I am so lucky to be teaching your children this year!  We are going to have fun and we are going to learn. Some of the first few weeks will be pretty basic—sentence structure, spelling rules, etc.  Don’t worry. It will get more complex over time, but I want to be sure I know what everyone’s reading and writing level is. It’s possible your child works on a 4th grade reading level when reading out loud, but a 2nd grade reading level when asked about details of the story. The goal is for everyone to increase their own individual efforts to meet grade guidelines and to make progress every day.

Our first book that we are reading together is Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan—an easy fun chapter book with lots of laughs. After we have read that book together, I will probably divide them up into groups and read two different books for the rest of the month. My guess is Sam will take two weeks and then we’ll use the next two to three weeks on the next book. Everyone will get a copy of the books to take home and read, but after we are finished, we’ll add the set of books to our library, here. We will also go to the Tucker and/or Lilburn library and check out books at some point every week so the kids have a book to read during silent reading, which runs from 2:45 to 3:15. Each morning will have some writing, some journal-keeping, some word attack skills, time to read aloud, time to answer questions about the book. Eventually, we’ll add vocabulary and spelling along with handwriting work.

Math time in the morning will be straight from our textbooks—some will be in the green book and some will be in a different book. Every second grader will have the addition and subtraction facts memorized by December and the third graders should be memorizing the multiplication facts by December, as well. We will use flashcards, work sheets, games, counters, number lines, and grids, all to learn this basic part of Math. We will also have a P.O.D. every morning (Problem of the Day) for everyone to try. Sometimes we will play Yatzhee or card games to practice math facts. We will create rhymes to help with that as well.

All through the reading and math time, there will be some projects to cement what we are learning. We’ll water our plants on the windows, we’ll put our work onto assignment sheets shaped like leaves, we will go pick out a Beta fish to care for every day. We will collect data, data, DATA  to work with, in our stories and projects. For example, if we keep track of the temperature every day at 9:30, we’ll see the morning temperature go up and down. We will create an average temperature every Friday and plot that on a graph. We’ll write about the seasonal changes in temperature and maybe even write poems about that. We will set up a schedule for the morning using the ANALOG clock so kids can stop saying, “How many more minutes till lunch?”  Sometimes we’ll do jumping jacks on the breezeway to get fresh between reading and math time. Sometimes our reading will be directly correlated with the science concepts we are studying so we can begin “reading to learn” instead of “learning to read”.

Every child needs a ream of notebook paper and a ream of copy paper, probably every other month. We have lots of school supplies already, so don’t worry too much about the other things. You have the list from the newsletter. I’ll let you know if we need something more. We will eat together at lunchtime and snack will be reserved for afterschool, so be sure that your child has eaten some breakfast.  We believe in autonomy, so send foods that they can open without spilling (don’t send gigantic yogurt—open one at  home and spoon some out into a keeper. No one seems to finish the giant ones and they just drip all over their lunch boxes afterward.) Put little plastic bags in for the trash, if you want to, or the kids can simple put things into the empty keepers before zipping up the lunch box. Send them in shoes that work—sneakers or sandals that don’t require a lot of grown up help. Homework will be clear and there won’t be very much of it. I want everyone to have a full life and school is one part of your child’s life, but so is playing in the back yard!

Look for the Friday folder. I’ll have a letter in it each week. I’ll also post it on the website and will put the link in the letter. If you want an e-mail letter from the class, I can do that. We will use the mailboxes, so ask your child to look every day!  We are digital and analog, but so is life!  I can’t wait to work with your children.