Today we began Unit 11 in Everyday Math. This unit focuses on measurement, volume, and 3-D solid shapes. We will likely test on this unit in a couple of weeks, as there are only about 8 lessons to cover these topics. Unit 12 is also quite short. Tests from Units 8-10 will come home early next week. I apologize for not getting these back sooner, but we’ve had a few lengthy illnesses in our class over the past 6 weeks, in addition to STAR testing which threw a bit of a wrench in our normal flow of activity.
In reading workshop we continue to work in our nonfiction book clubs. Students are learning to read closely and carefully, as well as continue to support their thinking with evidence from the text. The way in which historical fiction differs from fiction book clubs is that students are taught to focus on how the historical aspect (time, place, historical events) influence the characters, plot lines, mood, etc. of the work. Students also begin to entertain thoughts related to the author’s view of the historical time period. We will wrap this unit up in a couple of weeks. The rest of the year in reading workshop will be committed to independent reading projects leading into summer goals.
In writing workshop we are working on the very high bar set by the genre of memoir. Students have been reading and discussing exemplar texts and learning that memoir focuses on an author’s learning, often as a child. It can take many forms, but oftentimes includes flashbacks and moments from childhood that shaped the author. Frequently these focus on relationships. Students are using published work by authors such as Lois Lowry (Crow Call) and Patricia Polacco (Chicken Sunday) and work written by students like them. We will continue this work throughout the end of the year.
Next Tuesday we will begin our science unit on Environments. We will be moving quickly through this unit as we are limited in the number of days left of school, but will be as thorough as possible. I will send home more information about this unit next Tuesday.
We will begin our focus on the gold rush period of California history tomorrow with our field trip to Roaring Camp (see details in post above). The beginning of this bend signals the end of our brief discussion of westward expansion. We will likely focus on the gold rush through the end of the year, but may get beyond it. Time will tell, as tends to be a theme in the study of history….
SPECTRA art has finished for the year. We had a wonderful time working with and learning from Erica Han and the students look forward to working with her again in 5th grade. You will get to see all of their artwork at Open House on Tuesday, May 22nd.
I think that about wraps it up. Let me know if you have questions.