Monday, December 15, 2014

Science Science Science!!!

Four Winds
What a wonderful week filled with science we had! Of course we continued with our variations and adaptations unit.  We also extended that unit by looking at inquiry skills.  Students participated in the Hour of Code, learning Computer Science.  Another thing we had this week was Four Winds where our parent volunteers Becky Tharp and Shani Varichionne taught us a lot about conifers.

Our study of variations and adaptations will be coming to a close next week.  Students read the final nonfiction text for the unit, Evidence From The Past, in partnerships this week.  Strategy work continued to emphasize making inferences and using text features to support comprehension.  Students engaged in Computer Science Learning Week by participating in the Hour of Code on Thursday.  Students started by writing simple lines of code to make a character follow a path to more complex tasks where students initiated rules and parameters in a “flappy bird” game. 

Third graders continued their work with addition strategies for working with larger numbers.  After reviewing addition strategies and completing story problems with 3-digit numbers, students participated in a math forum, sharing strategies and discussing their efficiency.  Fourth grade mathematicians are continuing their work with fractions.  Students are exploring equivalent fractions using manipulatives such as the egg carton as a model.  

Although a short week, our realistic fiction stories are nearly published.  All students have shared their work with at least one partner, and have engaged in dialogue (both through a collaborative document and face-to-face discussion).  We also spent time working on more scientific comparison writing, this comparing an eozostrodon  (extinct mammal) to a kangaroo.

Demonstrating Frequency
Hour of Code
Students had a fascinating demonstration by the engineers from “Create it Lab” who are working with Equinox students on an integrated “African Kalimba” project.  Students had their first lesson on sound waves with many engaging demonstrations using speakers and everyday objects to model sound waves.  Students have been working in art class to begin the base of their Kalimbas (finger piano), have drilled holes, and are now learning the engineering behind how they work.  Later, students will work in music class to learn how to play them!

We began working on inquiry skills by asking the experimental question, "Which material (insulator) will allow us to keep our hand in cold water the longest?"  Which variable will we change?  What variable will we measure? It was a lot of fun and interesting to find out how animal adaptations allow them to withstand cold temperatures.
Experimenting with Insulators

Parents of chorus students - be on the lookout for a parent letter/release in Monday folders regarding an upcoming video filming.  Thanks for reminding your child to dress appropriately for 
the weather!   


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Frozen with Excitement!

This week was a busy one! (We always say that, don't we?)
To begin, everyone in Equinox has done such a beautiful job of listening to directions the first time, that we WON a contest that allowed for PaJaMaS in SchOOl All dAy!!!  We also had the very first visit from our school mascot the wildcat named Einstein.  It was exciting having the first visit EVER happen in Equinox.

Jammie Day in Equinox

We continued our science reading with nonfiction texts and strategies including making inferences and supporting claims with evidence, and identifying and using key vocabulary terms, including adaptations, variations, extinct, fossil and paleontologist.  Students practiced their comparison writing strategies and published a scientific piece comparing two animals we researched and their adaptations to avoid being eaten.   In addition, students engaged in a related science inquiry task where they visited each of four stations containing fossil replicas and made observations and inferences about each.  

Einstein our Williston mascot
In math, third graders launched Unit 3:  Multidigit Addition and Subtraction this week.  Our mathematicians completed a pre assessment, spent some time reflecting on the assessment and setting relevant goals for the unit, and reviewed and practiced rounding to the nearest ten and hundred through a variety of activities.  The December calendar focuses on fractions and this month’s number corner work involves creating a classroom collection of objects to accumulate a total mass of 1,000 g.  Fourth grade mathematicians are learning about fractions.  Students are learning about the area model of fractions and exploring lines of symmetry.  Students in Ms. Weegar’s math class had some special 6th grade math students read to them about math.  
Voyager student reading a math story she wrote!
Finally, the December grade 4 calendar is different shapes all with an area of 5 square units and a perimeter of 12.

In writing, authors are working hard to get their realistic fiction drafts typed in Google Drive.  We reviewed the “checklist” that outlines the narrative standards for writing for both third and fourth graders.  Students will use this tool to self-monitor and self-assess as they work to bring their story to a close.  Finally, next week, students will use the collaborative nature of Google Docs to share their writing with a partner, and support each other in revising and editing using the comment feature.

It’s that time of year...please make sure your child comes prepared for outdoor recess each day.  As the temperature drops, it is imperative that all children have appropriate clothing and gear (coat, hat, gloves, snowpants, boots) for outdoor play. 

We are planning on having a Crafter-morning on December 19th.  We would love to have volunteers run a craft, supply wrapping paper, or help at a craft or wrapping station.  Please stay tuned to your email for a sign-up and information letter.