Smisking Post – Afternoon Updates

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Our class is diving deeply into some nonfiction writing! Students were able to pick their own topic for this project, so we have a wide range of subjects. This week, students were paired up so that they can walk through the research process together. They came up with a list of a few points they already know about their subject, as well as a list of questions they had about their topic. They also brainstormed these same two lists for their partner’s topic, helping create a good starting point for researching both. Now that we have our list of what we would like to learn about our topics, the class will begin some research. We will be working on how to take good notes, pull out information from nonfiction text, and write it all together in an organized way. Students will practice placing relevant details with main topics, creating features found in nonfiction (such as a table of contents and glossary), and working alongside a writing partner. We can’t wait to share the finished products!


We have introduced a couple of new activities that are still making their way into our regular routine. Students now have the option to practice spelling their words using letter tiles. Some of our students have brought in the challenge of combining words as you would see on a Scrabble board! It takes some creativity and planning! The class seems to enjoy this addition!

I have also given students the option to create clues for their words as a way to test each other on Thursdays. For example, if one of their words is “whale,” they might have a clue written that says, “An animal you find in the ocean.” Their partner would see if they can come up with the answer from their list, spelling the appropriate word in response. This is an activity that we are still practicing, but adds an extra challenge and fun to those Thursday practice times!

I hope the spelling sort keys have been helpful! Some weeks have been introducing challenging new patterns, but the class has been doing a great job. It’s definitely a learning opportunity for students to bring in their homework each week and see that their folder travels back and forth to school. Thank you for all of the support you give them in their assignments!


Our class has continued the unit on light and sound since coming back from break. We have used pin boxes to see how light is necessary for seeing objects. Students explored different ways of looking into the pin box, shining flashlights through a small opening, keeping the top closed, and other variables in using the box. Students enjoyed the discovery of several objects placed inside and how much of a difference a light source can make.

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As posted before, our green challenge for the month has gotten us thinking about changes and efforts we can make in the classroom to save energy and continue to use less. We’ve started to focus on our paper-use, as this is most relevant for our students during the Daily 5 sessions. Starting Tuesday, we will be tracking how much paper we use in four days. Monday, we will look at this data and decide how we can lower the numbers! Once students have brainstormed some strategies and created helpful reminders to display in our classroom, we will track the paper for another four days and see if we can make some positive changes! Students have estimated how much paper they think we go through in a week. We will keep you updated on our progress!

This week, we learned about some incredible plants and animals! Since we’ve been moving into nonfiction reading/writing, we listened to a short passage about 8 creatures and the students tried to decide whether the creature was real or fictitious (we had a good time guessing about the meaning of this word and learning to pronounce it 😉 )! For each animal/plant, students walked to one side of the room next to a board with “real” written on it or to where “fictitious” was written on the board. Much to their surprise (and my own!), all 8 amazing creatures were real.


The students then explored a list of other incredible animals, drawing pictures of what they thought it might look like (such as a kangaroo rat!). Afterwards, the class viewed actual photos of each one. We had a wonderful time of amazement, laughter, and questions.


The Kangaroo Rat – Anastasija got to see this photo after taking a guess at what a kangaroo rat might look like. She is sharing her drawing in the photo to the right!



With the drop in temperatures, we have missed out on some outside activities since coming back from break, but Tuesday we will be able to enjoy some lovely (mild) winter weather! Students will be visiting our class tree to see how the change in season has created changes in the environment. We will be making observations with different senses to give a full picture of what our class tree and the surrounding area is like at this time of year.

Click here for an update from Mr. Smith on our morning subjects!

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