On Monday, we will begin our journey across the sea in the Mayflower. Each student will get an actual name of a passenger on the ship! Each day we will journal about our adventures and the trip. They will get to wear hats and bonnets and use a "quill" to record their writings. This will be an exciting way to learn about the past and history! As well as practice our handwriting and conventions.
They will be expected to write neatly, use spaces and lower and capital letters appropriately as well as be able to write about the experience based on the readings and journey online through Scholastic site. Each day I will upload an excerpt from our learning and some journal entries to share about our adventures. Our journey will start with having to pack and leave our family, to sailing in a small, cramped, smelly boat, to a massive storm that destroyed some of our ship, to the food aboard, seeing land and arriving to meeting the Wampanoag Indians. We will also learn about what pilgrim life was like once they settled! Stay tuned!
If you want to explore the site with your child, here is the link!
Pilgrim children had a very different life than children of today. We are going to read Sarah Morton: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl and Samuel Eaton: A Day in the Life of Pilgrim Boy. Each day we will dive into the life of a pilgrim boy and girl, learning through photographs, letters, video and the book about what life was like long ago. We will talk about the different clothing, chores, food, manners and school. Then compare that to children's life today, both looking for similarities and differences.
Pilgrim children had very difficult childhoods. Not only did they travel to an unknown land, but they had to do many chores that were very physical in labor. They also had different clothes, wearing many layers, tying things on instead of elastic (b/c it wasn't invented!) and wearing multiple layers! They also had to serve the adults first, after helping to prepare the meal AND not sit down at dinner. They were not really supposed to talk to adults unless they were spoken to or the adult asked them something.
This might be a fun conversation to have at home and talk about what the past was like for their grandparents, or even you! Sharing about music (tapes, dvds, online music etc). Showing them photographs, clothing and other things from your and/or your parents past would be a great way to reinforce this concept.
Informational text is an important part of our new common core content. We have done a lot of reading, comparing and enjoying nonfiction books so far this year. We are going to continue with some great books: National Geographic for Kids. These are a great level for them to understand the vocabulary, use pictures to help them define new information and are a level in which some kids can read them! I just ordered some from Scholastic with my points (thank you) and I'm excited to share them! An important part of reading and learning from informational text, is asking questions and learning how to find the answers from the text. We will do this by looking at the table of contents, glossary and other nonfiction features as well as inferring meaning from the text.
If you are looking for good nonfiction books, these are great! Or the "little kids" and "kids" magazine subscription are great too! I highly suggest these books! I love them! There are tons for a good price on the Scholastic book order site!
This week we will hop back into our topics, with Topic 5. Topic 5 will start out with doubles, doubles +1 and doubles +2. We have been playing games this past week to help us with our doubles already! Plus our previous topics have hit on doubles and near doubles (doubles +1) so there will be some familiarity. These will be adding up some bigger numbers so keep practicing those facts at home! See my link and resource page for some links to some fun math games to help practice!
They will still be able to use counters and their number line to help them solve these problems. After the end of the week, depending on where we are at with our learning, we will either move on or spend some more time on doubles, double plus 1 and doubles plus 2. An easy way to practice at home is to have them roll a die and double that number by counting up the dots twice! You can always have them write the number sentence too on a piece of paper or dry erase board or if you want or make it a game!
SOO SOO SOO excited about The Great Pumpkin experiment, starting our journaling for our decomposing pumpkin and our bat guest speaker!!! We have so much fun stuff (yes, beyond the Harvest Party, trick or treat and candy!) next week!
Next Thursday is a jam packed day! We will start out the morning with The Great Pumpkin Experiment. Each table is going to have a pumpkin (any size/shape) and will conduct several experiments. They will estimate first and then do the actual measurement/weight/or experiment. The fun part will be using different sizes of pumpkins! It's quite time intensive (there's weighing, measuring width/height, sink/float, counting seeds, and carving) so I really would LOVE some help! I still need 4 volunteers and the 6 pumpkins.
Next Thursday, we will also be journaling Day 1 of our decomposing pumpkin. We will place it outside where it will be both a part of nature and a place that hopefully no one will throw it away. I may put a sign that says we are doing an experiment :) They are very excited about this! It will be very cool to see it change over time. We will take a photograph and then journal about we we observed. At the beginning it will be very whole class but eventually I'd like to see them put down their own thoughts in their journals!
Also on Wednesday, (day before all the above), we have a guest speaker coming to talk about bats!! We are so lucky that one of our parents had a connection and set the guest speaker up! So Wednesday will be the perfect day to ask "What did you do at school today?" and nothing won't suffice! ha ha! I am excited and will share out after!
