We had a very productive January and are looking forward to a very productive coming month. As of this week, we now have a student teacher, Kristi, who has joined 4-245 from Hunter! She will be a wonderful support to our students and I look forward to you all meeting her soon! Here are some updates on what we have been working on and where we are headed in the coming weeks.
In reading, the students are well underway in Historical Fiction book clubs. These clubs meet daily and are developing the students’ abilities to read historical fiction, develop ideas around theme, and talk about their ideas with others. In being a member of a book club, students are asked daily to share their thoughts using evidence to their club which directly supports their writing about reading in their reader’s notebook. Further, by having four students reading the same book, the students are able to share their ideas with each other in a meaningful way seeing as all the members of the group are reading the same text. Further, the historical fiction books the students are reading are all centered around the Colonial and Revolutionary War Eras which directly aligns with our studies in social studies.
In writing, much like our Native American project from earlier in the year, we have teamed our writing up with social studies. Currently, students are researching one of the 13 original colonies in class and are using their knowledge of their selected colony to write a persuasive letter. This letter is written from the stance of someone living in their selected 13 colony and is written following the “Boxes and Bullets” writing unit structure. The persuasive letter contains a thesis or main idea and then reasons with evidence to convince the person to whom the letter is written of the main idea. The students are familiar with this structure as we have already spent time using this structure for our personal essays and Native American essays.
Along with the work we are doing in writing, we are continuing to learn and read more about the Colonial Era in social studies and continuing to use this during our time with Sarah in Wingspan. The students are writing more scenes centered around our social studies learning and developing their ability to write and act scenes in historically accurate and interesting ways. Stay tuned for another showcase in early March!
In math, we are wrapping up our study of multiplication and will be beginning our work of fractions. We will begin with a short investigation of fractions and exploring the ideas of equivalence and adding fractions. We will then move quickly into our fractions unit thinking specifically about how we can model fractions on arrays and demonstrate equivalency between fractions. Please continue to remind students at home to check their math work carefully to ensure computational accuracy as this is a continued skill and habit I am trying to develop in our students.
Regarding test prep, we will begin working in our ELA test prep books next week. Donna and I have worked to map out a plan of action based on the practice ELA test the students took last week. We have already reviewed the multiple choice section of the ELA practice test and will also review the short and extended response sections. We will be beginning our test prep focusing on fiction, then transition to informational texts and then focus on the writing of the short and extended responses. Of course, we will modify as we see fit as we go. We will be working on this in class and homework will be sent home to further support and reinforce our work in school. We will be sending home an optional February break packet should you like your child to work on this over the break or at a later date. It is optional and completely up to you and your schedule.
Finally, please take some time to clean out your child’s homework folder if it contains many papers as that makes it harder for your child to find the papers he or she needs each day.
I am looking forward to a wonderful February together!