Friday, December 12, 2014

Week of December 8-12

Our third graders enjoyed the Nutcracker Act II put on by Ballet Austin. 

In math this week we all learned about personal financial literacy. We discussed fixed and variable expenses. For example, a car payment is a fixed expense and an electric bill is a variable expense. We also talked about making a profit, the cost of resources, saving options, deposits, and withdrawals.

In reading, we practiced reading fluently, responding to text, and analyzing several holiday books for theme and author's purpose. Fourth Grade analyzed the first chapter of The Coldest Day in Texas. We are having a special author's visit from her on Monday, and we spent a great deal of time looking at the piece from both a writer's and reader's perspective. Speaking of writing, we continued to hone our skills of description and narratives.

In science, we've continued our exploration of mixtures and solutions. We even discovered that we could separate a mixture of two liquids with different densities!

We were also able to separate mixtures by looking at their shape. Did you know salt is cubical in shape? We do now!

We enjoyed some technology exploration this week in the Hour of Code, a global initiative designed to introduce computer science basics. Click here to learn more!

We've also been filling each others' stockings with notes of kindness and appreciation, an SBLC tradition!

Hope your weekend is filled with treasures, too!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hello, December!

We're back from Thanksgiving Break and ready to take on December!

Before we left, we enjoyed Math Day. We completed activities to strengthen our number sense, discussed definitive entities, and graphed information using surveys we created.

We also shared our November Homework, which is always inspiring. The level of pride and ownership our Shooting Stars display when sharing with their peers demonstrates true accountability. So proud of their hard work!

Speaking of hard work, we decided to express our gratitude to our custodial staff for everything they do for our school. Last Tuesday, we became "Recycling Fairies" and secretly emptied all the recycling bins on campus. This task, which normally takes a large chunk of our custodians' time, was accomplished quickly with 66 compassionate helpers. Great job putting empathy into action, SBLC!

This week has been full of hands-on exploration of mixtures and solutions in science. We've identified substances that are joined to make mixtures, which tools can be used to separate them, and which physical properties allow for separation.

In math we all had fun graphing how many letters we had in our names. We found the range and mode of our class data. We also enjoyed a math project the students created around kindness or a holiday theme that involved math.

In project this week, we took personal surveys, categorized our findings, and have created "Me" posters. We learned what makes a strong visual presentation, how to best organize information to catch the attention of the viewer, and placement strategies. 

After making our rough draft plan in our notebooks, we were ready to tackle the actual poster. Results will be posted next week! We know that these lessons prepare them for any future poster/presentations (Science Fair, book shares, etc.)!

In reading and writing, we changed our focus for part of the week on nonfiction and expository writing. We practiced writing several outlines and began drafts in writing, and in reading we even took on the circulatory system via high school textbook diagrams! We learned how nonfiction is organized to best help us understand that the information isn't simply a great mass of details, but is tied to a larger main idea. Knowing how the pieces fit together and how to use all the information on the page together makes for successful comprehension of the text!!

We also enjoyed more books by our upcoming visiting author, Phil Bildner.  Mrs. Smith reminded us at library that if we want him to autograph a personal copy, you can buy the books anywhere. She just needs them in her hands before the 16th so she can have a stack ready for him to sign when he arrives.

Monthly homework went out Monday, and all the kids are busy planning/executing their acts of kindness. We are loving their giving spirits!!

Have a safe and happy weekend!
The SBLC Team

Friday, November 21, 2014

Whew! What a Week!

This week learned a great mindfulness strategy. We learned that our brains tend to focus on the negative in situations. We had a visual of a bottle with a thin neck that only lets in these smaller, negative "balls." The larger, and positive, green balls bounce off the top and don't fit in the neck. We need to OPEN the bottle neck. We can actually, "use our mind to train our brain," (Rick Hanson) We know that teaching ourselves to be optimistic helps our overall health, so this is important! We learned HEAL.

Try it at home! It's super relaxing and calming!

In reading we honed our skills as summarizers of fiction. We are CSERT experts! Focusing on the main Character, the Setting, narrowing the Experience they are having, watching for the Resolution, and finally, adding the Theme or lesson results in a very accurate summarization of the text. We practiced with a number of books, including one from our Dec. 15th visiting author. We enjoyed Phil Bildner's book, The Soccer Fence, a historical fiction book that is set in South Africa during the time of Apartheid.

In writing we have been drafting, and revising, and revising again! We've explored the art of adding details that "Show, don't Tell." Instead of : "I was happy," we describe the smiles on our faces, the high fives, and the tears of joy streaming down our faces. Much richer writing! We examined a small moment narrative poem by Ralph Fletcher called "The Good Old Days," and are using it as mentor text to compose our own poems, which eventually will become full narratives.

In math, 4th graders are learning to multiply a two digit number by a two digit number. Our 3rd graders are designing candy boxes using tiles, graph paper and multiplication arrays. Second graders used play money to make a dollar. We also had fun practicing number sense and talking about our strategies to figure out logic problems.

Also, Monday, November 24 is Math Day and we would like for our students to wear a shirt with numbers on it.

In social studies, we compared and contrasted the lives of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. We discovered that there were many differences, but these communities also shared many things in common.

In science, we've started our mixtures and solutions unit. We've identified characteristics of both and can't wait to dive into some investigations over the next few weeks.

Second graders experienced some hands-on science at Westcave Preserve on Tuesday! It was an incredible day packed with environmental science. We could hardly contain our excitement on the way there...

Learning about limestone and Westcave's history from Mr. Paul...

Checking out some of the preserve's natural resources: flint rock.

Check out those adorable scientists!

What happens when a stalactite and stalagmite meet? A column is created!

We even got to touch a stalagmite! Ask your second grade scientist about its properties. :)

Stalactites weren't the only things hanging from the ceiling: we met Otis, a Myotis bat (also known as a little brown bat or mouse-eared bat). He slept through our visit but was super cute!

We learned that oak trees can create a special growth called a gall. The gall forms around the insect larvae, which eventually bores a hole to escape!

We had a blast!

Have a great weekend!
Your SBLC Team