Friday, May 4, 2012

We just finished our first round of testing.  Scores are being sent home today in a sealed envelope in the Homework Folder.  If your child did not do as well as hoped, retesting will begin next Wednesday.  Mrs. C-B or Mr. Mori will have kids come to the computer lab to do a few questions at a time, thus forcing them to slow down.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Writing this week is research.  Students were assigned a biography project on Friday (today).  It will culminate in them dressing up like their person and giving a speech which will be scored.  They can gather information at home, as well as in class, but the speech must be written in class as it is scored.  They are looking for information about:
  • the person's childhood and adult life
  • important accomplishments or events
  • a timeline 
  • interesting words you come across as you read
  • famous quotes made by that person
  • the person's character traits
  • a question you would ask the person
  • how the person was inspiring
  • the person's biggest obstacle
  • how the world is better because of that person
Of course, I don't expect you to find the answers to all of those things for homework.  Basic facts would be a good place to start as it's difficult to respond to the opinion pieces when you haven't yet learned about the person.  I'm just letting you know what students are working towards in class. Below is a list of who's doing what.

Alexa- Betsy Ross
Arman - Abraham Lincoln
Charley - Harriet Tubman
Delany - Benjamin Franklin
Emma - Amelia Earhart
Esme - Eleanor Roosevelt
Gabby - William Clark
Irena - Sacagawea
Julia - Georgia O'Keefe
Kai - Neil Armstrong
Kevin -Paul Revere
Kristin - George Washington
Kyler - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mackenzie - Philo Farnsworth
Madeline - Rosa Parks
Madison - Theodore Roosevelt
Odin - Walt Disney
Rachael - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Ryan - Thomas Jefferson
Sam - Jackie Robinson
Savanna - Theodor Seuss Geisel/Dr. Seuss
Selina - George Washington
Tyler - Wright Brothers
Zach - John F. Kennedy, Jr.

In addition to the research, students need to gather information about family traditions.  This is part of a school-wide prompt about traditions.  The writing will go in each student's portfolio for next year's teacher.

One last reminder, if you are interested in purchasing The People of the Longhouse, please return the form by Monday.

Sorry to be so verbose but there was a lot to be said this week.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm so proud of how hard the class worked this week on their earthquake projects.  I've learned a lot alongside them.  I can't wait to see their finished products (you'll get to see them at conferences).

The class has also worked very hard on the reading portion of the state test.  I appreciate how careful everyone is being and it's paying off.  Students who aren't done will join Mr. Morgan's class when they test on Monday and Tuesday.  There isn't a time limit so students are able to take their time and do their best.  I will share scores with you at conferences.

This week's homework is up on the blog.  Math still says due April 12 but, if you click on it, it's the correct one.  Mr. Morgan is out sick today so you'll find the storyline assignment below.
Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters Homework #11
Due Friday, April 20, 2012

For homework this week, come up with an artistic representation that demonstrates something you know about earthquakes and/or tsunamis.  This is fairly open-ended so be creative and informative as possible.  Some ideas that the class came up with:
Ø    A model of the Earth and its layers.
Ø    A model showing different ways tectonic plates can move.
Ø    A song or poem with earthquake/tsunami facts.
Ø    A focused skit/puppet show that is relevant and on topic.
Ø    A diorama.
Ø    A mobile.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

This week, students began working on their earthquake research project.  They've taken lots of notes and will soon be organizing all of their interesting facts into coherent, organized paragraphs.  For homework this week, students will be working on the "optional" portion of the project.  Whatever support you can give at home would be both helpful and appreciated.

We've been working on shapes and angles in math but I decided to send home some Math 4 Today pages for homework as they include such a wide variety of concepts.  This is good practice for the math test coming up at the end of the month.

Please remember that next week we will begin (and hopefully finish) the reading portion of the state test.  Students will go to the computer lab right after recess on Wednesday and Thursday.  Please make sure your child has a healthy snack to eat before recess.

Student-led conferences are less than two weeks away.  During the conference, you child will be sharing some work with you and we'll go over the goals set earlier in the year.  I'll also share the state reading test results with you as well as some other assessments.  Your child should have come home with a yellow conference sign-up form today.  Please return it as soon as possible; I assign conference times on a first come, first served basis.

Have a wonderful, partly sunny weekend!

Friday, March 2, 2012

It was great to see so many of you yesterday evening at Literacy Night.  It was by far the biggest crowd we've ever seen at this event.  In my room, I was really impressed by students' ability to use chopsticks, and to use them well!  I didn't learn how to use them until I was in my 20s and it took me a long time to actually get any food in my mouth with them.

