Sunday, January 31, 2016

Leaping into February

Hello Families!

It's hard to believe, but it's true, February is here, and even with an extra day this year it is still the shortest month, so I'm sure it will pass by just as quick as January. Here's an update with some new happenings in Mr. Abbott's class (we're working on getting pictures into the iPad to upload here, I'd blame the Classroom Photographer, but as the Head Kid In Charge, I think the buck stops here).

Scholastic: Wow! We had such a great order in January that we got free bookmarks for everyone, a free book for everyone, and a coupon for a free $5 book if you spend $10 in February! That was the most fun book order to open up yet! I will be placing our February book order this Friday, February 5th, so if you want to use that coupon please make sure to place your order online by Friday!

Conferences: Conferences are this week! See your email for a reminder in case you haven't signed up yet.

Yearbooks: Yearbook orders are pouring in, it will be so much fun when they arrive! If you haven't placed your yearbook order yet and plan to, please do it soon. If you need help with this, please let me know.

Math: You should have gotten a bunch of basic operations assessments back in last week's Friday Folder. We use some of that information to help figure out where and what to focus on in the coming weeks. We're also halfway through Math Unit 5, we've been practicing fractions and strategies for multiplication. Even on nights with no Home Link, feel free to keep practicing those facts! If there are 6 cars in a parking lot and 4 motorcycles, how many tires are there all together?

Reading: We're between reading units right now, and taking some time before vacation to catch up on Read to Self before our Mystery Books disappear to the back room again. I'll give it away: the culprit who will commit this crime? Mr. Abbott!

Writing: We've printed out all of our Persuasive Pieces, and I have to say, they're pretty impressive. Many future lawyers, advocates, and lobbyists for change are expressing their views. We're using some of our writing time now to work on our Google Slides presentations about countries, color in our country flags, and create water-colored maps of our countries.

Cursive/Typing: We've learned all of the "tow-truck" letters, and not it's just practice, practice, practice! Kiddos have the option, as well, to work on their typing skills, which progresses completely independently for everyone.

Laptops/Technology: We continue our explorations with Google Slides, and just added "Prodigy" as a new option for math practice. Mr. Abbott just went to a conference on technology in eduction, and we'll be returning to Kidblog this week to write some more persuasive pieces as a way of experimenting of linking our Google Drives to Kidblog, all via the cloud! Warning to parents: we may start sending out more updates about classroom activities via Twitter! This looks like a fun, quick way to keep you posted on class events and share what's going on.

Thank you to parents who were able to come in and help us with publishing and grading help, and when you see your child's amazing portfolio/White Book, an extra thank you to Lynne Gawtry for gluing all our work into them over the weekend.

Take care and see you soon,
Todd

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Updates

Hello Families!

Wow, January is moving along at quite a fast clip. Here are some  updates to keep you current on what's going on in Mr. Abbott's class at YES.

Yearbooks: The yearbook order form is coming home in this week's Friday Folder. I strongly encourage you to consider getting a yearbook for your scholar to remember the year by. They're super fun to have friends sign, and when they come in everyone wants one! If the price is prohibitive, please let me know and we'll see if we can work something out.

Mysteries: We're finishing up our mystery book unit this week. You may hear talk of a new detective in town: Piggins! He's the butler who knows how to deduce better than any other anthropomorphic pig around. Detectives have done a great job learning about mystery terms and applying them to in-class mysteries ranging from code-breaking to pattern recognition to good old sleuthing. I hope they've had as much fun as I have!

Country Reports: We're well into our geography unit, and you're probably hearing a few things about research and Google slides and projects. We've wrapped up our State work, and now your geographer is working on two projects:
-In Class, we're making digital slideshows using Google Slides. This will all be happening in school and we'll have time to share them later.
-At Home, you should be helping your geographer brainstorm ideas for a project based out of the same country that he or she is doing a slideshow for. This work (travel brochure, diorama, model, 3D map, etc) is taking place at home, and is due back after vacation. We'll be showcasing at a learning celebration on Thursday, February 25th from 8:15-9:00am. They sound very exciting so far.

Opinion Writing: We've selected our final topic for opinion and persuasive writing, and will be getting them published next week. Authors have been doing a great job of using arguments to convince readers, and not just pleading, to make their cases!

Math: We just started up Unit 5 in math. The Unit 4 assessment will be in the Friday Folders this weekend, they came out very strong. Lots and lots of work with area and perimeter, our mathemagicians sound quite erudite about geometric terms at this point!

Mindfulness: Mrs. DiRusso visits us every Tuesday at 2:15 for a brief lesson in Mindfulness. We've been practicing and learning new strategies to keep our busy minds quiet and focused. Ask your practitioner about this weeks goal!

Wow, that was a lot. I'll be back later this week with some photo updates for you!

Take care,
Todd

Monday, January 11, 2016

Post Card Shares!

In case yours has gone missing, here is a (poorly photographed) copy of January's share calendar. Can't wait to see all the exciting places! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hello Families!

Welcome to 2016! I hope you and your family and loved ones had a good start to the new year. Aside from a little snow, it's been hard to tell if it's December or April lately. Hazel and I have been taking full advantage of this and getting outside as much as possible!

A few updates on how things are going and what's coming up. We had our Read-a-Math-a-Game-a-Thon on Tuesday, and I think it was a rousing success. Any day that I get to wear pajamas and the kids can show how independent and self-sufficient they are is a huge win in my book. I hope you heard back positive things, as well.

A hearty thank you to everyone who sent in a gift, as well. As I told the kids: the best gift to me is how amazing they are each and every day. I will be sending out individual thank-yous soon!

When we get back next week we will continue our excursions into the world of mysteries. We solved our first grade-wide mystery, and figured out who was sending us cryptic hints and mystery supplies. Didn't hear about it? Ask your detective!

We will also continue writing our persuasive pieces. I think getting 5 minutes of extra recess for 3 weeks has really helped our scholars focus and made our transitions from one activity to the next super smooth. I am excited to see how well that practice moves into the new year.

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon!

Todd