Our Week – May 27

DSC08210Our week has been full of Social Studies and Wonders writing.  It has been full of display and book creation.  It has also been full of math testing – but that is done for the year.  I am proud of our class for their hard work and sustained effort.  The directions were multilayered and a bit less than transparent.

DSC08204To get you ready for next week’s Parade of the States, here are some state fun facts the class thinks you would like to know.  Make sure you read their displays and books to learn more.  They will be on display in the cafeteria prior to the recorder concert and after while we get the parade ready.

Dillan would like you to know that Delaware is one of the smallest states.

Max would like you to know that Thomas Edison’s workshop was in Menlo Park, New Jersey.  Max was born in New Jersey too.

Heidi would like you to know that Connecticut is one of the smallest states.

DSC08205Elias would like you to know that there are rattle snakes in Vermont.  It is the timber rattler. They are in the northern part of Vermont.

Ivan would like you to know that Alabama has a lot of fossils.

Aiden would like you to know Nebraska is in the middle of the state.  There is a lot of corn in Nebraska.

Caleb would like you to know that trees make rubber and rubber and that pine trees make pitch.  Trees are important in Iowa.

DSC08206Adele would like you to know Indiana’s state flower is a peony.

Nolan would like you to know that Stone Mountain was finished in 1958.

Grace A would like you to know that Wyoming is know for geysers and national parks.

Grace H would like you to know that Atlantic Ave goes all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and that’s part of New Hampshire’s coastline.

DSC08207Abi would like you to know that Rhode Island IS the smallest state.

Logan would like you to know that the Oregon Trail leads from Missouri into Oregon.

DSC08208And Kayla would like you to know that Idaho has the three richest silver mines in the U.S.A.

We can’t wait to share our work with you.  We are feeling proud of how we have grown as researchers and writers of informational texts.

Completed floats should be brought to our classroom Wednesday after school or Thursday morning before school begins.  Thank you.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Our Week – May 20

researchIt has been a week of “wonder” writing and planning, fraction work and problem solving and, of course, testing. The end of the year is fast approaching and I am feeling the sprint to the finish beginning. We still have portfolios to prepare and dates to set for the student-led end-of-the-year conferences. I feel a bit panicky as I type that out, but we’ll just plug on through, doing the best we can. The kids are feeling the end too. They are full of baseball, field hockey and lacrosse talk. There are dance recitals and piano recitals and special family gatherings. They are busy and tired. Please help them stay focused and committed to doing all they can for a few weeks more. Thank you.

Week One of Testing Done

pring walkThe students have completed the English Language Arts portion of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I hope you’ll give your son or daughter an extra special hug for his or her effort this week.   Things went smoothly. Though a few of the children said they thought it was fun, but most found the tests exhausting.  At first the children felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of what they were being asked to do.  There are lots of directions and many of parts to attend to all at once. It is very different from what we present children in the classroom (or anywhere for that matter.)  I am very proud of their efforts and their willingness to push on through the challenges to do their best.  They all worked very hard. I’d like to give a special thanks to Mrs. Wyman who spent countless hours to make sure all the computers were ready for us to use.   She knew all of the “tools” available in the test – like the highlighter, the dictionary and spellcheck – and supported us all through the entire process.  She is the mom of a fourth grader.  She thought about the testing through his eyes and tried to do everything she could so that the children could be as successful as possible.  Thank her if you have the chance.

Wrapping Up Wonders Research and Writing

spring walkThis week the children have been completing their research and have begun to write about their Wonders. Though the goal has been to write several paragraphs about each “wonder” many of the topics they have chosen are challenging to find information about. I think a few of them are feeling concerned about what they will have finished to put on display that evening. Several of them have commented that they could do it at home because their mothers would tell them what to write. (Please don’t do that.) This is challenging work but doable. Our goal in this writing project was to learn more about how planning and organization are important in writing. Some of the children have used this opportunity to develop readingleads and conclusions for their writing. Some have put their main ideas first and supported them with details they found interesting. They have attempted to add voice to their pieces and truly hope you will be interested in their Wonders. Their choices will make you smile. It is fun to note what each of them finds striking about their states and what interest them – corn, John Deere, violets, potatoes, The Snake River. Regardless, all of the children are more curious and interested in our country and that is another goal of our study. The United States is an amazing place.

Bits and Pieces –

  • readingWe are learning more about Albie in Absolutely Almost. You might want to ask your child about what is happening for Albie. He struggles at school. He is dealing with pressure from home and changes are happening with friends.
  • We enjoyed our last challenge of the year by looking for changes in nature by the vernal pools. We spotted some frogs but not tadpoles this year.
  • Our broccoli is finally starting to take off out in the greenhouse. Yay!

spring walk

Our Week – May 13

researchWe have had another busy week. With the help of Mrs. Bihari, we got our broccoli planted in the greenhouse. We continued researching state wonders and writing about them. We are learning more about fractions, division and subtraction. We are writing book reviews and beginning Humphrey book clubs too.

