Dear Elmore Families,

It’s hard to believe I am already writing about our third week of school.  This was our first full week of the school year, and we filled it up pretty nicely!  We started the week with some fun team building activities.  Above students are participating on the Caterpillar Race.  We also played a fun name game.  Activities like this are not only fun, but help us build our school community, which is critical for having a successful year. On Tuesday we had our first Farm to School where students explored plant seeds. Wednesday was not only school photo day and our first guidance lesson of the year, but Mrs. Bellavance had Jury Duty, so we had Jon Gailmor as a guest teacher! Jon brought his guitar and we ended the day doing some fun songs with Jon.  On Thursday we took our first District Assessment (STAR Renaissance – Reading).  We ended the week harvesting some of our garden and students helped to make a salad which we later served with our first family Hot Lunch of the school year!  

Last week we formally launched our writers workshop.  Students will spend the next several week writing narrative stories.  These are small moment stories about something that happened or something they did.  We began by making a list of things that could be written about.  The next day, students began drafting their stories.  We read the book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and talked about how the author helps the reader paint an image in their mind but using words that connect to our senses to describe the scene.  We ended the week learning how to make changes to our writing without the need to redo everything.  

This week I plan to begin assessing students reading levels.  Once this is done we will begin guided reading instruction.  Until then, we are listening to many read alouds, doing some shared reading, talking a lot about books, and practicing silent reading and partner reading.  Everyone did a great job getting started on their reading homework this week.  Just a reminder that students should return their reading logs every day.

During math, students are getting used to the routines of our math lessons, which includes a whole group math launch (which one doesn’t belong, estimation, a number talk, a game, etc), then we go into our math menu time.  During math menu, I work with small groups doing targeted instruction (usually by grade level) while the remainder of the class is doing independent work which they choose from their menu.   This includes “must do” work and some student choice.  Math menu allows me to differentiate work for all learners. We will continue to add to our menu offerings as students learn more games and technology.

Best,

Diane Nicholls

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