Update 2/5/2016

Two weeks – two field trips! It’s been a fun couple of weeks as we wrap up a unit and prepare for the next one.


Students have been using graphic organizers to break down the structure of a narrative piece. We started by outlining a personal narrative, choosing a special memory or something that they did during the weekend. The graphic organizer had a story summary section with four basic questions to get them going:

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who was there?

After Ms. Nham or I checked the notes students had for these questions, we guided them through creating a beginning, middle, and end with the basic information. The who, when, and where played a main role in the beginning for most stories, and the “what happened” becomes the main chunk of the middle. They thought about how they felt during that memory or what the results were to create the ending. After students completed their graphic organizer, they wrote out the full story in their Batman (Writing) Journal and shared it with a partner.

They tried this same graphic organizer a second time using a fiction story developed out of the posters they drew awhile back. Once students have these two stories written out, we will dive deeper into how we can improve the stories we have, what details we can add, and how we can check for correct spelling and grammar. Students will work with peers to check each other’s stories and give helpful feedback.


Students are on a roll in spelling! They will be getting their final new sorts for this round of spelling groups in the next two weeks. Afterwards, I will be checking in on which features the students need to explore next or whether they need more practice on the patterns they’ve had. The groups will be based on the specific spelling patterns that students need to work on. February 22nd – 26th will be the transition period as groups finish up their sort day-by-day. The following week, students will be placed into new groups – check with your student for their new group name the week of February 29th! Their homework due dates will be posted on the homework calendar using their new group names.

Homework Note:
Please make sure students are completing the back side of the homework and trying to spell the words without seeing them. This is practice for their spelling check and helps them practice visualizing the word based on the sound of the vowel patterns. I’m looking to see that they can write out the spelling patterns they’ve been working on (not necessarily master the spelling of the entire word). After all the words are read to them, they should look back to see which words are spelled incorrectly. If they missed a word, they should cross out the word with one lineand then re-write it correctly. The letter they missed should be written boldly so that it stands out to them. Their homework should look something like this (except with the entire sort written):

cri   cry
wite white
gril grill

Etc…. Please ask me if you have questions. I reviewed these directions with the students, as well.

Green Challenge

This month’s green challenge is to use less energy! Our class will be exploring ways in which we can do this at school and at home. Stay tuned for our green challenge projects!

Prairie Crossing/Grayslake Over Time

It’s been fun travelling back in time to compare the past Grayslake to the present. During our field trip to the Discovery Museum, students got a hands-on experience with life in our area as a pioneer. They discovered the types of chores kids would have, what a one-room school house might look like, and the types of games kids would play. Students learned how the process for doing laundry, getting butter, and even using soap was very different from today! See what your student remembers from this field trip – they seemed to enjoy pretending to be pioneers for a day. 

Today we learned more about Grayslake history on our field trip. We viewed old farm equipment, photographs, fire department equipment, doctor’s supplies, and more! The tour guides (all dressed in historical attire) walked us through with interesting facts about local restaurants in the past, farm life, and other local businesses (such as gelatin and Coca-Cola factories).

In the classroom, students viewed the Prairie Crossing neighborhood on Google Earth and compared it to a more typical neighborhood layout. They made observations and predictions about how PCCS campus provided a different environment for animals. Previously students had learned how long ago the land was prairie, but then became farmland. The Prairie Crossing neighborhood brought back some of the natural environment that gave prairie animals a suitable habitat.

Next week, we will be shifting gears back to insects! Check in with your student mid-week to hear which insect we will be observing.

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Buesking

Important Dates
Family Math Night: Tuesday, February 9th (5:30 – 7:00 PM) Email the Smisking Team if you’re attending and if you need child care!
Mrs. Buesking out of classroom: Thursday, February 11th Please email Mr. Smith with any urgent questions
Valentine’s Day Party: Thursday, February 11th (2:15 – 3:15 PM)
NO SCHOOL – Teacher In-Service: Friday, February 12th
NO SCHOOL – President’s Day: Monday, February 15th
Mrs. Buesking out of classroom: Tuesday, February 16th Please email Mr. Smith with any urgent questions