24 March, 2020
“Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”Alfred Pennyworth (Batman Begins)
Poems: I expect the students to be able to memorize the poem by the end of the week. Throughout the week, have your student recite the poem using silly voices, have them develop body movements/gestures to match the words, and play call and repeat games with them using the poem verses.
Grammar and Phonics: This is where you break down the poem into its structure and sounds. Have your student find the parts of speech throughout the week (example: Monday – nouns, Tuesday – verbs, etc.), identify Sound City Sounds, create rhymes for words found in the poem, and discover the meaning of compound words.
Handwriting: Each day there is a worksheet for them to work on/practice the mechanics of writing (copy work). After they complete their handwriting, have your student illustrate a picture that matches the words they wrote.
Religion: We are learning about the life of Jesus. When discovering Jesus and how he lived, we also find out how WE are supposed to live. Jesus teaches us how to live by practicing what he preaches. In class, we learned that Jesus got baptized, so we realized that WE need to be baptized. Jesus loved others, so WE must love others. Jesus showed us holiness by sacrificing Earthly things so he could obtain Heavenly things, and thus commanding us to do the same. Sharing stories about saints and how these ideas have played into your lives could give some depth to these concepts to your student.
Math: In math, we have studied patterns, 2-d shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles, squares, parallelograms, rhombus, hexagons) writing the numbers 0-20, counting 0-100, place values (ones, tens, hundreds), simple bar graphs, and coins (pennies and dimes). We have just started pushing into addition and writing number sentences (ex: 2+3=5). Extra activities for students: sort a collection of objects (such as buttons or coins), count coins, make patterns with objects, play games involving dice and have them count the numbers quickly, count objects around the house, count toys/objects as they put them away during cleaning time, etc. Math is everywhere. Allow your student opportunities to find where they can find numbers, patterns, and shapes.
History and Science: These are very interactive subjects for us in class, and will take some time to create content that can be worked on at home. Thank you for your patience. As I work to master Distance Teaching, I will provide content for these subjects.
These templates allow you to create your own Sound City at home. Sounds on Sound City: (Practice these sounds with your child. Have them practice identifying words with these sounds that they hear or see, AND/OR have them practice spelling simple words that use these sounds
Writing from Pictures
Over the course of the year, we have been developing our writing skills. We have been practicing our technical writing skills, first with just letter formation, and then we moved into copy work. From copy work, we began thinking about the content of our writing. This stage incorporated our Key Word Outline, where we took main ideas from a source text, and then wrote an original story based on the key words. The next stage had us developing stories based on our poems. We would take the poem, break it into 3 parts: beginning (characters/setting), middle (plot/problem), and end (climax/resolution/moral).
With the skills that we have developed, we are moving onto the next stage: Writing from pictures. The students are provided with three pictures. They are then to put the pictures in a logical order. From there, we verbally tell the story that the pictures are conveying. Based on our story, we construct a KWO for each section (beginning, middle, end) and then develop a paragraph for each section.
As I write this, it seems like a very difficult task for the students to manage. This requires them to use build upon the skills that we have been practicing all year, and do that on top of creating their own story based just on three pictures. There are a couple of things to remember:
- The students are much more capable than we give them credit for.
- They truly are sponges and are soaking up so much information that will all pay off in the end.
- These students are not being asked to perform to mastery at this level.
The writing elements that we are working on are seeds that will grow in the future years. The IEW program has a very structured plan to create excellent writers over time. We create the foundation in Kindergarten, and then build upon that foundation in the proceeding years.
March is Reading Month
During the month of March, St. Thomas will be amping up our focus on reading. We will be showcasing our reading talents and participating in activities to demonstrate the importance of reading. We will have class room activities as well as school-wide challenges all geared around reading.
Please keep adding minutes to your daily “Whooo’s Reading” log. We are doing a great job with our reading and fundraising! Keep up the great work everyone!!!
Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, we replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
The rules for fasting and abstinence in the United States are: Every person 14 years or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. Every person between the age of 18 and 59 (beginning of 60th year) must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Since the rules do not apply to our students, I encourage that inplace of fasting, the students complete an act of charity or giving. This can be something such as giving a toy to a sibling during playtime, offering their snack to someone who may be hungry, or even making “Get Well Soon” cards for those who are sick or in the hospital. Our acts of love and goodness demonstrates our desire to follow Jesus.
March’s Virtue: Industriousness
This month, our focus is on: Industriousness. This means diligence in work that leads to maturity. In other terms, hard work. In the classroom, we are learning that just because something is difficult, that does not mean that we quit. Sometimes we get jobs that are challenging and we need to keep doing our best no matter what. We can even look to Jesus and his example of taking up the cross. He accepted that His job on Earth was to save us from our sins, and He took it upon himself to take all of that pain and suffering onto His shoulders. With this example and our knowing that God loves us and is with us, there is nothing that we cannot do.
In the Junior Great Books program, in addition to reading stories and poems, there is a focus on discussing these stories and poems. In our classroom, we are using these discussions to deepen our critical thinking skills. This last week, we had great group discussions that involved students creating questions based on the text and then answering those questions. When answering the questions, we also began using evidence from the text to support our answers. Additionally, we deepened our discussions by having students respond to each others answers, with “I agree” or “I disagree”, with offering their own evidence to support their statements. I was very impressed with the class as a whole, and I look forward to continuing these discussions within Junior Great Books and other subjects.
Weekly Poem Recitations
I hope that you have been able to watch your students grow in their weekly recitations. You may have noticed that it is sometimes difficult to hear their voices. I’ve been struggling all year trying to get better audio, and I may have finally found my answer. I am excited to finally be able to share their poems in a way that better captures their growth and their voice.
Over the course of working at St. Thomas, I have discovered videos and other media that can supplement some of the topics that we learn about in class. Instead of showing these in class, I will post them here for you to share with your family at your discretion.
This first one is a short film that shows the unseen elements of the mass. The Veil Removed
This link is for the show Superbook. The website has many free episodes. Superbook takes the viewer into bible stories and gives a story about how it connects to the two main characters. You may have to create a free account to access the episodes. Superbook
We are continuing our study of sight words in the classroom.
- the, to, it, a, is, in, other, and, of, come
- was, he, that, has, are, on, for, as, you, her
Please practice these words with your student. We will be adding more words over the course of the year.Powerschool