Happy weekend, WINNers! We sat down yesterday and planned out an outline for this post. We couldn’t write the whole thing together since we had to get outside and meet up with our first grade buddies. We’re always on the go! Things have been so busy, this is our first time this year going three weeks between posts. Yikes! So sorry about that! Here’s what’s been going on…
In writing, we continue to work in our informational unit. The students are nearing publication! Every student chose a subject they they are known for or are an expert in. The idea was to write most of the book from what they already know. This is not a research report. We have done a day of researching, but that was more for fact checking or finding a few more bits of information to add in. With all of our writing, our main focus is on the revisions. That’s where the real work comes in. We have studied mentor texts, learned about having a balance between facts and ideas, and read aloud with our writing partners in order to make BIG and BRAVE revisions to our writing. We talked about how it’s easy to say your writing is done. It is hard and takes bravery to decide to rewrite a chapter or make other big changes. We looked for places that we could make those brave changes. We also worked on the structure of our writing. The students developed introductions and conclusions, and learned the reason they’re important. We also learned how to use transition words to link paragraphs and chapters together. Before break, we had a trainer from Teacher’s College in New York come and help the teachers with their writing instruction. It was a busy three days because the trainer worked with three grade levels for 90 minutes each. We also had teachers from Nimitz join us. Room 21 is the lab classroom for third grade. So, when the trainer came on those three days, she came and spoke to the Winners. She ran writers workshop while the teachers and staff observed on the first day. The second two days, all of the teachers pulled students and practiced our conferences and mini lessons. The students did a wonderful job and were so willing to help out. Some of them were asked to have a conference or try something while the whole group of adults watched. They were all so confident and composed. I was so impressed! It was great for me to have all of those teachers in there too. All of a sudden, I had about 15 teaching assistants and could get data on so many kiddos at once! While, it can be a lot to have all of those people in our room, the students rose to the occasion and it truly helped me as a teacher to see it all happen with our kiddos. Teacher’s College will be coming back in the spring for two days to do a similar training.
In math, we completed chapter three (an introduction to multiplication). We will be having our computerized chapter test on Monday along with the performance task on Tuesday. Within this chapter, we learned about what multiplication is and then strategies for understanding and solving problems. The students learned about equal groups, using number lines, arrays, and bar models. We also learned about three of the
multiplication properties: Commutative, Identity, and Zero. Each of those properties, the students has already discussed and discovered on their own. So, all we needed to do in the end was attach a name to them and find ways to remember them. As we continue with multiplication in chapter four, we will be learning more about multiplication properties. As always in math, we continue to strive towards working as mathematicians, providing evidence and proofs. We continue to try out incorporating more workshop model into our math. As that happens, you may see less work done in the workbooks and more done in our notebooks or other papers. Remember, as always, your student is welcome to bring work home to show you what’s going on in class as long as it comes back the next day. This coming week, I will be out on Wednesday and Thursday to continue my math workshop trainings.
We’re sad to report that the Global Read Aloud has come to an end. We finished reading the book and are anxiously awaiting the sequel to be released in March! We can’t stand the suspense! Because of busy weeks for both us and our Connecticut buddy class, we were unable to have a video call at the end of the book. We will try to have one, if we can. For now, the students wrote good, old fashioned post cards to them. We sent them off in the mail. And can’t wait to hear back! On the Friday before break, we held a GRA wrap event with the two other classes that participated, Mrs. Reuterskiold’s and Mrs. Lowe’s fourth grade classes. We got together in 15 cross grade level, cross class groups and started with a book talk. After the talk, they all participated in an art activity. In the book, Roz the robot, ends up stranded on an island. She begins analyzing the animal behavior and adapting to survive. One thing she learns to do is camouflage. The students were given different pictures from National Geographic magazines and a paper Roz. Their job was to add Roz to the picture and color to camouflage her in. The ended up looking fantastic! We are working on mounting them and hope to display them in the office!
Since our last post, the only thing that has happened in Science is that we took our unit test. The tests were returned yesterday. You may have noticed how big they are! It took us a few days to get them done. Our next unit is Sun, Moon, and Stars. We’ll be starting that after winter break as our afternoons will be devoted to the play for the next two weeks.
In social studies, we did a mini unit about our local Native America tribe, the Ohlones (Coastanoans to the settlers). We read about the tribe’s lodging, tools, trade, food, etc. and participated in a jigsaw activity. We started with one group becoming experts in each section. They worked together to decide important information and create an artifact to share. Then, they rotated into new groups where one person represented each of the previous groups. They each shared their information to the new group. Then, those groups worked to create an informational poster about the Ohlones using the artifacts created by each group. On Friday before break, we had the Environmental Volunteers come and they presented us with four activities to help us learn more about the Ohlone. We played Ohlone games, worked with tools, learned about food, and cordage. It was a enriching, hands-on experience! Thanks to you for your third grade donations at the beginning of the year that funded the experience!
We’ve had a lot of special activities take place over the last three weeks.
Author Tyler Enfield (a.k.a. The Karakul) visited us to share about the writing process and his books Wrush and Hannah and the Magic Eye. Mr. Enfield was a great example of perseverance and a growth mindset. He said he was not a great writer as a kid. He struggled in school. As he realized that he wanted to write his first book, he had to work hard and rely on a lot of people to get it right. It was also pretty amazing to watch him “read” from his books. He knows them so well from working with them so much that he clearly had them mostly memorized. What a great lesson to us as writers!
Also before break, we had Austin and Michael join us for some critter talks. Some of you may have met Austin at McClellan Ranch. He and his family have many different animals that they rescued. They now use some of these animals to help teach about different species along with promote responsible pet ownership. It was a wonderful connection to our structures of life science unit!
We did a lot in preparation for Thanksgiving. Maddox’s mom, Julie, came in twice. The first time, we made pilgrim and native American hats. Then, on the second visit, the student made adorable apple turkeys. They all turned out so cute! We also made thankful windsocks with our first grade buddies. It truly was a time to reflect on all the things we’re thankful for!
On Fridays, we are continuing our work with National Geographic that we started with Nidhi’s mom. It is a four week cycle that small groups rotate through. This rotation we have an article about giraffes, one about the oceans, one about money, and a map of Africa that the students are working with. We are able to look at text features and structures, learn about science, and social studies all at once! We run the groups from 9:00 to 9:50 on Friday mornings if anyone is interested in leading one!
Back in October, Julie came in to teach us about germs. We did an experiment with bread were we looked at an untouched piece of bread, one that had been touched with washed hands, and one that every student touched with their unclean hands. We were planning on observing over a few days, but nothing happened. Well, all of a sudden (47 days later) we had a lot of growth all at once! We made day 47 observations this week. It’s pretty clear how important it is to was our hands! Thanks, Julie!
With, I’m sure, many things left out, that’s it! Three weeks in room 21! The next two weeks bring an end to our writing unit, our play performance, and our holiday party! The busy times never stop for WINNers! Have a fantastic weekend!