Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prepare to be Amazed!

Schoolcraft - Grade 3 Math:  Third graders focused on attributes of quadrilaterals this week, and continued their work with area and perimeter.  Students learned two new work places to reinforce area, perimeter and geometry vocabulary in engaging, hands-on activities.

Weegar - Grade 4 Math:  Fourth graders had a week of ASSESSMENTS!  The end-of-year math assessment (CRAM) was administered this week, as well as both sessions of the grade 4 science NECAP.  Students had a guest teacher on Friday, where they were able to enjoy some math work and solidify concepts of fact fluency with Quizmo and Around the World.  Next week we will begin double digit multiplication, division, and solving real world math problems.

Stewart - Grade 3 Writing:  Third grade writers have been polishing up their pieces of writing as best they can for the Learning Restaurant. They have an enormous amount of work from which to choose and editing is really not something they enjoy doing!  We have run into some printing snafu’s as well as other challenges but these writers are looking forward to sharing their work with you all next week!

Ward - Grade 4 Writing:  Bookending the two days of Science NECAP assessments, grade four writers combined the high-level reading skill of synthesis with the careful study of characters.   Details uncovered in reading books were combined with ‘Thinking Prompts’ to grow new ideas via “fast and long writing”.   Next, these new ideas were discussed with partners to uncover one big important idea that can become a thesis statement.   Ask your writer which thesis idea was strongest in her/his reading and writing!

Other:  We can’t wait to see you next Thursday, 5/26 for our Learning Restaurant!  We look forward to serving you our delicious work!  The class is setting the scene, finalizing their pieces and preparing to amaze you!  All students should wear black. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Inquiry Investigations

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft:   Third grade mathematicians continued to work through concepts of geometry this week.  Our focus was on identifying and sorting quadrilaterals, including the special quadrilaterals:  parallelogram, rhombus, square, rectangle and trapezoid.  Our May calendar has us collecting odd v. even products when rolling two dice five times in a row in each class.  Ask your mathematician if odd or even products are more likely!  In addition, students were treated to a fun math project on Wednesday with Ms. Weegar, using Google Tools to collect data and show results using a bar graph.  

Gr4 Math - Weegar:  Students were able to revisit the idea that angles involve rotations around a fixed point.  They worked together to solve and discuss problems that involve adding angle measures.  Students worked on a variety of geometry measurement problems.  Through the discussion we were able to analyze how some learners use strategies that are more spatial in nature and others use strategies that are based in computeration.  Friday, students took their Unit 5 Post Assessment on Geometry.  

Gr3 Writing - Stewart: In Gr3 Writing students have continued to rehearse their Fairy Tale adaptations.  They have written flash drafts of their work and are now evaluating their writing using the Narrative Writing Checklist to set goals and improve their own pieces.  Next week we will work on revisions to their work for Learning Restaurant.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:  Now that all writers have prepared their writing for the “Learning Restaurants”, grade four students are able to launch a new unit of study for writing; Literary Essays.   These Literary Essays require all writers to push their thinking to grow new ideas.   Learners are diving into individual reading books to read deeply, submerging themselves in the text, getting pounded by the waterfall of interesting details.   Ask your writer about the water analogy and about Fox by Margaret Wild.   

Theme: On Thursday this week students took the CSSU Science Inquiry Task.  Fourth graders looked at animal adaptations and third graders used magnets in their experiment.  Next Tuesday and Wednesday, fourth graders will be taking the Science NECAP.  Please support your child by making sure they are well rested and have a healthy breakfast available.  

Learning Restaurant will be May 26th.  The schedule information will be sent home on Monday in home folders.  Please contact me if you have a specific time request.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Appreciation and Superheros!

Thank you so much for showing appreciation this week.  It truly is a pleasure each and every day to learn with your children.  This profession brings me such joy and truly is my “dream job”.  

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft: This week third graders began investigating polygons using a variety of tools and activities.  The students examined examples and nonexamples of rectangles and shared observations about the attributes of a rectangle to determine what distinguishes them from other quadrilaterals.  

Gr4 Math - Weegar:    Fourth grade mathematicians reviewed the terms area and perimeter.  Then they worked together to generate a formula for determining the area of rectangles and squares.  In the process, they have an opportunity to see and handle a square inch and a square foot.  Then they applied the information as they worked in pairs to find the area and perimeter of various items around the classroom.

