Reading in the 21st Century!

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Our reader’s workshop has gone digital!  When I reflect on my own reading habits, it’s surprising how much internet content I read daily.  Our children live

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in a very different world than we grew up in. Today’s children have grown up with internet access from multiple devices. Several students in our class got iPodTouches for Christmas. Emal brings his in everyday to read his ebooks. He takes notes on digital sticky-notes while he reads. Today, another student told me she was selling her Nintendo DS because she got an iPod Touch, and it can do a lot more than her DS. Another student shared his new DS with me today and was showing me he had Skype on it and could video conference when wifi was available. It’s easy to assume in this technological world we live in that our children will learn how to read and write (yes, write!) on the internet. However, like reading a book or writing a story, reading and writing on the internet needs to be taught and practiced.

IMG_1512So . . . during independent reading, each child has a “netbook” day.  On their assigned day they have the choice to read online.  I bookmarked several websites for students to locate and read interesting articles on the internet (check out ‘Online Reading Links’ on this blog).  One very popular site is TweenTribune.  This website is designed for 8-12 year olds (i.e. Tweens) and contains interesting, current internet articles in all subject areas.  Students can comment after reading an article, but comments must be a minimum of 25 words. I approve all comments before they are posted.  This connection between reading and writing helps develop active reading strategies (ex. connections, questions) and critical thinking skills.

hindenburg 2I am also trying to weave digital content into guided reading too.  Students participate in guided reading groups every other week.  Recently, one group was reading about the Hindenburg disaster.  I shared with them footage of the disaster in an effort to bring their nonfiction article to life. Students then researched one survivor from the Hindenburg to learn their story. We are now in the process of creating a Voicethread (ask your child to share with you) where they assume the role of their survivor and tell the story from the survivor’s point of view. Stay tuned for a blog post in the near future sharing this wonderful project. Think about the deep level of comprehension and understanding these students gained from this technology infused reading group!


IMG_1517On the writing side, we have also started blogging about our independent reading in lieu of a hand written letter in notebooks. When we blog about our reading and share our thinking, we are writing for a wider audience. Not only will students receive comments from me, but also their classmates!  When I was growing up, there wasn’t an internet, let alone the ability to create internet content.  Once the internet became popular, I never dreamed I’d one day be able to publish internet content, but look at me now . . . I write comments, articles, and post resources on a daily basis.  This is the world we live in and it is the norm for our children.  I believe my job is to prepare them for this new world. . . .a new world that is evolving even now as I write this blog post!  Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with me!

Image Attribution: Flickr by History In An Hour Rupert Colley

Happy New Year

On Monday, the bell rang at 8:30 and cold children streamed into the Lighthouse.  Where did that balmy weather go?  Excited chatter filled the halls as everyone got ready for the first school day of the new year.  After taking care of our business, we began our day with a GREAT morning meeting.   “Knock-Knock,”  a fun and engaging greeting, got our morning off to a silly start.  Next we spent time sharing about our vacations.  It was nice to have time for a relaxing morning meeting.  It sets such a positive tone for the day.

Right before vacation we spent some time writing poetry and setting goals for the new year. Action verbs and descriptive adjectives brought our winter poems to life!

    Snowflakes by Shyanne
    Beautiful snowflakes falling from the sky,
    Slowly dancing and turning and spinning in the cold,
    Coming and going and falling on my eyes,
    I stick out my tongue and there they fly.

    Snow by Katarina
    Snow, puffy, soft, smooth and cold,
    Come inside and drink hot cocoa,
    Warmth and coldness have been with you.

    Snow by Betty
    The sun shining down on a white wonderland,
    Creates a dazzling, magical world of white,
    A snowbank glistening in the sun,
    Creates a vivid picture in my mind,
    Of what Antarctica must look like in summer.
    Dazzling and glistening under the bright protection of the shining sun.

Students decorated a snowman and wrote their poem and goal on the back. We hung them around the room. They look great!  Most of the pictures in the slide show below were taken by your children 🙂 . . . they are budding photographers!

Math Test Tomorrow!

It’s that time again . . . unit 5 math test.  Today we completed a review in class of the material on tomorrow’s test.  Unit 5 focused on estimating and long multiplication.  We discussed that to prepare for a math test, we need to PRACTICE.  Students have the OPPORTUNITY to practice for their test and earn bonus points (5 points!).  They have two options to practice:

1. Make a practice test with 20 problems (Must contain a variety of problems).  The mathboxes and journal pages are a great place to find math problems for a practice test.  Students must complete the practice test and return it tomorrow to recieve the bonus points.

2. Play Jeopardy and keep track of your work on a 5×5 grid.  See directions below.

Jeopardy Game Directions:

  • Open file by clicking on the words Jeopardy above
  • Click “Play slideshow from beginning”
  • Once you are at the game board, choose a place to begin and click on it.
  • Read question and answer on your game board (5 x 5 grid).  Remember to show all your work-not just answer.  Use back if you need more room.
  • To reveal the answer on the computer click anywhere in the question box and the answer will show up on top.
  • Click on the HOUSE button to return to the game board and select another question.  Questions already answered should be highlighted a different color.
  • HAVE FUN!!!!

Sam’s Accomplishment


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Sam went to Canada to do his first shoot-out game with his hockey team! He is a goalie for the Bobcats. When they started the game the players started to shoot at Sam and the other goalie.  When the players shot the puck at Sam nine times, Sam stopped the puck nine times!  He blocked 9/9 pucks. Yea, Sam got 1st place for the shoot-out. So congratulations Sam . .  . You won 1st place!!

