Our Week – September 29, 2017

Our week has been full and busy, and, I hope the class would say, fun. We are finishing up the last of the beginning of the year assessments. We are looking forward to completing them so we can get into some more in-depth exploration.

Exploring An Array Model of Multiplication

This week we learned about the commutative property of multiplication. It is exciting to know that facts can be turned around backward and still equal the same thing. We can easily count by 5’s, so it’s good to know that 8×5=5×8. We can find that total without counting every single item.   We “built” Multiplication Main Street this week as a way to strengthen our understanding of this concept. We like our town. This class designed some pretty fancy buildings!

While working with some array worksheets, the class realized how learning multiplication would be a good thing. It will help us with accuracy and allow us to complete our problem solving work more efficiently. It is fun to see the children excited to solve math problems. At first the problems felt hard and now they are becoming easier. Many of the children are able to finish three and four problems in a work session. It is great to see their focus and dedication to learning new things.

Exploring Informational Reading and Writing

In the library this week Ms. Schmidt taught us how to use several of the amazing online resources available to children from our school. She shared ScienceFlix, Grolier Encyclopedia Online and SIRS Discover with the class. She showed them what the sites offered and helped them explore. They were excited to be using online resources and they were excited to think about the animal they’d be researching for our zoo. Please save the worksheet that is coming home in this week’s folder. The usernames and passwords for these sites are on them so the children can use them at home for any research project they devise. They’ll get to explore these and more resources next week in the Library as well.

We began thinking about what makes reading hard, easy and just right for each of us. We’ve discovered that nonfiction often contains “big words” (aka – content specific vocabulary) so it can sometimes be difficult to read and understand. We’ve realized that skipping those hard words isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes this causes us to misunderstand the facts. We’ve also discovered that it’s important to find a variety of books on a topic. By reading the easiest books first we are more likely to understand the information when the reading becomes more challenging. That is because we’ve built our background knowledge (called in the reading world – Schema) and we can develop a more detailed understanding of our topic.

The Forces of Flight

We have continued to explore the forces of flight during our science block. On Monday we had fun launching our propellers. It was interesting to compare a model that worked to our paper model.   Through it, we were able to discover what we could have done differently. Some of the kids want to have a second try. Yay! It was also interesting to notice how each person launched his/her propeller differently. Not everyone was successful (I was one of those people.)

During science we learned about, and engaged in the Engineer Design Process. The circular steps are: Ask, Explore, Model, Evaluate, and Explain. We are presently moving back and forth between the model and evaluate steps. We were given templates a variety of wings, fuselages and horizontal stabilizers and challenged to choose a combination that would glide the furthest when launched down a runway. We began the design process by using the 123D Design App to plan out our gliders. From these plans we made a variety of choices and changes and built. Many of the groups have created several designs. We hope that we’ll be ready to try them out tomorrow. Our final flight challenge will come next week. We are learning to deal with mistakes and disappointments. It is interesting to see the groups go back to their plans, examine their resources and make changes. As a teacher, I’m excited to see them engaging in this process. It is exciting to think about the possibilities when we all work together.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Thank you for attending last night’s curriculum night. We hope you feel more aware of how your child’s year will build and what the immediate expectations are. If you were unable to attend, we totally understand – life is full. We’ll send home the handouts in your child’s folder. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them.
  • We began cursive. We are learning a set of letters called the Clock Climbers – a, c, d, g, and q.   It’s exciting.
  • We are continuing to read The One and Only Ivan. As Max said, “This is a sad book.” It is, so be prepared. You might begin hearing some questions at home about how and why some people act so hatefully toward animals.
  • We began reading journals this week and are taking time to consider who we are as readers and how we will document our growth and progress throughout the year.

Thank you so much for reading and talking to your child about what they are doing, thinking and exploring. Your attention and support are greatly appreciated.