Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekly Update


Here's the weekly update:

Language Arts - We will be starting book groups in class this week!  Students will be placed in groups of 3-6 and will choose from a limited selection of "good fit" books.  I will be working with each group on specific reading strategies, helping them manage their time and find creative ways to show their understanding of the text.  We will also discuss specific characters and practice identifying character traits (words that describe how a character thinks/acts/looks).  Students will learn how to distinguish between "round" characters (fully developed with many possible traits) and "flat" characters (undeveloped with few possible traits).  

Writing - In writing class, we are learning about different ways to write about non-fictional topics.  Students have seen examples of a caption, glossary, index, etc. and are getting ready to use that knowledge to help research and write a non-fiction book about an animal of their choice. 

Science - We are continuing our study of terrestrial (land) environments.  We have also discussed and defined different vocabulary words related to animal/plant survival.  Your child should now know about and be able to discuss different adaptations such as camouflage, migration, hibernation and mimicry.  This week students will be asked to produce a project (either a poster, a skit/play, or a comic strip) that shows their knowledge of different terrestrial environments and the animals/plants that live there.

Caption:  This pangolin (scaly anteater) has specially adapted skin to help it survive!

Math - This week we will be working on rounding numbers to the nearest ten, hundred and thousand.  Today, students did a great job of "building mountains" to help show their understanding of numbers and how they can be rounded.

For example:  When rounding the number 73 to the nearest ten, we drew a number line with "friendly tens" on either side.  In this case, 70 and 80 are the friendly tens that are closest to 73.  We identify the halfway point (75) and draw a mountain above our number line with the peak matching the halfway point.  Since 73 falls on the left side of our mountain, it "rolls" down to the number 70.  If the number falls exactly on the halfway point, our fictional mountain has wind that blows it down the right side towards the bigger number.  I find that creating this imaginary mountain scenario helps kids relate to the somewhat abstract concept of rounding.

The goal is to master even the most difficult rounding problems by the end of this week!  Some of the more difficult problems might be:

Round 382 to the nearest ten.

Round 5,064 to the nearest hundred.

Round 340 to the nearest thousand.

Round 7,299 to the nearest ten.  And so on...

This week is also special because we will be making our annual Fall Leaf T-Shirts!  Thursday morning we will work on decorating the shirts with leaves from outside.  Then, with help from parent volunteers, we will spray the shirts with bleach to create a cool looking leaf pattern!  Please remember to bring in a 100% cotton, dark colored t-shirt by Wednesday, October 10th.  I will make sure that everyone has a shirt by Thursday.  Thanks for your continued support at home!

Have a great week!


Mr. Balnave

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