Thursday, October 24, 2013

Words Their Way, Jana Dillon Visits, a Subtraction Shortcut, and Pen Pal Letters

This week students were introduced to a new spelling program called Words Their Way. A pretest helped determined each student's developmental spelling level. In class and at home, practice sorting and writing the words will help students internalize the spelling patterns.

A big focus in Topic 3 has been regrouping. It is essential that students check their calculations for careless errors when adding and subtracting. Further, keywords like in all, total, and how many more can become useful tools when determining the appropriate operation to execute.

Check out the Math page on the blog for a peek at a shortcut for subtracting across zeroes. The shortcut has mathematicians interpret 705, for example, as 70 tens and 5 ones, simplifying the regrouping process by one step. See our anchor chart below for three examples.

Thanks to the generosity of the Rockland Education Foundation, we were honored to host children's book author and illustrator Jana Dillon to Memorial Park on Tuesday. The third and fourth graders enjoyed a Writer's Workshop presentation that focused on a creative writing story with a superhero as the main character.

Another exciting debut this week was the arrival of our first batch of pen pal letters! Throughout the year we will be corresponding with third graders in Pennsylvania. We used a two- column note organizer to brainstorm our thoughts and ideas. Ask your child what he learned about his pen pal!

Our Social Studies Family Learning Project is due November 8. In class, student historians chose a famous Massachusetts figure to research. Students will make brief presentations dressed as their famous figure while sharing important facts about the person using five notecards. Details can be found on the project letter sent home Thursday as well as by clicking on the Social Studies page of the blog.

Multiplication is coming up next, but students should continue to practice their basic addition and subtraction facts often! As students will soon learn, multiplication is a form of repeated addition!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Writing Hooks, Math Workshop, Summer Writing, and the Outdoor Classroom

Together in Reading we read the folktale, or pourquoi tale, Pushing Up the Sky. We discussed important story elements such as character, setting, problem, and solution. This folktale, from the Snohomish tribe in Washington State, explains why the sky is so high and where stars came to be. The characters in the story also learned the importance of working together as they used poles to push up the sky in unison.

In Writer's Workshop we are continuing our personal narrative unit. Good writers start with a hook to entertain our reader. We are also working on zooming in on small moments in our writing.

Also in writing, students drafted their summer writing entitled "This Summer was One in a Melon." An informative lead kicked off our writing pieces before sharing important details about a summer event.

Topic 2 had us using our rounding rhyme to estimate sums and differences. We ended the week with Math Workshop where we worked on problem solving, used playing cards to practice rounding, practiced math facts on the iPad minis AND with flashcards, and also played math games like Clip and Cover below. There's an incredible amount 

of math talk overheard in Room 16 during Math Workshop!

Our Buddy Reading block on Friday led us to the Outdoor Classroom where third graders shared their Fluency Friday Poem of the Week. First graders brought a few of their favorite books to share!

Today marked the start of Topic 3--a deeper look into addition and subtraction. Our first lesson focused on expanded algorithms. Using place value blocks as visuals, we expanded three-digit addends by hundreds, tens, and ones. We first added the value of the hundreds, followed by the tens, and ones. Our last step involved combining the partial sums to find the total. 

For example, when solving 456 + 328, we first solved 400 + 300 =700. Next, we added the tens: 50 + 20 = 70. We combined the ones and solved 6 + 8 = 14. Finally, we combined those partial sums and solved 700 + 70 + 14 = 784. Below, Rosie works on expanding algorithms.

Next up is a study of character traits, tall tales, and a few more folktales!