Our week has been filled with reading, writing, science and social studies. The children are beginning to create their display boards for our geography museum. We’ve begun a unit on magnetism so we’ve been having lots of fun with magnets too. They are cool.
Growing Our Informational Writing Powers
Most of the children have completed their research and have determined what they consider to be seven Wonders in their countries. They have read and taken notes and are now trying to organize those ideas into paragraphs. The expectation is that they share a minimum of six facts about each wonder and that they attempt to expand their writing using description and detail.
That is a tall order. Some of the children are not yet able to consider that their readers may not have seen the pictures they have. They cannot imagine their readers many not know what they know. Other writers have moved to a stance that “longer is better.” To make their writing longer however, they have shifted to having two screens open at a time so they can mimic the organization of online articles. You’ll be able to spot the rather stiff, adult-like construction in around the sentence gems that truly share what that child found wondrous about the topic. And finally, there are others who are able to consider a more general outside audience. They have read widely, taken time to record notes and have considered several ways to present the information before deciding to draft.
There is much to learn and master as writers. It takes time. All three of the above descriptions are typical in classrooms from third to fifth grade. When you combine learning to write well, with understanding content you can well imagine the how challenging it is to present the Wonders of a country. They are excited to try and are looking forward to our Country Convention on Thursday, March 15.
Investigating Magnetic Force
We’ve been having fun with magnets. We’re learning about their properties. How they pull – attract, and push – repel. We’ve also learned how magnetic force can travel across a distance and is useful in making many things run more smoothly. We can read about that and see pictures of that happening. In our classroom, they are really fun to experiment with. We can make items float and fly as if they can defy gravity.
Learning About Fractions
We’ve begun learning about fractions. We know that at fraction is a part of something and that it must be a fair share. We are learning the terms, numerator, denominator and equivalence. At this point we are learning to label fraction and to see then as part of a whole, sets within a larger group (division) or a part of a number line (linear measure.)
Bits and Pieces –
- We finished Tiger Boy and learned a lot about life in the Sundarbans of India. What an interesting story about a very different part of the world. Talk to your child about what they think it might be like to live there and how his or her life would be different. In the story neither of Neel’s parents can read and his older sister has left school at 15 to care for her ailing mother. It is challenging to realize that Neel’s life is not uncommon at all.
- We’ve been exploring how writers use a variety of sentence types and kinds. We already knew about statements, questions and exclamations, but now we’re exploring simple, compound and complex sentence structures. We’ve been exploring parts of speech as well. A new one for everyone was conjunction. Ask your child if s/he remembers that job and see if s/he can remember the five criteria we decided all sentences must have.
- We’ve continued to explore revision with short personal narratives. We’ve also begun learning about and reading various fables. We’ll eventually use this genre as a model for writing our own original fables. We’ll publish both types of narratives in a classroom magazine.
- As we are reaching the end of our Global Geography project, we’ve continued thinking of ways we can change the world for the better. We have a collection of poems about kindness and peace that we read together each day. We are creating a Peace Gallery for you to enjoy when you come to our Country Convention. Our images show what we think of when we think of peace. Here’s something we hope will make you smile: