Friday, October 30, 2015

Vocabulary Parade

We had a great time sharing our words with classmates.  The creative costumes helped everyone learn new vocabulary and express themselves at the same time.  What a fantastic way to start Halloween weekend!   
Here is a sampling of some of the words from our homeroom: brobdingnagian, virus, bacteria, latitude, monarch, mammal, punctuation, vertebrate, invertebrate, contagious, excavator, offsides, metamorphosis.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A New Look

Change is good! I hope this new look on my blog makes it even easier for students and parents to find information!  I have also invited my students to become guest bloggers to give them an opportunity to share authentic pieces of informational, narrative and persuasive writing.  Look for Daniel's piece on some very interesting visitors to our classroom...coming soon!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Calling All Mathletes!

Math Olympiads is an after school club for kids who want to challenge themselves to solve hard math problems.  A notice went home earlier this week to fourth and fifth grade families.  The club starts on October 26 and continues through March 14.  If your child has a strong understanding of math and likes to solve problems consider signing him or her up for this fun and challenging experience!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October News

 September was a busy and productive month.  Of course the highlight for all of us was the trip to Camp Bournedale.  Students participated in a variety of experiences designed to peak their curiosity, tap into their problem solving abilities and utilize their teamwork.  Thank you to all our wonderful parent chaperones.  We couldn't have this trip without you!  Students have been talking about Camp Bournedale, and are turning their experiences into wonderful pieces of writing. Our writer's workshop buzzes with ideas as students talk and write about Project Adventure, shark dissection, and the lobster boat trip in Plymoth Harbor.  As they learn to revise and edit  they are finding the "hot spots" in their narratives and are "exploding the moments"  with sensory details.  During English Language Arts class time we read Gossamer by Lois Lowry and discussed its themes and vocabulary.  We used this novel to explore reading strategies, that is, the "moves" readers make, such as making connections, visualizing, asking questions, inferring, and synthesizing.  Going forward as students read independently they are expected to recognize how these strategies deepen their understanding. They will begin writing weekly letters to me in their reader's notebook.  We will also begin reading nonfiction, and look at text structure to help us take notes and determine important ideas.  Our next core book is Morning Girl by Michael Dorris, which dovetails with our unit on exploration in America.
In Social Studies we have studied and compared pre Columbian civilizations and next will learn about European exploration in the Americas and the profound effects of this historical encounter on Native American peoples. As part of this unit students will research and write about an explorer.  This project will be worked on in school and at home, and directions will be available on the blog.  
In Math we are moving from place value of whole numbers to decimal place value and addition and subtraction of decimals. Of course, problem solving is always something we stress.  One way to help your child is to encourage him or her to spend 10-20 minutes several times a week on Reflex Math.  Automaticity of facts is essential to developing more complex math skills and strategies.  Starting this week I will be available to help students with math on Thursday mornings.  You can drop your child off at 8:00.  If I am absent, or unable to meet I will post a message on my blog.

Parent Volunteer Needed:  Each classroom contributes a basket to one of the PTO socials. There are two ways that this is usually done. One way is for the parent volunteer to send out a letter requesting a donation from each student- usually $3-$5 and then they take the money and purchase the items for the basket. We have had other parents choose a theme and ask students to bring in at item to contribute. The PTO will take care of emailing parents in charge and helping them choose a theme and can walk them through it if they’ve never done it before.  We will need a parent to coordinate this effort, so if you can help with this please let me know and I will forward your name to the PTO rep in charge of this effort.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to meet with me in September. I know back-to-school is a busy time.  It has been a good transition for students and I look forward to a terrific school year!  Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or concerns.