We also enjoyed a visit from Grace Lin yesterday.  She gave an engaging presentation, telling us about her life and how she came up with her ideas.  She also led them in a New Year's dragon drawing activity which you should have seen come home.  We talked about the presentation when we returned to class.  Many of your children were very polite in not saying that she looked pregnant, even though she is.  We talked about how it's always wise to err on the side of caution when one isn't sure; once that's out there, you can't take it back.  In case you're curious, she's having a girl (that was the class' biggest question after the presentation).

Today we explored some different ways to filter water.  Thank you so much for sending in the 2-liter bottles.  Next week, groups will be designing a cost effective water filter.

This week, we've been writing about our favorite thing to do while focusing on having a developed beginning, middle and end.  They tossed around various ideas but ultimately needed to choose something that they were sure they'd have enough to say about.  If you get a chance, ask your child about his/hers.

Have great weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hurricane Sparky

Hurricane Sparky mad landfall with devastating effects.  Homes and buildings were destroyed, yet some did survive the high winds, flying debris, and huge storm surge. 

Mrs. Weigel's class.

Hurricane Sparky

Mr. Morgan's class.

Hurricane Sparky

Mr. Pfaff's class.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The new homework is up.  You should have received an email from me on Tuesday about the literacy project and Valentine's homework.  The literacy project is now on the blog as well.

You also should have received an email about our hurricane-proof house project.  Students identified a need for new technology (a stronger shelter), and have come up with plans to solve that problem (engineering design).  They started constructing their houses today in class.  We will test our models next week and then think about what could be done differently to improve the design.  If your child wishes to make one at home, please have him or her turn it in on Tuesday.  We may not actually get to having a hurricane on Tuesday because of Valentine's day but I'd still like to have them then.

This week's writing assignment is not storyline related.  We've been talking so much about dragons that I thought it would be fun to do a dragon-themed imaginative story.

Our Valentine's Day party is on Tuesday from 2:00 to 3:00.  Please make sure your child brings in his/her Valentine bag or box on Monday.  Bringing in cards for others is optional.  In case you didn't see the email with the class list, I'm including it below.


Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The literacy projects (book reports) were due today.  I was SO impressed with them and the class was excited to see what people had done.  There was definitely a lot of effort and creativity involved!  The next project will go home in a couple of weeks and will be due mid-February.

The new homework has been posted.  I know many of you will be happy to see that the math is all in one file for easier printing.  I can't vouch for your computers but everything printed fine from mine.  Again, thank you for your patience and flexibility.

Our storyline is similar to a Magic Tree House book.  Morgan le Fay sent us a letter asking us to help the people of Wamengo, Kansas, as there is a tornado approaching.  We need to find out what the tornado warning signs are, how to prepare for a tornado and what to do after a tornado.  We read some books, watched a couple of short movies and listened to Mr. Sliva (Kevin's dad) tell us about his experiences with them.  The class has done a great job pulling key information from what's been presented.  If your child hasn't already offered up some interesting facts, be sure to ask.

Have a great weekend!  Apparently, our sunny weather is long gone.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

It was so good to see everyone again after the break!  It sounds like there was a lot of fun to be had and I loved hearing everyone's stories.

We are in the process of starting our newest storyline, beginning with some map work.  We've talked about oceans and continents and the lack of a definitive answer for how many of each there are.  When I was in school, there were four oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic) and 7 continents (N. and S. America, Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia and Antarctica).  Now, some feel the waters around Antarctica should be called the Southern or Antarctic Ocean because the current travels differently from that of the other oceans which touch it.  As far as continents go, there are between four and seven.  The maps that we labeled in class have seven continents and four or five oceans (I let them choose if they wanted to include the Southern Ocean).

For homework this week, there are two math worksheets as well as some flashcards to make.  It seems as though most students understand what multiplication is but are at various points on the spectrum of knowing their facts.  The worksheet of multiplication facts will be fine for some students but others may need to do fewer to keep from feeling overwhelmed.  I'll leave it up to you.  The flashcards are a resource for practice; if you have your own, feel free to use those.

There is also a writing assignment as well as our first monthly literacy project.  We talked about the project in class and they seem really excited about it.  The assignment says to do a diorama or puppet show but there was a demand for a play as well; that would be fine.  If the puppet show or play option is chosen, I can't emphasize enough the need to keep it concise and focused yet detailed.  Let me know if you have any questions about it.

Have a great weekend and happy 2012!