This month is reading workshop we will be continuing our nonfiction unit. The kids have learned different strategies to read nonfiction texts by identifying text structures, overcoming tough words, tackling the hard parts, and making connections to the topic.
Soon we will begin working in research groups and applying our non-fiction reading strategies as we read about extreme weather (blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc). The kids will use what they know about text structures to synthesize within and across multiple texts. They will take what they have researched and learned and teach it to their peers.
We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. The kids are learning how to create a strong thesis statement (claim), support that statement with powerful reasons and a multitude of examples, and provide a strong concluding paragraph. Thus far, we have practiced our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genre of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). The kids have tried to be persuasive in their writing and convince others to believe in their thesis statement. As we further develop our skills in opinion writing, we will broaden our topics and begin to craft thesis statements based on bigger ideas that impact larger groups such as our community, country, and our world.
The month of December will find the kids diving deeper into the process of persuasive essay writing. Throughout this two month unit the kids have learned how to use transition words and phrases to articulate and organize their thoughts, they have learned how to elaborate on the reasons they planned to support their theses, and how to support those reasons with detailed examples. As we round out this writing unit, the kids will learn how to write a counterclaim to make their argument more persuasive as well as how to finalize their essay with a call to action for the reader.
This month we find ourselves deep in the heart of Unit 3, Multiple Towers and Cluster Problems. As we complete our investigation of this unit, the students will examine the mathematical relationship that underlies the pattern they see when a number is multiplied by a multiple of 10. Additionally, they will develop strategies for solving multiplication problems with larger 2-digit numbers by breaking the problems apart in order to use number relationships that they know. Students will also be looking at division, division with remainders, division stories, division strategies, related multiplication and division problems, and writing/solving a division problem.
You can help your child with multiplication and division facts at home using flashcards. Below are math resources that you and your child may use at home for Unit 3.
Math – Unit 3
Multiplication Problems and Cluster Problems
Multiplication Cluster Problems
Multiplying by Groups of Tens
Multiplication with Arrays
Strategies for Solving Multiplication Problems
Division and Multiplication
Learning Multiplication Facts
Remainders: What to do with the extras?
As we continue our study of Colorado History, the students will learn about various groups of people who have lived in or helped develop Colorado; the Native Americans, the European Explorers, the Fur Traders, Gold Rushers, and the early European Settlers. Our study of these groups will involve the analysis of the positive and negative impact each group made on the other group and how each group influenced our current culture. Ultimately, the kids will select which group of people they feel had the most influence on CO, and they will then construct a persuasive essay using the skills they learned in our current writing unit to persuade their classmates why they believe their selected group was the most influential.
Sustainable Traditions Project
With the spirit of giving in mind, this month we will learn about sustainable traditions. A sustainable tradition is a tradition that can be done each year. We will focus on sustainable traditions that “give back”. As we build background knowledge on this subject matter, we will read various texts with real life examples. For instance, one article is about a 15 year old boy who started a group that gives new shoes to homeless children. Another is about an 11 year old boy from Utah whose lemonade stand profits purchase wheelchairs for people in developing countries.
The kids will explore how they can create holiday traditions with their family that can incorporate this spirit of giving back. For instance, the kids may choose to create a sustainable tradition in which each year they bake and decorate cookies with their family and they bring the cookies to a local nursing home to spread holiday cheer to the residents. Another example might be to gather their gently used and no longer played with toys and books, wrap them, and bring them to a local women’s shelter to share with the children there.
The kids will create a digital presentation for the class which you will be able to view at home through their gmail account. Each year I am amazed at the creativity the kids exhibit with this project. I have received a good deal of feedback over the years as many parents and kids have chosen to follow the plan created in school and have made it a tradition for their family. I hope you find it to be a good talking point for you and your family, regardless of whether or not you choose to partake in the tradition.
December 18th-Gingerbread House (Financial Literacy)
· More information to come
December 20th - Winter Celebration (Hot Chocolate Bar)
· More information to come
December 21st - No School (Winter Break)