Happy New Year, Parents and Students!

This first month of 2015 in our class was busy with assessments and final exams, but it was still educational and fun. The upcoming month of February has a lot of fascinating topics in store for us. What a good start to the new year!

In Grammar, we began focusing on using past tense verbs. This is almost always a challenge for everybody, so we have been trying to write and speak them as often as possible. One introductory activity we did to enhance our awareness of these verbs was to listen for them in ‘verb bingo.’ Everybody listened intently while I called out present tense verbs, and they searched their bingo card for the past tense form of it. You could even play this at home for practice.

Our Journal topics were a further practice in using past tense verbs. Students wrote a story about a character experiencing a ‘super storm.’ How did we know about super storms? We’ve been learning about them in our Reading class, when we read an informational nonfiction text about four different kinds of violent weather: blizzards, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. This story cleared up a lot of questions we had about the difference between tornadoes and hurricanes. The lesson also had a secondary skills focus, which was how to infer the meaning of words we don’t know. We’ll continue working on this crucial skill.

In Science class, we delved deeply into the topics of natural resources, humans’ impact on our environment, and how to conserve resources in our daily lives. We carried out a demonstration to estimate how much water we might lose if we have a leaky faucet, and the results were a bit of a shock! Basically, get a leak fixed as soon as possible, or find some way to collect and reuse that dripping water. Some students had great ideas or experiences with conserving water at home.

Social Studies this month has taught us a lot about culture. ‘Culture’ is a broad word best understood through learning about culture itself. We started by talking about Taiwan’s culture and have progressed to symbols, landmarks, and memorials. Research class has supported these ideas as we ‘journeyed’ through Peru and Mexico. I’ve given students more independent learning tasks in Research and am sincerely proud of how self-sufficient they’re becoming at reading, inferring and categorizing information. Well done, everybody! Let’s keep making progress.

Sincerely,

Teacher Robyn