Middleburg Community Charter School

Middleburg Community Charter School
MCCS K-2 Team Blog

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Native American Regions, Weather, Telling Time and More...

Hello families! We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! The kiddos were excited to celebrate with family. We really enjoyed hearing about their breaks.

In social studies/language arts, we continue to explore the Native American Regions - Great Plains, Southwest, Eastern Woodland and Northwest. Check out these great pics of our learning...

In math we are transitioning from addition and subtraction to telling time. However, we will continue to reinforce addition and subtraction skills and vocabulary. For telling time, you can reinforce this skill at home by using the vocabulary (minute hand, hour hand, half past, quarter after, o'clock, etc.) with your child. You can also use daily/nightly activities to track the time. It is important for students to understand that AM indicates morning (waking up, brushing teeth, eating breakfast) and PM indicates afternoon or evening (getting home from school, eating dinner, going to bed). While you are doing these activities take a moment to have your child read the clock (analog and digital). We will be concentrating on reading the clock to the hour, half hour, quarter hour and five minute (counting by fives). You can also ask your child story problems. For example, if you left the house at 7:00 AM and it took an hour to get to school, what time did you arrive?

In language arts our students are immersed in word study, guided reading and writing. Please continue to remind your child to use good reader strategies at home while reading unfamiliar text (look at the pictures, get your mouth ready, read on for meaning, look for smaller words or familiar word patterns within a word). Also, question before, during and after reading for deeper understanding. We are also focusing on story elements - setting, characters, problem, solution, and non-fiction text features such as labels, table of contents, bold print, captions, etc. While writing we are emphasizing the use of proper capitalization and punctuation and word spacing within a sentence - this includes editing and revising their own writing pieces.

In Science we are investigating weather and its affect on plants and animals. We created our own anemometer to measure wind speed using a wind scale. We also constructed and used a weather vane to determine the direction of the wind. We recorded our findings in our science journals.

Here are a few fun Thanksgiving/fall pictures!

We wish all of our families a very happy and safe holiday season. 

The Green Team!
Mrs. Browning, Mrs. Emmel & Ms. Morgan

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wayside Farm Fun and More...

Hello families! We have so many great pictures to share from our field trip to Wayside Farm, our in-class science experiments (our personal fave is of Ms. Morgan - see last pic below), pajama day, Halloween, the Green Frog's Da Vinci assembly, and more. 

The past few weeks we have been experimenting with air and weather in science. Ask your little meteorologist about air pressure, clouds, wind and temperature. In social studies we are studying geographical features and learning about Native American cultures. In math we are manipulating, comparing, and applying addition and subtraction concepts. Please reinforce the language at home - count on, add, all together, combine, plus, take away, subtract, count back, etc.

In language arts, we are using the writing process to help us brainstorm, organize and publish our thoughts. Check out the bulletin board outside Mrs. Browning's classroom with fun facts about our trip to Wayside Farm. We accessed and organized our thoughts by creating webs. Then we drafted sentences based on the ideas in our graphic organizers. Next, we edited our work. Finally, we typed, printed and illustrated our published pieces.

Who said learning can't be fun?! 

The Green Team :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Are Excited for Quarter 2...Welcome Back!

Hello families! Welcome back from our two-week intersession. We are so happy to see all of our little faces excited and ready to learn. Wow, we had an exciting month. We ended our first marking period, enjoyed speaking with parents about student progress during conferences, and participated in a successful DaVinci day and night. Our students worked very hard creating their portfolios to share with their parents in student-led conferences - way to go! They carefully selected the first-quarter work they felt most proud to share. This demonstrates how much growth they've shown in just 9 weeks.

Here are a few pics from DaVinci day and night. This includes the completion of our "giving tree." Thank you to the parents who spent weeks assisting our students to create the tree. They are very proud.

The Giving Tree

Oobleck - Is it a liquid or a solid?

