December/January

As usual, this month has been a very busy one in our classroom. In math, we completed our unit on place value. In this unit, we identified the ones, tens, and hundreds columns when looking at a number. We also compared numbers, in terms of less than or greater than, using these symbols: < or >. The students learned to ways to distinguish even and odd numbers. We began to write numbers in a written format using words instead of the numerical format.

We have also been continuing to practice our addition and subtraction facts. I know you have all been working hard with your children to practice the facts with them every night. Thank you for all the work you have done because the difference can been seen through the students’ scores. Over half of the class has already reached the goal of being able to complete 30 addition problems correctly in less than 3 minutes and half of the class has already met the goal of being able to complete 30 subtraction problems correctly in less than 3 minutes. Bravo!

We are finishing up our unit in math on mental addition. The students learned strategies to add 2 digit numbers in their head. The students were shown how to add 2 digit numbers using a hundreds chart. Another name for this strategy is arrow math. The students also learned to solve word problems where information is provided and they need to find the pattern in order to arrive at the answer. In January, we will be beginning the topic of mental subtraction.

In grammar, we have continued to learn about types of nouns. The students have been identifying various nouns in a sentence. We also have been learning about the difference between singular and plural. The students have learned that when a noun is plural, is it necessary to add an s to the word, except for a few exceptions where an x is added. The students have been taught about singular articles which are un, une, le and la, as well as plural articles which are des and les. We have begun studying our first verb which is être and in English it means ‘to be.’ The students are learning the various forms of être and when to use each form. They are beginning to understand which forms go with specific subject pronouns in a sentence. Another concept that has been presented is changing a name or names and replacing it or them with the appropriate subject pronoun.

In spelling, we are continuing to write sentences for the words of the week. We now write 6 sentences on Tuesday and 6 on Wednesday since there are now 12 words on the list each week. The students are working hard to expand their ideas to write more thoughtful and creative sentences. When the sentences are handed back to them, they correct the words that I have circled on their papers.

It is important that the number of mistakes is slowly decreasing each week. If you do not see a change, then this is a sign your child needs more practice with sounds and syllables in French. Please have your child practice the Elements Technique de Lecture which can be found on the Placentino website. The students have been formally instructed on the vowels this year and each week we will be doing a new sound. The sounds we have covered so far are oi, ou, au/eau, eu, and eur, ch, gn, on/om. The students are now responsible for writing the appropriate form of the verb
être, as well as knowing when to add plural markers to nouns.

Throughout the past few weeks, I have noticed some students are not retaining the spelling words from previous lists. These words will appear frequently on the weekly dictation and students will be using them in their sentence writing. It is imperative that they are mastered this year. Please review the words from the previous spelling lists with your child at home. If you have lost one of some of the lists, please let me know and I would be happy to send home another copy.

In reading, we have finished our first four stories in our basal reader, Au parc, La natation, Chez le dentiste and A l’autodrome. An important aspect to these stories was having the children recognize the difference between the narrative and the dialogue. As a class, we acted out several of the stories to practice this concept. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to get to be one of the characters from the story. We are working on the next story which Une belle journée. In this story, the family spends the day at the circus. This is the first story in our reader to have chapters, each of which explains the events the family saw or participated in while at the circus. We have been discussing and analyzing this story in reading groups. To ensure comprehension of the story, we have been completing pages in our workbook which goes with our basal reader.

In social studies, we continue to discuss the Woodland Native Americans, noting the difference between our lifestyle and that of the Native American's. Unfortunately, the Native American Trail has been postponed until the spring. I will let you know when the new date has been finalized for the trail. I hope those who wanted to volunteer will still be available for the new date.

We have written the first draft of a story about our Thanksgiving Day that we had with our family. For this story, we have been going through the entire writing process including brainstorming, first draft, peer editing, second draft and a final draft. Some students are at the peer editing stage and some students have already completed their second draft.

Thank you for all the work you have done to help the children so far this year! It is due to the partnership between home and school in which the students will be able to be most successful. I hope all of you have an enjoyable vacation and a safe holiday with your family and friends.

P.S. - Many children are still forgetting their books on library day. Please help them to remember. Library day is every Friday.

Tissues are running low in the classroom and with the cold season upon us; they would be most appreciated!

Thank you!

Mlle Smith