On top of all this our social and emotional learning discussions have been around difference. What do we do when we notice difference? What do we do when we feel different? How does it feel to be treated different? There are good sides and bad sides to those questions. We based our discussion on our read-alouds. The one we recently completed, The Thing About Georgie, had a main character who was a dwarf. We’ve called that an “obvious difference.” Our new read-aloud, Absolutely Almost , has a main character who finds school and understanding people challenging. He’s “almost” good at lots of things, but never accomplished at things he feels matters. We’ve called that a “secret difference.” Mrs. Mariotti has joined us for these discussions and is helping us become more aware of brain development and growth. We are endeavoring to become more understanding and to grow our willingness to react with kindness.

Habits for Success

 reading           All year long we have been working to think of ways to grow and become more successful. We know that by looking at things in a different way we may understand it differently. We know that we have to stick with things even if they are difficult. It is important to take responsible risks and to take action. Waiting around for others to do things doesn’t always lead to success, but sometimes waiting is important. Having confidence and believing in yourself even if others doubt you is important. “When people say your dream is impossible, don’t give up. Use your imagination to make your dream real.”

We are working to find time to think about our actions and our choices in how we feel about things that are done to us. We can choose to take things personally or we can express our feelings without drama and talk it through. That can be challenging. We are also beginning the process of reflecting on our year’s work and accomplishment to put together our digital portfolio. Our plan is that we will present them to you at the end the school year to share how we have progressed and worked to meet the goals we shared with you in the fall.

Fractions – Recipes and Number Lines

math problems            One of the ways we have been exploring fractions is to look at different recipes. We have been doubling them and cutting them in half. Through this work together we have again noticed that with fractions bigger numbers mean smaller amounts. We are learning how to add fractions with like denominators and how we can divide them into even smaller amounts. We have explored congruency with geoboards and played fraction dominoes to help the children become more comfortable with what fractions are and how they compare. Finally we have been working to use fractions on number lines with different ending points. That way we know that 1/4 of 100 is 25, but 1/4 of 336 is 84. Fractions certainly challenge us to think in different ways. They are intuitive in real-life situations, but confusing when working with paper and pencil. Any chances you have to share fraction work through cooking or building, crafting or sewing with your children will certainly add to their understanding.

Bits and Pieces –

  • readingreadingTesting begins next week. Please assure your child that putting in their best effort is all we can ask. Let them know it might be tough, but it won’t last forever. Let them know you believe in them.
  • We are beginning Humphrey book-clubs next week.
  • Our last challenge of the year with Mr. Caron will be on Tuesday, May 17.

Our Week – May 6

DSC08154This has been a week of working on our research, projects, reading and writing. This week we had extra art time to work on our state projects, we practiced for the state testing so we’d feel comfortable with the tools of the online testing and the types of questions. (It’s a bit overwhelming.) We also had a challenge with Mr. Caron where we worked on teamwork, cooperation and spelling. It has been quite a full week.

State Research and the Float Project

DSC08148Nearly all of the students have completed their float blueprints and have received their building permits. After listening to a few comments in and around the classroom this week, please help, but please don’t do the work for the children. Yes some of them need help organizing their ideas so they are doable. Yes, most of them will need help finalizing their float – whether a sandwich board or pulled float – so it will travel the whole distance of the parade. But, please let your child’s design and artistic talent show through in his or her float. Thank you.

DSC08153Most of the children feel they have done enough research on at least three of their state wonders so they will be able to write about a page on each. Our goal is to have the research completed by next Friday so we have two to three weeks for the writing. It seems like plenty of time on the calendar, but those are also our SBAC testing weeks so they children won’t have nearly the time they think. We’ll carry on and do our best with both.

SEL – Habits for Success

DSC08146Throughout this year we’ve been talking about “habits for success” and choices we can make that will allow us to grow our capabilities. This week we’ve been reading both fiction and nonfiction books to see what lessons they might have for us as learners. We know that success can come by looking at a situation from a different and more positive perspective. (It Could Always be Worse) We learned that sometimes it’s important to take action if things are going as expected. It’s important to keep trying even if it takes a long time. (Beekle the Unimaginary Friend) It’s important to dream and when people tell you it’s not possible to keep using your imagination until you dream it real. (Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mystery of the Cosmos) Sometimes it’s important to challenge a rule that does not seem right in order to inspire change, but you have do to it carefully if you want it to work. (Game Changer: John Mclendon and the Secret Game)

DSC08151In and around these conversations we’ve been talking about the fact that you can only change yourself. If someone it bothering you, you can’t change them, but you can change yourself. You can change how you react. You can wonder why they are bothering you so much. You can change where you are. And you can let them know how they are making you feel with an I-statement. There is a lot of social thinking going on in the classroom and it feels like there are more moments of understanding than complaints.

Bits and Pieces –

  • DSC08147Our broccoli is ready to move out to the greenhouse. We hope it thrives there.
  • We completed The Thing About Georgie. Ask your child about the story and what Georgie discovered about himself that we could learn from as well.
  • Smarter Balance testing dates for us are: Monday, May 16 for the English Language Arts comprehensive test, Wednesday, May 18 for part one of the English Language Arts performance task and May 19 for part two of the English DSC08149Language Arts performance task. The following week we’ll be testing Math on Tuesday, May 24 and again on Thursday, May 26.