Classroom News, February 1, 2015

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Snowy Solo Spot.

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Snowy solo spot.


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Listing scientific observations about weathering and rocks.

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Dust particles released from jar after rocks are weathered.



Monday: Will we have school? The snow is really coming down…

Tuesday: Green Challenge Assembly. We have been sitting with our 7th grade book buddies and investigating how we can challenge ourselves with our monthly endeavor each month.

Wednesday: Early Release schedule. I will also be out for a Math PD opportunity.

Thursday: PBIS celebration. It will be so fun.

Friday: Frindle Field Trip Forms due. Trivia Night.


Parents, please consider volunteering to coordinate the Valentine’s Day party. I will help in any way I can, including offering ideas. The kids love seeing their parents in the classroom. Also, since we are going on a Field Trip in the morning, this just might be the best Friday ever for them.

Please encourage students to read Blue Stem books. If they read four, they can vote at the end of the month.

Congratulations to Ishaan for making it to the top 5 of the school-wide spelling bee. I was so proud of him and the support he got from his classmates.


In third grade math, students are learning about fractions. We learned about the vocabulary, numerators and denominators, how fractions are equal parts of a whole, and how to shade parts of a whole to represent a fraction. Next week, we will continue to investigate fractions. Students are working in differentiated groups  and move through three sections during math time: math games, math practice and guided math with me. Please continue to encourage your child to practice subtraction math facts, take their time with their work and really follow directions.

The fourth graders started their new unit on fractions this week. Coming home on Monday will be fractions unit packet that will inform you more about how fractions are taught in Investigations (math program). We start off with visual models of representing fractions and then move into word problems.  The students are using arrays to help figure out their word problems. Students should have learned this week that you can find fractions of different wholes. Fractions can be very complicated in the beginning so please check in with your child about their homework and understanding of fractions. Next week, we will begin the concept of adding fractions.

Students are doing well with their Word Study Bingo activities. I do see a correlation between the effort put into learning the words and definitions and their quiz results. Please offer to quiz your child at home or look over their sentences or stories. This writing practice is crucial to becoming a stronger writer, not just improving recognition of word spelling patterns.
In Reading, we are almost done with the Blue Stem book Frindle. After I read a chapter from the book, students are practicing strategies such as inferring, predicting, relating to characters to form opinions and citing evidence about what characters are like based on what characters do. Some of these activities are done in writing and some are done directly on the ChromeBooks. Very exciting.
During guided reading, students have been reading from our excellent informational text about soils. This integrates with our science curriculum and allows students to respond to different text structures and informational graphics within the text.
In Writing, students have been working on two persuasive essays. The first prompt was “What is the Best Invention for their mom or dad”. The second writing prompt was “Should students be allowed to play sports or do activities in which they could get hurt”. For both of these projects, students are reading an article about the subject, doing a graphic organizer which helps them gather evidence for their opinion and then writing their essay on the ChromeBook.


We had a very busy week. We finished talking about soil and began to talk about rocks. Students are doing hands-on exploration of rocks and soils. They made astute observations as they learned about how rocks weather. The volume in the classroom was off the charts as the students took turns “tumbling” rocks in plastic canisters. When they opened the canisters they smelled the “friction”. The rocks had already begun to break apart and the friction in the jars caused heat. They journaled their scientific data independently and in groups. We will continue this exploration next week, including learning about acid rain.


We formally began our Pioneer unit that was kicked off with our immersion day before Winter Break. Students considered, listed and illustrated what they would pack in their covered wagon. We learned about the homes pioneers built, the work they did and how the work they did was different for people today. There was exhilarating, intelligent discussion.


Yes, we had a snowy solo spot this week. It was fantastic.
Also, students were awarded their Y key for all the hard work they did to earn it. Thank you, families, for helping them achieve their goals.