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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Classroom Summary for May 5 - 9

Joey: Working independently on his math journal question.
Here's what we did this week...

In Fundations we began our fourteenth unit which focuses on the /ou/ sound. We practiced spelling words that use the ou and ow spelling. We also did some spelling practice with tricky geography words like: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Ask us what those states all have in common!

In Miss Varrell's reading group we took our final i-Ready assessments in the computer lab. Miss Varrell also gave us our final sight word assessments. Everyone in our class has achieved at least a 98% proficiency in the third term. Congratulations to us! Also this week we began a new read aloud book called Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith. Miss Varrell is having second thoughts about the amount of chocolate she eats each week. If you read this book, you might have second thoughts too!

We also had a special treat via Skype during the week. Mr. Larkin, our assistant superintendent, emailed Burlington teachers to let them know that A.J.Smith, the author of Even Monsters, was hoping to Skype with some classrooms on Thursday and Friday of this week. Miss Varrell contacted Mr. Smith about Skyping with us and he agreed! We Skyped with A.J. for fifteen minutes and talked about his new book Even Monsters, how he writes and what his inspirations are. Mr. Smith will be at Barnes & Noble on Friday night for a book reading so if your family wants to meet him in person, you can!

In science/writing class this week we focused our writing on leader and follower sentences (also known as "piggyback" sentences). Follower sentences always help our paragraphs sound more interesting and often make our paragraphs clearer and more exciting to read. Here is an example of a paragraph that has no follower sentences. Notice that this piece of writing does in fact qualify as a paragraph: it has a topic sentence, four detail sentences and a closing sentence. Technically, there is nothing wrong with it.

            Insects are an important part of our world. Some work in the forest. Some insects live in the water. Some insects fly in the air. Some people think insects are ugly. We need insects in the world.

Now read the paragraph below.  It has a topic sentence, MANY more detail sentences (follower/piggyback sentences) and a closing sentence:

             Insects are an important part of our world. Some work in the forest. Insects that work and live in the forest help decompose fallen trees and branches. They also provide food for woodland animals like raccoons, birds and chipmunks. Some insects live in the water. They provide food for fish and amphibians that live along the banks of ponds, lakes or streams. Some insects fly in the air. Insects that fly are often pollinators. Pollinating insects help us by allowing fruit trees to bear fruit and flowers to blossom. Some people think insects are ugly. It's true. Some insects might look ugly. But others are extremely beautiful, like the monarch butterfly or the jewel beetle. They make our world a prettier place to live. We need insects in the world. They are a very special part of nature.

jewel beetle

Which one do YOU like better? Why? Tell your parents what you think. If you'd like to share your thoughts with ME, ask your parents if you can call my Google Voice phone number and leave me a message! (This is a special student response line. It will not be answered by a human being.) 
                                                                (339) 234-7702

In math we continued to work on our measurement unit. We have been working with nonstandard and standard units of linear measurement. We worked with cubes, paperclips, hands and forearms as nonstandard measurements. We also worked with English standard rulers (inches), metric rulers (centimeters), yardsticks and meter sticks. Here are some of the math words we have learned to read and understand over the past two weeks:
  • linear
  • length
  • width
  • height
  • measure, measurement
  • about
  • estimate, estimation
  • exact
  • centimeter
  • meter
  • inch
  • feet
  • yard
  • ruler
  • yardstick
  • meter stick
  • standard
  • nonstandard
  • abbreviations: in., ft. yd., cm., m.
  • metric
  • English standard
Miss Pavlicek dropped off another animal visitor for us this week. We got Emerald, the leopard gecko. We will have two more reptile animal visitors over the next few weeks. Next week we will begin our unit of study on reptiles. Our weekly visitors will help us to understand these animals a little better!

Weekend Challenge Activity:  Be an extra good helper to Mom this weekend. Thank her for all that she does for you every day. When you tell her, be sure to include some piggyback sentences in your speech! Remember, your mom is special EVERY day, not just on Mother's Day! 

  • Last day for students is Tuesday, June 24. It is a half day.
  • As we approach the end of the year, I will be asking families if they can help wash some of our school materials that get used throughout the year. If your child 'volunteers' you and you find some materials in your child's backpack don't be shocked. If you just don't have the time, please just send the materials back to school with a note so I know they were not cleaned. LOL Sometimes we can be a little overeager to help out at the end of the year even though we know that our family already has plans for the weekend. ;)
  • Enjoy the warm weather. Finally!

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