader's Workshop. They will also choose a free choice book to read when they have finished their animal basket book or at other times of the day. Our lessons have focused on word attack strategies to decode new or challenging words: chunking, finding a smaller word inside a word, word structure (prefix, root, or suffix) and context clues. This month we’re shifting the focus to these comprehension strategies: activating prior knowledge, wondering, making connections, visualizing, asking questions, predicting, monitoring for meaning, summarizing and inferring.

In Writer’s Workshop, the children are working on their personal narrative. After learning different ways to collect story ideas, each student picked a story to tell from their own lives. As we work on this story, the class is learning about the writing process. They planned their story (pre-write) using a sequencing map. Once their pre-write was complete using a strong lead and a powerful ending, each student is writing a rough draft. This draft is the first writing of their story. The goal of the rough draft is to get their story down on paper. Now we are jumping into revising – rereading our rough drafts to make our stories better. The revising step is about the content of our stories – does it make sense and are we creating strong images in the reader’s mind? Our first revising lesson was about “boring words.” We have “laid to rest” several words – nice, good, and mad are a few examples. Ask your student what are some of the other words that RIP.

The children got their first individualized spelling packets the last week of September. At the beginning of the year, they were giving a spelling test, which covers a variety of spelling rules and phonics. Based on this assessment, students are given an individualized packet, which helps them learn these “rules.”  It is a two-week process. The first week they get the packet and work on it independently. In the second week, they fix their mistakes in order to learn the “rules” better. This week they are fixing any mistakes. After that, you’ll see the packets come home so you can see what spelling strategies they are working on.

The class has also been working on writing complete sentences. We spent a few days playing a game where one student secretly built a sentence using a given set of words. They wrote this sentence down. Student number 2 then had to draw a picture to depict the sentence. The next student (#3) had to write a sentence only seeing the picture drawn by student #2. Finally, student #4 drew a picture to match the previous sentence. The game is similar to telephone, but in written form. It was a really silly game with lots of laughs. The class also discussed the requirements of a complete sentence: beginning capitalization, ending punctuation and a complete thought that makes sense. We will continue to review this, but please reinforce this at home.


In Math, we have been practicing and manipulating place value to review and strengthen everyone’s number sense. We’ve identified standard form, expanded notation, and word form. We’re exploring 100s Charts and looking for patterns with the digits. We’re beginning to compare three digit numbers and soon we’ll begin the challenging skills of rounding & estimating.

We are also working with mental math strategies and problem solving. The class has seen a list of addition problems (number strings) and they are challenged to solve them mentally. In small groups of 6, the group listens to each other’s strategies in solving the problems. Here are some examples of these number strings: 47 + 20, 47 + 3, 47 + 23, 147 + 20, 147 + 25, 147 + 35, 341 + 36. The discussions are rich and great review for vocabulary like tens and ones, adding on or counting on. We have also attacked our first story problem. Before we solved the problem, the class read it over to visualize what was happening in the problem in order to better understand what was being asked. We then dug into the details of the problem and what information was most important. The final step before solving the problem was to reread the questions that needed to be answered. Once these steps were complete, each student solved the problem independently. These problems were collected and Mrs. Granick is looking them over to better understand where each student is in their math development. In future story problems, the students will share their strategies with each other in order to deepen their understanding and to learn new approaches!

The students have been given an individualized math packet. They were assessed at the beginning of the year on different math skills. (We called it arithmetic back in the day!) They work on the packet in class on Mondays. As we talked about at Back to School night, this is one very small component of our math program.

We have also started giving the students math fact tests. A great deal of them passed addition facts the very first time! They will move onto the next fact if they accurately know 50 facts in about four minutes. If they pass, then you will see flash cards come home for the next skill. Learning their math facts with automaticity will help your child with their number manipulation both mentally and on paper.


In Science, the Inventors and Engineers have been practicing the engineering design process. They have been busy brainstorming, choosing their best idea as a group, developing that idea, building it, testing it and then analyzing their results to improve their design. In cooperative groups they created a pasta rover and are in the midst of designing their new and improved version - rover #2. They created a robot arm out of cardboard, string, straws, and a brass fastener in order to successfully move a cup and pick up a target cup. Next up, the students are creating a shock absorbing system that will protect two “astronauts” when they land.

The Creators and Designers have participated in several activities to help them understand how simple machines make completing work easier. They are working in groups of four using a wedge, lever, screw, pulley, wheel and axle, and inclined plane to complete a task and to learn how the machine is most effective. They are also learning to work cooperatively with each other in order to reach a common goal.


The class (and school) is wrapping up our first unit of Cooperation in our Roots of Respect curriculum. The class participated in different activities that helped them work as a team. We played two engaging games – Cup Stacking and the Quiet Game. In Cup Stacking, groups of 6 students had to stack 6 cups in a pyramid using only a rubber band with 6 strings attached to the rubber band. They were not allowed to touch the cups with their hands. In the Quiet Game, the students were asked to make a square using different shaped pieces without talking! They could not take pieces from one another and had to wait to be offered a piece. Both of these activities along with several books we read aloud, illustrated to the class the importance of working as a team by being respectful and listening to one another. Cooperation is a great way to start the year! Next up…Gratitude.


Upcoming Dates:

Thurs., Oct. 4th                    Gov. Council 5:30pm & Friends 7pm

Tues., Oct. 9th                      Make Up Picture Day

Sat., Oct. 27th                      Fall Family Festival 11:00am – 4:00pm

Expiration Date: 
Jul 31