Welcome to this week’s version of The SCOOP. There are updates on events from the past week and events that are coming up.
Field Trip to Birch Aquarium
As you all know we went to the Birch Aquarium this week to learn about sea life. We started our trip out at the fountain to wait for all our carloads to arrive as well as explain the rules of the aquarium. At first we headed into the aquarium and looked at the beautiful sea life in the large aquarium tanks. Then we went outside and looked at the tide pools. We were able to touch many different animals and see the example of how the tide works. We went back to the front and ate our lunches. Finally we were able to go into our class. Our teacher, Art, talked to us about animals in the tide pools and about adaptation. The students got into 4 groups and each got a turn to touch and observe sea snails, hermit crabs, sea stars, and a sea urchin. After the class we got a little time to explore outside the aquarium! We had a great day!
Thank you to all our parent/grandparent chaperone/drivers!
“SOUND IT OUT” – when to use it?
This phrase was used a lot when I was a kid to try and help me get better at reading….and I can’t say it helped me much then as a reader nor does it help me now. The truth is that it isn’t a phrase we want to use when supporting reading. When we are reading, we don’t want to go down to the word level, but rather focus on the meaning of the text first. When your child gets stuck on a word and pauses or looks at you for help, or may even say, “I don’t know that word,” a more helpful phrase to use would be…”What would make sense?” This is typically the first triage term I use when giving reading aid to a child.
If for example, the book/text says, “The dog played in the mud. The dog got a bath to get clean .” I know that “clean” is likely a word a student might get stuck on. When they get stuck there, sounding out this word isn’t likely going to help them and isn’t efficient in their reading to “sound it out.” Essentially we want them to know what the whole text is about. I’m going to focus the student on the picture (to make meaning) which might show the dog getting dirty or getting clean or both. When I ask them what is happening, or even guide them to the pictures if they aren’t looking there already, I can then use, “What would make sense?” At this point I might have them reread the whole sentence up until “clean” and then prompt again with what makes sense and to possibly check the first sound of the word to make sure it matches with the picture and what makes sense. Each of those items get the reader to refocus on the meaning, rather than the small sounds that put a word together (which often come with many “rule breakers” in the English language). Here are some cues that might help when your young reader gets stuck:
- What would make sense?
- Look at the picture. What is happening?
- Does that sound right? (if they attempt a word that makes sense but may be said in a different tense)
- Does that look right? (if the child uses a word that makes sense but looks different, ie…reading the word “cup” when the text says, “mug.”
- Try reading that again (think of it as running start while thinking about meaning and looking at the picture).
- Struggle, be okay with it. Struggle is good as long as it doesn’t get them to a frustrational. Hold off on jumping in to tell them the word, try a few of the aids above first and let them be the problem solver so they can use it independently in the future. (if there are many words that are causing struggle, then likely the text is too hard and will lead to frustration (in this case….change books).
As fluent readers, we always want to think about the meaning of the text first. Just as you and I read important documents from our doctor or boss, knowing how a word sounds isn’t so important or helpful or even necessary as understanding what the document says. Making meaning from what is read is the goal of reading any text. Using “sound it out” in reading can be counter productive as it sends the message to early readers that reading is about sounds when reading is about the meaning of the text.
So when do we use the phrase, “SOUND IT OUT?” – Now there is a more helpful time you can use this phrase ….in student WRITING! As you have watched your child’s writing progress along, you are noticing the phonetic spelling that they use to write what they want to say. Its adorable and fun to read, but even better is that they are using the sounds they know to create the words they want to say. This is when I use the term, “sound it out” or “say the word you want to write to yourself…what do you hear?”
Chinese New Year
Happy Chinese New Year! On Thursday, Amy Ju came in to talk to the class about Chinese New Year. She read them a book all about Chinese New Year. She explained the value of the color red and how it means good luck and talked about the year of the ram. Amy also told them about the many traditions of this holiday in which kids get a gift from older generations, and she gave each student a gift in a red envelope along with a beautiful red knot ornament! The students each got to put together their own red lantern which they also took home. Amy also decorated our class with red decorations. She also had her daughter put on her special outfit to celebrate the new year so we could all see it. Finally, she brought in a mini dragon and played traditional music. Each child got to try on the dragon puppet to make him dance to beat of the music. We are so grateful for all we learned and for the generous gifts. Thank you Mrs. Ju and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wednesday many of the students experienced their first time in school bus. Our school bus guide, had the kids sit outside of the bus to explain the outside safety of the bus (standing far away from the front, back and side if you are ever around a bus). Then all the students got to go in the bus and sit down. He had them sit 3 to seat (back against the seat) and explained the rules on the bus, the emergency exits, how to open the door and use the radio in case something happened to the bus driver. Finally each child got to drop out of the side door to practice getting out from an emergency exit. They had a great time, learned a lot, AND were very proud of themselves for being brave in trying something new!
BOX TOP Collecting
Crystal Meginness has volunteered to be our Box Top Representative for Room 206! Hooray! Just a reminder Crystal must turn in all Box Tops by next Friday, February 27th. Please be sure to turn yours in before then so can be counted for this school year!
Star of the Week
Due to all the activities and experiences in these past two weeks, I delayed handing out the first posters that I spoke about in the blog a few weeks ago. This Monday I will send home the first posters (1 TK Poster and 1 K poster). Have fun, be creative, and remember that the focus is on the presentation (listening and speaking skills). As a reminder, all the directions and will be sent home in the folder with your child.
Monday – 2/23
- PE with Coach Blower (be sure to wear Tennis Shoes)
- Renew Book Borrow Bags (return the bags to receive new books)
- Star of the Week Kit (to go home with 1 TK and 1 K student each week)
Tuesday – 2/24
- Return School Library books
Wednesday – 2/25
- Library Visit at 12:30 (TK dismissal at 12:55 in the library)
- Computer Lab
Thursday – 2/26
- Minimum Day (dismissal at 12:30)
- Mission Federal Credit Union at School for deposits!
Friday – 2/27
- Run Club for K Students Only
- Homework/Reading Log Due (aim for 20 minutes of reading a session…break in two parts if needed)