In our IB-style social studies unit, one of the lines of inquiry is "What is culture?". To help fill that in, among other things we are looking at spoken histories and legends. Today, we looked at the Miwok legend of the Two Bear Cubs, set in Yosemite. The legend explains how El Capitan came to be. During this activity, we also looked at literary concepts like genre, setting, author's purpose, etc. We are also exploring important key vocabulary and today did a fun digital quiz using Kahoot!. Check in with your child to see what they recall about the following words; migration, petroglyphs, traditions, ancestors, reservation, regalia, and climate. One of the things I really appreciate about the IB framework is that even though this is technically a social studies unit, I am able to weave in other areas of study like language arts, science and art.
This week the entire class logged onto Code.org to begin their independent coding lessons. The lessons are self paced and are tons of fun. Code.org does a fantastic job of slowly introducing new concepts through short videos and games, and this week your child was able to program Angry Bird to track down the pig. Some kids in the class have coding experience and will move quickly, and this program is built to accommodate it. I am a big fan of coding because it encourages experimentation, builds mastery in sequencing skills, counting, problem solving, logical thinking, cause and effect, and critical thinking. Besides, it's just so much FUN! I recently wrote a proposal to Old Mill PTA for funds to purchase a class set of Lego WeDo robotics for the 3rd grade. We should begin with this in a month or so.
Students who brought in stamps and addresses learned to properly address mail, and the other kindness notes will come home for hand delivery. In the same spirit, our class made holiday cards for their 1st grade reading buddies, and delivered them Friday when we met to pour over books together. So many smiles!
Our read aloud is still Because of Winn Dixie, and the class is loving this sweet, sad, and funny book. As we get deeper into the book, we are looking at the main character Opal and what drives her. For some students, this is the first time they may be thinking why a character thinks or behaves in a certain way. We are digging deep into motivation and the reasons behind actions. Lots of insights and our class conversations definitely have a "book club" feel as we move beyond surface or what I call 'plot reading'. Your child is reading their own chapter book in class and trying to do the same work on their own. You can help foster this mindset as you watch movies or read together; ask often, "Why do you think the character did that? What might they be feeling? Why is he/she always so _______"
I am so looking forward to our next busy week. If your child will be missing any days, please let me know. Lots of good things are in the works!