Our Week – January 17

Thank you for supporting the children at 3E’s Inquiry Wonderland.  They had a “wonder-full” time sharing their work with you.  After the excitement of the museum, we’ve had an ordinary week of reading, writing and math.

Checking on Comprehension

This week I asked the children to think closely about what they are reading.  I’ve asked them to think about how their book choices are helping them grow as readers and thinkers. Many of the children are reading series together so they can talk about them – the Dogman and Amulet series are being read in this way.  Some of the children prefer nonfiction and are reading the Magic Tree House fact guides.

I’ve been conferencing and reading with the children to see if they are using any of the strategies we use during class read-alouds and in book clubs on their own to boost their understanding. Some of the children are, but most are not.  Some of the children can talk about what they are thinking about as they read – how they are connecting with the characters or what they are learning, but most are not yet making those deep connections.  This is something we’ll work to develop in the weeks to come.

Adding Dialogue to Writing

Writing dialogue is one technique that authors use to give their characters personality and to move a story along in time without explaining every moment.  Writing dialogue also follows some specific rules: a new line for each speaker, the first line indented, quotation marks around the talking, including frequent dialogue tags and careful use of commas and end-mark punctuation.

We’ve been practicing this with partners.  We’ve written about weekends and about our inquiry projects.   We’ve created puppets and created dialogues for them as well. With each practice the children are becoming more skilled.  Several of the children have been able to include accurately written and punctuated dialogues in their independent writing.  That’s a great thing to see.

Perimeter and Area

For the past several weeks one of the stations during our math block has been focused on developing an understanding of perimeter.  The students have created and measured polygons made from straws and pipe cleaners. They measured a variety of triangles, quadrilaterals and hexagons taped on the floor and added the sides to find each perimeter.  They have also measured things in classroom – most of these items have been rectangles. Several of the children realized they only needed to measure two of the sides and double to find the actual perimeter.

From the measuring activities to develop the concept of perimeter, the children have moved to building and drawing activities so they can understand area.  The children used multi-link cubes to create a variety of shapes to calculate both the perimeter and area.  Using actual square cubes is to help them understand that area is recorded as squared.  They are beginning to work with graph paper to create the letters of their names.  It will be interesting to find out which names have the largest and smallest perimeters and areas.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We finished The Mystery at Pine Lakeand discovered who had put the board in the dam that raised the water level and threatened the eggs in the loons’ nest.  It was not who we thought it would be at all.  That mystery is the start of a genre study.  We are beginning a new round of book clubs and a second mystery read-aloud, Winterhouse.  It will be an exciting study.
  • We completed the cursive set of Clock Climber: a, c, d, g and q.  We’ve begun our second set.  These are the Kite String letters.  Even though it can be challenging at times to form the letters correctly and to manage the size and shape without lifting the pencils, most of the class agrees that learning cursive is fun.
  • We are also continuing explore fractions.  We are comparing halves, thirds, fourths, sixths and eighths.
  • The children have learned the country they’ll be exploring in our next inquiry project.  This inquiry will have a social studies focus. We’ll continue to explore mapping, geography and landforms, while also learning more about culture, history and heritage.
  • The children continue to post on their blogs.  They would love comments!  Remember if you add your email – you’ll get weekly reminder and see what your child in the classroom.