Writing workshop has taken off! We worked on some mini lessons that were centered around keeping us organized and together during the workshop time. Sounds silly, I know but some review over these little reminders and organizational prompts will help! ***Because we have a short week and one of our days was an assembly this week we did these tips instead of Adjectives. We will do adjectives next week instead (see blog post below for more info). ***
We worked on remembering to place our name and date on each story we write. The name is very important so they can take ownership of their work and I explain the date is important for both myself and parents. We like to watch their growth throughout the year and the date helps us with that!
We are also going to have a conversation about how to use a stapler. Yes, a stapler. The lesson was very comedic (as I already taught it) and they laughed and laughed but many of them needed to hear it! You only need 1 or 2 staples. Yes! that's it! And your book will stay together just fine! We also learned how to stack our papers neatly before we got our hands on the stapler. That way we didn't have these crazy, put together books! And their favorite part, we learned how to use the staple remover, in case we needed to take one of our 50 staples we put in out :)
The last thing we talked about was how to organize our folders. They get so rushed when they clean up they just shove papers everywhere, and when they get to share, they don't have all the pieces to their story, or things are in the wrong place or just misplaced altogether! So we had a reminder talk about our unfinished stories go in the front of our folders (together, stacked neatly) and our finished stories should
Our bat unit has given us an opportunity to read all sorts of really interesting informational text books as well as fiction stories with bats as the main characters. One of our standards is to learn about the characteristics of both informational and fiction text, so we will compare and contrast our bat books!
We will start with all our bat books in the center of the carpet. Each child will grab a book and then place in the informational text or fiction pile. After we have sorted the books, we will check through and talk about why/where each book was placed. This will be a good introduction. We have had some discussion but this will use all of the learning styles!
Then we will use Venn diagram, putting different aspects of informational and fiction in their correct spots, but also talking about what they have in common (nonfiction books can tell stories too!, they are interesting etc.). We will use both our books we are reading for science and our books for reading workshop. In November we will be using both informational and fiction books to help us learn about the past and present and pilgrims and American Indians, so this is perfect timing!
Some books we will read that are fiction:
Little Brown Bat
Bats at the Beach
Bats at the Library
Bats at the Ball Game
This week in math we are going to review. We are going to work on addition and subtraction facts using multiple strategies as well as solving different types of stories (adding on, missing addends, taking away, comparing and story problems).
There has been a lot introduced in a short amount of time and before moving forward I want to make sure that we have some extra practice on these types of problems and strategies. This will mean you will be seeing worksheets or other types of math going home (no workmats) and there may be a day where you don't see anything going on because it was all in class. We will learn a fun doubles song that goes along with the lovely Justin Bieber song "Baby". Enjoy :)
This would be a great time to review those addition and subtraction facts at home! I am going to attempt to start fast math this week! We will learn how to log into the computers (which is a task in itself so patience please :) and then get them going on the program! If all goes well I will be able to show you where they are starting on Fastt Math at conferences :)
Halloween brings all sorts of fun ideas and studies! We are going to study bats! We will start off with lots of books and pictures, and some videos to help us learn about bats! We will do a lot of math and literacy (word study, writing and reading) involved in this study. There will be lots of discussion and some writing about what these animals need and how they survive! It's also going to be a great way to introduce new vocabulary words: colony, echolocation, mammal and nocturnal. This will be at least a two week study!
Bats are also popular characters in fiction stories (Stellaluna and Bats at the Beach). This will give us an opportunity to compare fiction texts to nonfiction/informational texts! In addition to our word study groups, we will work on "at" and playing games (see picture) as well as creating words (both real and nonsense) with our pattern.
And fun fact, when I was in Austin, I saw the bat cloud go overhead so I will share pictures of that! (Each night a large colony of bats flies out from under the bridge to go scavenge), it's a well known sight in Austin!
Our background knowledge of writing stories is filled with the basic conventions: parts of a story, beginning, middle and end and learning how to write about small moments in our life with first, next, then last. We will continue to build on these writing strategies and dig deeper in as the year goes on.
Because it's almost Halloween, what a perfect time to introduce juicy words or adjectives! We will be reading some great fall and Halloween books that are filled with great describing words! We will create a list of those juicy words to hang in the room and use a tool to help us in our writing! We will also write our own class Halloween book (next week). We are working on telling our stories using details and going beyond the I like, I saw, I did phase of writing, and this will take awhile for it to sink in so no worries if you aren't seeing this in your child's work yet! Like I said at the beginning of the year, they will learn, be reintroduced to various strategies and techniques! Sometimes it just clicks! And it's so cool to see them take those techniques of authors and apply them to their own writing!
Next week I'll talk about our stories and grading writing! Stay tuned!