Thursday, December 3, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone and I really enjoyed my week long Thanksgiving Break!! Now as of today I only have 5 more days of school until I get an entire month off!! Woo Hoo!! That means one WHOLE month with my little monster. I absolutely cannot wait!

So what does one do when you only have 9 days of school with only 8 full days of learning time between Thanksgiving and a WHOLE MONTH OFF???

Here it goes...

Reading- We do a novel study of the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. As I have stated before, I am a huge fan of Donalyn Miller and all of her reading research, but I just can't help myself when it comes to this novel. (Her research doesn't favor a whole class novel study) There is so much rich history in this novel and my kids always LOVE it. I do not think that I have any students who dislike this book. It is suspenseful and they learn so much about a hard time in history from reading it.
I did change my ways of doing a whole class novel though...I threw out the WORKSHEET packets (YES the one I spent hours creating last year and even have listed on TPT). We took that packet to a different style this time around. I broke down all of the important and trick vocabulary words and broke them down by the chapters that we will be reading. I broke students into 5 groups and gave them a word list. They used their laptops to look up the definitions and recorded them on chart paper. Before we read each section we bust out the vocab poster for those chapters and go over the words. Then as we are reading we stop when we get to those words and use the context to make sure we understand exactly what they author was trying to say. The students who looked up that word are typically the ones who like to be experts and share their knowledge! They really take ownership of it!

We are also working on the plot as we go through the novel. Each student has a plot map and as we read we are recording the important events that are leading up to the climax. One other activity we will be doing tomorrow is that we will be making a poster for each main character and writing down the facts that we  have learned complete with page number/chapter references and text based evidence!! We will add to those as we continue reading. I am really challenging my kids to look deeper at character change. When asked how the characters in their previous book clubs changed, I typically received answers like "they grew older" or "the learned more." So I am hopeful that this activity and doing it together as a class will help them see this in more detail.

Later on in the year we read together the novel The Man Who Love Clowns. This one is a heart breaker and another novel that everyone loves to read. From this novel comes our very in-depth character study. So that is why I am trying to get my readers deeper into character analysis here!

Social Studies- We don't have time to start a new chapter, so instead we research Christmas!! The students are writing a compare and contrast 5 paragraph essay comparing their Christmas traditions to the traditions of another country or religion. Tis the season!

Writing- DEAR SANTA!! It wouldn't be Christmas without a Santa letter! The kids are writing a 3-5 paragraph letter to Santa explaining their #1 gift and how is would benefit them. They are super cute and very convincing! (Examples to come later this week!)

Also, Snowmen at Night...ADORABLE book to read. Check back next week for a post on this wonderful writing assignment where students are going to create their version in PPT!

Math- We are conquering dividing decimals! Wish us luck!

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