Sunday, October 30, 2016

Word Study and on to Catapults in Science

Word Study
Students continued working with a set of vocabulary words that they will be using in social studies soon.  They are trying to figure out how the words are related and why I chose these words as a group.  They spent this week trying to figure out which words made sense in sentences where they had to fill in the blank in the sentence. They were very resourceful and used dictionaries to look up the meaning of words they didn't know.  They learned that some of the words have multiple meanings.

Catapults in Science!
Students continued learning about the engineering design process this week:

After spending last week collaborating with each other to improve their catapult designs, they tested their first prototypes, made modifications, and then partnered up to put their final designs into action.  Their target:  Lego men; their ammunition:  mini marshmallows. It was quite a sight to see marshmallows flying all around the classroom, and wonderful to see how excited students got when they launched their catapults.  They gathered data about the accuracy of their catapults and then reflected, using their data, on what they observed, what surprised them, and what they would improve if they could launch the catapults some more. We gathered for a science meeting and the students had a great discussion about their data and the engineering process... just like real engineers!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Government, Word Study, Catapults, and Scary Readers Theater

Thank you to all of the families who participated in the Bake for Good project last week. Our school received many loaves of bread that will go to families in need.  The kids shared their baking experiences and told me about the yummy things they made with their extra dough. They are very proud of their baking accomplishments!

Reminder:  Don't forget to sign up for parent teacher conferences by Wednesday, October 25th.  Please click on this link if you haven't signed up yet.

Branches of Government
The students are finishing their posters about the branches of government. They look great! Since this is an election year, we will revisit our government unit so they can learn about the candidates and participate in a mock election.  Be sure to check out the posters when you come in for parent teacher conferences.

Word Study
This week we started our word study program.  Students were given a selection of vocabulary words are worked in groups to sort them into categories that make sense to them.  They will continue to use these words for the next week and come to an understanding of what they mean and how they go together for an upcoming unit in social studies.

Designing Catapults Science
Students are continuing to learn about the engineering process.  Their latest problem to solve is how to build a catapult, for a lego battle, made from popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and a bottle cap.They have been learning about the engineering design process and spent this week working together to share their ideas and explore the materials.  They learned how collaborating can enhance the design process.

Scary Readers Theater
Students continued working on their reading fluency this week using readers theater. They are preparing for their skits and used their time this week to figure out what they need for props and scenery, as wells as reading through their scripts multiple times. I will be filming their skits next week so they can watch them during our Halloween celebration. They are a very creative bunch of kids!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Scary Readers Theater, Bake for Good, and Foil Boats

Scary Readers Theater
During the month of October, students are practicing their reading fluency using scary readers theater plays. Since Halloween also occurs this month, I will let them dress up for these skits and use props.  I will film their performances and then they will watch the movies as part of our classroom Halloween celebration. They are currently in rehearsal mode...

Bake for Good
On Wednesday, the 4th and 5th grade classes attended an assembly that was hosted by King Arthur Flour.  October is Bake for Good month and we enlisted the 4th and 5th graders to help King Arthur Flour provide food for families in the Upper Valley.  After a demonstration on how to make bread, each student was given a bag of ingredients to take home that will enable them to make 2 loaves of bread; one is for them to keep, and the other is to bring back to school for King Arthur to donate to Willing Hands, which is a local organization that provides food to families in need. This has been a great lesson in philanthropy, community service, and baking!  Please remind your child to bring back their loaf of bread on Monday.

PAW Squad helpers demonstrating how to make dough.
Tossing pizza dough!

PAW Squad helpers handing out ingredients to bake bread.

Foil Boats
In science, students are learning about what it means to be an engineer.  One of the things they learned was that engineers solve problems.  So... I posed the following problem to them:  Pennies won't float when put in water by themselves; please build a boat made out of tin foil to see how many pennies you can get to float in the boat at one time.  They were only allowed to use tin foil, pennies, and a tub filled with water.  They made some very creative boats!  They had time for 2 trials and learned that their second foil boats held many more pennies.  We had an interesting science discussion about why this was true for the second boat each group made and how this relates to engineering. Our classroom was very wet after this investigation, but oh what fun we had!

Here are the boats from the 2nd trial which held more pennies.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Big Ben is Back, Paragraphs Under Construction, and Mystery Buildings

Big Ben is Back!
The highlight for students this week was having Ben the therapy dog visit our classroom. Ben will be joining us every Wednesday, during silent reading time, through November. The students met him last year and were very comfortable, and excited, to have him in our classroom this year. Ben is now 8 years old and only coming to our school a few days a week, rather than all week, so we are lucky to have him joining us!

Paragraphs Under Construction
This week we transitioned from grammar and sentence writing to constructing paragraphs. Students are working to identify the parts of a well written paragraph (i.e., a topic sentence, at least 3 detail sentences, and a closing sentence to restate the topic). They practiced by cutting up a sheet of sentences that were in random order and worked in groups to put the sentences together, in the correct order, to form a paragraph.

Mystery Buildings
During our Number Corner time, which is part of our math curriculum, students are working together to identify mystery buildings in our calendar grid by looking at clues. Every 4th day they need to identify a new mystery building. They are using cubes to help them take the 2-dimensional clues and turn them into 3-dimensional buildings.