February Here We Come!

Packing boxes arrived in Room 16 today. I can’t even begin to fathom packing up my classroom! However, I am so excited for our move in to the new building in June!

This week in Reading Workshop we have been continuing to study the genre of fantasy. As we read The Lightning Thief students have been writing responses in their reading journal. This week we talked about different ways that we can keep track of all that is going on in a complex novel. We have used a problem solution chart for the main characters, some of us have created maps, charts or other graphic organizers. Students also had an opportunity to share their best response from the week with their reading partner. Students also learned that their responses are great for creating discussion points with their partner or group.

In Writing Workshop students are continuing to work on their informational books in Book Creator. This we students learned about problem/solution, cause and effect and narrative text structure. As with all of our text structure lessons students were encouraged to try it out if it fit one of their chapters. Students also had the opportunity to add in text features to help maye their writing more interesting.

This week in Math we took our Unit test for Unit 4. These tests went home yesterday if your child took the final test. We have also started a short unit on measurement. We began with metric measurements for length, mass and liquid volume. Students also practiced making metric conversions from one unit to another.  Today we worked with time and making line plots that involve time data.

In Social Studies we learned about the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. and watched a movie about Ruby Bridges. Students also began working on their culminating project for this unit. Each student is making a paper “quilt square” for our Black History Month Quilt. These will be displayed in the hallway.

Important Dates

Friday, February 5 – 1/2 Day

Monday, and Tuesday, February 8-9 – No school.  Winter Break

Thursday and Friday, March 2 and 4 – Half Days

January 22

It is here! it is Carnival Friday! I hope to see you at Holmes tonight from 5-8pm for the Holmes Carnival! Make sure you enter to win the teacher raffle!

We have learned a lot this week in Room 16!

In reading we have been continuing to learn about the genre of fantasy. As we read The Lightning Thief, we apply our lessons about fantasy to it. We have discussed the fact that fantasies often move quickly, and we need to learn right a long with our character. We have to be alert to when our main character is asking direct questions. We also learned that because fantasy stories are so complex, good readers often go back and reread parts that they were confused by.

In writing we are continuing to work on our informational books.  These are being written on our iPads using the Book Creator app. Students have learned how to organize what the know about a topic, into categories and we have begun learning different types of text structures to keep our readers interest. This week we practiced with power paragraphs, chronology (time or sequence order) and comparisons.

We wrapped up Unit 4 this week in math and students took the practice test. We will be reviewing the practice test on Monday and those that did not score an 85% or higher will take the ‘real’ test on Tuesday. Our next math unit will be on measurement.

In Social Studies we have continued with our Black History month studies. We have learned about slavery, emancipation and the civil rights movement. We will be creating a Black History Month ‘Quilt” to showcase our learning.

We continue to use our iPads daily. This week we used them to take assessments, practice our math facts and spelling words, create our informational books and have a book discussion. There will be a voluntary parent meeting in regards to the iPads on Monday, January 25 from 6-7 at the MS auditorium. We will be able to start sending the iPads home again next week.


Monday, January 25 – Ipad Parent meeting 6-7pm MS

Friday, February 5 – Half Day

Monday – Tuesday, February 8-9 Mid Winter Break NO SCHOOL!

Week of January 11

In Reading Workshop this week we started our fantasy unit. The class will be reading the book The Lightning Thief. Each student received a copy as part of their Christmas present from me. I have asked the students to not read ahead and to leave the book at school so that they can follow along as I read. We started by learning how to understand the setting of a fantasy text. We looked at the front and bak covers and read the blurb to give us clues as to what type of world our story takes place in. Fantasy stories typically are set in one of three types of worlds: a medieval world with dragons, princes and dwarves (like The Hobbit), a futuristic world with space ships, intergalactic travel and advanced technology (like Star Wars), or a normal world where magic seeps in to everyday lives (like Harry Potter). Throughout the unit we will continue to learn about the common traits found in all fantasies. This will help us to see familiar patterns and we will know what to expect. Fantasies often are complicated stories with intricate plot lines and characters, and if students can understand fantasies, in turn they will become better readers of all types of text.

