Sunday, March 16, 2014

T is for Time

Hi Parents and Students,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We had a busy week with lots of learning.

For Math last week we finished our unit on telling time and doing problem solving using time. We took our test on Wednesday and it turned out to be a difficult unit for the class. In order to make sure our students understand this concept, we're going to spend this week reviewing time and the second grade concept of measurement. We will have another assessment on Thursday to check for understanding.

In Writing last week we focused on understanding literary hooks. Students practiced creating hooks by taking dull narrative introductions and updating them so they captivated the rest of the class. We will continue practicing the skill this week and will apply it to our new narrative.

We read the short story The Mysterious Giant of Barletta last week and students practiced citing information from the text in the answers to their comprehension questions. Students made progress on the skill of citing last week, but still need to put more effort into crafting complete answers. This week we'll continue to practice this skill as well as identifying story movers.

Last week in Science we finished our matter and energy unit and we briefly discussed phase changes in matter. We also reviewed how to identify matter. This week we will start our study of the sun, moon, and stars.

In Social Studies we had an Ohlone presenter. He talked to the students about the Ohlone lifestyle and showed them how to crush acorns. He even built a small fire on the blacktop. Students got to use a drill press, play the game of staves, and paint their faces with special rocks. We'll continue our Ohlone study this week.

Keep an eye out for those leprechauns tomorrow and don't forget to wear green!

Mrs. Andersen

Sunday, March 9, 2014

O is for Oobleck and Ohlone

Dear Spectacular Students and Parents,

I hope you all remembered to turn your clocks ahead for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time this morning. We may have some drowsy students tomorrow, but we have a lot of great things going on this week that will be sure to help them adjust quickly.

Last week in math we started our unit about time. Students practiced converting between measures of time and determining elapsed time. As we move into this week, we will practice telling time to the minute and problem solving using a combination of time-calculating strategies. Our topic test covering these concepts will be on Wednesday.

In writing last week we reflected on our personal experiences. We also continued to refine our "Paintings Came to Life" narratives. This week we will be starting our "ABC Fairytales", through which students will tell a traditional fairytale in 26 sentences, each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet. We will begin this piece by learning and analyzing various literary hooks.

We wrapped up our study of Los Altos history in social studies last week by comparing Los Altos then and now. We also began our Ohlone study with a wonderful field trip to Coyote Hills. It was so fun to see social studies come to life for our students. We're very thankful for all of the parents who made the trip possible. Coming up this week, we will officially end our study of Los Altos history with an assessment on Tuesday. We will then continue our Ohlone studies for the remainder of the week.

Last week in reading we worked with a narrative selection called Dogzilla. During our reading time, we focused on the elements of fantasy and realism that the author used to create this humorous piece. We continued to develop our skill of using text evidence to answer questions. This skill continues to be challenging for our studies, so this week, students will have the opportunity to review and correct mistakes made on their selection test. We will also practice this skill as we read our next piece entitled The Mysterious Giant of Barletta.

For science last week we studied the different states of matter. First, we experienced non-newtonian fluids by creating Oobleck. A wonderful teacher from Camp Edmo visited and taught our students this lesson. In the Stem Lab students sorted various objects by their state of matter and created rules for each state. In our own room, we reviewed the states of matter through a reading and discussed the difference between opinions and evidence. This week we will finish our study of matter and take an investigation quiz.

As a reminder, report cards will go home on Friday. It has certainly been a great trimester. Please read below to hear from last week's Scout of the Week.

Mrs. Andersen

This week our class had a fun field trip at Coyote Hills to learn about the Ohlone Indians.  It was exciting to play some the games that the Ohlone played and makes strings out of thule.  We learned that the Ohlone used obsidian to make their spiers.

We had a visit from a camp counselor and learned about the three parts of matter.  Solid, liquid and gas.  During this visit we learned how to make oobleck, which I thought was totally cool!  So did my sister!  

In class, Mrs. Andersen taught us how to find the elapsed time.  During the week we enjoyed hearing all of the different historical fiction presentation from all of the class.  

