Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blizzard Blogging about Biomes, "Blowing" Through Multiplication, Braille, Text Structures, Expository Experts, and Halfway Day

It's hard to believe we've already been in school 3 weeks in 2015! We sure have been busy!

Several students who had eagerly participated in my Winter Break Reading Challenge enjoyed an after school hot cocoa party. Reading really is delicious!

Our current science unit focuses on the various biomes found around the world. Fittingly, we started with the tundra and learned about the climate, numerous animals who call the tundra home, and the low-lying cushion plants that can be found there. Next, we read about the rainforest, its four layers, and why it has been coined "Earth's largest pharmacy."

We would be remiss if we let January come and go without a study of a very influential man in America's history. Biographies, passages, paired texts, and timelines confirmed existing knowledge about Martin Luther King and the legacy of this famous civil rights leader. Students were captivated as they watched King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

We have been fortunate enough to bring to life multiplication flip books perfectly aligned with common core standards. These templates were created by a talented teacher and blogger Blair Turner

Topic 6 has concluded with problem solving using multiplication, arrays, skip counting, and even algebra. We used organized lists to solve for all possible combinations in real life situations.

We've been blowing through our multiplication timed quizzes. We earn bubble gum to enjoy during math for every timed quiz that earns a score of 90 or above. 

Topic 6 concluded with practice multiplying 3 factors, using multiplication to solve for combinations, and Our long term math project has been assigned and an informational letter with a rubric has been sent home. Students will demonstrate their understanding of fact families by representing a colorful and creative array using stickers, illustration, print-outs, shapes, or designs. A multiplication and division fact family should accompany the array. The second part of the project requires students to create a mathematical table representing the amount of food needed to serve breakfast to their families. Individual serving sizes are included on the project letter. Projects are due March 11.

In honor of January being National Braille Month, two new word work activities debuted this week-- Braille and American Sign Language. Students have been eager to practice spelling their words using these two alternate means of communication.

As we delve deeper into informational texts, we have studied the text structure of books and articles to help us better understand the author's purpose for writing. Often writers will present facts in one of these formats--descriptive compare and contrast, cause and effect, problem and solution, or sequential.

QR Critters offer students reader response questions to use during Reader's Workshop along with their independent reading book--fiction or informational. Students scan the QR codes to read the question. Students answer questions pertaining to characters, setting, plot, resolution, author's purpose, genre, predictions, and factual information--just to name a few.

In Writer's Workshop, students have begun brainstorming, drafting, and researching topics and main ideas for their first expository piece. Topics range from presidents to sharks, basketball to soccer, and France to fish. Writers will incorporate text features in to their published pieces.

Writers have also enjoyed writing narratives inspired by photographs found in calendars like the one seen below.

We have extended our study of nouns to include abstract nouns such as freedom, patience, and knowledge and concrete nouns such as flag, basket, and book.

On Halfway Day students brainstormed and composed half of a story-- setting the scene and introducing the character and story problem. A writing partner had to complete the story resolving the story's problem.

The 100th Day is gradually approaching...