Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prepare to be Amazed!

Schoolcraft - Grade 3 Math:  Third graders focused on attributes of quadrilaterals this week, and continued their work with area and perimeter.  Students learned two new work places to reinforce area, perimeter and geometry vocabulary in engaging, hands-on activities.

Weegar - Grade 4 Math:  Fourth graders had a week of ASSESSMENTS!  The end-of-year math assessment (CRAM) was administered this week, as well as both sessions of the grade 4 science NECAP.  Students had a guest teacher on Friday, where they were able to enjoy some math work and solidify concepts of fact fluency with Quizmo and Around the World.  Next week we will begin double digit multiplication, division, and solving real world math problems.

Stewart - Grade 3 Writing:  Third grade writers have been polishing up their pieces of writing as best they can for the Learning Restaurant. They have an enormous amount of work from which to choose and editing is really not something they enjoy doing!  We have run into some printing snafu’s as well as other challenges but these writers are looking forward to sharing their work with you all next week!

Ward - Grade 4 Writing:  Bookending the two days of Science NECAP assessments, grade four writers combined the high-level reading skill of synthesis with the careful study of characters.   Details uncovered in reading books were combined with ‘Thinking Prompts’ to grow new ideas via “fast and long writing”.   Next, these new ideas were discussed with partners to uncover one big important idea that can become a thesis statement.   Ask your writer which thesis idea was strongest in her/his reading and writing!

Other:  We can’t wait to see you next Thursday, 5/26 for our Learning Restaurant!  We look forward to serving you our delicious work!  The class is setting the scene, finalizing their pieces and preparing to amaze you!  All students should wear black. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Inquiry Investigations

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft:   Third grade mathematicians continued to work through concepts of geometry this week.  Our focus was on identifying and sorting quadrilaterals, including the special quadrilaterals:  parallelogram, rhombus, square, rectangle and trapezoid.  Our May calendar has us collecting odd v. even products when rolling two dice five times in a row in each class.  Ask your mathematician if odd or even products are more likely!  In addition, students were treated to a fun math project on Wednesday with Ms. Weegar, using Google Tools to collect data and show results using a bar graph.  

Gr4 Math - Weegar:  Students were able to revisit the idea that angles involve rotations around a fixed point.  They worked together to solve and discuss problems that involve adding angle measures.  Students worked on a variety of geometry measurement problems.  Through the discussion we were able to analyze how some learners use strategies that are more spatial in nature and others use strategies that are based in computeration.  Friday, students took their Unit 5 Post Assessment on Geometry.  

Gr3 Writing - Stewart: In Gr3 Writing students have continued to rehearse their Fairy Tale adaptations.  They have written flash drafts of their work and are now evaluating their writing using the Narrative Writing Checklist to set goals and improve their own pieces.  Next week we will work on revisions to their work for Learning Restaurant.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:  Now that all writers have prepared their writing for the “Learning Restaurants”, grade four students are able to launch a new unit of study for writing; Literary Essays.   These Literary Essays require all writers to push their thinking to grow new ideas.   Learners are diving into individual reading books to read deeply, submerging themselves in the text, getting pounded by the waterfall of interesting details.   Ask your writer about the water analogy and about Fox by Margaret Wild.   

Theme: On Thursday this week students took the CSSU Science Inquiry Task.  Fourth graders looked at animal adaptations and third graders used magnets in their experiment.  Next Tuesday and Wednesday, fourth graders will be taking the Science NECAP.  Please support your child by making sure they are well rested and have a healthy breakfast available.  

Learning Restaurant will be May 26th.  The schedule information will be sent home on Monday in home folders.  Please contact me if you have a specific time request.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Appreciation and Superheros!

Thank you so much for showing appreciation this week.  It truly is a pleasure each and every day to learn with your children.  This profession brings me such joy and truly is my “dream job”.  

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft: This week third graders began investigating polygons using a variety of tools and activities.  The students examined examples and nonexamples of rectangles and shared observations about the attributes of a rectangle to determine what distinguishes them from other quadrilaterals.  

Gr4 Math - Weegar:    Fourth grade mathematicians reviewed the terms area and perimeter.  Then they worked together to generate a formula for determining the area of rectangles and squares.  In the process, they have an opportunity to see and handle a square inch and a square foot.  Then they applied the information as they worked in pairs to find the area and perimeter of various items around the classroom.

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:    This week Grade Three writers have been studying Fairy Tales in order to learn characteristics of this genre and of narratives more generally. Each writer has chosen one tale to adapt by changing the character, an event or the message.  We notice often when you change one thing, other details of the story must also change.  Students are rehearsing their stories using familiar strategies such as  writing in the air (storytelling), sketching scenes or acting them out.   Please ask your child to tell the first two scenes of their adaptation to you beginning with, “Once upon a time…”

Gr4 Writing - Ward:   Grade Four writers are carefully editing past and present pieces of writing to prepare a delicious selection of restaurant reading for you.   The core writing idea has been revision with the lens of removing redundant words by using a thesaurus to modify sentences with new words and phrases.   The goal is for strong sentences that use the active voice to relay information or story.   Ask your writer the meaning of the word ‘redundant’ . . . then ask her/him again!   ;)   

Core Reading - Weegar:   We continued our adventurous read aloud “Seraphina and the Black Cloak”.  There was nonstop action and we loved making predictions and inferencing using both TodaysMeet and Google Classroom.  By using technology to record our thinking, we were able to share all of our ideas and come to a consensus about what we thought would happen next.  This has been a book that has hooked ALL of our readers!  We are so excited to decorate the classroom as the Biltmore Mansion (the setting of the novel) for our upcoming (May 26th) Learning Restaurant.  