In math we continued to work with multi-step word problems and we learned how to write complex equations, (17 x 3 + 16 x 2) ➗ 9 = v, that help us to solve the problems. We stepped through these problems bit by bit and discussed what question we needed to answer first, then next and last. We also studied bar graphs and pictographs and wrote algebraic equations to help us show comparisons, such as Tim walked 3 times as many miles as Evan. 3t = e . This was difficult for some when the number of miles was not given.

During Writing Workshop this week we began to use the Book Creator app on our iPads to create our Informational Text books. Students created a Table of Contents for their books and the we chose one chapter to write using a power paragraph format (topic sentence and supporting details). Students will be learning different ways to structure text to keep their readers interest. At the end of the unit students will share their books in iBooks so that the whole class can read each other’s stories. I will also send a file to parents!

This week in Science we reviewed for and took our Organisms test. These were sent home today!

In Social Studies We are kicking off with our  Black History Month study. Although Black History Month is in February we are getting a little jump start on it. We started by learning more about slavery and the underground railroad. Students will be creating a Black History Month Quilt to showcase their learning at the end of the unit.

Chocolate bars came home today with those students who are selling. Please try to sell the entire box. They bars are $2 each. $1 from each bar sold will be credited to their account for Chicago. If you wish to write a check, please make it out to Holmes Elementary. Thank you!

The MSTEP results from 3rd grade also came home today. Look for those in your child’s homework folder.

Important Dates:

Friday, January 15 – Chocolate Sales begin

Friday, January 22 -Holmes Carnival 5:00-8:00 PM

Friday, February 5 – Half Day

Monday – Tuesday, February 8-9 Mid Winter Break NO SCHOOL!

Welcome 2016!

We have had a great first week back from break! We dove right back in to our learning and have enjoyed getting back into the routine of school.

This week in reading we wrapped up our Nonfiction unit. We talked about Narrative Non-Fiction and how we can read it like a fiction story and use our fiction comprehension strategies to help us understand the information. We also looked at two different types of narrative nonfiction. We looked at achievement stories and disaster stories. Ask your child how you can determine between the two types. Next week we will be starting our fantasy unit and we will be reading The Lightning Thief.

In writing we have started our informational books. Students were asked to think of topics that they already know a lot about, they then created categories or sub-topics that fit with their main topic. Students also wrote all the knew about a topic using precise language, concrete details and examples.

This week in Math we also started a new unit. We began by learning how to use variables (letters in place of a number) in an equation and how to solve for or evaluate the equation. We have also been working on solving comparison problems with all four operations. We talked about key words to look for that tell us what operation to use to solve the problem. Ask your child what “as times as many” tells you to do.

In Science we are wrapping up our Unit on Organisms in Their Environment. This week we learned about invasive species and how their introduction into a habitat can disrupt the natural balance of the habitat. Your child will be taking a Science test next Tuesday. They will be bringing home their vocabulary cards today to help them prepare. We will be reviewing in class as well. Yesterday we played a Jeopardy game to review and we will be doing additional review on Wednesday.

Chocolate bar sales begin next Friday for those that have chosen to participate in the fundraising for Chicago. Notes are going home today with the amount your child earned from the Cookie Dough fundraiser and the amount they still owe, if any.  Those that still have a balance will be expected to participate in the Chocolate Bar sale.

Have a great weekend! I hear we have a bit of winter weather on the way this weekend, I hope it holds off until after we return from Clayton’s hockey games in Chicago Sunday evening!

Important Dates:

Tuesday, January 12 ~ WATCHDOG DADS meeting 5:30-6:30

Friday, January 15 ~ Popcorn Day and World’s Finest Chocolate sale begins

Friday, January 22 ~ Holmes Carnival 5pm-8pm

Monday, January 25 ~ Parent iPad Meeting 6pm-7pm SLMS

Saturday, January 30 ~ Laker Tailgate Dinner/Dance

Friday, February 5 ~ Half Day

Monday, February 8 – Tuesday, February 9 Mid-Winter Break ~ No School