Friday, January 16, 2015

Wrapping Up

All students have had a recent BAS (Benchmark Assessment System) assessment this past week.  Information about instructional text levels, fluency, comprehension and reading rate was collected, and is used to inform reading instruction.  We are participating in the whole-school read of Rules by Cynthia Lord.  We are going to be encouraging a cross-grade level discussion and writing quality blog comments to a wider audience.

In math, as unit 3 draws to a close for third grade students, we
finally explicitly taught students the traditional algorithm (or “carrying”) for multi-digit addition problems.  Much time was spent this week evaluating the reasonableness of an answer when comparing to an earlier estimate.  Finally, third graders are getting lots of opportunities to practice telling time and determining elapsed time during number corner!  Fourth graders have been looking at comparing and converting decimals and fractions.  They have been focusing on constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others.  To prove their thinking, they use base ten pieces or quick sketches.  The base ten pieces are a powerful model for decimal numbers.  By using them to model different numbers and justify comparisons of those numbers, students are developing a deep understanding of decimal numbers and our base ten number system.

In writing on Monday and Tuesday this week, all students completed a pre-assessment for our newly launched persuasive writing unit.  We spent an afternoon “immersing” ourselves in model persuasive texts (The Salamander Room, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and Earrings) we identified elements of author’s craft and strategies for persuasive writing.  Finally, later in the week, all students collaborated to write a brief persuasive piece to support the claim:  “we need personal floor chairs”.

This was our final week having a formal workshop with Mr. Harmon  and Mr. White, the engineers in residence.  We were able to learn about timbre - or the voice of an instrument - with some student demonstrations of musical instruments.  We connected what we learned about the travel of sound waves to various solids and liquids - which will be the topic of our next theme study!  Ask your child how his/her kalimba is coming!

Report Cards will be sent home with students next Friday, 1/23.  No School on Monday 1/19 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Have a great long weekend!

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