November 18

This week in Reading Workshop we have begun our first nonfiction unit. Students have been selecting nonfiction books to read for their independent reading time in class and for their 20 minutes of reading at home. During the course of this unit ALL students are expected to read nonfiction for their 30 minutes of reading homework each night. We discussed the difference between reading nonfiction like you are waiting for the dentist (flipping through pages) and reading to learn. We decided that when we read nonfiction for our school work we want to be readers that learn. Students also learned that good readers preview nonfiction before reading in order to warm up their minds and connect the topic they are reading about to their lives. Students also worked on summarizing chunks of text by using the main idea and supporting details.

We also began a new unit in Writing Workshop, Essays. Students had a mini essay bootcamp where we flash drafted an essay about why we love ice cream. We than began generating ideas for our own essay. Students thought of a person, place or an object that is important to them and then started to write down their thoughts about that person, place or object. We will continue to work on generating ideas before we choose 1 idea to draft into an essay. Students also blogged about their week in school (don’t forget to read your child’s blog!). We also read our quadblogging friends blogs and commented on them. This week we commented on posts made by Ms. Azzopardi’s Year Two (8 year olds) class from Sydney, Australia.

In Math this week we are working on different strategies for multiplying 2 digit by 2 digit numbers. We started with rounding to make estimates and finding compatible numbers (numbers close to the actual number that are easy for us to multiply mentally) to make estimates. Next we learned how to use arrays and area models to multiply 2 digits by 2 digits, and last we learned the partial products method today.

In Science we have been looking at different adaptations that predator and prey animals have, such as eye placement. (Eyes in front better hunt, eyes on the side better hide). Students also learned about biodiversity and what can happen when one organism disappears from the food chain.

Important Dates

Wednesday – Sunday, November 23-27 – Thanksgiving Break

Thursday and Friday, December 1 and 2 – 1/2 Days (Records Days)

December 23- January 2 – Winter Holiday Break

Veteran’s Day

Happy November! I did not blog last week as I was in Port Huron and Sarnia, Canada for the Nike Bauer Hockey Tournament. Unfortunately, Clayton’s team lost in the semi-finals. Your child did blog last week, and as always I encourage you to read their blogs and comment on what they wrote. Student Blogs

In reading this week we finished our class read aloud, The Tiger Rising, we talked about how to savor endings and we talked about how the books we choose to read and love are books that help shape us as a person. Students created bookmarks with book titles and a quote or phrase from the book that was meaningful to them. Your child will be adding to this throughout the year. Ask your child about their bookmark. Last week we discussed how we can grow complex ideas to help interpret our books by connecting the smaller ideas we have. Often two thoughts that may seem unrelated can really be connected when we look for patterns. We then discussed how we can find the theme of a book. One easy way is to wait for the end of a story and look for a lesson the main character learned. Students also discussed trying the strategy of thinking about common life issues found in many books such as dealing with a loss, sibling or family issues, and friendships or fitting in. We then make a theory as to which one of these issues fits our book, and think about the message the author is trying to give about that issue through the characters, the setting, the beginning, the middle and the end of the book. This strategy can happen even from early in the story. We are growing and developing as readers, and every level of book that we are reading lends itself to finding the theme at some level.

This week in writing we worked on writing Power Paragraphs. These are paragraphs that have a topic sentence, main supporting detail sentences and minor supporting detail sentences. Students were tasked with writing a final power paragraph to convince me to pay them $5 in Fourth grade money.  Last week in writing we spent a few days just editing and rewriting our final copies of our realitic fiction stories. Students then wrote an “on demand” fiction story from the beginning. On demands serve as our writing assessments, kind of like a test. When we wrote our first story  we were learning new techniques. Our “on demand” stories were written in a short time period, completely on our own. We spent one writing session just planning our stories, then one session drafting and revising our stories using everything we learned about fiction writing.

This week in Math we took our Topic 3 final test and started Topic 4: Multipling double digit numbers. We started with reviewing the strategy for multiplying by tens and hundreds. Next, students learned how to use area models and arrays to break the problem into basic facts that are easier to multiply. Last week in math we finished our unit on multiplying  by 1 digit numbers. This unit started with the distributive property of multiplication, then moved to writing the answer in partial products, and ended with learning the “old school” short cut we are familiar with so that students have an understanding of what they are doing in the short cut meathod and why it works. This unit also focused on mental math strategies and multi-step word problems. Sudents took the practice test on Friday.

This week in Science we explored food chains and food webs. Students drew simple food chains and played a food chain card game. We also looked at many different food webs and discussed what happens to the ecosystem when one part is taken out of the food web. Last we in science we observed the last two species in our pond habitat. We studied the pond snail and the guppy to see what physical characteristics they have that help them survive in their environment.

This week we have also begun our first quadblogging rotation. In a quadblog, 4 classes are matched with each other. One class writes a blog post each week and the other 3 classes post meaningful comments. THis week we posted comments on a 5th grade students blogs from Illinois. We are also partnered with a class in Australia and a class in New Zealand. Quadblog groups are matched up by age and grade level and teachers monitor the blog posts and comments. We only use our first names to keep us safe online.

We observed the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald by reading a book about the last voyage and listening to the song “The Wreck of the Edmnd Fitzgerald”. We also observed Veteran’s Day today, we read the book The Poppy Lady and watched a brief video that explained why we have the Veteran’s Day holiday.

Typically the students and I only blog about lessons from our 4 main subject areas that we study, but we actually do a lot more in our day that we do not always blog about. We have Art, Gym, Music and STEM, and you know that we blog, but did you know that we also learn 6 new vocabulary words a week? We also read a picture book together and talk about different ways to comprehend text.  We read fiction and nonfiction picture books, textbooks, and articles. We also have been learning how to write in cursive by learning the cursive alphabet and writing words in cursive! We are even getting extra practice in math that is differentiated for each student, or we practice the computation part of what we are learning in class. Next week we will add word study to our day too! Everything we do falls under one of the core subjects like reading, writing, math, or science and works toward making us better at those subjects! (Social Studies will replace Science in January)

Important Dates

Wednesday – Sunday, November 23-27 – Thanksgiving Break

Thursday and Friday, December 1 and 2 – 1/2 Days

December 23- January 2 – Winter Holiday Break