Nov 18th, 2013 by ebelknap
It is hard to believe that the first trimester is ending. I look forward to seeing you all at parent conferences. Report cards come home this Wednesday. We will discuss report cards and set goals for the next trimester at conferences.
We are going to the Fairbanks Museum next Tuesday for the day. Please have kids bring snack & lunch for the day. The cost of the trip is $8. Please let us know if you are in need of scholarship funds for the trip.
This Wednesday is our Thanksgiving Lunch @11:25. I am hoping to go to Fayston Elementary to have lunch with my daughter since their luncheon is that same day. Enjoy the yummy food!
Oct 11th, 2013 by ebelknap
Kids did a great job this week on the NECAP testing. NECAPs test the knowledge that students have gained from prior years of learning. The photo above shows the mindfulness work we do at morning meeting that came in handy this week during testing. Kids were prompted to use positive self-talk and deep breathing techniques in order to reduce testing taking anxiety and improve focus. Everyone earned a “WE ROCK” card for their engagement during testing!!!!
Oct 11th, 2013 by ebelknap
In reading class (before NECAP took over our lives a bit!) we were learning how to build stamina as readers. We discussed a few tips for kids to use to become stronger readers with greater stamina for reading.
Strategies for Stamina:
• Try not to point under words. Follow the words with your eyes instead.
• Try not to read aloud. Read with your read aloud voice in your head.
• Guard against constant rereading. Only reread when you are confused.
• Read some parts faster, especially when it’s clear as to what is happening.
Some of these strategies were useful when kids were just learning how to read. For example, tracking the words with your finger helps train your eyes to follow the words as you read. However, if you see your child holding onto any beginning reader strategies encourage them to ditch these old habits!
Sep 25th, 2013 by ebelknap
Our focus in reading class has been on improving our lives as readers. We have learned what type of environment we need to make reading the best it can be, how to choose books carefully, and how to begin to take note of bad reading habits.
It is critical for all readers to be choosing books carefully. While it is great to, at times be reading books that are a stretch, it is also important to read books that are “just right” for the reader. When choosing books kids have been encouraged to follow these guidelines:
Make sure you………
• understand what you are reading
• find the book interesting
• get most of the words right
• read at a smooth pace
• read with expression easily
• read noticing punctuation
When a child has chosen a book that fits “just right” reading will be more enjoyable!
Next post will be on how to ditch those bad reading habits!
Sep 10th, 2013 by ebelknap
The copier is back in action so we were able to begin spelling today. We are doing a “practice” week to help set routines and procedures. I have given all the fourth graders the same word list and all the third graders the same word list. This will change the week after next and kids will get words that fit their spelling level, according to the spelling assessment they completed last week. I want kids to get the routine down before I start separate groups.
Spelling homework will be assigned nightly Monday-Thursday. Monday & Wednesday nights they will sort their words, say/spell their words and write the sort in their spelling notebook. On Tuesday nights they will write sentences using their words & on Thursday nights study for their Friday quiz by taking a practice quiz. An adult or older sibling should be giving the practice quiz so kids know what words to study more.
This homework schedule is a bit flexible as long as there is studying of the words each night. For example it is ok to stretch out the sentence writing over the week as long as it is completed by Friday. Third graders should try to use at least 10 of their words in sentences (a sentence for each word) and fourth graders should try to write a sentence for all of their spelling words by the end of the week. Please help your child decide what works best for them, yet keeping high standards for their best effort in getting the work completed.
Please email me with questions but know we are practicing this routine in class!
Sep 9th, 2013 by ebelknap
It is great to be back in school! Kids having been working hard to learn the routines & expectations of their new classrooms, while getting reacquainted with one another. As a homeroom group (Belknap3/4) we have been working on group team building and learning mindfulness strategies. We have played games to get to know one another and learned some breathing techniques to help us be calm and focused during learning times.
In reading we have been reflecting on our lives as readers. We discussed the “peaks and pits” of our reading careers, which led us to writing reading resolutions for the year. Students are committed to making reading the best it can be and their resolutions will help lead them in this direction.
In writing we are in the pre-writing stage for our first writing piece. We have been brainstorming “small moment” stories that will result in writing personal narratives. We have shared funny stories with one another and discussed how these stories can be put into print.
Third and fourth graders meet separately for reading with me, and as a homeroom group for writing. Both groups will follow the same format yet the work will be differentiated to meet students’ individual needs. We were thrown a curve ball this morning when the copier broke down, so spelling is a bit delayed this week. As a result we will start with a shortened spelling list but the quiz will still be on Friday. Please see the homework page of this blog for details on spelling homework. Words will come home tomorrow ……assuming the copier will be fixed!
Please remember to sign your child’s homework book nightly after homework has been completed. If you have questions about homework please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a note in the assignment book.
Stay in touch!