Monday, April 28, 2014

Discovery Place Visit

We headed to Discovery Place last week for a class about the human body. The class got to see a cow's eye be dissected and to inflate pig lungs. Ask your child to tell you how to tell the difference between a male and female pelvis.

Before our class about the Human Body, we visited the aquarium. Enjoy these photos of some jellyfish and the octopus. The fuzzy white stuff underneath the octopus is her eggs! She had just laid over 1,000 eggs a few days before we visited. 

Dr. McBryde

Grace's uncle, an ER doctor, came to visit our class last week. He talked with the class about being safe and making healthy choices. Hopefully your children will never smoke nor text while driving after his visit! He answered many, many questions from our budding medical students. Thanks, Uncle JP!

Colonial Gardening and Market Basket Making!

Our class had a very special opportunity when Jenn Siegfried and her mother came in one afternoon. While some of the students were planting seeds in our garden with Mrs. Kluttz and other students were playing a colonial bartering game, another group got to help make a beautiful Boston market basket. Andy's grandmother is passionate about the craft of making these baskets and shared her love and knowledge with our class. Enjoy these photos and stop by our classroom to see the beautiful basket!

Typing Club Information

You received a letter along with your child's narrative about our Typing Club goals for the 4th graders. We typically practice twice each week during our school day. It would be really helpful it the students take time to practice at home as well. Please encourage them to log in a few times each week and practice for about 10-15 minutes. The Trinity portal is below. Your student will know his/her log in information. Happy keyboarding!

Social Studies Update

We are in the midst of our StoryPath unit on Colonial Boston. Last week, the citizens of Boston (played by the students) experienced a critical event. A visitor to the classroom, Chief Justice of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson (played by Trinity's own Mr. Luft), came to a tavern meeting to empathize with the plight of the colonists, who were struggling to understand why they should have to pay higher taxes if they had no representation in Parliament. He replied that he is as frustrated as they are at the high taxes they have to pay, but he was not willing to go so far as to not enforce British law. After the meeting with Justice Hutchinson, the citizens got word that his house had been ransacked. His most prized possessions had been destroyed; his life's work gone. The citizens of the town discussed the meaning of vigilante and learned that a group calling themselves "The Sons of Liberty" were involved in the sacking of his house. The students will be interviewed this week to see if they played a role in the sacking of Justice Hutchinson's house. 

This week we will be doing some more in-depth reading and writing about conditions in Colonial Boston and the colonies. 

Reading Strategies

Good readers are constantly stopping to think as they read, to ask questions, to analyze a character's motivations, and to make predictions. Over the past few weeks we have been learning some new strategies to apply as we read to take us to a new, more thoughtful level of understanding and interacting with our books.

Golden Lines
When reading you may come across a sentence that is beautifully written and begs you to read it again. It has meaning that applies to the book you're reading but also applies to life outside your book. These lines often point to the theme or big understanding in the book. An example from Pam Munoz Ryan's book Esperanza Rising is, "Wait a little while and the fruit will fall into your hand."

Contrasts and Contradictions
You will notice this in your books when a character acts out of character. Readers get to know their characters so well, and they begin to feel like our friends. When an author chooses to have a character say or do something that doesn't fit with his/her personality, it stands out to a good reader. It leads you to wonder what is going on with the character to make him/her act that way. What does this reveal about their inner conflict or emotions?

Tough Questions
A tough question is leading, insightful, thoughtful, and probing. Often in our books a character is asked a tough question either by himself through internal dialogue or by another character. What does this show you about the character, and how will he/she respond?

As our beloved characters travel through  trials and tribulations, they will periodically have an Ah-Ha moment. This will be when he/she realizes or comes to understand something that therefore changes his/her thinking and actions. Fans of Oprah are familiar with her famous Ah-Ha moments! Good readers will wonder how does this change things? How will the character respond?

Again and Again...
As good readers read, we'll often see things come up again and again. It might be an object or a phrase. There must be some reason the author keeps including it, and it's our job as a reader to stop, take notice, and try to understand what it might mean or represent. These are recurring images or motifs in a book. Often the recurring object will represent some idea much bigger than the object itself.

Narrative Report Cards

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns after reading your child's most recent report card. We truly love your children and hope that the words we wrote helped you to get a snapshot of their life as a learner. 

Math: How Many Packages? How Many Groups?

Last week we began our work in Unit 8 about multiplication and division. We will work to have many strategies to solve these types of problems including arrays, the US algorithm, and the expanded algorithm. Goals of this unit include:

Multiplication with 2-Digit Numbers
Students estimate products and practice strategies for solving multiplication problems with 2-digit factors.

Strategies for Multiplication
Students practice strategies for solving 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication problems. 

Solving Division Problems
Students use representations and story contexts to develop strategies for solving division problems with 1-digit or small 2-digit divisors. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring Fling at Metro

We were thrilled that the Metro teachers invited us to come be a part of their elementary school Spring Fling. We joined in the fun and did light box art, planted flowers, helped make crafts, played with balls, danced, and took silly pictures. It was such a great culminating visit to Metro, and we loved getting to see all of our friends one more time.