Classroom News, January 18, 2015

Students work on the Green Challenge "saving energy in the home" project with their Book Buddies.

Students work on the Green Challenge “saving energy in the home” project with their Book Buddies.

Students present their Book Buddies/Green Challenge posters,

Students present their Book Buddies/Green Challenge posters.

Students present their Book Buddies/Green Challenge posters,

Students present their Book Buddies/Green Challenge posters.

Students present their Book Buddies/Green Challenge posters.

Students present their Book Buddies/Green Challenge posters.


No School Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Wednesday is an Early Release Schedule.

PARCC: Last week, students had a chance to participate in an infrastructure test of the PARCC test. All students looked at sample questions on their computer, played with the different tools offered, practiced typing short answers, and generally were able to see what the PARCC test will look like.

Earthkeepers: Students have been working toward earning their Y key. Next week, they will participate in the Y key ceremony and be given their key.

Spelling Bee: The fourth-eighth grade school-wide spelling bee will be on January 28th after the assembly. Ms. DePaz will host the fourth grade spelling bee in her class on January 23rd. Students can prepare by studying the words handed out in class.


In third grade math, students continued to learn about division. We are focusing on the strategies that were introduced the week before: repeated subtraction, counting equal groups and rewriting the equation as a multiplication problem and using a multiplication chart. Students played multiplication games in class, worked in small groups with me and worked on problems utilizing new strategies. In Rocket Math, all students are mastering their subtraction facts. Students are encouraged to practice math facts to enhance their subtraction speed skills. Next week, we will have a mid-unit assessment, to ascertain how well they understand division concepts and how they relate to multiplication.

Who remembers long division? The 4th graders have been waiting for the moment they can work on traditional multiplication and long division. The time has come. We have been practicing long division for the past few weeks but will continue a little bit everyday to keep them fluent. It will also be in their Friday packets to practice. Next week, we will be taking the test on longer division and multiplication word problems, estimation, and computation. The next unit we will attack is fractions. Please quiz your child once in a while on their facts and traditional multiplication and division. It will help them remember these skills while learning fractions. We will have the spelling bee for the 4th graders in class on January 23rd!


In reading, I am reading Frindle, one of the Bluestem books. Students are practicing reading strategies as we discuss and write about each chapter.

In writing, students are working on their final drafts of their “How To” essay. They are writing a detailed, informative essay about the steps to be taken to complete an outdoor winter activity such as snowboarding, building a snowman or going sledding. Students have organized their thoughts with graphic organizers, completed a rough draft, self edited and peer edited. Final drafts will reflect these revisions and edits.


During science, each student read their own copy of an excellent book called How Animals Adapt. After previewing the book, they considered one piece of information they found most interesting and wrote about that. They also tuned in to interesting words and shared words and their meanings from the books.

We also played a game about animal adaptations and the difference between acquired and inherited traits. Students were all NARFS, a small green or blue creature. Each student blindly chose 4 inherited traits from a hat. They also chose one acquired trait. I read to them a scenario. It was their job to decide if they could survive that dangerous scenario with the traits they had; both inherited and acquired. For each round, the NARFs kept the same inherited traits, but were given one more acquired trait. At the end of the game, after 4 rounds, we analyzed our data, to determine which scenario was the most dangerous for all the NARFS.


Students completed their Green Challenge project, by working with their Book Buddies on a poster about one room in a house. They considered how they could save energy in that room. They wrote about and illustrated those ideas. Each group presented their posters to the classes. These rooms will be on display in the Comstock building.


+ What were your inherited traits when you played the NARF game?

+ What room did you make more energy efficient during Book Buddies?

+ What is one prediction you have about Frindle?

+ Are you reading a Bluestem book during independent reading?