We were tremendously honored to start this week with a visit from a published author, Helena's mom!  Izabela shared her love of writing with the children and described the process of writing from getting an idea all the way to publishing.  It was a perfect opportunity for the children to connect to their own 'how to' books, since Izabela's latest book (the title roughly translates as 'Something from Nothing') focuses on turning discarded items into useful or beautiful creations.  We are so grateful to Izabela for taking the time to visit the class and for  bringing such a fun project for the children to complete.   Please see the photos below of Izabela and the students as they present their "how to" books.

Now the children are transitioning to another form of nonfiction writing:  all-about books.  This week, we have studied a variety of examples, and we have begun to play with some ideas.  I am hoping that some of the children will ask you for help in finding materials related to their topics over the break.   Writing nonfiction is helping us build our strategies for reading nonfiction, too.  We are paying close attention to text features such as the table of contents, headings, the index, a glossary, captions below pictures, and various styles of teaching pictures (charts, diagrams, etc.)  Writing an all about book is a huge undertaking, and the children will have the chance to write more than one to develop their skills throughout the process.

Finally, as we prepare to run outside and enjoy this incredible sunshine, I would like to share with you some of the answers the children gave when I asked, "What did you learn this week?"  You will see a continued emphasis on insects and other minibeasts in the next several weeks, and we will spend a lot of time on pebblego.com.  In case you have extra free time this week, your child has the username and password for pebblego on the homework packet.  Enjoy!

Earthworms have five hearts. AC

Snails keep their eyes in their long tentacles.  ZS

Insects have six legs. MD

Bees have a yellow black yellow black pattern.  AK

Spiders have eight legs.  HZ

Earthworms have a special ring for getting married. TB

Some snails are poisonous. AC

Some spiders are poisonous.  MD

Snails have thousands of teeth. SM

Snails use their one big foot to move.  AC

Earthworms don't have eyes.  ZS

Earthworms live in the dirt.  MD

As always, thank you for sharing your children with us.  I hope you all have a lovely spring break, enjoying the  time with your families.  We'll see you in May!

When I ran into Mr. Gamble in the hall today, he asked me why I was smiling.  I said, "I'm the luckiest teacher in the school."  He immediately wanted three reasons why I felt that way.  I said that I couldn't give him three.  I've got 17 reasons that I'm so happy to come to school every day.

The children are earning compliments right and left.  We were publishing our Earth Day paragraphs in the computer lab today (they'll go up in the hallway next week), and Ms. Bohn was very impressed with how quickly and competently the children typed their paragraphs.  Ms. Leishman noticed how quietly the class was walking in the hall.  Mrs. Matter noticed how the children love to read and check out new books in the library.  Miss Nina and I both feel very grateful to work with these outstanding students.

This week, the children have been working on "how to" books, which is a general introduction to our nonfiction writing unit.  We are also diving into more nonfiction reading, so stay tuned for tips and strategies specific to nonfiction.  In math, we are nearing the end of Unit 7 on patterns.  You probably noticed a variety of pattern activities coming home that repeated some of the same concepts.  Before we were working on identifying the unit that repeats in a repeating pattern.  This week we have focused on growing patterns, using penny jar problems and staircase towers as the main examples. 

Finally, thank you all for the thoughtful gift, the beautiful flowers and delicious lunch on Tuesday.  Miss Nina and I feel truly spoiled!  Thank you!  You made Teacher Appreciation Day very special!  
Miss Nina and I had goosebumps during your student-led conferences this week.  It was an honor to see the children supported and encouraged by incredibly loving families.  We hope you enjoyed this opportunity to see the children in their classroom environment.  In some ways, this space is their second home, so it is especially important to celebrate their achievements at school.  The children have made magnificent progress since the beginning of the year, and this is just the beginning of their learning lives.   Thank you!
In Math this week, we spent some time wrapping up the unit on story problems, however we will continue applying addition and subtraction strategies throughout the year.  We are also beginning a quick study of repeating patterns.  Our goals in this section (so far) are:  identifying the unit of a repeating pattern, representing a repeating pattern in more than one way, extending a repeating pattern, and identifying what comes several steps beyond the visible part of a repeating pattern.  Your child is bringing home some examples of class work that will show our work.

In content this week we continued our study of dental health.  So you are aware, we have arranged for a dentist to visit our class in May.   This will be a nice complement to our studies.  The children have also been preparing to share their learning about dental health with you during Student-Led Conferences next week.

The  Guided Reading groups are all working on strategies to think about our reading.  Students are making predictions and working to make more meaningful connections to the elements of the story.  This is a critical development for the children, as we need to shift away from literal connections, e.g.  "The main character has a dog, and I have a dog, too." to more thoughtful connections, e.g.  "The main character was worried about keeping her dog safe, and I was also terrified about what might happen to my dog when she ran away."

As a side note, in our morning meeting, we have begun practicing telling time on an analog clock.  This is not an essential part of our curriculum, but it is a really helpful life skill. 

Thank you all for signing up for a conference time next week.  Ms. Nina and I will be here, of course, to support the children as they share their learning with you.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send them along. 

I wish you a restful and joyful holiday weekend!