Our Week – May 18

We’re wrapping up our state writing and beginning learning reflections to share in our final student-led conferences.  We’re observing our seeds as they sprout in the classroom and our plants as they flourish in the greenhouse.  We’re nearly finished with Winterhouse– a very exciting mystery and student mystery book clubs are nearing the middle of their books.

Persuasive Writing

We’ve been learning more about persuasive writing.  We’re practicing those skills when crafting book reviews and when telling about our state Wonders.  The first review was posted on the student blogs on or around March 28.  The second one was written two weeks ago and was posted on the student blogs this week.

In the learning process, the children have been discovering what it means to make a claim and how to support that claim with facts, as well as, opinion.  We’ve developed rubric-like checklists to guide these writing projects.  One helps guide the writing of reviews.  The children are writing a third review for an independently read chapter book or series.  Our goal is to have that review published on the student blogs as well by the end of next week.  We are hoping the three posts share evidence of our progress and learning.  Check then out and leave a comment about what you see and hear.  They like knowing they’ve been read.

The other rubric guides the writing about state Wonders.  The students hope to persuade you to travel to their states before any of the other 49. In fact, each child is trying to convince you to pick his or her state as your next vacation destination.  They are feeling excited about all the things they have learned about their states and are trying to clearly share why those places and things are destinations to see.  It will be fun to share next week.  We hope to get everything completed!

Reflecting on Learning Accomplishments

As the year comes to a close, the students are taking time to think about how they have grown and changed as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, “social studiers”, learners and friends.  We’ve brainstormed lists of class accomplishments and they’ve each taken some time to reflect on personal accomplishments.  They’ve done many things this year and have much to be proud of. During this reflection process, it has been interesting to listen to them as they realize what they’ve accomplished. The act of gathering a pile of books to show what’s been read, or pulling our favorite pieces of writing, even looking back to see the different types of math problems solved throughout the year has helped prove to themselves how they have changed.

We read The Important Bookthat describes the traits of everyday things like spoons, shoes or the sky in a format that begins, “The important thing about…, lists a few other traits, and ends as it started “But the important thing about… .” The children used that format to write about themselves and what has been important to them as third grade learners. They are wonderful to read – they’ll share them with you at their final student-led conference and portfolio share. They are proud of becoming stronger readers.  They feel good about blogging and knowing that people from different places are reading their stories, poems and information.  They are proud becoming more skilled at researching and being able to learn things on their own.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We got a thank you from the World Wildlife Fund this week.  It was address to The Good Deed Club.  It was wonderful to see another rush of pride sweep through the room.  They have, indeed, made a difference in the world and will keep doing so as well.  The new idea is tackling the use of plastic.  We’ve got lots to learn.
  • After a long break, we are back to practicing cursive writing.  It’s fun to learn and relaxing to practice.  We’re learning how to write the “Loop Group” letters: h, k, b, f, l and e.
  • Our chard is doing great in the greenhouse, but our seedlings are very spotty.  We were attempting to see if there was a difference in how green, red and yellow chard would grow.  I hope they’ll be opportunity to explore heredity and variation of traits as we track how the different varieties grow.
  • Please be on the look out for Student-Led Conference and portfolio share sign-ups on Monday.

Floats can be brought in to the classroom after school on Wednesday, May 23 or before school on May 24.  We can’t wait to see you at the Parade of the States!