What's going on in Room 125?

Weekly Update: Learning About Maps

on February 1, 2012

Maps Unit

This week marked the start of our unit about maps.  As a introductory week, we started to get a feel for what a map is by looking at a map of our our country and drawing some highly relevant maps (e.g. of our classroom and of a model town).  We started talking about where we live, really focusing on our country, state, and city.  As the month progresses we will hone in more and start to talk about our address as well.  A great book that introduces the idea of maps is “Me On the Map” by Joan Sweeney.  This book gives good perspective of where we live and the different ways to look at a map.  I recommend this book for continuing our unit at home!

You can also work on maps at home by mapping out your house or your child’s bedroom.  You can help them draw, or you can draw and talk about exactly what you are doing and why you are drawing things where you are, modeling how a map represents real objects.  Any activity which has a drawing representing a real object will promote beginning map-reading skills.  If your student does well with this, you can try mapping a path for them to follow.  Maybe a route to get out of the house in a fire drill?  Or a route to a hidden surprise somewhere in your house? Also, talk about where we live!  As we delve deeper into this unit we will start to discuss personal information, especially addresses.  Knowing personal information is an important safety, communication, and life skill, so we will work on answering questions as appropriate per student, such as what is your name, address, city, state, etc.

We worked together to map out our classroom


You may have noticed in your child’s work packet that we have been honing in on some different focuses during literacy.  In addition to the literacy centers and my “Reading Table”, we have two different group read aloud blocks during the day. These blocks are differentiated by grade level.  Here’s what we’re doing:

      First Grade: The first grade group is working on interacting with books.  We are learning that words and books have meaning.  Our main goal is engagement and noticing things about the stories.  We often read interactive books where the story tells about different actions which we do, really showing that words have meaning. Two good books that demonstrate this are “From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle and “Clap Your Hands” by Lorinda Bryan Cauley.  Questions I ask are often answered by pointing to a picture in the book, identifying something in the book, or matching a picture to the book.  Again, we are working on paying attention to the pages and staying engaged and excited about reading!

     Second and Third Grade: This group spends 45 minutes on their read aloud, as we are working on more advanced story comprehension.  This includes the time that is spent in Ms. Freeh’s room.  Students preview the story with me, read through it with Ms. Freeh’s class and then engage in a “Desk Discussion” with Ms. Kalisha and Ms. Lexi back in our room.  We are working on answering comprehension questions about the stories we read and focusing on three things: the title, the character(s), and the setting.  You can help promote these skills by discussing stories at home and asking “what”, “who”, and “where” questions about the stories you read and just throughout the day.

Next Week

There are a couple of exciting things happening next week!

1.  Monday is the 100th day of school!  We are preparing a little bit this week by making 100 charts to hang, but Monday will be the big celebration!  If you want work on this at home, feel free to send in a 100s project for Monday!  You can count any object with your child. We will look at all sorts of 100s projects and ideas to celebrate the big day!

2.  Thursday is our second PJ to End Homelessness day. I will send information about this home in your child’s Thursday Folder tomorrow.  Send your child to school in their PJ’s for $1 to help end homelessness.  The whole school will be rockin’ the PJ party!

It was great seeing a few of you this week.  I look forward to speaking with all of you during conferences, which are coming up later this month (I’ll keep you posted!)

Have a great day,

Ms. Wales


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