Friday, November 13, 2015

Weekly Update + Report Cards!


Here's what we've been working on in room 303:

Language Arts - We have been finishing up lots of book group projects in our room.  Students are given three (3) options upon the completion of a book group book:

1) Character Model - Using "model magic" (molding clay), create a character from your book, including as many details as possible.  Please attach three character traits that describe the character.

Here's an example of a character model from the book Pippi Longstocking.

2) Poster - Using special poster paper, create a poster that advertises your book to other students in the class.  Include an illustration and as many fun facts as possible.  Please also include a brief summary of the story written in your own words (as you might find on the back of a book).

3) Triorama - Using folded poster paper, create a 3-D scene from your book.  The scene should be a major event in the story.  Please include as many details as possible related to the setting and characters.  Also include a caption that describes what is happening in the scene.

Being a Writer - Nearly every student has completed a typed, "final copy" of their written work.  Students selected a favorite written piece from their writing journals and did some light revising and editing before using Microsoft Word to type their stories.

We will be starting a non-fiction writing unit in the coming weeks!

Social Studies - Last week, we finished up our economics unit with a "Class Market".  Students were asked to produce 5 goods (or coupons for services) at home, and bring them in to sell to their classmates.  Each student received $5 of fake money and we held 3-4 rounds of buying and selling.  I think everyone learned a lot about supply and demand, consumer behavior, and what it means to specialize in a miniature (classroom) economy.

In a separate task, students were asked to work in groups to use natural resources (sticks, leaves, pinecones, pasta, beans, etc.) to create a good or service that others might find useful.  Students produced everything from a roller coaster, to a truck, to a catapult - all in 20 minutes!

This week, students are creating their own civilization!  We are basing their projects on the book, Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman.  You can watch the video below:

Finally, here is a link to the work students have been doing (taken by our excellent Assistant Principal, Mr. Crutchfield).  This is after multiple days of planning everything from a staple food crop, what the shelter will look like (and what resources can be used for construction), inventing an alphabet, and more.  I'm excited to see how the civilizations will grow and evolve next week!

Math - We have been working on adding and subtracting whole numbers up to 9,999.  After introducing a variety of strategies, we have been choosing the most efficient ones to practice problems where regrouping occurs (my teacher called it "borrowing" back in the day).  There's a very cool website (link) that uses base 10 blocks to show the process of regrouping when adding and subtracting.

We have also been enjoying a variety of fun ways to practice our math facts.  Our gifted resource teacher has books with "Math Line Designs From Around the World", picture puzzles that have directions in English and Spanish and involve cutting out pieces and gluing them on correct sums/differences, as well as practice problems that can be colored, cut out, and folded/taped/glued into 3-D shapes!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Fall so far!  We have many things to be thankful for.  I'm certainly thankful for the 23 students that show up every day to do their best in school!

Have fun!

- Mr. B

P.S. Report cards for the 1st quarter of the school year are "going home" today.  There is a parent portal website where you can access your child's report card starting today.  A few paper copies went home today for those parents that requested that method of delivery.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions/comments!

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