Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Today at writing time, I told the students a story. "I went to my friends' camp. I went paddleboarding. It was fun."
We all agreed that it was a pretty boring story, so I told it again.
"One beautiful summer day, I went to my friends' camp on a pond in Maine. I could see the sparkling clear blue water of the lake and hear the call of loons across the water. . . ." The class liked the second version better. I then asked them to turn and talk with a friend, describing the setting of the story they are currently writing. A little later, I asked them to look to the beginnings of their own stories to see if they could add some details about the setting.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
When students write stories consisting of just a few sentences, they generally have no trouble remembering to start each sentence with an uppercase letter and end with a period. However, as they begin producing longer stories, concentrating mightily to get all those words down on paper, some students skip the punctuation altogether. When asked to go back and put periods at the end of sentences, many are unsure where the periods should go.
In an attempt to avoid this issue, I decided to begin our writing lessons with a brief lesson on ending punctuation. First we tackled the question: What is a sentence? A sentence is about a subject, and what that subject is or does.
Next, we played the subject-predicate game. I gave groups of students several subjects (The cat, a white rabbit, the boy, etc.) and several predicates (swam in the pond, flies in the sky, eats mice, etc.) and let them mix them up to create silly sentences. They used glass beads as periods to end their sentences.
After reading and admiring one another's work, students copied a few of the silly sentences, using stickers as periods. If they had extra time, they wrote and punctuated their own silly sentences.
From now on, I'll be encouraging students to punctuate as they write, pausing often to consider whether what they just wrote is a full sentence, and remembering to end with ending punctuation and begin the next sentence with an uppercase letter. Punctuation rules!
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
We have been working with Cuisenaire Rods as concrete manipulatives to solidify knowledge of math facts. We started by reviewing the commutative property of addition: 5+3 = 3+5. Note that students also wrote the equations using abbreviations for the colors: y+g=g+y. Years from now, when they start algebra, using letters to represent numbers won't seem so strange to them!
Monday, September 19, 2016
After reading the book Amazing Grace, about a girl who can do anything if she puts her mind to it, we decided that we're all amazing. Here are our Amazing Me pictures, which will be posted in the hallway. When you come to school, lift up the picture to see a few of the things that make each one of us amazing.