Language Arts 

 We began a new story in our Amistad theme: La casa del árbol. In this story we have focused on comparing and contrasting. Students were very creative in their word study/grammar journals! (Please feel free to come in and take a look at these anytime.  Ask your child about them!)
We also focused on verbs, their use, and how they change. Students wrote in their journals : Verbs don’t always ‘show’ action. The verbs ser and estar express a state, condition, or circumstance.
Last week students wrote bullet points on the ‘highlights’ of their life. This week they used these to continue in the writing process with rough drafts for their autobiographies. We talked about topic sentences / oraciones principales and how the rest of the sentences in a paragraph support and explain this. (Students re-wrote one or more of their topic sentences and then turned them into detailed paragraphs for their autobiographies.  Some students did not complete this in class and have written it in their planners, due on Monday.)
We talked about how in a rough draft you are often writing your ideas quickly, as they pop into your head, before you forget them. Because of this:
  • There’s no need to worry about spelling, punctuation, or handwriting in a rough draft.
  • Skip spaces in a rough draft so things can be added later.
  • Abbreviate words you don’t know how to spell, or write only the part of the word you do know how to spell and leave space for the remainder.
  • Mark or circle the words you think you’ll need to change later.
  • Leave blank spaces if you can’t think of a word.


Spelling/ ortografia There are no Spanish spelling words this week.

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Practicing our rounding skills with a snowball fight!


This week we worked on mental estimation and mental rounding of numbers.  Students shared their own strategies and steps for solving problems.  We had a few very lively ‘snowball’ fights. Ask your child to fill you in on how we used ‘snowballs’ to practice our rounding skills.  We also learned a cute little rounding song.

Next week we will begin our next math unit: Addition to 10,000.  Students should be working in the Addition section of their ALEKS pie. I’d like for all students to work on completing their addition Quick Tables. This is the drill (flashcard) section for immediate fact recall. QuickTables also offers several games in which students practice the facts they have been learning. Each play of a game lasts about one minute.

Social Studies  


Group Venn Diagram Activity

We began taking notes this week on our Ancient Roman Civilization read a louds.  I gave students a format to help them organize their notes into different categories.  We did a mini lesson on note taking and I stressed that these notes are just for them; they will not be graded on them, spelling and punctuation were not an issue as long as they could understand what they wrote, and that even pictures and symbols could be used.  They are just a way for them to restate key ideas in their own words so that they may better understand and remember what they are learning.  We began working on a  Roman Civilization chart that included four elements that make up a civilization (Jobs, Government, Religion, Leaders), in addition we included contributions that this ancient society has had on our lives today.  Several students also pointed out that writing was also an important part of what makes a society a civilization. These kiddos are so smart!  We ended the week talking about the Roman god and goddesses and how similar they were the Greek ones we learned about last year.


How long is an anaconda?


This week we spent some time reviewing what we have learned so far in our animal classification domain.  We played a riddle game  to review core content, did a venn diagram to compare and contrast three animal groups  and made up our own mnemonic phrase poster to  help us remember the five vertebrate animal groups. The class was also given a writing prompt “Scientists classify animals because…”.  On Friday we began reading about Reptiles.  If anyone has a reptile at home who would like to bring it in for a day next week, this would be a wonderful addition to our studies.  We also practiced our classification song.

English Spelling/Writing

The class did very well on their spelling test last week.  I noticed once again that most students who got  all of their sort activities in, also did well on their test.  Next week we will be adding several new activities to our list.  Students may now get 10 points if they make flash cards out of their words and practice with someone at home, this will be worth 10 points.  They may also get 10 points if they write each word 6 times.  There will be more on the activity list on Monday.

In our journals this week we finished retelling in our own words the story of Romulus and Remus  and the beginning of Rome.  It was interesting to read what parts of the story each student incorporated into their retelling.  As part of the editing process I am now having students reread their writing and circle words they believe they may have misspelled.  We reviewed proper nouns this week and students also checked to make sure they capitalized these in their writing.  To go along with our discussion of legends and myths, the class started their own myth in their journals on Thursday.  These may end up being a published piece down the road.


The 2nd and 3rd grad
ers used acrylics to paint their Fence Portraits in art this week. They all did a great job painting on the rough wood surface, and they will be able to finish these next week.


The class divided into 2- and 3-person songwriting teams to create original songs to share with each other. Most groups spoke their lyrics on the first run-through, and added melodies the second time around. The Rockin’ Dudes sang their “Hammer Song,” Banana Splat sang “Running Lion,” The a Fall Festivals sang “Jack ‘o’ Lanterns,” Black Night sang “Starry Night,” and The Rockers sang “Winter.”

Character Education

We wrapped up our theme of Kindness this week.  We discussed how we began the year with this character trait since it is one of the most important ones to carry us through the rest of the year.  The students did a fabulous job illustrating acts of kindness on their Kindness Counts posters.  Hopefully everyone was able to check out their artwork Wednesday afternoon!