We’ve had our first week with our new science unit on solids and liquids. Students have been exploring solids while writing entries about their observations in a science journal. Included in this journal is a list of the key vocabulary we have discussed. Our first key word was “properties.” Solid objects are described by their properties. Students explored a set of seven objects and came up with the properties of those solids, recording them in their journal. The class also considered the materials for each of the solids. We discovered that some of the objects had properties in common, but could look very different. As students considered the similarities and differences between the objects, we were able to come up with some new words for what they were describing. A good example of this is flexible (as opposed to “bendy”) and rigid. We have recorded all of these helpful vocabulary words, and will continue to update the list as we go. To practice describing solids by their property, students used some solids out in nature as an example. We took a walk out to the gazebo and made rubbings of tree bark. Students used their nature journals to record properties of the tree they used.
Students will be reassessed at the end of this week for the third trimester. The list they will be tested on is the assessment from our Words Their Way spelling program that determined the spelling groups for the first and second trimester. This is not used for a grade, but rather gauges where students are at this point in the year to see if any changes need to be made. Next week they will have their new groups and students will come up with a new set of group names.
Last week students started creating their Q&A book about their research topics. The planning, research, and note-taking made this part a breeze! The final product will be compiled this week as they add illustrations, consider components of a nonfiction book such as Table of Contents, and see the creation of a class book with a very diverse set of topics.
Students have also focused in on the structure and organization of nonfiction writing. Working as a class, we wrote a piece on the observations made out at the lake. The class organized the information into three sub-topics, came up with an introduction, wrote topic sentences to transition into each paragraph, and incorporated several details for each section. As students slow down and consider how to create a well-developed piece of writing, they will see how it pays off for the reader! The details enrich their writing and communicate all that the students have learned about a topic. We’ll see how the organization of information into groups of related facts help create a logical flow as they write.
Thank you for your support as students transition into new units, work on weekly spelling, and set higher expectations for themselves in writing. Mr. Smith, Ms. Nham, and I have enjoyed seeing these students grow – we can’t wait to see what the final trimester will bring!