Thank you to all our parent volunteers who were able to chaperone at our field trip and to our 3rd grade teachers for organizing such a fun day of learning for us.  

Enjoy the week and longer days,
Scout # 7

Sunday, March 2, 2014

C is for Colored Light

Dear Amazing Parents and Hardworking Students,

We have been doing a lot activities in class. A few of these projects are very exciting. Here are two of the many subjects we are having fun with:

In Science, our class is learning about matter and energy. As you may or may not have already seen, your student has a light tube. They made it and have had a lot of fun using it. The light tube makes color out of white light.

In Social Studies,we have learned about Los Altos history. We have learned that where Foothill Expressway runs today was where two main railroad tracks once ran.

Thank you for all your support!

Special Thanks to Roomparents!


Scout of the week #16

Dear Wonderful Parents and Students,

I just wanted to add to what our excellent scout has already told you about last week and give you a heads up on our upcoming adventures this week.

We just finished up Math Topic 15 with a class average of 85% on the test. Most Students who struggled with this topic need to work on their mastery of multiplication facts. Since multiplication and division are so closely related, the ability to recall facts is so important for simple two and three digit division. Additionally, many students lost points for failing to label and show their work. Students were repeatedly reminded to show what they were doing in their head on the paper. Please encourage your students at home to show their work. Last week we will be starting Topic 16 which focuses mainly on time measurement.

In social studies we dove into Los Altos history a bit more, looking at the time spanning its establishment all the way to the population boom after World War II. In addition, we looked at where Los Altos is located geographically. Next week we will be working on how Los Altos fits into the global community. Last week we are also kicking off our Ohlone studies with our upcoming field trip.

In reading we finished our study of our Martin Luther King text. We will continue to work on text connections and citing evidence as we head back into our HM reader. We will be reading Dogzilla last week.

For science last week we worked on understanding how the eyes see color and the difference between colored and white light. Part of this exploration included making a light tube with diffraction grading. This allowed students to see the spectrum of light being reflected in our classroom. We will be finishing up this unit with matter in the upcoming weeks.

Writing was exciting last week. We wrote poems about various colors as a tie in to our science activities. We also revised our "paintings, come to life" narratives by removing the word "said" in our dialogue to create a more vivid picture.

This is the last week of the trimester and we have two weeks until report cards come home. I'm sure it will be a great week!

- Mrs. Andersen

Sunday, February 23, 2014

V is for Valentine's

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful week off and enjoyed your time with your families. We're going to jump right back into the swing of things tomorrow, so get ready.

Two weeks ago in Math, we finished our Topic 14 on multiplication of greater numbers. The majority of our class did exceptionally well on this topic. Our class average on the test was 88%, however the majority of the students scored above 90%. This week we'll be dividing greater numbers and we'll have a test on Friday.

In Social Studies we continued to learn about Los Altos history and I hope that you have the opportunity to go on the Los Altos walking tour that was sent home in your Thursday envelope. You can also find it here: Los Altos Walking Tour This tour is a great way to bring history to life for your student. We will continue to study this topic for the next few weeks.

In science we started working on the movement of light. We also finished our study of fuel and energy. We'll be looking at reflection and colored light this week.

We started a new writing prompt two weeks ago about a painting that comes to life. Students are exploring famous works of art and creating an imaginative narrative using dialogue. We will continue to refine and edit these pieces this week.

We have continued working on our Martin Luther King book for reading. We have incorporated the use of poetry into our studies and analyzed the key vocabulary. We also continued to work on our text connections and citing evidence to support our answers. We should be finishing this book by the end of the week.

Additionally, we revisited our popsicle stick bridges and tried to determine which could hold the most weight. Our bridges were stronger than anticipated and the third grade teachers are currently finding another time for us to test their strength with more weight. Also, a big thanks to our wonderful room parents and the volunteers who made our Valentine's party so special!

See you bright and early!

Mrs. Andersen

Sunday, February 9, 2014

F is Fraction

Hi Class and Parents,

We had a lot of students coming in and out with the flu last week. Please keep your students at home if they're having a fever or other extreme symptoms.  We're trying to eliminate the spread of germs in our room by waving instead of shaking hands and by encouraging frequent hand washing.

