Weekly Update

The 5-6 group had a great week. It was fun to see a lot of the parents at curriculum night and if you couldn’t make it, no worries–you can get all the information in our blog posts.
In writing workshop, we tackled some fun prompts involving alligators in port-a-potties and a school full of lizards. We’ve continuously reminded the kids that their writing in their writing journal is informal, pre-first-draft, idea-generating stuff. We want them to feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. As a result, some of your children chose not to let you read their journals on curriculum night, or maybe selected a few pages not to have you read. Please don’t take that personally! I’m excited that they are taking ownership over their writing and considering their audiences. There will be plenty of time this year to read what they’ve written.
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The students were so excited and proud to share their writing journals!
I really can’t believe how successful we’ve been with writing workshop in this group! On Thursday of this week, we had a “free night” with no specific prompt. I told them that I had originally not been planning to do this until much later in the fall, but they were all so into their journals, I decided to try it earlier. They loved it. A few asked for a prompt, so I gave them this: “You are sitting in a tree. An owl lands next to you on a branch and says ‘I need your help.'” I was expecting some protests–that’s a pretty unstructured prompt–but all of them who had asked for a prompt said “okay” and went straight to writing a story about this owl. I couldn’t be more excited for this group and to see where their writing will go next!
We also played with point of view in our writing, trying the same story in the 1st and 3rd person. We sampled several books with different POVs and talked about why the author might make that decision. For example, we read the first few pages of HOLD TIGHT, DON’T LET GO about a character experiencing the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that was written in the first person and then the first few pages of STELLA BY STARLIGHT about a character seeing the KKK burn a cross in her town that was written in the 3rd person. Both are historical fiction with young female main characters and both start with a scary scene, so it was interesting to see how the POV affected the tone of the stories. We are also continuing to read HOOT and are getting closer to understanding some of the plot’s mysteries. We’ve settled into a really nice afternoon routine of quiet writing, outside break, and grabbing snacks to eat during reading time. It’s quite awesome.
In science, we continued our pill bug experiment and presented the scientific method to the rest of the school. The students worked hard on their presentations, revising their posters multiple times and not only explaining their step of the scientific method, but explaining how it relates to pill bugs. We were the first morning meeting presentation of the year and the kids set a good example!
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Drafts of our scientific method posters
In our 4A/4B math group, we did some whole-group lessons on factors and multiplies, place value, and manipulating fractions and decimals, worked independently in our workbooks, and tried our hands at one-minute Singapore sprints.

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