Friday, February 27, 2015

Decisions, Sustainability And A Derby!

Hello Everyone!

This week has been nice, after all.  With all the things going on for me (migrane, back issues, new people in our class), I imagine it could have been so much worse.  But today was a nice way to reconnect and we have gotten a lot done this week, even with change.  I will give you a run-down on the many cool moments we had this week!

We honed our project cause decision down by one, so that now we are deciding between sending school supplies, supporting clean water or funding solar power for a village. Next week we will hone this down to the two we will support. (Thanks to Gaby for taking these shots when she came in to help me for a second!)

I had an interesting day in my teacher training and I took photos of our tour to share with the students.  I learned a lot about sustainability and elements to think about with our power usage.  I would recommend, if you are in the Clairemont area, to stop into their parkinglot some day you have an extra few moments at SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center (4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117).  There are signs to explain the parking lot's design, as well as the building's roof.  The cool part, for  me, was seeing the sun tracking solar panels which slowly move their position throughout the day, to best maximize their output.  There is also a cool light post that has wraparound solar paneling, which is made from this new material that they are now making roof tiles out of!  Here are some photos of my tour, which I shared with the students.  (I also made a page on how this inspired the kids!)

This week we also discussed the Positive Discipline story of Charlie, as the class is still learning the power of their words and actions.  I hope adding this image will help remind your child to share their experience with this story and how it impacted them.

This week Patrick T gave us a presentation about his Boys Scouts' Pinewood Derby!  Here are some of the photos he shared of the event.

The others were pretty interested in the event, the car Patrick and his father made and also the Boyscouts, in general!

These are the weights- the kids were interested in the fact that you get your car weighted and how this creates no unfair advantage...

Please ask your child about their bookmark design they are making with two words that sound the same, but are spelled differently!  These are in process right now, but are very creative!  I wrote a page on this, too!

Journal topics:
The meaning behind our Februrary poems
Solar power questions (see the reflection page on this)
Planting possibilities

Math concepts:
We brushed up on doubles and continued to practice subtraction and the written equation style.  We also did some time-telling practice.  Next month we will brush up on our money handling skills to get ready for our fundraiser, as we will be taking change and handling cash!

I kept many of the high frequency words on the spelling list this week. Also, we have been talking about choosing your challenge, and many students decided to pick more than what I usually ask them.  They are upping their agreement to themselves!  I noticed that many students felt the reward of being able to spell correctly a word they have been working on.  Their journal entries are showing this!

We also saw the third grade's Wizzard of Oz inspired musical.  It was another fun moment in the week!

Enjoy your weekend!  Love, Jennifer

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Microscopes, A Concert and Necessities!


This week we started with an exciting moment of using the digital microscopes with our 8th grade buddies.  It was intereting to see how things looked so different when you look at them close up.  Items like the sea sponge really looked crazy!  Some things looked totally different.  Which item did your child thing looked the most interesting and why?

That day we also cleaned up the front of the school so that our heart decorations didn't just become litter.  Once we took them all off, we counted them as a group and then I posted a real world math problem:

We talked about making an educated guess, instead of just a random guess.  You see on the board what they came up with and the math behind their thinking.  This goes with one of the math talks strategies we have worked on, which is finding a "friendly number", or a number nearby that you can more easily work with to do some estimation before, so that you can know if your work makes sense, as your outcome has come close to the number from your estimate.  You can see that their estimate was in fact the correct answer!  (With remainders, in this case)

This week we also looked at a little of the history of the Balboa theatre before we went on our exciting and special field trip!  It was interesting to see the images of when it was first built, as one had cars and a man in the clothes of the time. We discussed how this was different back then.  I learned more about the history, too!  It was especially cool, because they happen to have large images displayed in the loby right now, to show more about the history of the building, which we got to see when we were there!

The field trip was a nice one- it always is so special to be able to see live music. This year there were many instruments to watch and we were able to hear three types of saxiphones, one quite large and heavy!  I hope you can take a moment to listen to some of Scott Joplin or Duke Ellington's work, as those are two of the composers we were able to listen to!

Thank you so much to all the families who came on the trip to make it so safe and special.  Other years there have been so many classes coming and going, that I always appreciate so many adults on the trip!  We were lucky to have all of you with us!

This week we also worked on steps for our next project- helping others in the world.  We have been researching organizations that offer help for certain needs and then we chose four to look into and decide from.  The four are: Clean water or food, electricity, school supplies and loans for mothers to start their own company to support their family.  The class discussed the reasons to support each cause, and also who would ultimately benefit.  We began a chart to collect their ideas, and will continue this discussion before voting to bring it down to the two causes we will support.

We have many steps to go in this work, but the students are very interested and feel excited to be making these big decisions.  Below, you also see the kids' papers on necessities, which correlated with our study to help others, as well as this month's song, The Bare Necessities, by Louis Armstrong.  I hope you can come in to see these on the walls, in class, and discuss it more with your child!  (See this week's reflection page and one I am working on for next week, too!)

Journal topics- A story prompt: A teacher who lives in a Marshmellow Factory
Persuasive writing on which causes we ought to support
Reflections and memories on our field trip

Our spelling word wall this week included many shorter, but high frequency words that I included as a challenge so that we can get these correct, since they are words we use so often.  ***Please take a chance to talk as a family about the strategies that are and or are not working and make sure you have a system in place to help your child follow through with their personal agreement to work on the spelling words at home!

Also notice that our list of words that sound the same, but have a different spelling is growing!!!  More on this soon...

Thanks for waiting for this blog post.  My back is still bothering me way more than usual, and I may have to go in to see what is up. I never know what I might have done to cause it, but I try so hard to be careful with my crooked back!  ;)  I did get to a knitting group that I have missed for months, so that was something special!

Have a great day, Jennifer