Thursday, March 31, 2011

Books Books Books

Just a reminder that book club orders are due tomorrow. Also, please remind students to keep reading their Newbery books. They should have them done by the last week in April!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Blogging Project Needs Your Help

We have started a blogging project involving persuasive writing. It involves the "Greatest Invention of All-Time Tournament." What's that? Let me try to explain.

Inspired by the NCAA basketball tournament, we wanted to have a tournament to decide the best invention of all time. We started by brainstorming inventions and then narrowed that list down to the top 64. We broke that list into 4 groups of 16 and made a tournament bracket...

Then, students were assigned a "game" and had to pick the winner and write a persuasive paragraph about why that invention should "win." This served as practice--both with writing persuasively and posting to a blog.

Now's when the fun starts. We're down to the top 16 inventions and we've joined forces with Mr. Wetherbee's class and we need your help...

Students were assigned one of the 16 to write about. They had to write persuasively about why their invention is better than their "opponent." The winners will be determined by votes from readers of the blog.

Here's how to vote: go to and read the 8 posts for this round. Based on the persuasiveness of the writing, leave a comment with your vote. To leave a comment, click on the "comments" link:

I think you will find the paragraphs very well written and enjoyable to read. Thanks so much for your support with our first-ever blogging project.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Flurry of Activity

What a whirlwind since the end of Exhibitions! Here is some info that I'm a little tardy in getting to you:

  • Report Cards will come home tomorrow (Friday, March 25)
  • We are taking a field trip to see a play about Anne Frank on Friday, April 1. The play is in West Bloomfield. Cost is $5. Please send as soon as possible.
  • Book Orders are due Friday, April 1. Forms went home today or order online using the LINKS tab at the top of the blog.
  • POW is due tomorrow.
  • Students will have a persuasive writing assignment for the next three weekends that will be due the next three Mondays. Look for info to come home tomorrow.
  • PLEASE remind your child they need to be reading their Newbery book for our movie project. We want to have them done by Easter. They should be taking notes on the form provided at your Learning Team Meeting every time they read.
  • Students will want to have an Interest Project picked out for their final Exhibition by MONDAY!
Thanks for everyone's help getting your kids ready for Exhibitions. I was really proud of how they turned out. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disaster in Japan Search Engine


On the Horizon

Here's a sneak preview of some things that are coming up in the near and slightly distant future:

  • The return of POW (next week, I promise...I think)
  • A new student blogging project (this will involve persuasive writing...stay tuned for more info)
  • The 90 Second Newbery project (details will be provided at Learning Team Meetings)
  • A student-directed research project about the disaster in Japan
  • A new math unit on fractions! (starts Monday)
  • using edmodo for our third online book club book, Love That Dog
  • a collaborative science project with a classroom in California and one in Kuwait
Wow, that's a lot. I'll post details soon for each one. It should be an awesome third trimester!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Math Test Thursday and More

We will be having a math test on Thursday. Yesterday, graded quizzes should have come home. We went over them together and I helped students to correct the problems they got wrong.

Today we worked on plotting points on a coordinate grid. Students are bringing home a graded paper on this topic. Also, tonight the math homework is a review worksheet with 16 problems on it. We'll check it very carefully tomorrow and then assign another review worksheet tomorrow. For any of you (I know there's a few) who've been struggling with the division...there are only 2 long division problems on the test out of a total of 30 questions, so no need to worry! :)

Finally, tomorrow we have a large chunk of time set aside to finalize our 10 Things project. Please help your child to remember to bring what they need for this so that they're ready to work. This will be the last class time available for working on this project. I'm very very excited to see how they turn out and I think they'll be a very nice addition to our Exhibitions!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Milestone Four

Milestone Four (a completed Exhibition Organizer) was due yesterday. If your child turned one in, I'm returning it today with comments. Many students had parts either missing or slightly incomplete. Be sure to check. The more thorough and complete they are with these, the better prepared they will be for their Exhibition.

And since we're on the topic, we're only about a week away from Exhibition Week and now is a great time to start practicing! Everything should be (just about) done and ready to go, so it's time to begin rehearsing. In my experience, kids who practice more ahead of time are more relaxed, more confident, have higher quality presentations.

Good luck and be sure to ask if you have any questions!

The Week in Review

Wow...this week has gone by so fast and we've done so much. For example, we Skyped with a class from Gadsden, Alabama yesterday about the book we both read for our online book club, Regarding The Fountain. It was a good time and our class asked some very good questions. It was a fun experience AND a great discussion. We'll be starting a new book for our online book club in the next few days.

We started a new writing project, Tall Tales. We'll be reading some Tall Tale examples, including some classics like John Henry and Pecos Bill and we'll be writing our own this month. It should be fun. Yesterday we started by practicing our exaggerations. The kids wrote some pretty funny stuff that I will share with you as soon as I get it typed up.

We also had our African American History Month Wax Museum this week. The kids did a great job and it was a terrific culminating activity for our Biography project. Take a look...

I know two of those kids aren't even in our class, but their costumes were too cute not to include! Great job to all and thanks to the family members who were able to attend.

Coming up next week, we'll be pushing toward Exhibition Week, putting the finishing touches on things, especially our 10 Things (which should continue to be worked on at home). And remember, there's no school Friday the 11th.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A New Way to Divide

We've been working on long division this week. Like many math concepts, I'm teaching it in a way that may be different from the way you and I were taught in school.

The reason it's being taught this way is so that students understand the concept of division. I want them to know what it MEANS to divide. They don't always understand this when they use the "old" method.

Here's a video that goes through the steps: