Friday, January 30, 2015

Last Week in January!

This week, we switched up our groups and are learning Power Point in our Project Block. To create the slides, we are using our knowledge of summarizing fiction with a picture book related to acceptance. The students used CSERT to analyze the book, and are now putting that information on slides piece by piece. It will be exciting to see how using technology brings new energy to our learning!

Each grade level has had some challenging sessions in ELA and reading! Second Graders have reached the midway point of our chapter book, The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. With the volume of events that occur each chapter, finding the character's main struggle is more difficult! We have de-constructed and analyzed each part to see a clearer picture. There were quite a few "ahas!"
Third Graders have been mesmerized by Rain Reign, and we have discussed, analyzed, and theorized about Rose's struggle. We discovered the climax of the story, and are now seeing how the end fourth of the book is all a part of the resolution. Amazing thinking in that group! Similarly, Fourth Grade was faced with analyzing a model narrative by Lois Lowry. It took lots of discussion, but the awareness of how a piece is crafted was phenomenal. They are seeing it from a different perspective, which means they aren't just memorizing "what a narrative needs," but actually HOW to CRAFT a piece.

We culminated our energy unit with some fun and engaging review games (ala Hedbanz and Heads Up).  Then we wrote to show our understanding by explaining where we see energy in our daily lives, how it transforms, and which forms we feel are most important and why.

Monthly homework came in and we enjoyed sharing the wonderful things there.

In math fourth graders learned how to use models to make equivalent fractions. We also used multiplication to find equivalent fractions. Third graders learned strategies for solving division story problems. Second graders worked with even and odd numbers and told how they are different. We also used place value to find 10 more or 10 less than a number.

Forecasts call for a rainy weekend, stay safe and enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Energy Websurf

Hello, super scientists!

Click on the links below to complete your Energy Websurf. Read all directions and double check your work for accuracy! 

When you complete your Websurf, leave a comment telling something new that you learned today. Remember--comments with errors will not get posted, so double check before you post! :)

2nd grade
Part I: Sources of Sound

Part II: Light and Shadows

Part III: Watt's That, Jr.

3rd grade
Part I: Geothermal

Part II: Tiki the Penguin-Energy

Part III: Types of Energy

Part IV: What is Sound?

4th grade
Part 1: Forms of Energy

Part II: Energy Transfer--Click Choose a Topic, then click Energy

Friday, January 23, 2015

Short & Super Week!

We packed a lot of learning into our short week!

In project block, we read several stories about Martin Luther King, Jr. with varying perspectives, including March On! by Christine King Harris, Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, and My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III. Analyzing and comparing these texts facilitated incredibly rich discussions, heartfelt engagement, and application of empathy.

We've definitely got a group of scientists in our midst! We presented our projects, recorded what we found interesting about the topics of our peers, and reflected on the experience. Our projects will line our hallway for another week and then be sent home next Friday. Super job, Science Fair participants!

In social studies, second graders have conducted family interviews and used technology to research their heritage. We've loved learning about our past and discovering the details that make our SBLC family so diverse! Third graders worked in collaborative groups to compare and contrast the lives and accomplishments of significant explorers. Their presentations have definitely showcased their creativity and teamwork. After fourth graders compared information about early Texans from primary and secondary sources, they worked in teams to analyze, interpret, and present their findings.

In math fourth graders learned how to play a division game called Leftovers. They used a die, fifteen tiles, and 6 plates which was really construction paper squares to play the game. Third graders enjoyed reading The Homework Table and The Doorbell Rang. Now they are creating a poster that goes along with the book. Second grade enjoyed writing division stories. They played a game called All in the Family and used cards and their fact family skills to win the game.

We are all captivated by our novels. Second Grade began The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes, We are having rich discussion about what we are learning about the main character, Billy, and examining how the character traits now are essential for us to understand in order to predict his choices along the way. Third Grade continues to develop theories for Rose, as she struggles with the loss of her dog. The two perspectives in When My Name Was Keoko keep Fourth captivated at every turn. Not only are we learning about WWII, but also the Korean culture. It is interesting to discuss the depth of respect and veneration that is given to elders. It's eye opening for some of them.