By Adell

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Math Test Tomorrow

It’s that time again . . . unit 4 math test.  Today we completed a review in class of the material on tomorrow’s test.  Unit 4 focused on decimal place value to thousandths, adding & subtracting decimals, and metric measurement & conversions.  We discussed that to prepare for a math test, we need to PRACTICE.  Students have the OPPORTUNITY to practice for their test and earn bonus points (5 points!).  They have two options to practice:

1. Make a practice test with 20 problems (Must contain a variety of problems).  The mathboxes and journal pages are a great place to find math problems for a practice test.  Students must complete the practice test and return it tomorrow to recieve the bonus points.

2. Play Jeopardy and keep track of your work on a 4×5 grid.  See directions below.

Jeopardy Game Directions:

  • Open file by clicking on the words Jeopardy above
  • Click “Play slideshow from beginning”
  • Once you are at the game board, choose a place to begin and click on it.
  • Read question and answer on your game board (4 x 5 grid).  Remember to show all your work-not just answer.  Use back if you need more room.
  • To reveal the answer on the computer click anywhere in the question box and the answer will show up on top.
  • Click on the HOUSE button to return to the game board and select another question.  Questions already answered should be highlighted a different color.
  • HAVE FUN!!!!

European Pen Pals

Westfield Primary School

Read all about it! We received and responded to our first email from our our new pen pals from England.  Mr. Osler’s  Year 4 class attends Westfield Community Primary School in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England.  They shared lots of information about themselves, and it was clear we had many common interests!

Westfield CP School has one class per grade with about 156 students in Years 1-6. Wow, we have more 4th graders at MBS than they have in their whole School!  Students wear uniforms and have great outdoor learning areas.  They have an herb garden and an outdoor food court.  We are enjoying getting to know our new friends, and look forward to learning more 🙂

Aerial view of Westfield CP School

Our classes will be corresponding every week or two, sharing our interests, new learning and projects. For example, soon we will be learning about weather and states of matter.  We will observe and record weather in both Vermont and England.  It will be interesting to compare the temperatures and precipitation of these two Northern Hemisphere locations.

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Four Winds . . . Trees!

We had our October Four Winds lesson Thursday.  This would not be possible without our parent volunteers: Jennifer Faul and Phoebe Desjardin.  Thank you!!!!!

Our theme this month was life cycles of trees.  We learned about trees by examining tree cookies and real trees. It was a gorgeous day to go outside, find a tree, observe it, and write a sensory poem about it. To wrap up our lesson, we formed a large circle simulating the largest tree in the world . . . WOW it was REALLY big!  In our video (below) you can see how large the diameter was at the end when we are in a large circle.  We also simulated the diameter of the OLDEST tree in the world.  It was much smaller, but much older too!  Enjoy the video.  Our next Four Winds lesson will be on Thursday, November 18th at 9:00.  You are welcome to join us 🙂

Geo and Meri Travel Log

We began following the Globetracker’s Mission: Finding Dewey last week (thanks to Mrs. Bonfigli and Ms. Rayner for sharing!). Geo and Meri, teenagers on a secret mission to locate Dewey (a truth-sniffing dog), share their adventures via their blog, text messages, and a variety of online maps and resources.  They work with Uncle GT and trek around the globe hot on Dewey’s Trail.  Geo and Meri live in the Southwestern city of Phoenix, Arizona.  See map below.

Phoenix, AZ - Google Maps.png by aimeeb33 on Aviary

Phoenix, AZ – Google Maps.png by aimeeb33 on Aviary

Geo and Meri headed to New York City to find Dewey in the first episode. New York City is on an island!!!! They went to the Empire State Building to get their first clue. What a view. Check out the picture below.

By Tony the Misfit (Flickr)

New York City

We learned about time zones in this blog.  Phoenix is in the Pacific Time Zone and New York is in the Eastern Time Zone.  It’s three hours earlier in Phoenix.  Wow.

Geo and Meri’s first clue gave them three places to look for Dewey:Seattle, WA, Vancouver, Canada or Anchorage, AK.  We thought they should head to Seattle first and guess what??  They DID!!!!!

Seattle, WA (Google Maps)

Seattle, WA (Google Maps)

Did you know it rains 50% of the time in this Northwestern City!  That’s different than in the Southwest where Geo and Meri live.  Phoenix is in a desert and gets very little rain each year.  While awaiting word of Dewey in Seattle, they visited the Space Needle.  I found this picture.  That is really high.  Emal has been to the Space Needle.

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Seattle Space Needle

Geo and Meri got word that a dog was on his way to the airport in Juneau, Alaska.  They hopped on the first plane and were hot on Dewey’s trail.  In parts of Alaska it is dark 24 hrs./day in winter and light 24 hrs./day in summer.  Juneau has lots of water around it.  Geo and Meri visited Mount McKinley in Denali National Park.

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Mount McKinley

At the Seattle airport, a custodian, gave them a driver’s license of Claude Equator and said he saw him with Dewey!  Claude lived in Vancouver. . . so close to Seattle.  We had to help Geo and Meri decide how to get to Vancouver the quickest possible way.  We voted for them to take the 7 pm. train.  We’ll have to wait until next week to see what happens!

Fall Folliage

We spent some time traipsing through the woods behind MBS last week.  The sun was shining and it was a crisp, colorful fall morning.  Armed with our pencils our writer’s notebook we sat and used our senses to gather sensory details.  We were so quiet and observant.  Caleb spotted a green grasshopper on a green leaf.  We tried to photograph it, but it was hard to see.  We then headed toward the bike path in search of colorful leaves.  We took pictures with old friends and new friends and some alone.  They are AMAZING.  This video will be available for your child to download onto their flash drive.