Dear Parents,

Welcome back! Hopefully everyone had a restful vacation, because we have so much to do in 2014. We are beginning a new unit study on classification of animals. This week we learned that classification is a way of organizing things into groups by their similarities. We divide everything in the universe first into the two groups of living things and non-living things. Since animals are living things we are working with this group to divide it into smaller groups that are called kingdoms. We identified the plant kingdom and animal kingdom. From there we then divided the animal kingdom into the phylum of vertebrates and invertebrates. We will be focusing on the vertebrates and narrowing down our similarities by dividing further into classes, orders and families.

As part of our unit on animal classification, I would like to introduce the children to the concept of beginning research skills. This week we have also discussed in class where and how to find information, like through the internet, visiting the museum, or in books and magazines that they might find at home or in a library. I would like each child to choose one animal from anywhere in the world that he or she would like to know more about. I would like the children to classify their animal by class, order and or family, and tell where in the world the animal is from. They should also share some interesting fact or facts about their animal. Please help your child find information on his or her choice and then let your child think of a way to share his or her new found information with the class. Some ideas would be to draw pictures of the animal, find pictures and glue them onto poster board, make a model of the animal from clay, create a diorama, etc. When we present the projects I’d like the children to be able to tell the class the animal they selected and a group the animal belongs to. They should be able to share with their classmates information like the environment the animal lives in, what part of the world the animal is found and a few interesting facts about the creature. The projects will be due at the end of January and we will present them to the class as they are completed from January, 27th – February, 7th.

January will also bring us to a major milestone in our school year with the 100th day of school occurring on January 28th. We will have a class celebration to mark the occasion and I will put a sign-up sheet on the door for any help and consumables that might be needed to help celebrate the day.

As always, thanks for all you do,

Ms. Renee

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