Monday, October 21, 2013

Jack's Book Talk

Emma's Birthday Book

Alena's Book Talk

Alexandra's Book Talk

Brendan's Book Talk

Dancers from Haiti

Last week we were able to enjoy dancers from the St. Joseph's home in Haiti. Ask your 4th grader about this performance!

EiE: What is it?

To learn more about EiE, please visit the following link:

Materials Engineering: Replicating Artifacts

Our class is beginning an engineering unit called Materials Engineering: Replicating Artifacts, which is part of the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum developed by the Museum of Science, Boston.  EiE is a curricular program that integrates the science students are already learning in school with engineering design. Through this unit students will use what they learn about the science of rocks to design and improve a replica of an artifact. The unit will begin with a story about twin girls from Russia who solve a similar engineering design challenge.

There are many reasons to introduce children to engineering in elementary school:

  • Engineering projects integrate other disciplines. Engaging students in hands-on, real-world engineering experiences can enliven math, science and other content areas.
  • Engineering fosters problem-solving skills, including problem formulation, iteration  and testing of alternative solutions.
  • Children are fascinated with building and with taking things apart to see how they work. By encouraging these explorations in elementary school, we can keep these interests alive. Describing their activities as "engineering" when children are engaged in the natural design process can help them develop positive associations with engineering, and increase their desire to pursue such activities in the future.
  • Engineering and technological literacy are necessary for the 21st century.  As our society increasingly depends on engineering and technology, our citizens need to understand these fields.
If you have expertise about the science, field of engineering, or have any general questions or comments about the engineering and design unit we are about to begin, please let us know. 

Growing Crystals

Ask your student to tell you about this process! Next week we will examine these crystals with magnifying glasses to examine their structure.

Rock Cycle Experiement

These whole crayons represent igneous rocks.

These crayon shavings represent sediment created after igneous rock is weathered or eroded.

This is sedimentary rock formed by sediment being compressed together at the bottoms of lakes, creeks, or oceans. 

This is metamorphic rock created from sedimentary rock being under extreme pressure or temperature changes under the crust of the Earth. This change takes thousands and thousands of years. 

Extreme heat melts the metamorphic rock back into lava or magma.

When the magma / lava cools, igneous rock is created again.

Math Update

We are at the tail end of our unit Factors, Multiplies, and Arrays. Our end-of-unit assessment will be this Wednesday. Next up we will begin Describing the Shape of Date: Data Analysis and Probability.

These are the key math focus points in this unit:
*Representing data
*Describing, summarizing, and comparing data
*Analyzing and interpreting data
*Designing and carrying out an investigation
*Describing the probability of an event

Please read the parent letters for more information on our upcoming unit:

Family Letter about the Mathematics in this Unit

Activities To Try At Home

Reader's Workshop Update: Analyzing Character

We have started a new unit entitled Analyzing Characters. See the outline below of key skills in our first week's work in this unit:

Envisioning, Predicting, and Inferring

  • Make mental movies and envision the characters
  • Envision the main character's world
  • Empathize and connect with characters
  • Revise mental images of characters 
  • Predict what will happen and how

We are reading aloud Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo as part of this unit.  This book will be our class mentor text as we explore character development.

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger - a real-life, very large tiger - pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things - like memories, and heartaches, and tigers - can’t be locked up forever. 
(summary of book from

Author Visit: Judge Rich Leonard

Last Thursday, our 3rd - 5th graders had the opportunity to meet Judge Rich Leonard, author of  The House by the Creek.  His novel is the story of his ancestors' experience living in Rowan County and fighting at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse during the American Revolution. It shows what everyday life was like in the late 1700's and also gives a glimpse into the life of Revolutionary war soldiers. Jude Leonard brought along his friend Tom Ainsworth, a Revolutionary War reenact-or, who showed the students the weapons and equipment soldiers used. If your child wants a copy of the book and didn't pre-order one, it is available at Park Road Books or Amazon.

If you're interested in learning more about Leonard and his book, click here to read an interesting article.