Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Friday!       

Our Writer's Workshop continued this week with our focus on our persuasive writing pieces. Most of the students have completed their graphic organizer planning sheet and are now moving on to drafting on their computers. Students also worked on creating a survey to send out to classmates that may help strengthen their persuasive writing pieces along with an opportunity to learn survey creating on google drive. 

Reader's Workshop found us reading and practicing finding the theme of a story. We discussed how the theme is not the plot or specifics of a story but rather the underlying message from the author to the reader. We spent the week practicing identifying the theme in short stories and short movies before applying our knowledge to chapter books. We enjoyed the story by Madonna, Mr. Peabody's Apples with a strong theme about how "rumors" can hurt. We also read Patricia Pollaco's The Junkyard Wonders. This story's theme was about "acceptance" and "empathy." To end our week, we watched the short Dr. Seuss movie, The Lorax. The students unanimously agreed that "greed" and "making good choices" was the driving theme in this story. Next week we will apply our learning to our independent reading books.

We ended our week with our 8th-grade Buddies. We shared our "Gift of Self" projects and made valentine cards for the senior citizens at Bay Square.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mr. Arsenault
Happy Friday!

Students are in full swing with their persuasive writing pieces. This week we wrote our "Grabber" sentences. The writer's had a chance to share their grabbers within writer groups and to help each other write the best opener sentence for their piece. The students then moved on to writing their thesis statements supported by three reasons. We also started to use a  Graphic organizer to begin to organize our thinking while writing the body of the essay.

We finished our read-a-loud, The Liberation of Gabriel King.
Please ask your child how this emotional story ended and give them a chance to share this great story with you. The students deep thinking and meaningful discussions throughout this story were just amazing! They discussed civil rights topics, oppression, friendship, and the love of family. The ending of this book leads us into our next study of "theme" in a piece of literature. 
5th-gr. Spelling Bee final 5

As our week came to an end, Mr. Arsenault came into class to teach us how to set up a survey on our google accounts. The students will be writing and setting up a survey to send out to the Dolphins and the Geese. The results of these surveys will be used as a fact to be added to their persuasive essays.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Great Readers!

This was a busy week! Most of our Writer's Workshop energy focused on planning our persuasive essays. We used the help of graphic organizers to plan our thinking about the purpose of our writing. We looked at many student samples of completed essay work and had a chance to diagram them and look for the grabber sentences, thesis statements, supporting reasons and details, and clincher sentences to end an essay with a punch and make our reader really think. We also discussed persuasive vocabulary words to make our writing stronger. By Friday, we started to try writing our own thesis statements along with a grabber lead. Next week, we will be working on the body of our essays and the most important information to include.

Antagonist letter
We are nearing the end of our Read-a-loud, The Liberation of Gabriel King in Reader's Workshop. Our focus during this novel has been on character changes over the course of the book, understanding who the protagonist and antagonist is, and we are beginning to focus on "theme" as we come to the end. The theme of a book will also be a strong focus as we move into our next read-a-loud. 

The students are also beginning preparations for a book talk to give to the class. This is a great time of year to book talk the many wonderful books that we have been reading this year. Many students are motivated to try a new book once they hear someone describe a great plot. 

I am so pleased with the students reading motivation. This time of year can sometimes cause a reading slowdown but not with this group. We talk books every day and they are asking for suggestions always. They are eager to write in their journals and the quiet excitement in our room during stamina reading is amazing!

Thank you for supporting your child at home with their reading and for helping them to remember their books each day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy Friday!
Our week started with much excitement for sharing our holiday break. The students got right back in the groove of classroom expectations and we were ready for learning. 

In Writer's Workshop, we started our introduction to our next piece of writing, the persuasive essay. We discussed how many adults in their everyday life write letters, reports, or emails persuading others to see their point of view about something that they care about. Some of these writings may be in our careers, in school, or in our community. The students are in the process of brainstorming ideas about issues they care deeply about. They will be drafting their writing using graphic organizers to help organize their thinking. These essays will include the issue of their choice, their point of view, evidence or reasons to support their opinion, and an argument for a counterclaim. I am very impressed with how deeply the students are thinking about issues in their school and their community. The students will soon bring home their ideas to share with family members to help them with focusing their thinking.

Our Reader's Workshop continues with our read-a-loud of Gabriel King and our focus on Antagonist and Protagonist importance in a story. We discussed this week how an antagonist does not always have to be an actual character but maybe an emotion or the protagonist's own mind. 

Friday morning, we welcomed our exchange students from Japan. They shared about their culture with a slide show and talked about their excitement for visiting Yarmouth and Harrison Middle School.

"GIFT OF SELF" Projects should be completed 
by Jan. 20.