Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Party and Sing Along

Getting ready for Party Time! It is the Paxton
Annual Sing Along!  

Fun Party Game!  Dress the snowman!

Thank you to our parents for making such a
great party for us!  The second game was
equally as fun! Gift exchange with a twist!

Enjoy your break!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book clubs with heart!

December is a busy month! We had time for independent reading where students could self-select books. In addition, we had engaging book clubs that mixed history with contemporary ideas across a variety of texts.  

Each book group had one chapter book, one picture book, and at least one article. Most groups also had books paired from MyOn digital books as well.   The book groups were also centered around a theme and provided the opportunity for students to triangulate information and ideas across texts.  Here is an example from the Book Builders group.

This group read about Louis Braille and Alia Muhammad Baker. Braille is well-known for his invention of a reading and writing system so that visually impaired people could read and write.  While Braille died in 1852, his contribution to the world of educating blind people is remarkable. On the contemporary side, Alia Muhammad Baker is "the inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war".(Learn more here) Finally, students read about a garbage collector in Colombia, South America who has created a library in his home to bring the joy of reading to the children in his country.

Students worked to collect information over the course of the study. Working 
independently, and occasionally with their group, they shared ideas, questions, and 
connections with each other.

Wanting all students to benefit from the learning of each other, but having limited time to share, students each created two questions that would articulate what they wanted to share about the  big ideas, the people, places and ideas they learned. These questions were gathered and crafted into a "Kahoot" quiz. We knew we were going to miss many answers!  This provided an opportunity for the book group to be experts and tell us more about the content! 
Want to play the Kahoot? Here is the link:  Link to our Student made Quiz!

Student examples of how they contributed to the Student made quiz:

Other book clubs used this time:
Moving West: This text set is centered around nature. One story is how to survive it, the others, how to protect it.  Without protection, our need to expand puts our environment at risk. This club learned how the Sierra Club and the National Federation of Forests was started among many other interesting facts about John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt.

On the Trail: Chapter book on Trail of Tears, Picture book on a family moving West, and article on Migrant children from Syria.  All had to leave their homes. Some by choice others were forced. What were the commonalities? Differences?

Brave Women Lead the Way:  Pictures books on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and two articles. One current day article was about a man named, Samuel D. Burris who helped slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. The Delaware governor just pardoned him 168 years after he was convicted. This contemporary article tied in perfectly with picture books used.

Inventing and Change: Learning about George Washington Carver and Alexander Graham Bell fascinated students in this group. The books were paired with an article about FoPo. Powdered food that could change access and nutritional needs in underdeveloped nations or in natural disasters.  Inventions that improve our lives and make a difference!

Trailblazing Teachers Then and Now: These books, paired with articles on Malala and educating children in Syria, demonstrate how the power of fighting discrimination takes on many challenges. Whether moving out of a slave state, like the main character in Pioneer Summer, or opening up a school for girls in Who Is Malala Yousafzai? you can connect how these moments of choosing a different life so others can have an equal opportunity takes bravery and courage. Education is power and with a book, you can go anywhere!


Students are working on fractions! We will spend the next few days building a variety of ways that we can compare fractions. Our first two approaches are to:
Students are creating some tools to support them with comparing fractions visually. They also arranged some fractions to show how they are equivalent to other fractions.

Using Fosnot's Best Buys resource, students are introduced to a real-world context. Purchasing cat food from two different stores. Which store has the best buy? How do you know?

Students work collaboratively to solve the problem and to share a variety of ways of how to approach the question. Finally, each group prepared a poster that will initiate our math congress tomorrow during math. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Let the Construction Begin

After the Holiday Concert and Open House, 
students had time to explore some interests that they have been waiting
to pursue!  One is making a paper roller coaster.

First we pulled out the braces and columns templates.

Then, let the folding and taping begin!

We actually have two levels of the foundation. Here you
can see the base during the first phase.
Teamwork at its best!

Winter Choral Concert

The Fifth Grade Choir did a wonderful job singing!

Here are sections of fifth grade singing!

We enjoyed sharing our songs with our families.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Gallery Walk on the California Gold Rush

Students "notice" and "note" what they see on images 
from a certain time period in history. What clues can you read to 
infer the event in history? The gallery walk continues...

Following the Gallery Walk, students jot down on a 
"See, Think, Wonder" organizer. This allows us to name what we see, 
share what we think based on what we know, and question further to develop the idea with greater depth.

Yes! The Gold Rush! It does not look as glorious as one might think!

Using the strategy: pairing a gallery walk with a "see, think, wonder" is one of many great 
ideas from the book Upstanders by Harvey "Smokey" Daniels and Sara Ahmed.  It opens the topic, creates a window into understanding of what students know to inform instruction and generates questions for further investigations. Discussions include compare and contrast and busting myths of what we believe to be true about the California Gold Rush! It creates seeds for informational writing that can lead to growing further ideas!

Interested in more great ways to build inquiry and investigation into your curriculum? This text is a great resource to pair with Social Studies and inquiry.

Ready, Set, Write! Informational writing

Students listened to how we "stop and jot" as we read informational text. This will help us as we collect information for our writing piece.

Students highlighted a writing goal that they identified after 
reviewing their first draft. What is going well? What is missing?
Let's focus on a goal that pushes us to think about elaboration or the craft of writing.

Students work to enhance the first draft. Collect more notes, add quotes, 
details, ideas from taking more notes.

Cut that first draft apart. Make changes and revisions.
Add more detailed information. Use more content focused vocabulary.

Working so hard cutting and crumpling up wads too!