Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy Friday!
Keep Reading!

Due to our Maine weather, it was a short week. I hope everyone enjoyed their two days off. Hopefully, you all got some much needed rest or you were outside enjoying the snow. 

Most of our work this week was on our Essay writing. We focused on an outline to help with organization. We also looked at the overuse of the word "because" in our writing and looked at other options to express our thinking and reasoning.

In our Reader's Notebooks we had an opportunity to write a letter to a character from our read-a-loud, The Watson's go to Burmingham-1963. In our letters, the students were questioning the motives and thinking of a character during a bullying incident in the story. By questioning a character through writing, students are able to put themselves in the story and think at a deeper level to understand a character. Many of the students even had advice for a few characters.

Next Monday, we will continue our work on our essays and begin a new unit on Exploration and Explorers. Students will be spending a little more time in the library learning how to take notes and research a famous explorer to then take their information and write a picture book about that Explorer. We will take a week to practice note taking and research and then the following week, students will be assigned their Explorer.

Have a wonderful snowy weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Survey work
Happy Friday!
With a short week, our time in class just flew by.
We started our week on Tuesday with a full hour of library time to sit in the cozy chairs and get lost in a good book. The students love this opportunity when we get the chance to really get into a book...the room was silent. We also continued our read-a-loud, The Watson's go to Burmingham-1963. Our main character Kenny is setting up the scenes for us and we continue to learn how a character's history, makes them who they are as a person.

On Tuesday, we had a technology lesson with Mr. Arsenault about creating and sending out a survey question on our computers. Students are using their thesis statements from their essay writings and creating a few questions that relate to their thesis. They then sent out their survey by email to our two classes. They will then use their responses to include a statistic in the essay writing to support their thesis. It was a lot of fun to watch their excitement while answering each others surveys.
We also continued working in our Reader's notebooks with finding the main idea in a piece of non-fiction text. We practiced our skills while reading a historical fiction picture book titled, Now Let Me Fly. This first-person fictional story gives realistic accounts of the lives of countless slaves as they were kidnapped in Africa and brought to the Colonies. We read half the story together while taking notes of important details. Next week, the students will continue their work with this book in peer groups. Our practice of note taking is preparing us for our Explorer reports starting soon.
Your student's "Gift of Self" writing is due next Thursday, Jan.29th.
They have the requirements in their homework folder. This assignment was given out just before the holiday break.

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Congrats to our classmate Stefan on winning the HMS Spelling Bee.
Happy Friday!

We started a new read-a-loud this week called, The Watson's Go To Birmingham-1963. This is a Newberry award and a Coretta Scott King award book. This story takes place in 1963 and has our main character Kenny living in Flint, Michigan with his crazy family. Kenny's parents decide to take a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to visit Grandma. Kenny has never been to the south and is excited. He does not realize that he is headed to one of the darkest moments in American History. This book has the students sitting on the edge of their seats and has led us into many wonderful discussions about the Civil Rights Movement and what it's like to be Kenny. Please ask your child to share with you their thoughts on our new read-a-loud.
We've continued our work in our Reader's Notebooks on finding the "Main Idea" of a  non-fiction piece of writing. Our focus this week was working to find important details and taking notes as well as trying our hand at questioning the text. The students are learning a deeper understanding of what they are reading when they can ask questions about the text and discuss their questions and possible answers with a group of peers.
Our Opinion Essays are coming along slowly. This week we worked on writing our first paragraphs while focusing on
Main Idea Notes
"grabbing" leads to keep a reader interested. Next week the students will learn how to set up a survey on their Google drive and send out a survey to classmates to include a statistic in their essays.

We ended our week by reading a picture book called, Mr. Peabody's Apples. This book has a great message about "gossip" and how damaging it can be to a person. Again, please take a moment to ask your child about how Timmy, the main character, had to make up for the gossip he had started. After our wonderful discussion about this book, Mr Smith and I took the kids to the gym for a wild game of kickball. Fun was had by all!
     Have a fantastic three day weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year!

     The students and I are back to school and off and running. We started our week with lots hugs and conversations about the their holiday activities. We did a few quick writes about our time off and then we jumped right in with our new Opinion essay writing.  The students and I worked on a few mini lessons with the focus on choosing a topic, what is a "Thesis" statement, and interesting ways to start an essay. Next week we will use a graphic organizer to organize our thinking into paragraphs.
     We also eased back into our wonderful reading hour each day with the students excitingly engaged in new books. They had a chance to write to me in their reading journals about interesting characters in their books and what about a character's history makes them who they are presently. 
     Non-fiction reading is our new focus of study that we have added to our Reader's Notebooks. This week, we looked at how to find the "Main Idea" of a piece of non-fiction writing. The students discussed what we do as readers before we read, during reading, and after reading a non-fiction piece. We discussed how a main idea is usually found in the first paragraph and sometimes in the last paragraph, we discussed looking for repeated words and that they may be a clue to the important details of a main idea. We also discussed how we may use pictures, captions, and other text features to help us with finding the main idea and supporting details.
     As the students said this afternoon, Wow! This week went by so fast!" Have a wonderful weekend!
*1/9  Purple folders are coming  home for parent review. Please sign and return.
*1/19  No school