January 22, 2016


Hi Again Winners!

We’ve had a busy week yet again! It certainly doesn’t feel like we missed Monday. The students are excited that we’ve started cursive. We’ve learned the first four letters of the alphabet. Students love cursive, but it’s important for students to remember to trace the letters first so they can feel how the letters are formed. This is one of those times that speed is not our friend, but the kiddos sure think it is!

On Tuesday, we had the pleasure of attending the fifth grade music performance. It was a fantastic show and it got us so excited for our own music performance! The students continue to learn the recorders with Mrs. D. They’re making progress, but continuing to struggle with learning the notes. Many of them took home the sheet music. If they have recorders at home, it would be great if they could practice.

We had another visit with Mrs. V this week. The students continued to work on their portraits. This time, the added shading to their pieces. They look beautiful! I was hoping to hang them in class, but Mrs. V decided she wanted to keep some in preparation for the art show that will be held during Open House.

It rained twice this week. Both days that it rained were our days with the Y coaches. So, we played a lot of indoor games. The parachute was so much fun this afternoon! Luckily, we were able to get outside for running program. The kiddos sure are earning those charms!

All of our extras (music, art, PE, and much more) are funded through LEEF. As we’re sure you’ve heard, LEEF continues to struggle with getting the donations to keep these activities going. If you haven’t donated yet, now is a great time! We have a matching grant taking place. For every dollar donated to LEEF, an additional dollar will be donated up to $10,000!

In math the students have been working hard on a challenge problem. Mrs. Winn has been so impressed with the critical thinking the students have shown. It was amazing to see the kiddos work through the struggle and critique their own thinking. Some of our students that are usually timid in math were the first to arrive at answers! Another group of boys got all the way to developing an equation C=(n/2)*(n+1)! Wow! That’s truly amazing!

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 On Thursday, a few teachers had asked if they could come observe the class working with technology. Mrs. Winn created a QR code scavenger hunt to help us practice our division. Although Mrs. Winn made a mistake that disrupted the flow of the hunt, the students handled it so well! They rolled with it and had a great time solving math problems to progress in their hunt.

The biggest talk around school is the crayfish! We have, sadly, had an entire tub of crayfish die. The other tub survived so we have four crayfish left. Now that we’re studied the structures of the crayfish, we’ll be using next week to examine their behaviors.These are the most timid crayfish I have ever seen, so we might not have an accurate reflection of typical crayfish behavior, but we’ll try!

bitmoji-1781359802The students are progressing on their Genius Hour projects. I have asked them to focus on just how much they have left to do. Next week we will determine as a class a reasonable end date for our projects. In a class meeting this week, the students had many ideas for what our next round of Genius Hour may look like. We’re deciding how to make that time valuable as well as passion centered.


Next week we have library, another group of teachers coming to observe, and Environmental Volunteers coming to teach us about the Ohlones. It promises to be another busy (and winning) week!



January 8, 2016

Hi there Winners!

It’s been so long! Happy New Year!

This week has really been dedicated to wrapping up some chapters and units. We started the week being introduced to our final James and the Giant Peach mini project. The students were given a choice between an art heavy option (character profile), a writing heavy option (book review), or an in between option (brochure). I was really surprised and happy with the variety of choices that students made. Many students embraced a challenge and chose something that they might not have felt most comfortable with, but wanted to try and tackle. At the end of the week, we took our James and the Giant Peach final test. After a quick glance, I’m generally pleased with the deep thinking that many students put into their work. There is one section that I am going to have to review and decide about how to score. The short answer and multiple choice sections had matching questions. The short answers were supposed to be written in complete sentences with detail, while the multiple choice would just be choosing the correct bubble. Many students just copied the answer from the multiple choice section into the short answer section. This part will take further consideration on how to score that piece. I will send out a description when the tests go home.

In math, we finally finished up multiplication and were able to take the chapter five math test. Our new math curriculum asks the students to think really deeply about each math concept and has them apply those concepts in very complex ways. I’ve been really impressed with how the students have adapted to this new format and have embraced the challenges that come with it. We now move onto division (finally)!

In science, we started to wrap up our discussions of plant structures so that we can get ready for our new, temporary class pets. The crayfish have arrived in Room 21! We’re not quite done with plants, so they’ll just be hanging out in the back of the room at first. Towards the end of this coming week, or the beginning of next, the students will be able to learn about and explore our new friends. Our unit is called “Structures of Life,” so we’ll be exploring the different structures that the crayfish have a discuss how those help them survive in the wild.

We’ve been having fun with out 100 weekly minutes of PE! The rain has made it a bit tricky, but we surprisingly made it out for two of our three PE sessions. We also had art this week where the students started learning about how to draw a portrait. In music, the students are starting to learn the music they will be performing on the recorders for their concert. It was pretty rough sounding this week. If you have a recorder at home, I highly suggest helping your student practice a bit at home.

It’s a new year and time for so many new things in room 21. We’re getting ready to kick off division, informational writing, and non-fiction reading. I just got back from an info session about Khan Academy’s LearnStorm, which is a nine week math challenge we will be kicking off on January 29th. You’ll be seeing some things about this in the mean time while we get our class set up. for the adventure. I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring for Room 21! Exciting stuff! Here’s to another week of hard work, my winners!