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20 days of school so far… 7 October, 2007

Posted by teacherjennifer in General.
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VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT: LET’S TALK ABOUT SIGHT WORDS

For three weeks, we have been studying our sight words in class. Sight words comprise 50% to 75% of the words in childrens’ books. When students memorize the words by sight (rather than sounding them out) they will become extremely confident, successful readers.

By the end of this week, I will have completed the students Level 1 (Pre-Primer) sight word pretests. We do this one-on-one in class. Look in the ever-important home folder to find the list with a pretest score on it. Please do not be alarmed if your child only knows 10 or 15 of them… it’s just a pretest. My goal is 100% by the end of November. We study them 4-5 times a week during class, and I encourage you to copy the words on to index cards and practice them at home. All students learn at different levels, and some students have reached 100% already, so I will be moving them up to the Primer level.

Here are 2 websites you can use to sharpen your child’s skills:

This is where I get all my classroom resources. It is a great source for lists, printable flashcards, and a downloadable program that we use in class:
http://www.mrsperkins.com/dolch.htm

Also, this Dolch words website has a wonderful explanation of sight words, and some more printable lists.
http://www.dolch-words.com/dolch.html

If you feel like you’re tangled in a complicated spider web of lists, websites, etc. please come in and talk to me. Sometimes it’s just easier face to face!

TEACHER, WHAT’S A GRADE???

I thought I would take a moment to explain my grading system. First, we should remind ourselves that there were no formal “grades” in most of their previous Beginners classrooms. Getting a “grade” can be tough concept for students to understand. In my experience, Infant I students don’t care at all about those little red numbers that I put at the tops of their papers. But, as the school year rolls on, they become more accustomed to them and gain a greater understanding of what exactly goes onto their report cards. Then, in turn, they care about improving them. Bingo!

When your child gets a paper back, there is a (red) fraction grade on the top, for example, 10/10 or 4/6. I have explained to the students that the bottom number (the base) is how many problems they had to do, and the top is how many they got right. If it is a more involved project, they will get a slip of paper called a RUBRIC, which is printed and filled out by me, and stapled to their projects. This rubric is a way to show both students and parents exactly what they are being graded on. It’s a very fair system that tells them what they’ve done correctly, and what they can do better on next time; rather than just giving them a percentage. Look for a rubric attached to our 2-week-long Language Arts Poem project, which had a 40 point base; and our Social Studies project called “A Book About Me” that will come home on Monday. I encourage you to look over these things with your child and get to know what they are doing right, and what they can improve.

DOES ANYONE HAVE A HOT PLATE WE CAN BORROW FOR SCIENCE?

When we start our Science study of solids, liquids, and gases, I would like to have a hot plate to work with as a heat source. Does anyone have one we could borrow for a few days? Just a single-burner plug-in-to-the-wall one would be great. Thanks for checking!

HOME FOLDERS

So far, I am very happy with the students homework and folder organization. Those home folders are getting a little heavy though, so have your child empty them out on the weekends. Graded papers are on the left, and homework is on the right.

MONDAY, THE 15TH OF OCTOBER IS A SCHOOL HOLIDAY!

Classes will resume on the 16th.

MATH AND LANGUAGE ARTS BOOKS- THE READING IS HARD!!!!

In my experience, our Math and Language Arts books have always been at a reading level that is quite difficult for most of the kids at the beginning of the school year. Be assured that this will improve as the year moves on. When you help your child with homework, be as patient as you can, and point to the words as you read them. This especially applies to the little word problems that are at the bottom of the math pages. I tell the children to find the numbers and look for familiar words like “more”, “less” or “in all” that are part of our math vocabulary, and solve the problem as best as they can.

IS YOUR CHILD ENJOYING HIS/HER CLASSROOM JOB?

Darian is working hard passing out books and papers, and Faith Noel is proud to count out little blue cubes to represent how many days we’ve been at school. Rhyan loves to remind me that it’s time for him to go out and clap out the erasers at the end of the day. Ask your child what jobs he/she had had, and which they’re looking forward to. Having a classroom responsibility, whether big or small, builds a sense of community and tests the children on their skills and memory!

Thanks for reading! Feel to email me regarding anything at all: rubrics, sight words, compliments, complaints, etc. Let’s keep communication strong and show the kids that we are genuinely interested in their schooling!

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