Friday, October 24, 2014

"Wonder"-ful and Awesome-"Ish" Week!

The kids arrived after a long weekend ready to go!  In reading, we continue to read Wonder and are closely examining character development, voice and perspective. Our Global Read Aloud (GRA) books for the past two weeks were I’m Here and Ish. Students have engaged in rich discussions in class about the author’s message and connections to other texts and have shared their insights via Kidblog. Breaking news this week included personal comments (by famous author Peter Reynolds) on Ms. Ward's student blog posts (Emily was first!!!), and Peter Reynolds’ favoriting and retweet of Ms. Schoolcraft’s “Pictionary-ish” tweet (also connected to GRA). We are loving being connected to the greater literary world!

In math, Third Graders launched unit 2 this week. This unit focuses on various models for multiplication. Students participated in two math forums this week: one involving arrays of stamps and the other examined proportional relationships using units of measure. Students worked in pairs to determine lengths of animals illustrated in a “seascape,” when the length of only one animal was known and the use of rulers and standard measuring tools was off limits! Our number corner work this week revealed a new work place, where hands-on measuring is key! Fourth Graders continue to build multiplicative reasoning as they work with multi-digit multiplication and early division. In Module 1, students use base ten area pieces to investigate place value patterns, as well as model and solve single- and double-digit multiplication problems. In Google Classroom, a Doc with support games for Unit 2 has been shared. They are welcome to use this valuable resource as their fact practice. 

We are well into our science investigation - Variations and Adaptations of Living Things. Students are really enjoying this science and literacy integrated unit, and are observing characteristics of living things that show relatedness and variation. Students are reading nonfiction text, observing animals in photographs, watching videos of animal movement and listening to bird calls to distinguish songbirds from non-songbirds.

In writing we are guiding students into what many fiction writers consider the heart of fiction: character struggle and motivation. We have created believable characters and now we will decide what this person wants or hopes for. In our next writing sessions we will try to balance a combination of hopes and obstacles. 

There will be a book order in the folder on Monday.   If you would like to order some items secretly for the holidays, send an email and I will hide the order when it arrives.  

Thank you all so much for visiting for conferences.   I really enjoy working with you as a team.   It is especially exciting when a child shows eagerness to show off some work!   If there are follow up questions you would like to review without your child present, get in touch so we can arrange a time to meet. 

On Friday, October 31, we will be having a Harvest Celebration.  As part of our celebration, we would like to make a community soup based on the story: Stone Soup.  You can help in two ways:

1.  Please send your child in with an old coffee mug.  We will use these in the garden to drink hot apple cider, and for our soup later in the day.
2.  Please send your child in with 1 cup of vegetables chopped up, and held in a plastic bag.  For example:   carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, peas, mushrooms, garlic, basil...  The soup will simmer in a crock pot until we dine in the afternoon.  
Thanks for the home support as always!

Lindsey got the SMART student of the week, as voted by her peers.  Sally chose Naysan for the Bucket Filler Award!  Congrats to you both!

Friday, October 10, 2014


We officially launched the Global Read Aloud this week!  We, in collaboration with thousands of schools and students around the world, are exploring Peter Reynolds’ amazing books with an author study over the next five weeks.  Our first read was The North Star.  Students made connections to their own lives and to other texts they’ve read about journeys and being an individual.  Students are using their Kidblogs to communicate with a broader audience about their reading...all students wrote at least one blog post responding to the selected text, and wrote at least two high-quality comments to another blogger.  Ask your child how to score a “5” when commenting!  Please go to your child's blog and leave a comment.  Weekly Updates from your child will be blog posts as well.  Please remember that this is an example of authentic writing from your child.  We love seeing how much growth the blog shows over the course of the year! Also,
all of Equinox team is reading Wonder.  Today is Auggie's birthday and we are wearing green to celebrate!  It is also national Choose Kind Day.  If you go to Twitter and search #choosekind, you can find many awesome projects and experiences inspired by Auggie's character today!

In Math, Third graders finished their work in Unit One this week, capping off their hard work with a post assessment.  On Thursday, students were able to review their graded assessments, as well as their pre-assessments, and spent some time reflecting on their learning over the course of the unit.  Students are also exploring properties of polygons and liquid units of volume in Number Corner.

Fourth graders took their Unit One Assessment today.  There is another module featuring measurement that we will begin next week.  Students have access to a Google Document that lists many games that the Bridges math program recommends for skill practice associated with Unit One. Students may use these sites for their math fact minutes as well!

In Word Study this week, students in all groups are working to learn and internalize spelling rules and practice spelling and vocabulary with a variety of dictations.  Students may practice their words at home during the week with whatever modality works best for him or her.

We are LOVING writing!  We are in the early session of our Realistic Fiction unit.  Students are offered a repertoire of strategies for gathering entries that pertain to the genre.  We have learned that we observe the world or reread entries for story ideas.  We can also ask ourselves “What books do I wish existed in the world?” and let this question lead you to invent a character with traits, struggles and actions.

It was wonderful to see so many faces last night at our Equinox Potluck!  Thank you to everyone who came! If you were unable to make the potluck, I posted the video of our beginning of the year photos below...enjoy!  I look forward to seeing you all next week during our parent-teacher conferences.   

SMART Student of the Week is Maria!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Loving Wonder!

Students continue to enjoy our reading of Wonder, and look forward to acknowledging Auggie’s birthday next week, 10/10.  We have done two response to text write-ups considering the perspective of different character's in Wonder. Next week, we will be working in collaboration with Ms. Schoolcrafts’ class to launch the Global Read Aloud with an author study of [the fabulous] Peter Reynolds!  We will use blogging to connect our thinking about reading Peter’s books as a way to connect beyond our classroom and Williston walls!  In Writing Workshop we began our fiction unit of study!  

In math this week, third graders participated in another math forum, and practiced strategies for adding and subtracting two-digit numbers.  Students have been reinforcing their strategies by playing a variety of games during "work places."  In grade 4 math, students have continued to work on multiplicative reasoning.  They have played a number of games that use a variety of multiplication strategies and are continuing to identify prime and composite numbers.  Fourth graders have also worked on distinguishing multiples from factors.  We also took a checkpoint assessment to help identify which concepts they have mastered and which are still unclear.  Each student write a goal for themselves to help focus their studies prior to the unit assessment next week. 

Students had their last day of this rotation for their Exploratory class.  Here are some of their favorite parts of this session!
Students completed their first full week of word study this week.  Ask your child about what rules and patterns s/he is learning about!  Spelling homework is optional.  Students in Ms. Weegar's Word Study group may use an online tool Spelling City.  Update - students in Ms. Schoolcraft’s word study group have a revised 80 minutes per week goal for Lexia.

Other: We have our annual Equinox Potluck Thursday, October 9th!   We hope to see you all there!  (Link to sign-up to bring a side dish/vegetable/salad)

Isabella got the Bucket Filler Award!  Naysan received the "Student of the Week" award as voted on by his peers!