Monday, November 2, 2015

November News

The clocks have been turned back, the leaves have been blown from the trees and Halloween decorations have been put away (though the treats linger).  It’s November, and as our days shorten and weather cools we are gearing up for new learning in room 13!

We have begun using google classroom, an app designed to facilitate a more organized work flow.  I have given some assignments this way, and students seem to like the technology.  I hope you will ask your child about this and look at the platform yourself to familiarize yourself with it.  Students have been taught the basics, and we are learning this together.  

We are continuing our social studies unit on exploration and will be studying how settlement and colonization affected the people and environment of the Americas.  Included in this unit is a small research project on an explorer.  Directions will be given in class and will also be on this blog.  The bulk of the work will be done in Social Studies and ELA classes, but some research at home may be necessary, so your support will be appreciated. Further information about this is coming soon.

In ELA we have been busy reading both fiction and nonfiction.  We have explored themes and have created a class theme board so we can answer the essential question: “What are the common themes we encounter in literature?”  

We continue this search as we begin reading Michael Dorris’ Morning Girl a fifth grade core book.  This great story of native people’s response to Columbus landing on a Caribbean Island also affords us the opportunity to study point of view as well as figurative language and theme.  Students are encouraged to find “just-right” books to read independently.  A significant part of balanced literacy is independent reading.  Students reflect and write about their reading in weekly letters to me. This ongoing assessment gives me a clearer picture of students’ understanding of text and a very enjoyable glimpse into their thinking!

Students have completed a personal narrative about their camp adventures at Bournedale and are busy writing stories, poems, and informational pieces in Writer’s Workshop.  Typically we have a brief grammar or writing craft lesson, and then students get to work! I have also asked students to be guest bloggers, and  I am excited for you to see their growth as writers.

We had a very successful vocabulary parade and I am encouraging students to use the words they learned last week as much as they can.  Our vocabulary workbook is a good resource, but nothing replaces reading and speaking as ways to grow one’s vocabulary.  As the end of the first term approaches we are also ready to begin our word auctions, so ask your son or daughter about Word of the Day if he or she is in my ELA class.

Math classes are multiplying!  Topic 3 has students using properties of multiplication and estimation to solve problems.  There will be a test on Friday this week and then we are on to topic 4: Division!  It is essential that students know multiplication facts automatically, so please continue encouraging them to use Reflex and help students know their facts!

If you haven't made an appointment for the December 3 Conference Day, please contact the teacher you would like to meet with. You can meet with more than one of us, and we can try to coordinate appointments if you let us know when you want to meet.

Thank you!

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