Sunday, December 28, 2014

Air Holiday, Multiplication, Publishing, and Biting in to the Common Core

We closed out 2014 flying aboard Air Holiday and learning about the various holiday traditions around the world. From Italy to Israel, Canada to Australia, students learned about the countries' traditions, gift bringer, decorations, and foods customarily prepared. Passports, photographs, mini books, and in-flight readings provided passengers with information about these diverse traditions. 


We were lucky enough to be the first class to venture to Creative Corner-- a new "art studio" at Memorial Park. Once there, students drafted murals on easels to represent similarities and differences between two self-selected countries that had been studied.

We were fortunate enough to enjoy two author visits to Memorial Park in the past few weeks. We loved listening to Kathleen Ready Dayan read her popular book called Cape Cod Bear Goes to Boston. We were surprised to learn how long it took her to revise this book! You can click here to learn more about Dayan and her published books.

Students have been eager to come full circle in the writing process on their personal narratives. Entertaining beginnings, elaborative detail, dialogue, and extended endings make these personal narratives shine. As students revise and then edit their work, they refer to the acronyms ARMS and COPS. See below for what the acronyms represent.

As we dive into more informational texts, we are working on a popular Common Core strategy known as Close Reading that requires us to read text multiple times, each with a unique purpose. We study the author's word choice, the structure of the text, and summarize it for the main idea. Recording our thinking in the margin is a key strategy when performing a Close Read.

In addition, we have used a few of Norman Rockwell's most famous paintings to discuss main idea and appropriate titles for his pieces. What would you name the painting below?

In math we are focusing on multiplication facts and word problems that require multiple steps. Students have enjoyed studying and practicing their Zero Property, Identity Property, 2s, 5s, 9s, and 10s through fun and interactive games on



In addition, students are gaining rich experience with problem solving through a program used throughout the district called Exemplars. Word problems of varying difficulty require students to transfer knowledge and apply strategies to solve multi-step problems using rounding, place value, and basic operations. I have already seen great improvement in their problem solving over the past few weeks.

January's trait of the month is perseverance. Both in and out of the classroom students are reminded to try their best, take risks, and not give up when facing challenges. This rings especially true in math. Students often seek immediate assistance when they are faced with a word problem in their math assignments. I encourage them to reread, search for keywords, use pictures or tables, and stick with it. :)

In January, we return to multiplication learning our 3s, 4s, 6s, 7s, and 8s using some rhymes and songs to help us. We will continue our focus on informational texts using the Close Reading strategy. In writing, we will continue to publish our personal narratives, and begin our expository writing. We'll talk about goals and resolutions and dive right back in!