# Our Week – January 11

This week we decided to take the opportunity to join with some other classes across the United States and Canada in a project designed to connect us around the idea of Growth Mindset.  We’ve only just begun so there is little to report right now.  We’re excited about the possibilities.  For four weeks we’ll be reading picture books and answering a series of questions.  Our goal is to learn more about choosing behaviors and habits that lead to success.

This project connects to the work we did at the beginning of the school year about the Theory of Multiple Intelligence and goal setting.  It also connects to our current Open Circle unit about different types of behaviors.

Math and Measurement

Before the break we had been exploring time and solving problems to help us understand how to calculate elapsed time.  Over the past two weeks we’ve been exploring money – finding totals and comparing amounts. Both of these measurements have helped us practice multiplication of 5’s and 10’s.  We’re getting more efficient in knowing the amounts of halves and quarter hours and dollars as well.

Now we are moving on to linear measurement.  We’ll learn about inches, feet and yards.  We’ll also explore halves, quarters and eighths of an inch to add to our growing understanding of fractions.  I am looking forward to tracking the growth of amaryllis during this measurement unit.  I think the kids are going to be amazed.  If you have any projects that require measuring, please ask your child to help you out with them.  Measuring is always lots of fun, but authentic projects are best.

National Holiday Celebration

We are wrapping up our study of national holidays.  The children are finishing their research and are beginning writing, creating timelines, illustrations and a game to teach others about the national holiday they chose curious research. Through this project, we’ve learned a great deal about our country and its history.  It has often been challenging to understand how likelihood for fair treatment and equal opportunity has changed throughout our country’s history. There are some misperceptions.  You’ll see that as you view the tri-fold displays the children are putting together. These are honest mistakes.  They will open the door to further learning and increased understanding.  As with all things, once you begin thinking and wondering about a topic, the more you are able to notice the information that helps you understand.  We have a curious class.  They are interested in history and in the ways of people.

We’re excited to plan our museum event and to name it.  Please be on the lookout for an invitation to this event next week so you can be sure to save the date and time. The museum will be open in the afternoon while school is in session and again in the evening so parents can come after school.  We realize children have after school commitments and may not be able to attend – but we are hopeful that as many children as possible will be able to present their research and understanding both times that the museum is open.  This is an important part of Speaking and Listening and Communicating Learning.

This week we’ve begun The Great Sasquatch Escape– the first book in the Imaginary Veterinary series.  We’ve also begun the daily practice of keeping track of the important events from each chapter.  We are using what we’ve learned about Narrative Story Arcs in writing to discover what part of this read-aloud story we are in:  Beginning (introductions of setting characters and the inciting event), Rising Action, Middle, Climax, Resolving Action, or End (the problems is solved and we learn how the characters have changed).  During read aloud the children are creating quick sketches of important events and/or listing things they feel are important to remember.

At this point in the story it is relatively easy to recognize what is important.  There have only been a few extra details, but they will grow and we will learn more about the choices authors make by examining them.

Elaboration Strategies and Writing

Last week we began learning about four different types of elaboration strategies.  Over the course of the last two weeks we’ve had the opportunity to practice developing description, adding action, inventing realistic dialogue and adding emotion by including inner (unspoken) thoughts and feelings.  Thanks to Melanie Meehan and the lessons she shared on her blog, we were able to learn how to add more interest and vitality to our writing.  More and more of the children are trying to include at least two elaboration strategies on every page of their writing this week.  Some of them have even tried to use all four strategies on every page.  They are beginning to realize that using these strategies communicates more of what they’ve thought and imagined with their readers.  Writing is a dynamic process.  I am proud of the effort many these 3rdgrade writers are making to intentionally improve the quality of their writing.

Bits and Pieces –

• Each week the children work to add to their blogs.  Some of them finish a post in one week – others do not, as is expected.  Thank you for your continued attention to their blogs and the tine you take to leave comments.  It is greatly appreciated.  Jack has been blogging from Colorado and we’re excited to look for his posts every week too.
• Most of the class began their plan for the “family story” they will write based on their interview.  This will be a first opportunity to apply their independent understanding the elaboration strategies.
• We completed our season pros and cons exploration. This exploration has been designed to give the children ideas for their first persuasive writing piece.
• We will not have our challenge with Mr. Guidi next week on January 16th.  He is attending a professional workshop.
• Cursive begins next week!