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

Mixtures Websurf

Hello, scientists!

Use the links below to learn more about mixtures and solutions!

Part I: Separating Mixtures

Part II: Mixture Basics

Part III: Mixtures and Solutions Project
***You will have to click the small x to close the ad to view the video.

If you get finished, you may play a mixture and solution game here:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comparing & Contrasting Pilgrim & Wampanoag

Use the information on the site below to compare (find similarities) and contrast (find differences) the lives of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people.

Record at least one similarity and one difference for housing, clothes, food, chores, school, and games.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Showing What We Know

We packed quite a bit into this chilly, abbreviated week!

After a visit from real-life heroes Lieutenant Commander Scott and Chief Warrant Officer Scott, we discussed the definition, character traits, and importance of veterans. Second grade even learned how to create a word cloud using the characteristics they identified.

We also capitalized on this authentic opportunity to teach the elements of a thank you note. These heartfelt letters are sure to bring smiles to our special guests' faces.

We reviewed our understanding of heat energy and its effects, then wrapped up the week by showing what we know!

In reading, Fourth Grade finished their study of Valli in Deborah Ellis' book, No Ordinary Day. It's incredible the impact that this book had on our thinking. The discussion was rich, the awareness turned on, and our curiosity piqued about others outside of our daily lives. We also took our reading benchmark, which was an opportunity to show how we tackle tests. Third Grade is finishing up Rules, an award winner by Cynthia Lord. We are carefully watching for the signposts which enable us to more easily grasp the character's true struggle. We have developed an empathy for Catherine, and are cheering her on as she faces tough decisions. We also had the chance to show what we know with our benchmarks. Second Grade continues their work on summarization, structure, and distinguishing main ideas from details.

Second and Third wrote some fabulous "favorite mistake" drafts -- exploring narrative. They used planners to identify the important parts of the actual event, but also to identify why this event was significant. What the learning/lesson of the story was. They also know that Mrs. Forrest learned a huge lesson involving a bowl of cereal. Fourth Grade has been hard at work with expository, and using complex sentences to enrich the piece. They used their benchmark drafts and examined mentor text as a comparison to help them set goals and see where they can make improvements.

In math this week we learned a new word, subitizing. It means to have the ability to count a collection of items without having to count each item individually. We want our students to be able to group items together to count efficiently.

Reminder: Tuesday, 11/18, second grade will visit Westcave Preserve. The forecast is cold, but clear, so wear layers! It's going to be a beautiful, exciting day!

Bundle up and have a great weekend,
The SBLC Crew

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day!

We were lucky enough to have two veterans visit yesterday, Lieutenant Commander Charlie Scott and Chief Warrant Officer Chuck Scott. A special thank you to our local heroes for their service and for taking time to share about their experiences in the armed forces. We sincerely appreciate you!

Chief Warrant Officer Chuck Scott, United States Army

Lieutenant Commander Charlie Scott, United States Navy

We'll share more from their presentation on Friday. 

In the mean time, remember the reason behind today and take a moment to be grateful... 
for our veterans... 
for the the many sacrifices they've made...
for the freedoms we have because of them.