Category Archives: curriculum

Writing about texts.

Our class has been working to develop ideas about what they are reading to write a one page written essay.

Readers read the passage two times.  The first time is to get an idea about what the text is about and what the author is trying to tell us.  The second time is to underline important information (key ideas), to circle challenging and confusing words, to write any questions, and to write your thinking (annotate).

Students have been writing responses based on one text AND responses based on two texts that are related (paired texts).

Below are the steps students take to answer a paired text question, and the success criteria for the written essay.

Steps I take to answer a paired text question:

  1. Analyze the question.  What is it asking?
  2. Look at the first text and my annotations.  Find clues to answer the question.
  3. Look at the second text and my annotations.  Find clues to answer the question.
  4. Develop a central idea.  This is the center of the writing.
  5. Answer the question using evidence from the texts.  Use your box and bullets organizer (see below) to plan your response.  Then write your response.

 

 

writing 2017 10
Box and Bullets Organizers

 

I know I am successful when:

  1. I answered all parts of the question.
  2. I stated my central idea at the beginning of the essay.
  3. I gave evidence from the text or texts.
  4. I gave an explanation (say more) sentence for each piece of evidence. (Be sure to connect back to central idea)
  5. I wrote a conclusion sentence (so what).
writing 2017 3
Students share their essays.  They offer positive feedback and suggestions to improve writing based on the success criteria.

 

After students are finished with the essay they use a checklist to critique their writing.  This checklist allows them to analyze their writing for the central idea, evidence, explanation, and conclusion.  Perhaps the most important component is identifying what they need to work on so that they can continue to improve their writing.

writing 2017 1

Below you can see students hard at work.  They are reading essays and evaluating the essays based on the “Writing about Reading Checklist”.

 

The entire class has made significant progress and we will continue to work on writing about texts.

 

 

 

Advertisements

September classroom update.

We have been busy in the third grade!  Our students are a fun, hard working group.  Every day has been fun and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year brings!  Below is a picture from our very first day of third grade.

class-picture-first-day-2016

In English Language Arts we have been learning about fiction.  We’ve focused on characters, setting, plot, problem, and solution.  This week we learned about being a predictor and we talked a little about how we will have different roles in Reciprocal Teaching groups.

In math we have been using number lines to solve addition and subtraction problems.  We have also been using number lines to round to the nearest ten and to the nearest hundred.  This week we learned about variables and how to solve problems for an unknown number.  It is really important that students use a number line to solve problems and NOT the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction (this can be used as a second method to check our work).  Today we learned a fun new math game called “Close to 100” where students use number cards to try to find numbers that add up to 100.  Everyone loved the game!

close-to-100-2
Having fun!

 

close-to-100-1
Playing “Close to 100” during x-block (intervention).

 

We’ve started our unit on weather in science and in social studies we have been learning about Massachusetts and map skills.

massachusetts-map
Here are our completed Massachusetts maps that are hanging up outside our classroom.  We are still waiting for a few maps!

 

This week was Spirit Week at the Kennedy School.  We decorated our door with reasons why we love the Kennedy and some students dressed up for “Twin Day”.

 

books-sept-2016
These are some of the books we have been reading this year.
something-beautiful-sept-2016
“My something beautiful is…”  What is your something beautiful?

Gratitude week and curriculum.

gratitude week turkey

Students at the Kennedy School have completed a week of “Gratitude” activities.  Students shared the things they are grateful for in classroom discussions, on a turkey in the cafe, and on a sticker that they wore for an entire school day.  Many students also participated in a canned food drive and they met with their fifth grade buddies to write a letter to someone they are grateful to have in their lives.

In mathematics, the children have been practicing their multiplication facts on daily timed tests.  Some students are still trying to beat the two facts, while others have moved onto the three and four tables.  Students should be practicing their multiplication facts at home to increase their fact fluency.  Also, since we are focusing our time on multiplication in school, please review addition and subtraction on the number line in order to maintain and improve these skills.