In Quarter 1 Science we explored the concepts of motion, matter and magnets through inquiry and scientific-based methods. We applied our learning during project days to create recycled toys - this was a hit with the students. This quarter we will be focusing on earth patterns, cycles and change, where we will investigate and understand that weather and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings. We will also investigate and understand that plants produce oxygen and food, are a source of useful products, and provide benefits in nature. Enjoy pictures of our air pressure experiments from this week. This includes creating our own parachutes.

Air Pressure and Compressed Air

In Quarter 1 Social Studies we participated in real-life social situations that taught and reinforced citizenship, community, goods and services, natural, capital and human resources, and making choices to solve economic problems. This quarter we will continue to develop map skills, including locating the United States on world maps, locating the regions of Native Americans on United States maps and understanding the relationship between the environment and the Native American culture. We will also locate the equator, the seven continents, the five oceans on maps and globes, and selected rivers.

We are very pleased at the success of our Language Arts and Math blocks. With the assistance of our specialists, this change has allowed us to more effectively differentiate instruction within a narrower range of learners, and lessen class sizes. Thank you, families, for your flexibility as we continue to individualize instruction to meet every student's needs.

Our first field trip to Wayside Farm, where your child will be immersed in fun STEM-based activities is quickly approaching. Look for pictures next week. This field trip is based on the Virginia Science Standards. What a fun way to use fall themes to teach hands-on science concepts. Thank you to the parents who volunteered to chaperone. Your time is appreciated! 

Also, thank you for continuing to send in snacks and classroom materials. We are truly grateful to have the best, most supportive parents.

The Green Team

Monday, September 22, 2014

The First Quarter Might Be Coming To A Close, But We've Only Just Begun...

Hello families! We can't believe we are already nearing the end of the first quarter. Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us. We enjoy facilitating their learning everyday! Their curiosity and love of knowledge really inspires and amazes us. We are honored to be on this journey with them.

Over the past week we have continued to use the scientific method and inquiry method to explore the world around us. We've been learning about the three states of matter: liquids, solids, gases. Matter is everything! Please enjoy pictures of our science experiment on gases. Within a bottle, we mixed vinegar and baking soda to create carbon dioxide. The gas inflated a balloon that was fastened to the mouth of the bottle. You can see the excitement and wonder on their faces. Science is so much fun!

We also performed our Reader's Theater skits on community helpers in the multipurpose room for all of the K-2 classrooms. Wow, are we creative! Our skits originated in small groups, where the plots were thought up, planned, recorded, and rehearsed. The students were the writers, producers and actors - they even created their own props. They enjoyed being able to read off their scripts and were really able to take ownership of their performances since they created the dialogue.

In math, we continued to build number sense. Practice using the words "more than" and "less than" at home. You can also discuss "in all" and "total" using everyday items. We have been deconstructing numbers (exploring different ways to make numbers), drawing pictures and using the number line to help us add and subtract. This is a great way to develop those strong foundational math skills. 

We are becoming pros at word study. We begin every week with a blind sort that allows us to use our critical thinking skills to figure out the spelling patterns. As you've seen with the homework, some of the patterns are quite tricky. Thank you for reinforcing these skills at home. Our goal is for our students to be able to apply the spelling patterns to their everyday reading and writing, as in the guided reading group photo below.

We are excited for our first, and upcoming, DaVinci night on October 2nd. The students have been hard at work choosing work to display in their portfolios, and have even been creating a paper mache tree to align with our, The Giving Tree project during Friday project days. Thank you to all of the parents who have volunteered their time and/or materials to assist the students. It is so fun to see the life-sized tree come together. Yay, we are almost ready for paint!

Also, don't forget to bring your postcard/stamp collection with you to DaVinci night. We will share our projects with the class. We can't wait to see what great learning has been taking place in our communites. We know our students have had a fabulous time learning about their communities with you, their greatest teachers. It is amazing how much we can learn right in our backyard.

The Green Team
(Ms. Morgan, Mrs. Emmel & Mrs. Browning)