ELA – In Reading we have been reading through many texts that tie in with our newest writing unit. As we have been reading our variety of picture books like, Each Kindness, The Other Side, Freedom Summer, and more, we have been looking for and discussing the themes of each story. We have (both as a class and independently) made character action charts and interpreted why we think the characters are doing what they are doing throughout the story. Additionally, students have been making plot diagrams to identify the most important parts of each story, conflicts and resolutions. For our writing, we are using the texts we have been reading to write thesis statements or claims and look for evidence from our text to help us prove our point. The students are working hard to make inferences about the texts and to push their thinking about what and why different parts of the story are happening as they are. We wrote our first literary essay about the Panyee Football Club. Ask your student to share with you about this story and their work because it is an inspirational story! Students will continue to write literary essays about the texts we have read during reading time.
Our next unit is poetry and we have our big Poetry Cafe on April 25th from 6:15-7:00. This event is mandatory for all students. It is a fantastic showcase of all the students’ hard work throughout the unit! We hope you will all be able to join us!!
Math – Students recently wrapped up a unit on multiplying and dividing fractions. Students overall were very strong procedurally but are still working on visualizing story problems and developing a plan for solving problems involving fractions. These will be concepts that we continually revisit throughout the year. Two strategies that students used were sketching the problem using circles or rectangles and substituting easier numbers in the problem.
When sketching out a problem students may choose to use a square, rectangle, or circle to represent the whole. Labeling their sketches with words and/or numbers and estimating their answer or asking themselves “is this answer reasonable?” will also help students to solve word problems. Another strategy to help students determine which operation to use in solving a problem is to substitute easier numbers in the problem. For example, if the original problem states “It takes ¼ cup of sugar to make a batch of cookies. Jim has 6 cups of sugar, how many batches of cookies can he make?” students might think about this problem instead “It takes 2 cups of sugar to make a batch of cookies. Jim has 6 cups of sugar, how many batches of cookies can he make?” With easier numbers students have an easier time seeing that this is a division problem and also determining which number is the divisor and which number is the dividend.
As we move into taking a closer look at decimals students will start by comparing, ordering, rounding, and writing decimals. This builds on the place value work that we have done throughout the year and in previous years. Students will also formally study addition and subtraction of decimals before moving into decimal multiplication and division. Students rely on estimation and questioning if the result is reasonable as they look at decimal multiplication and division rather than relying on tricks like counting or moving decimals. Thank you for helping to reinforce these strategies at home.
Social Studies- We have been studying the Dust Bowl. We began our unit by mapping where the Dust Bowl happened. This gave students a strong sense of where the Dust Bowl took place and where the most damage occurred. We also watched a Dust Bowl documentary so students could gain background knowledge about this time period. Currently we are reading a non-fiction text about the Dust Bowl and answering questions to go along with it. During read-aloud time we are are reading a historical fiction novel titled Out of the Dust. As the unit continues students will be completing a perspectives project in which they put themselves in the place of someone living in this time period and decide if they would stay with their land or leave in hopes of a better life. Once this project is complete, students will work on creating a Public Service Announcement about a more current problem and ways to help stop it. The students will make an iMovie, which are always impressive and inspirational to share with the class.