Welcome back to school! I hope that everyone had a great holiday break! As we get back into our rhythm, the students have been working on strengthening their self-help skills. This includes many things in the classroom. During snack and lunch, children are expected to open and close their food containers as well as open their own bags. (If it is really difficult, I will help them. However, they are asked to try first). Children have also been working to independently put on hats, coats, and gloves when going out for recess.

Most importantly, to encourage independence at this stage of the school year, please begin dropping your child off AT THE CLASSROOM DOOR. Let them hang up their own coat and book bag. I will give them reminders or assistance if needed.

READER’S WORKSHOP: In December, we began Reader’s Workshop. We began this by creating “reading rings” with every student. Their “reading ring” is a group of words written on index cards held together by a binder ring. Some words in the stack are ones the children generated (such as character names or family member names). Other words are commonly used sight words. Each child has his/her own personalized list of words.

As part of Reader’s Workshop, the children work with a partner to read their leveled books and “reading rings”. Their partners change on a daily basis. As we become more comfortable with this, children will be looking for certain words in text, writing sight words, sentence building, and moving up to more complex text.

ERIC CARLE: Next week, we will be going to see a production of Eric Carle’s most beloved stories on stage. Thank you to the 5 parents who volunteered to drive. We have enough drivers for this trip, due to our limited tickets. If you are unsure about whether or not you are driving, please contact me.

Learning about Eric Carle’s books in the classroom has been a wonderful experience thus far. Some of our classroom favorites are: The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Mixed-Up Chameleon, and The Foolish Tortoise. To expand on the texts, each child has selected their own animal to focus on during Writer’s Workshop.

We began this by creating the animal using art just like Eric Carle. This project lasted for several days. First we started by painting tissue paper using various textures. After it dried, we cut out different shapes to build our animal. Children came up with a variety of animals, including snakes, giraffes, lizards, cats, butterflies, tigers, and turtles. Their artwork will serve as a cover to their published animal story. Over the next few weeks, each child will be writing about adventures of their animal in preparation for publishing a story. I look forward to all the creative animal stories!

To help us understand Eric Carle’s work, as well as write our own stories, the students have been learning about the beginning, middle, and end of the story. They will be filling in a variety of story grids to aid in comprehension.

Have a great week!