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:    This week Grade Three writers have been studying Fairy Tales in order to learn characteristics of this genre and of narratives more generally. Each writer has chosen one tale to adapt by changing the character, an event or the message.  We notice often when you change one thing, other details of the story must also change.  Students are rehearsing their stories using familiar strategies such as  writing in the air (storytelling), sketching scenes or acting them out.   Please ask your child to tell the first two scenes of their adaptation to you beginning with, “Once upon a time…”

Gr4 Writing - Ward:   Grade Four writers are carefully editing past and present pieces of writing to prepare a delicious selection of restaurant reading for you.   The core writing idea has been revision with the lens of removing redundant words by using a thesaurus to modify sentences with new words and phrases.   The goal is for strong sentences that use the active voice to relay information or story.   Ask your writer the meaning of the word ‘redundant’ . . . then ask her/him again!   ;)   

Core Reading - Weegar:   We continued our adventurous read aloud “Seraphina and the Black Cloak”.  There was nonstop action and we loved making predictions and inferencing using both TodaysMeet and Google Classroom.  By using technology to record our thinking, we were able to share all of our ideas and come to a consensus about what we thought would happen next.  This has been a book that has hooked ALL of our readers!  We are so excited to decorate the classroom as the Biltmore Mansion (the setting of the novel) for our upcoming (May 26th) Learning Restaurant.  

Ask About - Equinox:    Four Winds Nature Science about Plant Defenses, New Exploratory Groups, May the Fourth Be With You, Treasure Island Sterling Play, Learning Restaurant Ideas, SUPER HERO DAY!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016


Third graders wrapped up unit 5 with an assessment this week.  Students have worked tirelessly on the concepts of area and perimeter and demonstrated great growth.  With the month of April coming to a close, students exhausted the calendar patterns and collected thirds of an hour to add to the growing month’s collection.  Finally, third graders completed a “quick facts” multiplication assessment and practiced their facts with a new multiplication game.
Fourth grade mathematicians worked Monday and Tuesday on finishing their “Dream Room” projects.  We used this engaging project as a way to learn more about area, perimeter, and multiplication.  Students have the opportunity to use an online program called Tinkercad to build their rooms in 3D.  Later in the week, students immersed themselves in the language of geometry and consolidated much of what has been studied in the unit so far.  

Grade 3 writing this week has been all about revision and editing.  Students are cleaning up favorite pieces they’ve worked on this year to make them their very best “shot” at each particular genre.  Intensive review of paragraph structure and sentence structure occurred on Wednesday.  

Fourth grade writers drafted and revised realistic fiction pieces.   Students used the four elements of craft from the Narrative Writing Checklist to guide their work.   Most children focused on showing *why* a character did what they did by including character thinking and feeling.   This helped writers compose an ending that showed a shift, or growth, in the main character.   Some are also putting in extra effort to master the punctuation expectation of using commas, capital letters, and quotation marks for dialogue.   Ask your writer about the Narrative Writing Checklist goals she/he set for this unit of study.

All Equinox students were treated to an incredible virtual field trip with Google Expeditions on Wednesday.  Students used Google Cardboard “goggles” outfitted with an Android phone to access an app that simulates guided travel to places around the world.  Teachers were able to act as docents as they guided students on a virtual journey to an amazing place on Earth.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Virtual Fieldtrip

Today our class experienced a pioneer program called, "Google Expeditions".  Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips.  Immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper sense of the world beyond the classroom.  We selected a destination of Nepal because it connected to our science learning about Tarpuls as well as a read aloud we had done about climbing Mount Everest.  These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas annotated with details and points of interest.  Read our Padlet below to hear our reactions to this amazing experience!

Our Google Expedition

Friday, April 15, 2016

Dance - O - Rama

Great performance today dancers!  You really rocked the house!  Here is a link to your performance to share with your families.  Enjoy your vacation!  Be sure to get out and play!!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Ask, Imagine, Plan

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft:   Third graders were introduced to the third grade SBAC tasks in mathematics.  Students were able to practice logging in, explore assessment tools and review strategies together.  Mathematicians also synthesized their learning from the March calendar and created bar graphs to display data provided on the calendar as charts or pictographs.  A Division Checkpoint was assigned as a mid-unit assessment on Thursday.  Finally, students learned a new workplace, Line ‘Em Up, in which a single quantity must be divided into equal groups of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and remainders noted.  It is challenging and fun!   

