The end of our 3rdgrade year is in sight. Many in the class are talking about how bittersweet it feels. We are glad that summer is approaching, but sad because it feels as if we’ve just begun to know each other well.
This week we’ve continued to reflect on our learning accomplishments. We’ve begun to explore questioning and different types of questions. It’s been an interesting process that I hope will help us explore SCIENCEand what it means to be a scientist. Mystery book clubs are continuing to meet. Students are blogging (please read their posts and leave them a comment), reading, writing, finishing our cursive alphabet, solving problems and learning more about fractions too.
Question Formation Technique (QFT)
Thinking about thinking and wondering about your personal learning process is something that grows connections in your brain. Metacognition is something that is beginning to show more often at this point in your child’s development. Because of this, learning reflections teeter on the edge of purposefulness. For example sometimes a fall reading reflection will transform from, “I’m going to read fatter books faster,” to “I’m going choose to read books that help me understand more about what it means to live in different parts of the world.”
One of the ways we are helping develop these more complex lines of thinking is by exploring questions. On Tuesday the class divided into small groups to develop questions related to a focus statement: Scientists explore, observe and experiment. The goal was to write as many questions as possible in ten minutes. We tried not to discuss or judge them (that was the hardest part of the process for us.) And we tried to record the questions exactly as we thought of them.
After some fits and starts, the class came up over sixty-five questions. We sorted these into two categories: closed and open. Closed questions are the ones we could answer with a single word, or are questions we would find the same, single answer for wherever we looked. Open questions have a variety of answers and often lead to more questions. We decided that they make us more curious. They might even help us understand something we want to learn about because they help us think about a topic in many different ways.
Once we had sorted some of our original questions, we also explored ways of rephrasing a closed question so it became more open. We also explored how sometimes one question can lead to another and another. Sometimes some of the questions surprised us. Sometimes the questions lead us deeper into the topic. We expanded the closed question, “Who invented plastic?” into “Why do we make plastic?” and that led us to wonder, “Can we make plastic good?”
Persuasive Writing Grows
We’ve created different book reviews. We’ve written hoping to persuade you to travel to the states we research before the others. Now we are spending time to discover how persuasive writing can be used to bring about positive change. We’ve practiced making lists of pros and cons about one topic using Douglas Florian’s poems about the things he loves and hates about each season as a model. We’ re learning more about planning and organizing. We’re prioritizing ideas and topics so that what is most important is clearly highlighted in our writing. We are experimenting with leads to add interest and set the tone for our entire essay. Soon you’ll be reading about the seasons we each consider as being best.
Our next step after this will be to choose something related to plastic or plastic use to learn about. Perhaps we’ll have something to share before the end of the year, but maybe not. We hope to continue this work next year if we can find a way to help The Good Deed Club to continue.
Bits and Pieces –
- We’ve learned how to write all of the lower case cursive letters. Some of them are challenging to write, but most of them are fun.
- We are reading our twelfth chapter read-aloud. It is Zorgamazooby Robert Weston. The entire book is written in rhyme. At first it seemed challenging to understand because there are so many new and different words it in, but now that we’re more into the story it is fun. Ask your child which main character they like best: Katrina Katrell or Mortimer (Mortie) Yorgle? And why?
- I’m not sending student work home this week so we can amass some work samples for the children to choose from as the continue developing their portfolio to share with you on June 18. The Student-Led Portfolio shares will be in our classroom between 3 and 5:30. Thank you to families who already returned the slip indicating when you might be arriving. It seems as though the conferences will be spread throughout the time so everyone will be able to hear as their child shares his or her 3rdGrade learning. Remember as always, if this date or these times don’t work for you, please say so. We can find another time easily.