In English Language Arts, students have been learning and practicing the roles of clarifier, questioner, and predictor as part of the Reciprocal Teaching model.  Reciprocal teaching refers to an instructional activity where students become the teacher in small groups.  The students are learning these roles so that they can learn to guide group discussions about the texts they have been reading.  After the Thanksgiving break students will be learning about the summarizing role and how to identify the main idea and details about what they’ve read.  Below you can see the cards students use to guide their discussions in their groups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The students have been learning many new things about nonfiction texts, such as how to identify nonfiction text features and how to use strategies to figure out what new vocabulary words mean.  The children have also been using “stems” to write about their predictions, to share what they’ve learned, and to tell how they know what a new vocabulary word means.  Below are a few of the anchor charts students use in the classroom to assist their learning.

anchor chart nonfiction text featuresanchor chart meanings vocab wordsanchor chart prediction stems

anchor chart what i've learned

The children have been working together in their groups and they are continually self-assessing what is working well in their group discussions and the things that they need to work on.  Here are some photographs of the students in their groups from this past week.

 

reciprocal teaching group 3reciprocal teaching group 1reciprocal teaching group 4reciprocal teaching group 2

In the upcoming week we will be reading Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen,  developing interview questions for our pilgrim interview project, and solving a challenging Thanksgiving turkey math problem.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Supply list and summer reading.

I am very happy to have you as a student for the 2015–2016 school year. We are going to have a very exciting year.

If you would like to practice your skills over the summer, here are some things you can do:

  1. Read, read, read, and read as much as possible.
  2. Study addition and subtraction facts for quick recall.
  3. Visit the library and have the librarian help you find books that interest you.
  4. Study your multiplication facts (times tables).
  5. Keep a journal about your summer.
  6. Participate in the Somerville Public Schools summer reading program. Here is the summer reading list from the Somerville Public Schools.

When shopping for school supplies, please purchase the following:

  1. 2 two-pocket folders (very important for organizational skills)
  2. Composition notebook (marble)
  3. Grid notebook
  4. Thin EXPO dry erase markers
  5. Sharpened pencils (mechanical pencils are great) and erasers
  6. Markers, crayons, and colored pencils (for projects)
  7. Highlighters
  8. Scissors
  9. Glue sticks
  10. 4 spiral notebooks
  11. Hand-held pencil sharpener
  12. Boxes of tissues, hand soap, and hand sanitizer are welcome at any time throughout the school year!

I look forward to seeing you in September!

City hall field trip.

Today our third graders walked from the Kennedy School to Somerville City Hall.  Mayor Curtatone greeted everyone in the Aldermanic Chambers, located at 93 Highland Avenue.  Mayor Curtatone shared information about the City of Somerville and he answered questions ranging from the Pilgrims to Outback Steakhouse.  The students were able to explore the Aldermanic Chambers, trying out the comfortable swivel chairs and posing for pictures.  After that, there was a trivia session in the Mayor’s office where one of the students from our class won a hat!  Students then enjoyed whoopie pies, chocolate chip cookies, and popsicles.  After the sugar rush, our class posed for some silly pictures and then we walked back to school.  It was a wonderful field trip and everyone enjoyed the day.  Thank you to Mayor Curtatone and everyone at City Hall for hosting us!

 

Waiting for Mayor Curtatone to teach us about the City of Somerville.
Waiting for Mayor Curtatone to teach us about the City of Somerville.
mayor
Listening to Mayor Curtatone.
Answering questions in the Mayor's office.
Answering questions in the Mayor’s office.
mayor funny
Silly picture!
mayor serious
Serious picture?

Our poetry.

The students have been writing poetry about the moon and themselves.  Each child has a metaphor and a simile about the moon on display.  Children have also been working on a “The moon is…” poem, which uses personification.  In addition, children are in the process of drafting, rewriting, and typing the “Biopoem”, a poem about themselves.  Students should have these poems displayed on their lockers within the next week.  Stop by to see what the boys and girls have been writing!

moon poetrybiopoem

Poetry and the moon.

It’s our first week back to the school in 2015 and we have some new curriculum topics for the new year.

This week we began our poetry unit.  Students have been discussing the difference between poetry and prose, and they have been learning to write and identify metaphors and similes.  Next week students will begin writing metaphors and similes about the moon for homework.  Which brings us to our next new topic, the moon!  This week students have started to observe and record the moon on a nightly basis.  Check your child’s homework folder to see the Student Moon Record.  We will be observing the moon (and recording it) every night for one month.  There is also a classroom moon chart if students cannot see the moon due to cloud cover.  Your child can use the classroom chart to update and/or check his or her moon record.  Encourage your child to talk about the patterns they notice while looking at the moon.

moon classroom chart
Classroom Moon Chart

 

moon student chart
Student Moon Record