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Middle Elementary update for December, 2011

A huge thanks to all the families that donated food and or time to our Friendship Feast/City of Ember celebration. It’s stunning how many math, science, social studies, reading and interpersonal skills we incorporated into this event. Please keep reading our blog posts to see what is happening in Mary, Salli and Tammy’s classrooms.

Each classroom will have finished The City of Ember and started its sequel, The People of Sparks, during November or December. We teach many comprehension strategies while listening to the exciting stories. Generally, new reading and writing strategies are taught in an I Do, We Do, You Do format. The new strategy is modeled by the teacher (I Do), the children practice it in pairs, groups or with teacher guidance (We Do) and then the children try it on their own (You Do).

By this time in the year, most children should be fluent in the following comprehension strategies: Questioning, Predictions, Visualizing and Connections. The strategies of Summarizing and Inferencing take a little longer for all children to master and we spend a lot more time in the I Do and We Do stages with these. All of the strategies mentioned above are good for children to use orally and for 3rd graders to use as writing prompts for their weekly homework paragraph.

All classes are also exploring nonfiction as we read and get ready to write about communities. Three major nonfiction strategies are 1) Use text features (titles, headings, captions, graphics) 2) Find the main idea 3) Determine importance. All three classes are working on slightly different things during their writing workshop time. Be sure to check the blogs for more details.

Madly, we measure away in math. 2/3 students are using standard and metric units to measure distance, perimeter and area. Hand your child a tape measure on a rainy day and see if they can find the perimeter of the living room in feet or inches. We will head into geometry in December as well and come back to measuring mass and capacity later this year.

Please remember to send in mittens and hats if the weather will be in the 40s or below. We’ve been lucky with lice so far this year, and we don’t want to share hats, but we also don’t want frozen ears.

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