Do Polar Bears Live with Penguins?

This has been the focus of our work this week in social studies!  We are learning about the arctic. Student began the week drawing a picture of the arctic. Our drawings were filled with falling snow, penguins and polar bears, beautiful mountains, and of course, igloos! I used the Prezi below to help them clear up their misconceptions.

Generally kids had the following misconceptions:

  • Penguins and polar bears both live in the arctic . . . Penguins live in Antarctica and polar bears live in the arctic.
  • It snows a lot in the arctic . . . Actually both poles are deserts!  They receive less than 10 inches of precipitation each year.
  • The arctic is on land . . . Most of the arctic is ice covering an ocean and Antarctica is on land.

We will continue learning about these regions comparing the climate, land, animals and plants of these regions to other regions around the world (rain forest, Vermont and England).  Have your child share the presentation below with you . . . you will be amazed at how much they have learned already!  Ask them to point out the misconceptions they had prior to watching the presentation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Guess what???  We have a new student in our class!  Ben joined our class on Monday and is making new friends and reacquainting himself with old friends.  Welcome Ben!!

This week we began a new “daily” warm-up activity:  vocabulary.  The kids seem to enjoy this new challenge-thinking about the multiple meanings and usages of words.  We continue to work on science “daily” warm-ups too.  These short daily problems review important science concepts and help prepare students for the science NECAP this spring. 

We have been sketching arctic animal scenes this week in social studies for our arctic prints.  Students will be printing their image later this week.  They are using patterns to create texture and interesting details.  These will be mounted with arctic poems they have been writing this week!!  We have been having fun thinking creatively about the arctic. 

In reading we have been practicing inferring.  Students learned that “reading between the lines” happens when we merge our background knowledge with text clues.  Today we inferred the title/topic of poems and used text clues to support our inferences.  Students easily identified the title for “Fireflies” and “Dolphin” but other poems were more difficult to determine.

Need something to talk to your child about?  Ask them to tell you about one of these words we’ve talked about this week:  shunned, associate, staple, probability, outcome, haiku/cinquain, tunic.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It was nice to be back to school today  . . . the kids were GREAT!  Which was nice because I was sick over vacation and I’m still under the weather.  So . . . what did we accomplish today?

  • Seating changes . . . Students arrived this morning to new seats.  Not everyone moved, but many did.
  • Spelling this week will be NIFTY FIFTY words.  Students have 36 words to work with this week, however 22 of them were on the last nifty fifty test and all have been on spelling lists this year.  We focus on word parts:  prefixes, suffixes and root words to help us spell them.  Prefixes change meaning, but are usually just added to words and suffixes often require a spelling rule to add to a base word (ex. change y to i and add er).
  • Before vacation, students wrote an on-demand report about arctic adaptations . . . . they were great first attempts!!!  Today we looked at the prompt more carefully and discussed how kids can plan effectively.  We will have at least one more on-demand report this year!!!  FYI:  On-demand writing requires students to write an ESSAY from a prompt without teacher help.  It is an authentic reflection of a students’ independent writing. 
  • We started JOURNAL 2 today in math.  Everyone was excited to have a brand new book.  Nothing beats a new journal!!!  We are started a fraction unit today.   Today’s lesson was easy and kids should be able to complete homework fairly easily. 

It is so hard to believe it is MARCH.  We still have so much to do.