Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy New Year!

This was a fun week back mostly because we all put a lot of energy and effort into reflecting on our growth and looking forward to set new goals.   Students wrote two new goals - outlining learning accomplished, and goals for school from now until June.   

In math this week, third graders are in the thick of unit 3, exploring multiple strategies for subtracting two and three-digit numbers.  Students are becoming fluent with four strategies (each involving the number line):  removal (take away), differencing (count back), differencing (count up) and constant differences (change the problem).  Ask your third grader about these four strategies!  The third grade January calendar focuses on fractions, and number corner components include fact fluency - multiplication by 10 and 5, elapsed time and equivalent fractions.  In fourth grade math, students are learning how to add, subtract and multiply fractions.  Their January calendar focuses on the area of 2-d shapes.  A recent problem string examined the commutative property of multiplication and division.  

We will begin our unit about persuasive writing next week!  Unfortunately for you, we will teach your children to be more persuasive with their opinions.   We know this will make them better writers, but maybe a touch tricky around dinner time.  ;) Before we launched that unit, students were able to write a new blog post about what they did over winter break.  Please be sure to read and comment on student blog posts.

In Engineering, students are beginning to assemble their Kalimbas!  It is very exciting to see this integrated engineering - art - music project begin to come alive!  This week’s focus was on frequency, and how wavelength effects amplitude.  

In Literacy, we are beginning our School-Wide read of Rules by Cynthia Lord.  This book has many themes, including understanding differences, compassion and “normal.”   Our class has already made many text-to-text connections with our other favorite, Wonder.   We will be connecting with students in other classes to share our understanding and reflect while reading this book.   Also in reading, students will be given the BAS (Benchmark Assessment System) reading assessment over the next few days, to provide recent data for progress reports.   Students are assessed for accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.   The progress report will provide reading information about your student according to being 'nearly', 'at', or 'above' grade level according to this assessment and classroom observations. (sent home 1/23)


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