September 22, 2017

Wow what a week! Happy fall!

In reader’s workshop this week we learned about how to give a retell. We looked at the progression from second to fourth grade and identified what makes a good retell. Then, we read and practiced with our partners. We also talked about predictions. Strong readers not only make predictions, but also explain why. Really strong predictions are based on what’s happened in the text, how other stories like this have gone, and empathizing with the characters. Today we practiced having reading conversations with our partners. Our partner conversations should push us into deeper levels of understanding and help us to look at things in a new way.

In science, we’ve been observing four types of seeds as they sprout (germinate). We made small sprouters with a plastic cup and a coffee filter. In groups of four, we experimented with corn, peas, sunflowers, and bush beans. Each day, we observed and recorded the changes we saw. Many of our sprouters began to mold and so we got rid of them. We saved some of the sprouted bush beans and are growing them in a hydroponic tub. We’ll be observing their growth from here. We also did an experiment with lima beans. We weighed them dry and then soaked them over night. We then weighed them wet to find how much water they absorbed. Then, we pealed open the seeds and discovered that the seeds had a small plant already inside of them. The crayfish have arrived!!! We will be introducing ourselves to them next week. For now, they live on the back counter with our bush beans.

We’ve done a lot of art this week! Maddox’s mom came in and did an art lesson with us. She helped us to draw owls. We all got to decorate them however we’d like using oil pastels. Now, we have an amazing parliament of owls (thanks to Mrs. Julie for teaching us that word!) hanging on the wall! She made it so easy for us to produce beautiful art pieces! We’ve also started our seasonal art project! We’re celebrating the first day of fall by creating a fall art piece that we can enjoy for the season. We will hopefully finish those pieces this afternoon.


We had our first visit from Hrishita’s mom for Project Cornerstone. She read us a book all about friendship and then we did an activity that helped us find people in the class that we have things in common with that we might not have already known.

We’ve been busy in writer’s workshop as well! This week we finished up our first stories. We focused on adding paragraphs and the internal story for our final revision lessons. On Wednesday, we chose the part we were the most proud of and did a mini writing celebration. Everyone circled their favorite part of their own writing and we took a gallery walk around the class. We left compliments on post-its as we traveled around the room. We enjoyed reading each other’s pieces! Today, we started writing a new story. We are all the captains of our own stories and so, we’ll be self paced to complete a story in our next 5 writing sessions. 

In math, we’re now working on subtraction strategies. We’ve worked with estimation again. We’ve also learned about using a number line, friendly/compatible numbers, and today we used place value to subtract. We’re finally getting close to our first test! We had a lot of interruptions to our math, but we’re on a roll now!

We can’t believe the week has gone so fast! The students were all impressed with how much we’ve covered this week! Have a WINNing weekend and get some rest! Next week will be even more busy!


September 14, 2017

We got busy with science last week and weren’t able to post on Friday. Here’s what we’ve been up to in Room 21…

In reading, we’ve been learning a lot about how to understand our books. We learned how to give ourselves comprehension checks by stopping and asking ourselves, “Who is in this part? What just happened? and Does this fit with something that already happened or is this new?” We also learned that strong readers envision what is happening in the story. We also notice times that we are collecting information rather than envisioning. Yesterday, we talked about how strong readers also predict while they’re reading. A good prediction is based from evidence in the text and not random.

We started science last week. We are starting with our Structures of Life unit. We started by looking at different fruits and counting the number of seeds found in each. We found that some fruits have only one, while others have hundreds. Then, we looked just at bean pods. We opened them and made a line plot of how many seeds were in each. We found that they were all different, but most had around 6-8. On Monday, we started sprouters. We are now observing our seeds almost daily as they sprout.

Math has been interrupted a lot lately. We introduced our September Problem of the Month called Friends You Can Count On. Our regular curriculum has been working on addition strategies. Next week, we’ll move to subtraction strategies.

Writing is getting exciting! Last week, we wrote our first drafts. Since then, we’ve been learning how to revise our work. We learned how to look at mentor texts and model our writing from that. We also learned how to write different leads to start our stories in interesting ways. Today, we read another mentor text and had more time for revision. We’re really working on adding detail and creating a mental movie for our readers. We also continue to have choice writing at the beginning of every day. This gives us some time for artistic freedom.

Today, we met with our buddies. We did an activity that helped us find things we have in common. Then, we had a short walk and talk to get to know each other even better.

On Monday, we did our first video call. Mrs. Simpson (Mrs. Winn’s sister) is a fourth grade teacher at DeVargas. Her class called ours to interview them for a project that they are working on in class. They want to find a way to create better community in their school.

Last week, Deputy Hick came and talked to us about bike safety. He sure sure made a very serious subject a lot of fun!

When we’re done with this blog, we’ll be doing our first book reviews of the year! We can’t wait to hear about some good books!

We also had student council speeches today and voted. Mrs. Winn will be counting the votes as soon as she can.

September 1, 2017

Happy Hot Friday!

We’ve had such a busy week again in Room 21! It was wonderful to see so many of you at Back to School Night! If you were unable to make it, I will be sending home a packet of papers and forms for you.

In reading, we’ve been talking more about building a reading life. We’ve learned how to look for patterns in our reading and use those to set goals for ourselves. We’ve also begun to discuss our reading with our new work partners. We interviewed each other to find out their likes, dislikes, and goals surrounding reading. We’ve got some amazing book talks in our future! Keep up the reading and the agenda reading logs at home!

In math, we were interrupted mid week a couple times. We introduced rounding and then we weren’t able to get back to it for a couple days. Rounding caused everyone a bit of a headache. We told everyone not to panic, we’d continue to talk about it. It’s a confusing process. We went back through rounding today. We watched two Khan Academy Videos, discussed rounding more and did some practice on the board and on Khan Academy. Here’s one of the videos and the math challenge.

In writing, we’ve been learning to analyze our writing. We were introduced to the narrative writing checklist and used it to analyze a sample paper. Then, students used the same process to analyze their own work, and create goals for their writing. Today, as a part of this, we talked about how their last writing entry should always be their best entry. If they are applying the lesson to their work each day, and putting in effort towards growth, we should be able to see improvement (although small) in each piece of writing.

In the afternoons, we’ve had many different activities this week. We completed some work with the California regions. The students made group posters to show each region’s special features. We also had running program on one afternoon. We had to miss some of it because we needed to talk about making responsible choices during campus clean up. We also took our first trip to the computer lab! We learned how to use a QR code to log into our school accounts!

On Wednesday, Deputy Hick (our campus resource officer) came and talked to us about bullying and respect. We learned what it means to bully and some strategies to help ourselves and others if we’re being bullied.

Today we met our first grade buddies for the first time! We will be meeting with them every other Friday this year. Today, we just met each other and played games together while getting to know one another.

It was so hot today and it has been declared a “Spare the Air Day.” We probably could have cooked eggs on the blacktop! Because of that, we had an indoor schedule today. We had indoor recess and lunch to beat the heat. Because of that, we met our rainy day monitors. They are upper grade helpers that come to our class each time we have indoor recess. While we were outside, we made sure to stay in the shade.

stay cool