Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We're 100 Days Smarter, Valentine Fun, Presidential Facts, Publishing, Balloon Stickies and Deep Sea Duel apps, Mixed Numbers, More Close Reading, and No David! Inferences

Weekend Tickets debuted this month. What a great opportunity for students to reflect on the week's lessons, discussions, and activities! Sign and return your child's Weekend Ticket as evidence of the conversation you had with your child. Your child will earn a $100 BBQ Buck bonus, and you will gain insight into your child's week.

We celebrated the 100th Day by displaying our badges announcing that we are 100 days smarter! We also enjoyed a very fitting 100 calorie pack snack.

In writing, students used a two-column note organizer to describe what life might be like when they turn 100 years old. Writers described their appearance, residence, family, and hobbies. They were quite entertaining to read! :) 


Many students also shared their 100th day collections. Below, Conor, Charlie, Derek, Ryan C., Shelby, and Sydney share their creative collections. 

In the spirit of the 100th day, Rosie and I dressed up as though we were 100 years old-- glasses, gray hair, and a cane for me!

As we got into the Valentine spirit, we sorted our Valentine conversation hearts by color and recorded the fraction for each color heart. The denominator, or total, remained the same. The numerator signified the number of hearts in a particular color. 

In honor of President's Day, students explored a variety of informational texts on the topic of presidents, their families, and pets. Check out these interesting facts about presidential pets!


In Writer's Workshop, students are eagerly publishing their five paragraph opinion pieces detailing their favorite  hobby or holiday. Below, Shane and Mike W. work at lap desks as they make final edits and revisions.

Voila! Their pieces are published!

Our final lesson in our verb unit discussed contractions. An apostrophe replaces the letter(s) that are removed.


We learned about two new apps this month. Balloon Stickies is a great way to show our thinking, questions, and inferences. Deep Sea Duel supports addition strategies, mental math, and problem solving.

We continued to explore fractions in Homework Club playing several rounds of Fraction Bingo. 

We studied flags from countries around the world and determined if they represented equal or unequal parts. 

As we explored fractions on the number line, we learned that mixed numbers represent a whole and a fractional part. We made mixed number booklets to show increasing fractions.

As we gear up for MCAS next month, we practiced smart test tasking strategies such as reading the questions first, predicting a text's genre, highlighting key words, closely reading a text for paragraphs' main ideas, and rereading a text for multiple purposes.

Below, we used color coding to track evidence of our answer in an informational text about polar bear cubs.

This week, our focus has been on making inferences using the text and our own schema. We read a few of David Shannon's No, David! books and made inferences about what David was doing and why. We also used text evidence to infer character traits that describe David, his mother, and teacher.

Below, Candace searches a thesaurus for a synonym for the adjective mean.

Next, we will explore poetry, idioms, adjectives, and adverbs.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Halfway Day, Wordly Wise, MLK, News-O-Matic App, Close Reading, Division, and Homework Club

What a snowy few weeks we have had! We welcomed Halfway Day with a few puzzlers--half of a cup, half a dozen, and half a yard. In writing, we wrote the beginnings of stories and swapped with a writing partner who wrote the other half of the story. Some stories were awfully silly! Here, Aly and Billy finish each other's stories.

Breaking from spelling for a week, we returned to Wordly Wise. We used top-down webs to record the unique parts of speech and meanings of multiple meaning words and homophones such as foul. These words often appear in our reading and knowing their parts of speech and meaning can help us better understand the text.

In our study of Martin Luther King Jr. we read aloud My Brother Martin and Martin's Big Words. We completed KWL charts recording facts we know, wanted to know, and learned about him. Next, we used text evidence to assign character traits to Martin and members of his family. Context clues and our background knowledge helped us complete chapters of an informational book about Martin's life. Our final task involved assigning an appropriate title to each chapter based on the text's main idea.

Studying informational texts often brings new and unfamiliar words. Using context clues help us figure out the meaning of those words. Often, the author shares a direct definition, an example, synonyms, antonyms, or use word parts. 

After reading an article about whales and fish, their similarities and differences, readers shared their knowledge and wonderings in their Reader Response Journals (RRJs). They used evidence based terms such as "The author stated..." "On page ______.." "From the reading I know that.." and "According to the text..."

During Reader's Workshop, students "snacked on multiple meaning words." Listening to context clues, students had to determine the meaning of the homophone. If they answered correctly, they earned a "snack" card. Well done readers!

Later, readers sorted words with suffixes and matching sentences into the correct Suffix House. They then used these words in their own sentences. Word parts sure can help us decode and define!

A Scholastic News article about the typhoon in the Philippines led us on a text features walk. We revised our predictions about the article's main idea after reading the text. We skimmed the article entitled Sniffing for Slime to predict the genre and author's purpose. We learned that dogs are being used to catch invasive snails that have recently come to Florida and are destroying many important crops there.


This week we began work on a strategy that empowers readers to dig deeper into text. Called "Close Reading," students "read with a pencil" annotating passages with symbols and thoughts in the margin. Revisiting the text for multiple reads encourages students to read the text for multiple purposes. We initially read a text for the main idea marking up the text using symbols to show our thinking and questions. Next, we read the text for important vocabulary, author's purpose, and the text structure. Finally, we revisit the text to answer text-dependent questions searching for evidence.
 close reading | Text Complexity & Close Reading / Close Reading :: Inspired by a web ...

Topic 8 has extended our work with division. We've learned 4 rules for dividing with 0 and 1, and have been using fact families to solve multiplication and division equations.

Kelly and Bryan work together as math partners as they use solve division problems where 0 is the dividend and 1 is the divisor or quotient.

Billy and Sean are loving our new lap desks!

Homework Club meets every Tuesday after school, and we've had a crowd each week! You'll hear an awful lot of math talk around this room!

Wrapping up our science unit on Matter, students used a number of resources to create Molecule Meal Menus being sure to serve up solids, liquids, gases, mixtures, solutions, and a chemical change. These chefs sure brought their knowledge to the table!

A new app that has become quite popular in Room 16 is News-O-Matic. Here, students can read informational articles relating to current events. This interactive app allows students to dig deeper into the world's major headlines.

Writers are drafting, editing, and revising their opinion pieces. Here, Mike U. chooses a transition word or phrase to kick off his third paragraph explaining why playing video games is his favorite hobby.

Our January class store had many fun prizes ranging from Valentine crafts, shamrock glasses, school supplies, and surprise QR codes. Bryan chose a QR code, scanned it on one of our class minis and scored a seat swap for the day. Other prizes included a day in the teacher's chair and pajama day!

When discussing the special verb to be--am, is, are, was, and were. We recorded our knowledge using a two-column note organizer.