Gr4 Math - Weegar:    Fourth graders continued exploring angles; parallel, intersecting, perpendicular lines.   Everyone used geoboards and geobands to make sense of learning and to connect new vocabulary to real life examples (e.g., railroad tracks, lines of latitude, roads that come to intersections).   Ask your mathematician what makes perpendicular lines a special set of intersecting lines!

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:    This week in writing has been unusual!  On Monday, all writers participated in a great Four Winds sessions about Owls!  On a couple of days students worked on editing and revising pieces they’d begun last week.  We also squeezed in some practice for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium “SBAC”, which we’ll be administering over the next two weeks.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:     The Core Writing Idea this week was “Tackle the Nitty-Gritty Sentence Details.”   BrainPop, Flocabulary, connected worksheets, and focused DLR instruction helped students pointedly practice the finer details of grammar, conventions, and sentence structure.   Much time was also spent reviewing strategies to tackle the Short Answer Response of SBAC.   Please talk to your writer about the power of an introductory sentence!

Four Winds Nature Science - Eqx:   Parent volunteers enthusiastically taught children about the sharp eyes, flexible necks, sensitive ears, strong beaks, silent wings, powerful talons, and deadly claws of owls!   Students also enjoyed dissecting regurgitated owl pellets - filled with the skeletons of past dinner entrees.   The found bones were classified and discussed; new learned recorded in Science Notebooks.

Science/Engineering - Eqx:   Geotechnical Engineers started the Engineering Design Process with the steps of Ask, Imagine, Plan.   Partnerships considered the factors of village elder requests, curvature of the river, soil types, and the price of compaction as they crafted proposals for the best site for the Sarhig River TarPul.   Many engineers were able to move forward with testing their selected sites.   Improve and ReImagine are the next steps!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Leprechaun Rockets and More!

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft:  Third grade mathematicians toiled through division story problems this week and explored the difference between sharing and grouping problems (ask your third grader what the difference is and for an example).  All students also learned about improper fractions and practiced comparing fractional amounts using a number line.

Gr4 Math - Weegar:  Fourth graders began Unit 5 this week, Geometry & Measurement.  They began the week taking a pre-assessment.  Students considered the similarities and differences between different types of angles.  We learned the terms zero angle, acute angle, right angle, obtuse angle, and straight angle.  Finally, students used pattern blocks to measure angles of rotation on a clock face and determine the fraction of a complete turn represented by each angle of rotation.

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:   Writing Friendly Letters and addressing envelopes has been a large part of the focus for Third Grade writers this week.  Third graders have also learned about how to write an essay in a particular genre all in one day rather than over several weeks.  

Gr4 Writing - Ward:     It was such an exciting week as fourth grade writers ‘took attendance’ of the paragraphs in their personal opinion essays.   Everyone checked for a powerful introduction, three strong reason/evidence paragraphs, and a final conclusion that includes a suggestion for the reader.   Final versions were printed and self-assessed.   Extra copies were sent home to share with you!

Science / Engineering:   Third and fourth graders tested the impact of compaction on foundation strength by using a model tarpul and two soil samples.  Students worked together to analyze the data using a tiered bar graph, drew conclusions and adjusted their recommendations regarding the tarpul site. Our class also used the Engineering Design Process to create Leprechaun Rockets (to help the leprechauns escape the clever traps).  See our blog for some great photos from our learning this week!

Ask About - Equinox:  Zig Zag day on Wednesday, 7 & 8 Chorus and Band Concert, Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Upcoming - Equinox:  We look forward to parent/teacher/student conferences over the next several weeks! Jump Rope for Heart will be Fri 01 Apr, HeadPhones are needed for SBAC in April, Big Basket Raffle will be Sat 02 Apr - please send in donations for our Basket!!! 


Friday, March 11, 2016

What a Great Week!

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft:  Third graders are cruising along in unit 5.  Students worked on solving and writing story problems with multiplication and division.  Students are exploring the relationship between area and perimeter through the number corner calendar collector activity this week.  Finally, third graders are revisiting telling time and solving problems using elapsed time.

