Thursday, October 2, 2014

October News

     What a great September! It was wonderful meeting my homeroom parents in conferences, as well as seeing so many parents attend Back to School Night.  Your time and effort say so much to your child about the importance of school.  I truly appreciate your interest and support!  A special thank you to parents who signed up to be room parents: Mrs. Russo, and Mrs. Fine!  And many thanks also to parents who volunteered at Camp Bournedale!  
     Camp Bournedale and Camp Eagle Fox left lasting impressions on us all.  Teamwork and problem solving are just two of the many learning experiences students shared.  We are busy in ELA classes writing personal narratives, and it's not surprising that many students chose to write about Camp Bournedale.  But that is just one of the writing opportunities we have had.  Along with weekly essays in ELA, students write in Science and Social Studies journals as well as in their Reader's and Writer's Notebooks.  We are reading like writers to explore figurative language such as sensory details, simile, personification, and proverbs.  We are practicing skills like capitalization, using correct punctuation, and using new vocabulary.
     After finishing Morning Girl my readers are enjoying books of various genres.  As we do mini lessons on the elements of fiction, strategies, and author's purpose students are asked to think about those aspects in their independent reading.  They then write a weekly letter to me, and I will respond.  This communication about their reading is an authentic way for students to show what they are learning about the topics they read and about themselves as readers.  Our next class novel is Number the Stars, Lois Lowry's story of  two families in WWII Denmark.  Its themes of survival, friendship, and sacrifice are repeated in many of the books we will read this year.  Students will read this independently and bring their reactions and responses to class where they will work in small literature groups.
     In Social Studies as in other subjects we are asking essential questions.  Why do people move from place to place? How does geography determine the way people live?  How do civilizations begin and end? What is the purpose of government? To tackle these large questions we look at the Maya and Aztec cultures. From there we begin a unit of study on European exploration.  Look for a short research project on this topic in a week or so!
     In math we finished Topic 1 which explores place value of whole numbers and decimals. Topic 2 extends this thinking, and looks at adding and subtracting decimal numbers.  A large part of the topic involves estimating and rounding numbers.  Any experiences in this area (calculating tips, estimating costs, or change) you can provide will help your child make the connection between math in school and everyday math that we all need!

October is another busy month, here are some dates to keep in mind:
Oct.2- Fox Hill Science Night
Oct. 9 & 10- Parent Volunteer Orientation
Oct. 10- School Pictures
Oct.13- Columbus Day- no school
Oct. 17-Pumpkin Fair
Oct 20-24-Book Fair

If you have yet to sign up for a conference with your child's ELA teacher please do so.  December is right around the corner!

*****Math Olympiad: If your child is a strong math student looking for a challenge, then consider signing up! It is free; students meet  here at Fox Hill on Mondays beginning Oct.20 through mid March.  I will be sending home a flyer with children who are interested.

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