January is that magical time of the school year when we begin to reap the benefit of all the effort and hard work that went into the first part of the year. The students have mastered the rules, rituals, and routines. They are able to work independently for longer periods of time. They are confident independent workers who collaborate and cooperate. I just love January!
We continue to learn about cycles in nature. At the start of the year a parent donated a fish tank to the class that uses aquaponics. The tank fits in nicely with our current life science unit. In this mini aquaponics system the fish feeds the plants and the plants clean the water. We will use the plants that are growing on top of the tank to in our study of the plant life cycle. The tank contains our new class pet, a male betta fish. The students were excited to name our fish. They all had an opportunity to suggest a name. We voted and the winning name was “Dynamite.” So we now have a pet fish named Dynamite in our class. Ask your child what name he or she liked best for the fish.
In our plant unit we learned how plants make food using photosynthesis. Your child learned that plants produce oxygen for people and animals and that people and animals breathe out carbon dioxide for plants to use to make food. Ask your child what else plants need to make food for themselves.
On Friday, we discussed that up until that day the same person had been President of the United States since most of the students in our class were born. We learned that the inauguration of a new President would take place that day. We learned the inauguration is the event where the person who is elected President promises to lead the country. We read the oath of office that the President takes and discussed what it means. As a class, we watched the inauguration live at 9:00 a.m. our time. Then, we took a closer look at what the President does and talked about previous Presidents of the United States.
This week we learned about the great accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. We learned how Dr. King changed America using peaceful marches, speeches, and sit-ins. Also, we discovered how to use primary sources to learn about history. We watched a video of his “I Have a Dream.” speech from 1963. In the speech he said, "With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." This quotation serves as the theme for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. In addition, we discussed what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Ask your child what it means to be judged by the content of your character.
We began a new domain on Cycles in Nature. This domain will introduce your child to the many natural cycles that make life on Earth possible. This week students learned about the cycle of daytime and nighttime, as well as why intense sunlight is so important to life on Earth. Students learned that a cycle is a sequence of events that happens over and over again, and that the rotation of the Earth causes daytime and nighttime. Ask your child to explain in his or her own words how the rotation of the Earth causes daytime and nighttime.
In math we are learning addition strategies within 100. Students discovered how to solve a story problem using a hundreds chart, a number line, base ten rods, and an equation. With these strategies in place, students are preparing themselves for working out more difficult math problems in the future. Also, they are gaining a strong understanding of place value and reinforcing their math facts.
Our math program is based on student investigations. Students work out the problems using their own tools and methods. In this way, they discover how numbers work, the patterns, and principals behind the math. At the end of the lesson we discuss what strategies students used and how they used them. This helps the students to learn from each other and discover new ways to solve mathematical problems.
Hello, I am Renee De Villez. This page is about the activities going on in my classroom. My audience consists of the parents of the students in my class. Other parents and teachers are welcome to read it as well.