Friday, November 21, 2014

Jeff Kinney Visits!

In Reading Workshop, strong connections between reading and writing were emphasized with the special visit of Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, on Wednesday.  WCS was very fortunate to welcome this accomplished author to speak to students in grades 3-6 and learn a bit about his journey to success in writing.  Ask your child what his/her favorite part of the presentation was.  Students continue to read independent reading books and some are working on group reading selections.  Students using Lexia are working to accomplish at least 80 minutes of engagement with the program each week - and several students have been inducted into the “100 minute club!”  

In math, Third graders spent this week wrapping up their November number corner work, as well as, finishing unit 2.  Students took an assessment to demonstrate their learning in this beginning multiplication unit.  Work with unit fractions, equivalent fractions, improper fractions and mixed numbers was introduced through this month’s number corner, and students are becoming more comfortable solving multi-step story problems and using equations with variables to model their thinking. In fourth grade math, students have been discovering the connections between multiplication and division.  Students have worked hard to understand what it means when a quotient has a remainder.  We have read about this, built models of division problems and made conjectures about what exactly a remainder is.  Our current definition of a remainder is:  When the divisor is not a factor of the total, you will have a remainder.  Julia H. made this conjecture and it has been widely proven and accepted.  You can see there is great mathematical thinking going on!  We have also been studying the analogue clock and elapsed time.  On Friday, we had the Unit 2 Assessment.

This week, we moved into the “adaptations” part of our science unit.  Students read a nonfiction text, Mystery Mouths, which highlighted various adaptations that help animals survive.  Students played a “guessing game” with the text, and did an activity to practice making inferences with photographs of “mystery feet.”

 This week in writing, authors focused on identifying sequence for their realistic fiction pieces, and practiced writing effective leads.  Next week, we will focus on strong endings for stories.

Beginner Band Lessons begin next week.  If your fourth grader is participating, please remind him or her to check the schedule regularly and that it is their responsibility to attend their lesson at the correct time and make up any missed work.  Thanks for your support from home.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Productive Week

This week, some students started reading groups.  Students in Weegar/Schoolcraft cores will be in mixed groups for reading.  Some students will read primarily with Ms. Schoolcraft, while others will read primarily with Ms. Weegar.  Reading strategies continue to focus on vocabulary, comparing and contrasting, and nonfiction text features.  Students in groups are exploring a variety of authentic shorter texts - both fiction and nonfiction.

Students in third grade math are wrapping up their first study of multiplication.  Students have had much time to practice learned strategies during workplaces and by engaging in a variety of “problem strings” involving multiplication strategies.  This week fourth graders have continued to multiply two digit by two digit numbers.  Students are learning to use doubling and halving strategies in large arrays.  Students are also using what they know about single digit numbers and multiples of ten to calculate large products.  

In Science, students examined relatedness of identical twins, the differences between inherited and acquired characteristics, and learned that a scientific explanation actually is a claim that is supported by evidence.  A scaffolded compare-contrast scientific writing piece was completed by students, independently, as well.  Finally, students worked in pairs to make a claim and collect evidence to support whether a dolphin is more closely related to a tiger or a shark.  Our results, conclusion  and new learning were all pretty exciting and interesting! 

In writing, authors continue to “stretch out” the liveliness of their stories by writing scenes.  Students are focusing on character development and got tips from RJ Palacio, the author of Wonder, by reading her remarks on her website.  Morning work challenges (DLR - daily language review) included concepts of antonyms, “guide words” and alphabetical order and syllabication.  

In other news: Booster cells are still being awarded for students who follow adult directions the first time!  Coat Drive:  CVU is partnering with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program in a coat drive - please bring in your gently used winter wear and leaving it in the box in the WCS lobby until 11/21/14.  Finally, FYI ¾ Chorus is cancelled for Wednesday, 11/19.

Harlie earned the Bucketfiller Award and John was voted SMART student of the week!  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Harvest Fest and More!

This week, both our reading and science work focused on the concept of compare and contrast.  As part of the GRA, we read Sky Color by Peter Reynolds and students were asked to choose a second Peter Reynolds book to explore similarities and differences with.  We also were inspired to write color poems which have been posted to our kidblogs.  In science this week, students explored nonfiction text features including captions, diagrams, headings and photographs.  Finally, we explored inferences.  Students practiced making and identifying inferences as ideas, which rely on both evidence and background knowledge (schema).  

In math, third graders continued to explore multiplication this week.  They created “multiples strips” which allowed students the opportunity to compare factors and multiples of numbers up to ten.  Third grade mathematicians also participated in several problem strings this week, reinforcing strategies for solving subtraction problems and learning new strategies for solving multiplication problems.  Finally, as the October number corner came to a close, students made final observations about the calendar, including identifying specific quadrilaterals by name. Fourth graders had an abbreviated math week, with the addition of the beginner band introduction!  We have been  using arrays to multiply two-digit numbers.  Number Corner has been the place for identifying multiples of  four and eight and calculating large sums and products.  We have had a Number Corner checkpoint assessment and work in Work Places, which is solidifying our basic multiplicative reasoning.

Our writing lessons this work focused on writing our story ideas using the frame of "Wants...But....So...."  Students were asked to come up with at least three story ideas.  Next week we will work on developing our plot.

Our Harvest Festival and afternoon of enjoying Stone Soup and pumpkin painting was a great success. Thank you to our two room parents, Pamela Nash and Cindy Roy.


  • Fourth Grade Band Sign Up is due
  • Jessica Lamorey and Katie Cuttitta will return on Monday
  • Stephanie Bliss will finish on Monday as a Substitute but will be our class substitute as I will be out.
  • Monday will be an After-School Volleyball Demonstration by CVU - open to 3rd and 4th graders!

    This week's SMART Student of the Week was Wyatt!  This week's Bucketfiller Award goes to Wylie!  Congratulations!!!!