Monday, April 29, 2013

Welcome Back!


It is so wonderful to be back and to be surrounded by all of the positive energy your children have brought back from break. We enjoyed the milder weather at snack this morning by eating together outside. We will try to do this daily to soak in the sun and fresh air when we have it. Students were excited to be back today and we continue our research unit in writing as well as our study of living and non-living things.

A focus this week is on habitats and homes, we are examining where different animals live and how we can help to support a safe home for everyone. At the end of the week we will be welcoming a special guest to build birdhouses with us so that we can take an active step towards creating homes for our local wildlife.

As the school year winds down students are gaining more direct responsibility for their own learning. This means being more independently organized and developing strategies to stay on task and complete work on time. Today we went for a book shopping excursion where students visited the book room and chose all of their own independent reading books for the week within their reading level. It is so wonderful to see the growth each student has made towards becoming an independent and thoughtful learner.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Living and Non-living

Hello everyone,

Last week we began our science studies unit on the concept of living and non-living organisms. The students and I have been discussing examples of living things and investigating whether something is living or non-living and why.  More specifically, students have begun a science journal in which they illustrate an example of their research topic animal performing one of the seven characteristics of living things. This helps to reinforce the meaning of the seven characteristics and allows students to document researched proof of their animal being a living thing. Students are enjoying the connection between our writing unit and science study. It is wonderful to hear their observations and connections.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Research and Reporting


This week we are beginning our research and report writing unit. The students and I had a rich discussion today where we talked about the difference between a fact and an opinion. Students then posed the fabulous question of 'why'. Students wondered aloud why we need to know how to be good reporters and researchers. We discussed the best form of expressing our thinking, we talked about how we would rather know than guess. I provided students with an example of an opinion that was researched and one that was simply 'because.' I asked students which one helped to jump-start their thinking, students unanimously chose the one that had more elaborate reasoning. This prompted a deeper discussion on the power of knowledge and what it means for us. Students came to the conclusion that the more they know the more they can do for the world, I could not have come to a better conclusion myself!

Students spent time perusing non-fiction books on four different animals and had to give a specific reason as to their first choice for their research paper and what they would study. One student said "I would like to research fish because I want to know about the different places in the world they live." Students chose from sharks, fish, Panda Bears and horses. Please ask students how their projects are coming or feel free to help them collect information from home. We will be exploring text, articles and digital means of research.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

National Poetry Month

Hello everyone,

Throughout the year we have been reading a variety of poetry from authors such as Eugene Fields, E.E. Cummings, Shel Silverstein, Basho Matsuo, Kobayashi Isa and many more! We have spent lots of time studying the words of these authors and what they mean to us. The month of April is national poetry month where there is a special emphasis put on this wonderful form of written word. Students have been enjoying listening to extra poems this month and later in the month we will be writing our own. Today I am sending home the three most requested Shel Silverstein poems and in the coming weeks you will be receiving more. Please take the time to read these with your child, many students have memorized stanzas so reading them together would be great.