Our writing centers are chugging along, we are practicing our mechanics in writing as well as the creativity of description. We have been working on individualized needs in group, and it's been neat to see the blossoming of ideas in a smaller setting.

We'll be ready to wrap up the month with more fun on Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!
Mrs. Blake, Mrs. Forrest, & Ms. Reiman

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week of January 12-16, 2015

This has been another week filled with long division for fourth graders.

 We also read The Thirst Quencher and designed our very own vending machine. Then we used multiplication and division to tell how many items the machine holds. We also went on to  to practice personal financial literacy. Third graders continued to work on 2 digit by 1 digit multiplication. We read Party Plans by the Number! Then we broke up into groups and started working on plans for a picnic. This event planning involve a lot of math. Second graders enjoyed using dry erase boards to practice multiplication. We also read Each Orange Had 8 Slices then we drew pictures and math problem that went along with the pictures in the book.

This week in reading we continued our novel/author studies. We continued to analyze and discuss the many layers of meaning. We started our passages for homework as a way to practice analyzing text.
Our writing centers started this week -- we will explain them to you this weekend in portfolio review.

We continued our study of energy in science and enjoyed some hands-on exploration of heat, light, sound, and mechanical energy.

Using a few toy cars to investigate the movement of mechanical energy...

rockin' out with some dancing rice to visualize sound vibrations...

observing the effects of the sun's light energy with some color-changing ultraviolet beads...

and demonstrating how heat energy affects molecular speed.

Fourth grade ended the week with a fantastic tour of Texas history at the Bob Bullock History Museum. A lone-star-sized thanks to our chaperones! We had a great time!

Enjoy the three-day weekend!
Your SBLC Team

Friday, January 9, 2015

We Are Loving That We're Back!

Happy New Year!

We have been working hard all week and getting back into routines. Some new (ask about reading logs and writing centers) and some old familiars.

In project block, we've been using our presentation posters that we made in December to learn more about and from, each other. We are writing letters to one another, and finding opportunities to find commonalities and to learn something new as well!

Second Grade began an Author Study of Kevin Henkes. Third is delving into Rose's life in Rain Reign, and Fourth has started, When My Name was Keoko  by Linda Sue Park. Ask your child to fill you in!

Our writing plans include centers in the next few weeks. Along with writing group with Mrs. Forrest two days, they will also rotate through Homograph, Mountain Language (not HW anymore) and cursive handwriting activities. We will be busy! Spelling is back in swing as well!

In addition, we will start our weekly reading passages Wednesday nights next week. It is due on Thursday, and the kids have done an example with me and they have it in their take home folders. You can help them out at times, but we really want them to do as much as possible independently. They know the expectations, and it does take time and thought.

In math our fourth graders learned long division this week. There are several steps to long division so we used a phrase to help us. Does McDonald's serve cheese burgers? First, divide, then multiply, subtract, check, then bring down. Our third graders learned how to multiply a two digit number by a one digit number. They also worked with multiplying multiples of ten. Second graders learned to describe multiplication  using circles and putting the same number of smaller circles in each group. They also wrote multiplication stories using a graphic organizer and manipulatives.

We've started our unit about energy in science. We've identified and defined several forms including light, heat, and sound. Third and fourth grade also learned that mechanical energy--the energy of movement--is the total of potential (stored) and kinetic (motion) energy. We are looking forward to exploring energy with some hands-on lessons next week!

In social studies we've been talking about people. Second grade learned about our culturally-diverse country and how our country has grown over time. Third and fourth grade began research projects to understand the impact and significance of various explorers in our history.

We ended our week with a fabulous Jazz concert by the Austin Jazz enjoyable!

A few important reminders as we get back into the groove:
*Students not present at 7:45 will be marked tardy (even if assembly is still in progress).
*4th grade field trip to Bob Bullock is next Friday, 1/16 (class shirts, disposable lunch & drink). If you have a rolling cooler that we can use, please e-mail Mrs. Blake.

Stay safe and warm this weekend!
The SBLC Team

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