Our Week – April 6

Our week has been much more focused on accomplishments and achieving personal best. Thank you for talking to your children and continuing to remind them that how they use time does matter. This week more and more of the children were able to finish each task and move on to extra reading or writing.

On top of this work, has been the excitement of Animal Awesomeness.  Thank you for fitting the extra work times into your schedule.  I know that’s not easy, but because of it we have some beautiful decorations and innovative games that many will enjoy. We’ve also got some awesome animal journals for the raffle.  The Good Deed Club can’t wait “to change the world!”

Fable Storyboarding

For this writing project we’ve moved through several different planning steps before actually writing.  First we chose the moral that we wanted to teach.  Next we chose our characters, a setting and outlined a sparse plotline. Next we quickly sketched the beginning, middle and ending of our fables. On the next day we added essential images until we could use the cards as a reminder for how we wanted to tell the story. We told our fables to a partner and to ourselves until it seemed just right.  Some of us discovered we prefer to write first, while others really liked to talk it through.  That was a valuable lesson to learn.  Finally we began to write the actual first draft.  Some are short and need to be expanded.  Some are long and need to be shrunk.  We’ve got some revising steps to work through.  Our plan is to have them ready to share by April vacation.

State Research Begins

This week the children learned what state they will be researching and presenting at the Parade of the States on Thursday, May 24 from 4:45 to no later than 6:30.  The children are doing the research and writing for this project here at school.  It will be a combined piece of information and persuasive writing.  They are hoping to convince you that their state is the one you should visit for your next vacation.

To begin with the children are reading about their states.  They are making lists of possible wonders in five different categories: State Symbol, Manmade Wonder, Natural Wonder, State Hero and State Festival, Celebration of Tradition. Wonders 6 and 7 are their choice.  Once they have a general awareness of their state they’ll begin to do some more specific research and begin a selection process.  Just as with the country project, understanding a place more fully than what you know if you’ve visited or what you see, is tricky.  It takes a great deal of inferencing and thinking to make meaning of a whole new place.

Our goal is to have the wonders chosen through April so that they have several weeks to craft their writing at school and to build their float with you at home. Clear float criteria will be sent home when it comes time for building.

Fractions, Problem Solving and Fact Practice

We’ve begun comparing fractions with different denominators.  Sometimes that’s quite simple, but other times it is very tricky. The remaining part of the whole looks almost the same.  We’ve been learning how multiplication and division can help us understand equivalence.

As you look at your child’s work over the next few weeks stop to notice how many problems it seems s/he may be solving a day.  Many of the children are challenging themselves to solve all four of them each day.  When they do that they are solving multi-step problems using a combination of all four operations.  It is exciting to see their effort and determination.  It is also fun to see how proud of themselves they are.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Please keep checking your children’s blogs for new posts.  They love comments.  The comments are proof that their work is read and appreciated.  This week Ms. Schmidt commented on each of their posted book reviews.  We are trying to post more frequently about classroom accomplishments – some magnet books have been posted this week.  Please share this with friends and extended family – they’ll be thrilled.
  • We’ve read the first 11 chapters of Winterhouse and it seems that we’ve just begun to understand the main action of the mystery.  It was interesting to realize we had to wait that long into the story (hint – don’t abandon a book too soon) before the real conflict and action was revealed.  We’re keeping a log of what’s happening in each chapter.  Our goal is to solve the mystery first.
  • We’ll begin mystery book clubs next week and continue learning more about mapping and regions of the United States.