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Hello Families! The week has been full of gorgeous weather and wonderful sounds in the forest! We spent some time out there this week sitting quietly and listening to the birds. It seems that each day we hear new bird songs. I know it is still winter, but February always brings a dash of spring with it for me.

In forest this week, we also played a fun game that focused more on our sense of sound. We started by visualizing a white tailed deer. The class noted that they are brown, quiet and shy creatures. They need to blend in and hide. We also noted their large ears, perfect for listening for predators. The game was one "deer" grazed under the trees while the pack of predators tried their best to sneak up to tag the deer. If the deer heard a sound, it would look up and try to spot any movement by the sneakers. If you were spotted, back to the starting line for you! We had such a fun time with this game, we played several times.

The forest time games weren't the only game times this week. We also had a fun Valentine's pajama party game time. The party was focusing on fun and games and sharing. The class was welcome to bring in any game that they liked to share. Thanks so much to Lindsey and Annie for coming in to help all of the kids have a good time gaming!

During Word Work this week, we continued discussing complete simple sentences, with subjects and predicates. Many in the class also used this time to work on their writers workshop fiction stories.

Math this week involved some more multiplication. We started with reminders from our earlier unit. Everyone in the class has great problem solving strategies, including repeat addition, counting by 2's, 5's and 10's, and even counting by threes! We quickly progressed to division problems, with the class quickly noticing and catching on to the fact that multiplication and division problems create number bonds similar to what they have seen in addition and subtraction problems. We were using counters to solve division problems, and the class automatically laid the chips out in an array, as opposed to making equal piles! This really demonstrated an amazing grasp of the concepts being taught. We are ready to begin memorizing the 2's and 3's times tables, beginning next week. Of course, we are not leaving addition and subtraction behind. All of our math units continue to keep the basic math fresh in our minds, with lots of review built in.

For our Readers Workshop this week, we studied an authors craft moves. We analyzed the way good authors made their stories click together. In particular, we noted the way many authors repeated words or phrases throughout the story. We also practiced summarizing a story to show the way the story clicked, or flowed, from the beginning to the middle, and on to the end. When readers notice an author's craft moves, they can take notes and copy in their own writing.

So, of course, in our Writers Workshop, we asked ourselves "How are our stories clicking together?" We shared our writing pieces and helped each other remember all of the craft moves that we have been studying this year. We got out our handy-dandy checklists and did some self assessments. Did we write a strong beginning, did we use good powerful words and include lots of details? And we kept writing!

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