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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Classroom Summary for March 3 - 7

Here's what we did this week...

In Fundations we completed our unit on r-controlled vowels and syllable types. We practiced reading and spelling both monosyllabic and multisyllabic words that had r-controlled vowels. We learned that the /er/ sound is almost exclusively spelled with er when it comes at the end of a multisyllabic word. Here is some evidence that proves the rule:

teacher          spanner          fur          sir          builder         cur          fever

Miss Varrell's reading group concluded working in the making inferences unit in the Making Meaning comprehension program. We worked with yellow stickies, graphic organizers and our independent reading books to practice our inferential thinking and collecting evidence from the text to support our inferences. We also discussed the difference between literal thinking and inferential thinking. Literal thinking is when you use what the author directly tells you in order to understand what is happening in the story. Inferential thinking involves noticing and collecting clues throughout a story and then piecing them together like a puzzle to understand a deeper message that the author is trying to communicate to you.

Our reading tool box now includes three major comprehension strategies for reading fiction texts: visualizing, making connections and inferring. We will continue to use these skills in combination as we read in our assigned book baskets. Here is a conversation that Caleb and Lily had about the inferences they made with their independent books (there is a lot of background noise from other children having similar conversations but if you listen carefully you can hear some really good inferential thinking taking place!):

 In the next few weeks we will practice applying comprehension strategies that target nonfiction texts.

In Writing Workshop we got back to doing some narrative writing with our writing folders. Next week we will focus on two new writing process steps: revising and editing.

In Science we began learning about fossils in preparation for our field trip next week. We watched a short video on how fossils are made with Ms. Anderson's class and then worked with nonfiction books about fossils to gather more information about what fossils are and how they form. Here is what we discovered in our reading:
  • fossils can be imprints or footprints
  • fossils can be remains of an animal or plant
  • fossils are remains or imprints that have turned to rock
  • it takes many thousands of years for a fossil to form
  • a paleontologist is a scientist who studies fossils
  • fossils are not always dinosaur bones
  • petrified means 'turned to rock'
  • amber is petrified tree sap
  • fossils help to tell us what the earth was like millions of years ago

In our enVision math program we completed Topic Ten on place value to 1,000. We will now use what we learned in Topic Ten to help us with our next topic on adding and subtracting three digit numbers!

Lastly, thanks to Mrs. D'Elia for organizing our week long celebration of Bookapalooza!  Throughout this week we celebrated reading with book buddies in fourth and fifth grade, green eggs and ham for Dr. Seuss' birthday, Skyping with an author (Bob Shea) and Skyping with fifth graders at a school in Maryland.

Weekend Challenge Activity: Make a persuasive poster advertising why you think the United States should keep or get rid of Daylight Savings Time! Make sure to back up your opinion on the poster with clear reasons. :)

  • Pine Glen's annual carnival will be held on Saturday, March 29. Please consider volunteering at this wonderful spring time event. There are many slots to fill and many different times available. Volunteers are needed for Friday afternoon (set-up), Saturday morning-afternoon (2 hours slots at a time) and Saturday afternoon (break down). The carnival can not be run without volunteers.  If you think you can spare a couple of hours of your time, please consider joining us for a fabulous day of fun and festivities! 
  • We had a visitor from the Massachusetts Department of Education this week. Mr. Chester, Commissioner of Education, came by to visit Pine Glen on Thursday and got to see the our hard-working students in action while he was here.
  • Our field trip to the Museum of Natural History (a.k.a. Museum of Comparative Zoology) is scheduled for Friday, March 14. More information will follow next week.
  • Don't forget to change your clocks one hour ahead Saturday night ("Spring forward, Fall back").  Happy Daylight Savings!

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