Tuesday, October 15, 2019

10/15

It has been great to connect with all of you at Open House and during conferences these past few weeks!

Book Orders
I sent out book orders a couple of weeks ago, and forgot to put a due date, and our class code.

Book orders are due by next Friday, 10/25. Our class code is W4BC2.

Homework
No spelling this week (10/14) due to no school on Friday. In addition, starting next week I'd like to try sending a Reading Log that is only for 1 week. For those students who read before bed, they can fill out the Reading Log in the morning, and put their best approximation for time spent reading.

Reader's Workshop
In Reader's Workshop students are consistently reading for 30 minutes each day. Students have also begun writing a journal response daily after independent reading time. Our recent mini lessons have been focusing on deepening these journal responses, not only reporting back what happened in their story, but connecting their own thinking to what is happening in their book.

I have also just begun administering the Fall Benchmark Reading assessment. I will be in touch with families individually as I finish each students testing.

Writer's Workshop
In Writer's Workshop everyone has chosen a seed idea and begun writing their first draft of a personal narrative. We've worked on the difference between writing like a news reporter and writing like a storyteller; this difference is hard to nail down in practice for 3rd and 4th graders! In the next couple of weeks, students will work to revise their writing, working with different leads, finding ways to make their story more interesting when it lags, and finding ways to elaborate and stretch out the best parts.

Math
Last week 3rd graders learned about division by connecting it to multiplication with a missing factor, something they've already been exposed to. Division contexts with equal groups can look two different ways; we might need to find out how many items are in each group (this looks like sharing out equally to a known number of groups), or how many groups we can make (this looks like making multiple copies of something until we hit a known total. While both contexts would be represented by the same division expression, the model and strategies kids use will look different.

Theme
We have begun our Geology unit in science. Students have been learning about tectonic plates, and how the earth has changed (and continues to change!) due to the movement of tectonic plates. We have also been learning about the rock cycle, and how different kinds of rock are formed. We will be going on a field trip to Rock of Ages and Hope Cemetery in Barre next Wednesday to learn more about granite.





Sunday, September 22, 2019

9/22

Here are some updates from the past couple of weeks!

Extras
We've noticed a need for spoons and forks in the classroom at snack time. Most days our snack time is short, and sending students all the way to the cafeteria for silverware means not much time to eat. Rather than ask for plastic utensils, I wonder if any families have any odds and ends metal silverware at home you'd be willing to send in? We don't need them to match, and any little bit helps. Please email me before you send them in, as I don't want to collect more than a class set.

Homework
Your students will have 3 pieces to their weekly homework, which comes home on Monday.

  • Spelling: A spelling list goes home, along with 3 activities. Spelling tests are every Friday, and spelling packets are due on Friday. 
    • Day 1: Sort the words on the front by the spelling feature that is focused on for the week. 
    • Day 2: Write 10 great sentences using at least 10 spelling words. Underline the spelling words
    • Day 3: Have an adult read the spelling words in random order, the student writes them in a blank grid, spelling them correctly, and also sorting them into the correct feature category
  • Reading Log: At least 20 minutes each night.
  • Math: Usually a front/back worksheet, due on Friday.


Reader's Workshop
In Reader's Workshop the class is still working to extend independent silent reading time each day. Right now they are up to 25 minutes, with the hope of extending to 30 minutes or more. That amount of time is hard for some students to sustain, so we're working on comprehension strategies to stay engaged with a book. I am also conferencing with students to do a Reader's Interview, as well as a running record.

Writer's Workshop
In Writer's Workshop students have been brainstorming lists. These lists are doing double duty; they are providing students with writing tasks that are short, engaging, and attainable at the beginning of the year. Second, these lists will spark the students' thinking when it comes time to generate story ideas for narrative writing.

Math
3rd graders are continuing to work on multiplication. Last week they explored multiples of 2, 5, and 10, and how they are related. Their discussions pulled in other math concepts like odd/even and properties of multiplication. This past week, we began each lesson with Number Talks. A Number Talk is an activity where students solve a problem mentally and share strategies out loud. During the share, my job is to notate their strategies and link them to the students' mental model. Our first Number Talks focused on the distribute property of multiplication.

Theme
Last week we used the class' Hopes & Dreams as a springboard for creating the class rules. The students brainstormed, sorted, and consolidated to com up with their classroom rules for the year: Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible for self and materials, and Be in a Mindset For Learning. Some of the kids have begun to call them "The 4 Bs of Mr. D's".

Class Book
Most parents have sent in pictures for the Class Book. Students got a chance to begin making their collage last week. They will have one more day to work this week, and we should have the pages laminated and the book created by next week.




Sunday, September 8, 2019

Week 2

Welcome to our class blog!

I'll be using this blog to post newsletter type updates, hopefully weekly, but at least bi-weekly. I will also upload spelling and math assignments each week on the sidebar to the right.

I've also set up a classroom Instagram account under the user name duboisclass. There you will find pictures of what we're up to each day. You can find the Instagram page here.

Now, some updates!

Students have been spending a lot of time learning the procedures of the classroom, playing games, getting to know each other better, and working as a team these first couple of weeks. We've also begun our core academic blocks.

Reader's Workshop
In Reader's Workshop, our class is trying to expand our sustained silent reading time each day to build up stamina. Helpful strategies include picking a Just Right Book, finding a comfortable reading spot, and limiting distractions. Tomorrow we shoot for 20 minutes!

Writer's Workshop
In Writer's Workshop, students made a Heart Map filled with the people, places, objects, hopes, and experiences they hold close to their heart. We've also begun making lists. Both the Heart Map and the lists will serve as true story ideas for our first writing unit.

Math
Both grades begin with a multiplication unit in Math. 3rd graders have learned that equal group situations can be represented as repeated addition as well as multiplication, and are practicing making math pictures of equal group contexts. 4th grade students are learning about multiplicative comparison contexts. We can compare two things (4 feet and 12 feet) in an additive way, ("12 feet is 8 feet longer than 4 feet"), as well as in a multiplicative way ("12 feet is 3 times as long as 4 feet).

Theme
Students have begun working on their Hopes and Dreams for the year, reflecting on what went well and what was difficult last school year. They setting out one way they'd like to change, and also articulated worries about the upcoming year. These Hopes and Dreams will be on display in the classroom once finished, and will serve as a springboard for creating classroom rules at the end of the week.

Class Book
Please send in a few pictures of your child with loved ones, pets, at favorite places, etc. Once everyone has sent in pictures (hopefully later this week!) students will make their pictures into a collage page for our Class Book.

Extras
We've noticed a need for spoons and forks in the classroom at snack time. Most days our snack time is short, and sending students all the way to the cafeteria for silverware means not much time to eat. Rather than ask for plastic utensils, I wonder if any families have any odds and ends metal silverware at home you'd be willing to send in? We don't need them to match, and any little bit helps. Please email me before you send them in, as I don't want to collect more than a class set.