Monday, March 17, 2008

English Update

Dear Families,

The new word study wiki to volunteer has been updated. You can access it through the Please note that we are splitting up the testing between Wednesday and Thursday. We are finding that as the lists get more complicated, the kids need more time for instruction on their new sorts. You can see which group your child is in and volunteer for that group. We are hoping this will allow more people to help. Thanks for your continued support! The kids brought just one take-home list home on Wednesday. Look for word list packets to come home this week.

* The blog is back on for our students! We talked a lot about only using the blog for Language Arts work. They can respond to questions using complete sentences and they can respond to stories. We are practicing the "two c" rule: they can compliment or make a connection! Not many stories are up yet, but they will be finished next week. Students are also welcome to start a new story at home for the blog. Again, this project is completely optional.

* We kicked off theme 5 in our reading series. It is an exciting collection of stories about people who make life-changing voyages. We have also started practicing for the MCA test in April. Students are taking the practice test is small parts. Between each part, we go over the answers and look both at test taking skills and reading strategy skills that will help them be successful. A lot of the most difficult items are inferential or read-between-the-lines questions. It is a great opportunity for students to share strategies about what good readers think about as they read. So much of what you take away from a story is your implicit understanding. We are really looking for application of strategies and improvement between sections. We know that you are doing a lot of math review at home for this test, so we have planned enough class time to review the reading material in school. This time of year always raises the question, "should you teach to the test"? The prep work we are doing is, in large part, to help the kids become familiar with the format of the test so it feels comfortable on test days. The reading and writing components are all part of the Edina curriculum: fact and opinion, retelling, summarizing the main idea, compare and contrast, and giving supporting facts from the reading. The format is driven largely by the test, but the skills would be covered anyway. We'll give you more specifics as we get closer to the test dates: April 15th and 16th.

As always, please be in touch if you have questions. Enjoy the "warm" weather and see you at Poisson d'Avril!