Ask About - Equinox:    Four Winds Nature Science about Plant Defenses, New Exploratory Groups, May the Fourth Be With You, Treasure Island Sterling Play, Learning Restaurant Ideas, SUPER HERO DAY!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016


Third graders wrapped up unit 5 with an assessment this week.  Students have worked tirelessly on the concepts of area and perimeter and demonstrated great growth.  With the month of April coming to a close, students exhausted the calendar patterns and collected thirds of an hour to add to the growing month’s collection.  Finally, third graders completed a “quick facts” multiplication assessment and practiced their facts with a new multiplication game.
Fourth grade mathematicians worked Monday and Tuesday on finishing their “Dream Room” projects.  We used this engaging project as a way to learn more about area, perimeter, and multiplication.  Students have the opportunity to use an online program called Tinkercad to build their rooms in 3D.  Later in the week, students immersed themselves in the language of geometry and consolidated much of what has been studied in the unit so far.  

Grade 3 writing this week has been all about revision and editing.  Students are cleaning up favorite pieces they’ve worked on this year to make them their very best “shot” at each particular genre.  Intensive review of paragraph structure and sentence structure occurred on Wednesday.  

Fourth grade writers drafted and revised realistic fiction pieces.   Students used the four elements of craft from the Narrative Writing Checklist to guide their work.   Most children focused on showing *why* a character did what they did by including character thinking and feeling.   This helped writers compose an ending that showed a shift, or growth, in the main character.   Some are also putting in extra effort to master the punctuation expectation of using commas, capital letters, and quotation marks for dialogue.   Ask your writer about the Narrative Writing Checklist goals she/he set for this unit of study.

All Equinox students were treated to an incredible virtual field trip with Google Expeditions on Wednesday.  Students used Google Cardboard “goggles” outfitted with an Android phone to access an app that simulates guided travel to places around the world.  Teachers were able to act as docents as they guided students on a virtual journey to an amazing place on Earth.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Virtual Fieldtrip

Today our class experienced a pioneer program called, "Google Expeditions".  Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips.  Immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper sense of the world beyond the classroom.  We selected a destination of Nepal because it connected to our science learning about Tarpuls as well as a read aloud we had done about climbing Mount Everest.  These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas annotated with details and points of interest.  Read our Padlet below to hear our reactions to this amazing experience!

Our Google Expedition

Friday, April 15, 2016

Dance - O - Rama

Great performance today dancers!  You really rocked the house!  Here is a link to your performance to share with your families.  Enjoy your vacation!  Be sure to get out and play!!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Ask, Imagine, Plan

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft:   Third graders were introduced to the third grade SBAC tasks in mathematics.  Students were able to practice logging in, explore assessment tools and review strategies together.  Mathematicians also synthesized their learning from the March calendar and created bar graphs to display data provided on the calendar as charts or pictographs.  A Division Checkpoint was assigned as a mid-unit assessment on Thursday.  Finally, students learned a new workplace, Line ‘Em Up, in which a single quantity must be divided into equal groups of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and remainders noted.  It is challenging and fun!   

Gr4 Math - Weegar:    Fourth graders continued exploring angles; parallel, intersecting, perpendicular lines.   Everyone used geoboards and geobands to make sense of learning and to connect new vocabulary to real life examples (e.g., railroad tracks, lines of latitude, roads that come to intersections).   Ask your mathematician what makes perpendicular lines a special set of intersecting lines!

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:    This week in writing has been unusual!  On Monday, all writers participated in a great Four Winds sessions about Owls!  On a couple of days students worked on editing and revising pieces they’d begun last week.  We also squeezed in some practice for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium “SBAC”, which we’ll be administering over the next two weeks.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:     The Core Writing Idea this week was “Tackle the Nitty-Gritty Sentence Details.”   BrainPop, Flocabulary, connected worksheets, and focused DLR instruction helped students pointedly practice the finer details of grammar, conventions, and sentence structure.   Much time was also spent reviewing strategies to tackle the Short Answer Response of SBAC.   Please talk to your writer about the power of an introductory sentence!

Four Winds Nature Science - Eqx:   Parent volunteers enthusiastically taught children about the sharp eyes, flexible necks, sensitive ears, strong beaks, silent wings, powerful talons, and deadly claws of owls!   Students also enjoyed dissecting regurgitated owl pellets - filled with the skeletons of past dinner entrees.   The found bones were classified and discussed; new learned recorded in Science Notebooks.

Science/Engineering - Eqx:   Geotechnical Engineers started the Engineering Design Process with the steps of Ask, Imagine, Plan.   Partnerships considered the factors of village elder requests, curvature of the river, soil types, and the price of compaction as they crafted proposals for the best site for the Sarhig River TarPul.   Many engineers were able to move forward with testing their selected sites.   Improve and ReImagine are the next steps!