March 2006 Newsletter

Mrs. Black

Rama Central P.S., Rm. 104

Dear Parents,


Greetings, once again, from “Camp Rama” (a.k.a. your child’s Grade 1/2 classroom)!  This month, I am going to focus our newsletter on all the exciting developments we have to report on the language front:


“The Great Spring Reading Challenge” is in full swing!  Most students have been logging many more than the minimum 13 minutes of home reading per day that is required to meet the challenge (1,000 minutes of home reading between early February and the end of May).  Please try to remember to return weekly timesheets on Fridays.  However, if timesheets arrive late there is no penalty and your child will still receive full credit for his/her home reading.  Keep on reading, everyone!!!


The “author bags” have now made it to the homes of about half of our students.  Each child is given an
opportunity to read his/her home-authored book to the class and then his/her book is added to our classroom library, for a period of time.  We are enjoying, immensely, the stories that students are writing as homework!


Last month, I added math tutoring, math centres, and Grade Two novel studies, to our weekly schedule.  The new activities are proving very helpful and enjoyable.  This month, I have added a weekly “Reader’s Theatre” session to the schedule and expanded the amount of time we have available for daily writing
activities.  On Mondays and Fridays, we are involved in  a whole class “Interactive Dictated Writing” session and a lesson from a program called “Write Traits.”  On Tuesdays through Thursdays, we are engaged in other
writing activities that build upon the Write Traits principles.  Each child in class now has a special writing folder, in which he/she can store his/her journal and ongoing writing projects.  I am now requiring that students complete a planning sheet for longer pieces of writing, and a rough copy for all pieces of writing,
except journal entries.  Students are also encouraged to read rough copies to a buddy, for creative input, and to edit rough copies for punctuation, grammar and spelling.  My newest motivator, to encourage students to
produce creative, quality stories and reports, is fancy paper that is made available for good copies of writing deemed worthy of “publishing.”


We are just starting to explore non-fiction writing.  Our first in-class tasks will be the production of an
autobiography and a “how to” book, featuring a task at which your child feels he/she is “an expert.”  In early March, our class will brainstorm a list of questions that can be used as the basis for a biographical
interview. The March Break homework assignment will be to take these questions home and interview an elder (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend of the family, neighbour, etc.).  When we return from the break, each student will write a biography of the person he/she interviewed.  Last year, this was an extremely popular writing assignment with both students and their interviewees!


As always, if you have any questions or comments about our program, please don’t hesitate to contact me.




Margaret A. Black