Gr4 Math - Weegar: This week students had an opportunity to explore benchmarks and relative sizes for length, time, liquid volume, mass and weight.  Students used ratio tables to convert units within the same measuring system, and apply some of the place value and multidigit computation skills they've been practicing to solve story problems related to measurement.

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:   This week we fortified our learning of the Friendly Letter format.  Students studied the letter that the class had written together and put it in their notebooks.  Next we learned about erosion via models and teacher led demonstrations.  Students have written a friendly letter about that to the person of their choice.  Please ask your child to whom they wrote a friendly letter and provide an address for them if needed.  We shall be addressing envelopes and mailing the letters on Monday.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:   To start the week, all writers completed three solid ‘Prove It’ paragraphs.   The next few days were spent writing introductions with a variety of sentences starters.   The Core Writing Idea is to get the audience to care and to give the audience context.   The introduction format is to introduce the, zing the reader with a bonus sentence, tell the thesis statement, and close with a summary of reasons.   Ask your writer about her/his zing!   

Science / Engineering:   Your young scientists used background knowledge, multiple maps, and river models to come to conclusions about locations with the least and most erosion.   The maps, spanning 54 years, showed changes in the river path and the model, a human chain representing water, showed the power of erosion at the bends in a river. 

Reading:  We started learning about finding themes in reading today.  We learned that the theme is similar to the message or the heart of the story.  While choosing the theme, we had great discussions.  Our next step is finding evidence to support the theme we chose.     

Ask About - Equinox:    Four Winds Nature Science about Birds, Chart of Mistakes that Lead to Growth, International Women’s Day #OneDayIWill, Red Clover Award Books at Library Time,
Upcoming - Equinox:   Pi Day is Mon 14 Mar, on St Patrick’s Day (Thu 17 Mar) wear Green, Jump Rope for Heart will be Fri 01 Apr, HeadPhones are needed for SBAC in April, Big Basket Raffle will be Sat 02 Apr - send in Movie Themed ANYTHING for our Basket!!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Theme Week Fun!

3rd Grade Masison/Schoolcraft Math: This week third grade mathematicians prepared for and took a summative assessment for Unit 4 focusing on time, measurement and fractions. For the rest of the week students dived into some work with graphing including interpreting and creating graphs, as well as played Work Place games involving rounding, time, fractions and computational fluency. When we return from break, we will begin work on Unit 5.

4th Grade Weegar Math: This week students completed their subtraction strategies work sample where they focused on which strategies are best to use with which problems. Then, they worked with their partner to use an app called “Explain Everything” to make a video of an addition or subtraction strategy. Students will upload these to their blogs, we will make a math resource page AND they will be used later in the year at Reading Restaurant. Students will continue with Unit 4 after break.

3rd Grade Stewart Writing: Third grade writers have worked hard to finish up their recent opinion pieces throughout the week using all they’ve learned about writing. They have also been working on discerning the difference between concrete and abstract nouns as well as common and proper nouns. Some of this work was done using a collaborative tool called Padlet.

4th Grade Ward Writing: The analogy was hot cocoa that is extra sweet and chocolatey! The goal was to make the mini-small moment evidence writing super concentrated. Students read their pieces closely to determine sentences that were directly connected to the selected reason to support their thesis. It was hard work and everyone worked hard at it! There was also a big amount of time spent researching more about topics to find supportive facts, quotes, or statistics.

Science: In science students practiced being geotechnical engineers themselves. Students took core samples out of model building sites. They also erected model skyscrapers anchored in various depths of the model Earth’s crust. It was fun and messy business.

Ask about:
Theme week workshops and Cupcakes!
Mardi Gras Parade through our KIVA!
Engineering Earthquake Lab and the cool invention from Vermont
What I would do if I were President
Engineering our own Skyscraper

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine Week at School

Gr3 Math - Schoolcraft/Masison:  This week we explored more about fractions using number lines, pattern blocks and measurements. We learned to compare fractions and think about them as lengths as well as shapes. At the end of the week, we read a story called Jim and the Beanstalk and then created and measured beanstalks and their leaves to ½ and ¼ of an inch. We also took that data and created a line plot to see how our measurements compared with each others’. Next week we will review and take our assessment on Unit 4. Be sure to ask your mathematician about his/her beanstalk!

