Sandy & Olga’s Class

        Thursday, September 30,2010

Dear Parents,

      School has started with a flurry of activity! In these past few weeks our class has prepared food for and celebrated four birthdays, practiced three fire drills, listened to wonderful music drifting through the hall from the Coffee House, visited the Book Fair, attended a variety of after school activities and kept watch for a tornado which, thankfully, never arrived. Despite all these exciting events, the children have done a wonderful job of staying focused on their school work. I admire their powers of concentration.  

    The student are getting to know one another. Older children mentor younger ones by reading them stories and helping with spelling during the writing time. Everyone is becoming more comfortable speaking in front of their peers during the times that we share stories, poems, and items from home. Several students have completed the monthly homework assignment for September and have taught a new recess game to the class. We are collecting the rules for these games in a book which we will be able to bring outside to recess.

     In our Writer’s workshop lessons we have been learning strategies for choosing a writing topic. So far we have learned to write about a special person, a special place, or a special thing. We are also learning about the “mechanics of writing”. The youngest writers are learning to spell words by saying and stretching out the letter sounds. The older students are spelling words more easily but are trying to remember to use capitals and periods. 

     In our continent study we have been busy learning about animals of Africa. Last week we viewed a movie about the animals of the Serengeti. The children continue to work on their alphabet books which are illustrated with African animals. We finished our “read aloud” chapter book, I Saw You From Afar, and are now reading some of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Perhaps you recall these stories from your own childhood. Each story gives a humorous explanation of how an animal got to look the way it does. 

     I read the story in English and then Olga reads it in Spanish. The children may not understand all the Spanish words but by hearing Olga’s melodious voice reading to them in Spanish they will acquire their own Spanish accent more easily. Some children have already begun to notice words which sound similar in English and Spanish!  

     In our math lessons we have been learning about estimation and telling time on our giant new clock. We use the Montessori materials to compose, read and calculate large numbers. The children do impressive math work but also need some review on the correct way to print the numbers zero to nine (top to bottom). 

      All in all, our class is a beehive of productive activity. We are very pleased that the children are working well and getting along so nicely together. We hope you will be able to enjoy the Fall Family Fun Day this weekend. It will give you the chance to meet some of your child’s classmates.The Book Fair will still be available on Saturday. Your child  made a list of books to show you and brought it home today.

       Happy Birthday to Georgia who turned six and Patrick who turned nine!                          

                            Have a wonderful weekend,

                                           Olga and Sandy