Our Week – June 6

grasslandWe are working, working, working – and I hope having fun to.  We are hoping to have all our projects wrapped up in a week’s time.  The children are making a great effort to complete their reading for book clubs and habitat groups, their writing so that learning reflections will be included in each part of their portfolios and lastly, their science, so their habitat display will be complete when they share their portfolios next week.

Habitat Teams

We completed our class display for the rainforest.  The scene is done and labeled (in cursive).  The facts are listed as to why rainforests are important in our world.  The food web was created and labeled and, lastly, a picture of the creators was taken to post as part of the display.

The children are using that model for creating their own small group displays.  After reading, One Day in the ….books by Jean Craighead George, they are using the information to share the unique features of their habitat.  The tundra group has realized that with few plants and no trees most of their food chains are short.  They also feel as though they have the most animals that adapt for survival through camouflage.  The desert seems full of animals that burrow. The forest group feels they have the most animal diversity and the grassland has interesting plants.

desertIt is interesting to see how the groups are working together and finding ways for all to participate and create.

Efficiency with Math

This week we took our last round of timed test.  Some of the children did great, while others were overwhelmed by the timing.  They all did their best and it is clear they have been making an effort.  We hope they’ll find some time to keep up with their practice so all is not lost for 4th grade.  Playing any games were score is kept – Rummy 500, cribbage, 21 – are great for practice.  Dice games are great too.

Also this week we went back to some of the problems we solved in September and October to see if we had learned new and more efficient strategies.  We have and it was interesting to see who would give them a try in the problem solving situations and who really wanted to use old tried and true multi-step strategies.  I think you’ll be surprised as you look at their work this week.  They’ve done a lot.

Learning Reflections

forestAt the end of the day on Thursday the class gathered to brainstorm a list of all the things we have accomplished together.  We were focusing mainly on the second half of the year.  They had a good feeling as they stopped to realize they had done much and deserved to feel proud of their efforts.  They talked about how they had worked to live up to our constitution.  They recognized that it was hard to follow it always all the time.  It is hard to put others first.  They felt good about completing 13 chapter read-alouds together and were proud of their book club work.  They were also pleased to know they have been doing so many different types of writing.  They have all written blog posts, informational pieces, book reviews and written up their Wonders research.  In addition to that some have been creating plays, poems and stories.

As I listened to all the things they remembered and chose to list, I could tell they are each feeling a sense of personal growth and accomplishment, as well as pride in what our class has been able to do together.

Bits and Pieces

  • cursiveCursive capital letters – we are about halfway through learning our cursive capital letters.  The children seem to be having fun learning them – especially the part where we trace them on each other’s backs.
  • Blogging – several of the children have talked about blogs and blogging over the summer.  I hope the children, with your permission, will continue to write posts over the summer. I will continue to post book reviews on Monday, math problems on Wednesday and project suggestions on Friday throughout the summer.  The beauty of our blog is that I monitor all posts and comments before they are shared publically and I have subscribed to a version that means we have no ads on our site.  It will be interesting to see if any of the children find time to post and comment once summer begins.
  • Typing Pal – is a keyboarding program that each child is set up to use through the eboard.  It is under the “links for all” tab.  All the children have done some of the exercises in school and know how to use the program.  It is great practice and will really help them as more and more of their writing will be done on computers.  Once they’ve practiced they can apply their new skills by creating a post on their blogs.

 If you haven’t already, please sign up for a time when your child can share his or her portfolio with you.