Mrs. Renner's Smarties

We are all Smarties

Updates

on September 12, 2011

Hello everyone! What a great start to a week! I can’t tell you how full your child’s day is. There has been a little bit of confusion on homework assessments in spelling, and handwriting. I thought I’d share my knowledge and clear up (hopefully) any misconceptions.

It is my conviction that children need more family time and unstructured play when they get home, due to the large amounts of focus and learning that go on here at school. I maintain a competitive schedule with deep learning opportunities for your children. Their growth has been astounding in just these few weeks. Because I am 100% on task from 8:00 til 2:15 I believe I have asked enough of them for one day. This is why I do not send homework.

What do I need them to do outside of class? I need them to read to you. I need you to listen to them without fixing their mistakes—give them a chance to fix it up themselves. They know when something doesn’t make sense. They have several strategies that can help them. I need you to encourage them and tell them how smart they are.

In our word work block we are hitting phonics instruction pretty hard. They get 30 minutes a day of blending sounds, learning different vowel patterns and word families, rhyming, breaking apart and putting sounds together. Then they get reading time. Starting next week they will ALSO get a reading group with books on THEIR own level. This is a balanced approach to literacy and is PLENTY of work for their young age. If I find your child struggling I will let you know and we can work on additional strategies for you at home. No, there are no “spelling tests” but this does NOT mean we are not teaching spelling patterns, sight words and blending. We are simply teaching it and expecting it to come through in their writing and reading. Brain research does NOT support the “list” and “test” method that you and I remember as a child. But please understand that we are teaching spelling and word work.

Last, there has been some rumors floating around that we are not teaching handwriting. That is not true. Though it is not a “standard” any longer it continues to be important and we do spend a great deal of time on it at the beginning of the year. We are currently using Handwriting Without Tears and are on page 32. The kids enjoy this program because we are learning chants and rhymes to help us remember the formation of certain letters. Ask your child how to make a lower case e and you’ll see what I mean…pretty cute!

I hope this has dispelled some myths and helped make certain you know the quality of your child’s education. As always, my door is always open for you to come and watch. I welcome you any time! J

Speaking of coming in…a big thanks to Mrs. Meyer, Mrs. Coleman and Mr. Vernia for your help last week and today! Happy Tuesday everyone!

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