Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year & Welcome Back

We ended 2014 with some wonderful celebrations.  I'm sure you will agree that the Winter Concert was amazing.  Your children's talents were clearly and beautifully brought out by our equally talented and dedicated music teachers: Mrs. Coroniti, Ms. Caliou, and Mr. Napierkowski.
We also had a great time in our wacky outfits on Mismatch Day!
Here's a video of our December 23  Mismatch Party!

But now it's back to work...

We begin this new year in room 13 by continuing our hard work in math, reading and writing, science and social studies.
I am currently evaluating students' explorer projects.  They learned how to manipulate and import pictures into their work, and to cite the sources used. They loved working with the Book Creator app on the iPad and with Chromebooks. While these great tools we have in Burlington give our kids the necessary experience to navigate our increasingly technological world, writing well is still the main goal of any writing project.  The maps, pictures and captions, font selection, and special effects are fun and engaging to work with, but the purpose for the explorer project is to research and communicate information.  There is no substitute for clear well-structured writing. So we will continue to work on this in all subject areas.  Specifically, in writing workshop we will be revising leads and conclusions, and more work needs to be done in the area of note taking and writing in their own words instead of copying from the sources used.

 DRA  (Developmental Reading Assessment) testing was completed in December and  IReady assessments will be administered the first week of January. Using these tools along with my daily observation of student work helps to inform the next steps for instruction.  So this month my ELA students will read some short stories and the novel Hatchet  with a focus on interpretation of themes and character. We will also continue to make nonfiction reading a priority, not only in reading classes but across subject areas.

Social Studies classes will move from exploration to settlement and colonization.  The essential questions we will explore are: why do people move from one place to another, how do people survive in a new environment, what are the effects of colonization on native people.  This will involve reading the text, and watching part of the PBS series, "American Experience" called "We Shall Remain" which looks at English settlement in Plymoth and its effect on the Wampanoag.

In Math we continue with our unit on multiplying decimals and whole numbers.  We will do some review (holiday vacations tend to  make us all forget!) and then have a unit test Friday, January 9 before moving on to Topic 7, which is about multiplying decimals by decimals.

I want to take a moment to thank Mrs. Russo and Mrs. Fine for treating our students to a wonderful winter holiday craft.  We all loved making snow globes and snowmen.  The crafts gave us a chance to be creative and have fun while helping each other make these adorable items.  Their time and energy at such a hectic time of year are much appreciated.  I hope your time with your children these last days was fun and relaxing. I look forward to seeing those bright shiny faces tomorrow!  Happy New Year!

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