Thursday, April 30, 2009

We’ve been VERY busy this week!! But it has be SOOOOooooo much fun learning with our new interactive whiteboard (IWB)! We use it throughout the day, and we’re figuring out how it works together. 🙂

In writing, we’ve been learning how to organize and write essays.  This week we utilized Inspirations, a tool that helps children visualize, think, organize and learn by creating graphic organizers of complex concepts.  Our complex concept this week is essay structure for response to literature (Amazing Grace).  Inspirations has two modes:  Outline and Diagram.  Students with different learning styles are supported in their effort to organize and add details to improve their essays.  I am eager to see their improvements.  Look for a copy of their graphic organizer to come home in their Friday folder.

Monday, April 27, 2009

As the weather gets warmer, water bottles are a necessity at school.  Please make sure your child has a water bottle at school.

In reading we practiced our visualization skills.  Students quickly realized that our background knowledge helps us visualize when we read.  The kids enjoyed making quick sketches of their visualizations.

We got our new interactive whiteboard installed over vacation!!!! I took a few pictures so you could ask your son/daughter about this new technology. We used it for a math lesson today 🙂  We were discussing “easy” fraction/percent conversions.  For example, they know that 1/2=50%  and today’s lesson introduced other fractions like tenths, fifths and fourths. 

Virtual Fieldtrip to Mount Everest

We have only three days left until April vacation. Please remember that home reading is due even for vacation weeks!! If you’re on the go . . . try a kids magazine for a change. They’re high interest, engaging and portable.

We have been learning about climbing Mount Everest this week by asking questions and searching for answers. Today we discussed whether or not hikers used vehicles to get from Kathmandu to base camp. We decided that probably they used Yaks to carry supplies, but that you had to hike the 100 miles to get to base camp. I was doing a little more research and found these pictures. I think we were on the right track today!!

Check out the widget below (EVEREST) and visit the site!! You can watch video of climbers, see pictures taken on Everest, and read blogs written by climbers. 



Monday, April 13, 2009

We had a busy day today . . . we started by our day reading Amazing Grace from Mary Hoffman.  Later we wrote an on-demand response to text based on this great story!  The class worked SOooo hard writing their essays and showing their best writing and thinking skills.  BRAVO!!

In reading we are practicing answering our questions by inferring.  To help us we are using a terrific nonfiction book called On Top of the World by Steven Jenkings.  Today we asked questions about how people prepare and climb Mount Everest.  Tomorrow we will search for answers to our questions.

It’s hard to believe how long we’ve been in class.  Check out these pictures from the beginning of the year during our Rainforest unit. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Check out the new “HOMEWORK” page on the the left (in between “About Me” and What we’ll be learning”). Each day I will try to record daily homework.

We finished writing on-demand reports today.  The kids worked really hard and wrote 4 paragraph essays!!!! We have been working for the past month on writing nonfiction pieces and learning essay format.  This piece was our final assessment of report writing.  Now we are going to turn our focus to another essay:  response to literature.  This will be a breeze because they write letters about their reading regularly and turning one of them into an essay will be a snap!!

We learned how to calculate the area of a triangle today!!!  It was related to our work yesterday solving area problems for parallelograms.  Watch this short video to learn how architects use area and perimeter.  The video also demonstrates the formulas we’ve learned:  area of rectangle, parallelogram and triangle.

Area Video


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We went to the Flynn Theater today to see Freedom Train.  It was a performance about Harriet Tubman’s life.  Please ask your child what they thought of it.  When we voted just about everyone either liked or loved the play. 

In math we are working on area and perimeter.  We learned that the formula for the area of a rectangle and the formula for the area of a parallelogram are the same!!  To find the area you need to multiply the base x height.  Ask your child to explain how they have the same area.





Thursday, April 2, 2009

This week we’ve been investigating fake “rocks” we call mock rocks.  On Monday we observed them carefully and created scientific drawings.  On Tuesday we took them apart and separated them into all the components we could see (red & green gravel, oyster shells and “gray matter”).  On Wednesday we added water to the gray matter and shook it to To separate the materials in the gray matter we added water and let dissolve the material.  We discovered there was sand and flour once the material settled.  We noticed the water was yellow (not clear) and inferred that there were more minerals to discover in the water.  So we poured the liquid carefully into evaporating dishes and waited.  Today observed the evaporating dishes with magnifying glasses and microscopes.  We know we have kosher salt based on our comparisons with our crystal identifcation sheet.  Tomorrow we will decide which of the other 5 crystals on our sheet was in our mock rocks.  The kids have really enjoyed doing the work of a geologist! 

We have started collecting interesting earth materials to observe.  Several students have  brought in rocks, minerals and crystals for us to add to our classroom collection.  Tomorrow we will begin making crystals thanks to Kyle P’s donation of a crystal kit.  Growing crystals will connect so beautifully to today’s lesson!

We have started a new math unit . . .  area and perimeter.  We had a blast yesterday making patterns with floor tiles and figuring out the area and perimeter.  Unit 7 tests went home yesterday.  They were terrific!!!  We really understand fractions.