Newsletter 27 – 4/5/14

**All teachers notes are in italics. 


On Wednesday (of next week), we are going to be having a Mini-MAW.It will be at 11:00. We will be letting all the parents & families come in to see what we have done since January. Students are presenting work from Invitations, Gender in the Media, HONK!, Sharon Creech Book Clubs, Readers Workshop, etc. They are practicing tying these projects to our throughline questions. We have sent out an invitation, so be sure to come! Also our play HONK! jr. is on Tuesday of next week (April 8)! Students should arrive at the Ivy Tech John Waldren no later than 6:10pm on Tuesday. We spent much of our week preparing for both of these events. Please rehearse your songs and lines and have them memorized by our rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday. 

Math Workshop

In Ms. Kalei’s math group this week we finished up our study of geometry by going over surface area and volume of figures. We also talked about similarity in figures and how to determine all three of these concepts. We took a post-assessment on our geometry unit, which we will review next week. You can support from home by pointing out reflective and rotational symmetry and perpendicular/parallel lines – these remained tricky concepts after much review. In Mr. Jim’s math group we are beginning a study of decimals and parts of a whole. This week students thought of ways to represent one decimal, i.e. how to write one tenth, or ten hundreths, one hundred thousanths, etc. We’re also looking at equivalence in decimals.

Writers Workshop

In Writer’s workshop we are finally starting fantasy-fiction! Lately we have been using Scholastic Story-Starters®. They are these very helpful little little mini-websites that give you fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure story prompts. Everyone writes them down, and then writes 1-2 paragraphs about that prompt. We also discussed sub-genres of fantasy fiction: magic, anthropomorphic, sword and sorcery, dystopian, and sci-fi. Students came up with typical criteria of each of these genres. We also discussed that the origin of a piece can start with a character, problem, or setting, and used some excerpts from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to generate new ideas. 

The prompts:

  1. A fiery shaman who steals a holy book

  2. A shrill hermit whose magical shield blocks every weapon

  3. A quest to find a courageous elder who has hypnotic eyes

  4. Eating lunch with a dishonest genius who skateboards on craters

Readers Workshop

We are continuing our study of Fantasy. We have had many talks about mental movies inside our head. When we came back from recess one day Ms.Kalei has read “My Father’s Dragon” and she asked us to lay down or close our eyes and imagine what she was reading. I imagined the alligators all scaly green and have dark brown eyes but since it was dark there eyes were red. Well here are the teaching points! TEACHING POINTS:

3/24/14 – There are many kind and qualities or fantasy books.

3/25/14 – Readers think about how the book they are reading connects to the genre of the book.

3/27/14 – Readers play mental movies.

3/31/14 – Readers figure out the setting of their story.

4/1/14 – Readers organize the details in their books.

Students were prompted to select a way to organize their notes this week. Many have note taking systems they already prefer, but we introduced some new models: question/answer, problem/solution, sequence organizers, character analysis, and elements of fantasy. We’re also encouraging readers to start searching for meaning in their books, digging deeper into importance of setting. 

Questions to Ask Your Child

  • What is your part in HONK? Do you know your lines yet? Let me practice with you. Can you please practice these songs for me: A Poultry Tale, Look at Him, The Blizzard, Wild Goose Chase, and Warts & All? (You can find these songs here).
  • What part of the mini-MAW did you work on this week? Why did you chose this project/unit (students were given full choice to pick what they would like to be a part of)?
  • What are some common fractions you know of?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for the last 10 weeks of school? Have you achieved the hope/dream you set at the beginning of the school year (if your child forgets what their hope/dream is, they can read it outside the cubbies on Monday)?
  • How did the weather impact your week?
  • How is the fantasy story you have started related to character, problem, or setting?
  • Have you had reading or writing conferences this week? What were they about?

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