Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

This morning the students began their day with a bus evacuation drill.  Once that was completed we returned to the classroom to have our weekly class meeting.

Our meeting was truly student centered today.  The group share was free choice.  Students shared what was one their students shared her favorite color is pink , while another student shared that some of his friends weren't being very friendly.  After that we exchanged thank yous and compliments.  Finally, during the challenge portion, we discussed students being unkind to one another. 

Let me say a few words about this--I feel strongly that each and every student should, rather, must feel comfortable in my classroom.  The school day is long...too long to feel uneasy!  It is my expectation that all students accept each other.  They don't have to be best buddies but I can not tolerate teasing or putting other people down.

As a class we discussed ideas of how to react when challenged with uncomfortable situations.

Next we began our math rotations.

During the teach led small group instruction, we focused on identifying known and unknown pieces of data, within word problems, as parts or wholes.  Additionally, we decided whether problems would require one or more than one steps to be solved.  Using these ideas and the bar model strategy we learned yesterday, we practiced solving word problems.

During guided practice, students worked together to solve word problems.  Finally, during the technology rotation, the students used a site called Thinking Blocks, to identify parts and wholes and solve word problems.

There is a two step word problem worksheet for HOMEWORK.

Before working independent work and small group instructional time, I modeled completing the first part of the inquiry project.

First, I chose a topic (are paper bags better than plastic?) and listed my background knowledge.

Next, I showed the students how to access the list of research links (third grade web site, inquiry projects page).

Then I read one of the linked articles and took notes on the 3 column capture chart identifying and defining key words, important facts and stakeholders.

Before turning the children loose, I took the time to name BOTH sides of each issue AND state what type of information the students needed to locate.  For example, I did not take notes on how to make paper bags...that is not pertinent.  However, I did note that bleach and chemicals used to make paper bags contribute to pollution.

So...while I met with small groups the students completed independent reading group assignments, used resources to identify and define key words, facts and stakeholders involved in their issue and identified which type of traditional tale Jack and the Giant Barbeque is and explained their thinking using support from the story.

Sharks:  The students reread pages 2-8.  In group we learned, suing examples from the text, that the letter "c" makes the "s" sound when followed by an "e" or an "i" (decided, distance, fireplace, etc.)  Then we began reading the rest of the book.  We got cut short due to lunch, but the group voted to read the rest of the book tonight.  So, for HOMEWORK the students need to read pages 9-16.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students continued working independently while I met with more groups.

Dolphins:  The students reread pages 3-12 and listed words with the /oa/ pattern.  In group we reviewed these words and the sound /oa/ makes.  We also reviewed the rhyme, "if two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking".  Then we retold the first half of the story.  Finally, we popcorn read the rest of the book.  For HOMEWORK the students need to practice their word bag cards and reread pages 13-24.

Cheetahs:  The children read their new book, Ashes for Gold, identified answers to the "before" questions written in their RRJ.  In group we reread the story and shared the students "before" questions and answers.  For HOMEWORK the children need to reread pages 2-15.

Pandas:  The students read chapters 1 and 2 of their new book, Tales from Near and Far.  They answered any of the before questions they could, that were written in their RRJ.  In group we shared their questions and I explained the difference between open and closed questions.  Open questions have more than one possible response and encourage details and information.  Closed questions are those with one answer, such as, "how old are you?".  Next we identified their questions as open or closed and practiced changing some of the wording to create open questions out of closed.  For example, who is the main character, a closed question, could be changed to describe the main character, an open one.  For HOMEWORK the children need to reread chapters 1 and 2 and write 1 open and 1 closed question that can be answered in this section of text.

At the end of the day, in science, we reviewed the 4 basic needs of all living things.  Then the students got into groups of 4 and were assigned a living organism to research using Encyclopedia Britannica. The students worked together to research the habitat in which the organism lives and illustrate a poster it showing how the basic needs are provided.  WE will continue this project next week.

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