In reading we're still working on our Martin Luther King book. Students continued making text based connections and learning how to provide evidence. We will continue to work on these skills this week.

For math last week, we finished studying fractions. Students generally performed well on this topic and many were able to understand the beginning concepts of equivalent fractions. The topic test average was 88%. This week we'll be starting topic 14 on multiplying greater numbers. This is an introduction to large scale multiplication and mainly focuses on the reason why the traditional algorithm works.

We almost finished our first section on the transfer of energy in science last week. We will be taking our first science quiz on Tuesday. We will then be looking at light and energy.

In social studies we focused on what makes a good settlement and then looked at five key events that shaped the settling of Los Altos.

We wrote expository paragraphs this week on either showing love or celebrating Valentine's Day. Students turned their paragraphs into a heart mobile. We also looked at the elements of narrative writing. This week we'll be working on simple dialogue in narrative writing.

Valentine's Day is this Friday. I sent home a flier last week outlining the guidelines for the day, including a list of student's names spelled correctly. If you need an additional copy of the list, please have your student let me know. This Friday will also be an Oak School spirit day. We will be coming to school in our pajamas.

I hope you've all had a chance to watch the olympics this weekend.! See you tomorrow.

Mrs. Andersen

Sunday, February 2, 2014

E is for Energy

Hi there parents and students,

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend. We certainly had many accomplishments last week. We set small goals about skills we wanted to improve during the week and reflected periodically on how we were practicing those skills.

In Math we continued to work on fractions. We spent an extra day going over equivalent fractions, which has pushed our topic test back to this upcoming Friday. This concept is still challenging for most of our students, but as mentioned previously, mastery isn't expected this year.

We were working on the skill of revision in writing last week. Students wrote paragraphs about the branches of the federal government. They then reviewed their own writing for overused words and phrases.

For reading we practiced the skill of citing information from a text in our Martin Luther King book and our science text. We discussed how a complete response to a question includes an explanation of how you know the answer. We also continued to practice text connections.

Science was a lot of fun this week. We looked at energy transfer on a small scale. Students got to interact with motors, batteries, solar panels, and many other exciting tools in the STEM lab. We also read about different types of fuel and how they produce energy.

This week in social studies we completed our discussion and review of the systems of government. Next week we will be discussing the idea of a settlement and how that concept applies to Los Altos.

Let's make it a great week!

Mrs. Andersen

Sunday, January 26, 2014

G is for Government

Hi Everyone,

Last week was short but power-packed with a lot of learning. We moved desks and have started a new goal to live to our potential using the philosophy "practice makes permanent." We reflected on how good habits, when practiced, can become permanent, but also how unproductive habits are just as easily made permanent.

In Math we are working on identifying and using fractions, which is a skill the students should master this year. As a part of our study this week students will be exposed to simplifying fractions and using equivalent fractions. This is a hard concept for third graders. We don't expect mastery of this component this year.

We're practicing the skill of text connections in reading. Identifying connections between yourself and the book you're reading should be the easiest form of connection for the students. The 'text to text' connections we're working on are a bit more difficult and will require extra attention. A great way to reinforce your student's understanding of this concept at home is to discuss how they connect to their nightly reading.

In science we've been studying energy and have had some wonderful experiences in the stem lab and in our classroom. We've been understanding the different types of fuels and how energy is transferred. We'll be back in the stem lab this week doing some hands on experimentation.

Last week we were focused on revision, specifically word choice in writing. To apply these principles, students have been writing and illustrating their own poems that will be organized into a class book. We isolated and looked at nouns, adjectives, and verbs in our own work to see if we could make them more specific and creative.

Social studies was a blast last week! We finished our government unit and the students are all officially politicians. We spent the week wrapping up the unit, preparing for the test, and taking the test. This week, we'll be doing a final synthesis of our knowledge to tighten up a few open questions.

See you tomorrow!

Mrs. Andersen