Gr4 Math - Weegar:   Students discussed as a class which number combinations in multi-digit subtraction problems lend themselves to particular strategies.  We have focused our learning on the removal, differencing, and constant differences strategies.  We also learned the standard algorithm as well as using the inverse operation to check our answer.  Students did a subtraction strategy work sample on Friday and we will use technology next week to create videos of our strategies.  This will be used to “teach” others which helps us learn information in a new way.  

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:    As we continue crafting opinion essays, students have created lists of people they could write about.  They are composing thesis statements and crafting four paragraph essays which include an introduction,  supporting paragraphs and a conclusion.  On Thursday, students took a break from writing about their chosen person to draw about that person.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:   The essayists in grade four are using three different strategies to provide evidence for their thesis statements.   The first strategy was to write a very condensed and focused small moment mini-story.   The next approach involved making a detailed list - almost like poetry or song.   The third strategy, the most challenging, is doing some research.   Students are presently looking into quotes, definitions, and statistics to support their thesis statements.   Some of the research may include an email to YOU!   Please respond with a quote or fact your child can write about next week.   Thanks for your support with this activity!!!   

Science:  Students discussed the field of geotechnical engineering, factors to consider when choosing a sight to build a structure and traced the steps of  the Engineering Design Process.  Working in partnerships they responded to questions in response to the book Suman Crosses the Karnali River.

Upcoming:   Theme Week Next Week . . . related arts will be replaced with workshops the combine students from all three houses!      

Happy Valentine's Day!  We had a great time playing Minute to Win It, Valentine's Day style at the end of the day on Friday.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekly Update

Gr3 Math - Masison:  This week third grade mathematicians explored different ways to look at fractions. Students made their own sets of fractions and compared the size of unit fractions. Ask your child about unit fractions and what the denominator tells us about a fair share. Students expanded this thinking by using pattern blocks to show fractions as parts of a whole. Our February Number Corner is giving us lots of opportunities to seek out patterns and make predictions as we collect fractions of dollars and look at perimeter and area of shapes on a grid.  We will begin to wrap up Unit 4 next week and will have a post-assessment before February break.    

Gr4 Math - Weegar: This week students learned and discussed which strategies worked most efficiently for the different types of addition combinations and why.  Ask your student to introduce you to the four ways: Expanded Form, Friendly Numbers, Give and Take and the Standard Algorithm.  Students completed a brief checkpoint before moving onto subtraction next week.  Our February Number Corner has us talking about angle measurements and the different types of triangles.  Students also have access through Google Classroom to a list of online games to practice these skills.

Gr3 Writing - Stewart:   Grade three writers completed their first opinion pieces this week. They have worked hard to write four paragraph essays that include a thesis statement, reasons and examples.  On Thursday, they shared their writing in small groups.  Each listener gave feedback to the author that was aligned with the Grade 3 Opinion Writing Checklist.  On Friday, students were invited to use everything they have learned so far in writing to do a free write.

Gr4 Writing - Ward:    Grade Four writers solidified their thesis statements with three reasons to support their claims.   After making sure the thesis statement is clear and powerful, each writer dug deeply into her/his head and heart to uncover two to three pieces of evidence for each reason.   Writers are learning to record this evidence as a small moment story, dialog, or through research.   Ask your writer about the three reasons she/he wrote to support her/his claim.

Core Reading :     The Core Reading Idea this week is to Determine Importance!   Readers are using this comprehension strategy to closely read nonfiction about Geotechnical Engineering in reading groups.   

Core Science :   The “Technology in a Bag” introduced students to different technologies.   Initially, when students brainstormed different technologies, they were only thinking about computers.  The real definition of technology is an important understanding for the upcoming science inquiry task involving engineering and soil science.   Ask your young future scientist the definition of technology.   (Something that solves a problem is the gist of the definition.)   

Core Community Building: Hooray!  The class met our goal of achieving at least three sessions of xtramath!  Friday morning we celebrated both the 100th day of school AND meeting our goal with game time!  It was wonderful to enjoy some free time with our friends.

Ask About - Equinox:   Indoor Recess, Inclusive Valentine Cards, Cancer Fund Raiser w Pennies, Chorus Concert & Different Colors, Flocabulary Week in Rap, Minute to Win-It Valentine Day Style Next Friday, Team Time Super Fun, TISSUES - EVERY CLASSROOM NEEDS TISSUES - PLEASE DONATE TODAY!!!   Thank You!!!