May 30th, 2014 by ebelknap
It’s hard to believe the end of the school year is coming! We continue to be deeply engaged in learning every day. We are currently writing reports on the state of Vermont, and persuasive letters convincing others to visit Vermont. Through our research for these writing pieces we are practicing close reading of nonfiction while working on determining importance in text. The kids are really enjoying learning about our state and its rich history. Touring the State House & History Museum last week was a wonderful way to help this learning come to life.
I know this time of year is very busy, but please support your child by continuing to check assignment books as we will have homework nightly (M-Th) for the next two weeks. It is also important for kids to keep reading nightly. I will send home a Summer Reading list at the end of the year that highlights some great options for reading this summer.
Let me know if you can come to Shelburne Museum on the 10th or Stowe Bike Path/Ben & Jerry’s on the 17th. Please send in $5 next week for our Shelburne Museum trip. I was also thinking it might be nice to have a picnic lunch on the last day of school. Please email me if you are willing/able to contribute food or drinks.
May 12th, 2014 by ebelknap
We all had a fantastic time last week creating our outdoor learning space. The kids really enjoyed actively engaging in the process and playing a role in making the design come to life. We are looking forward to using the space this spring and in the years to come. Thank you so much to all the adult volunteers that helped make it happen.
This week we are beginning another group project. This project focuses on learning about Vermont history and geography. Students will work in teams to create maps of Vermont and each student will write a report about what they have learned.
In conjunction with this unit we have several field trips planned. We will travel to Shelburne Museum, do the State House/Historical Society tours, and tour Ben & Jerry’s. We may be in need of a few chaperones so let me know if you are interested.
Spring is a busy time with dance recitals, sports & other outdoor activities, however the homework routine will remain the same. We still have a lot of learning left to do and will work hard up until June 19th!
Here is a list of important dates for the last six weeks of school:
13 & 14 – 4th grade science NECAP
16- Seussical in Stowe 12pm
17- Bridge Street Art Fair
22- Spring Concert 6pm
23- State House Tour
10- Shelburne Museum
16- Field Day
17- Ben & Jerry’s
19- Last day 12:10 dismissal
Mar 28th, 2014 by ebelknap
Thank you to families for coming in for conferences. It was great to reconnect with you all after the long, cold winter! While it may not feel like spring, we have moved into the third and final trimester of this school year.
We continue to write and read daily in reading class. Students are participating in reading groups, reading books that they identified as being high-interest texts. We read, write and discuss these stories daily. Students continue to be required to write a response to what they have read and encouraged to illustrate and be creative in their Reader’s Notebooks.
In writing we are writing autobiographies. Kids were asked this week to do some homework around this project. They brought home a list of questions to answer to gather research for their writing. Hopefully you had a chance to tell a funny story or two that they can include in the final piece.
Please be sure to continue to support kids with homework by checking their assignment books nightly. The third grade continues to have spelling homework Monday- Thursday and spelling quizzes on Fridays. The fourth grade is now doing Wordly Wise for nightly homework with a vocabulary quiz every Friday. Students are also still expected to be reading every night for at least 30 minutes.
Please let me know if there are questions, concerns, or comments!
Feb 19th, 2014 by ebelknap
We are looking forward to our WE ROCK celebration tomorrow afternoon. Kids will work in k-6 teams to build snow sculptures and have a chance to be a part of some sledding races. The weather looks perfect for this type of fun!
After break parent-teacher conferences will be held on 3/20 & 3/21. Keep an eye out for the email from Kathi when the online scheduler opens. I asked for the students to join us for our first round of conferences, however this round I will leave it up to the family to decide. In some cases a more frank discussion can happen without the student present and I am open to that option!
Enjoy the winter break!
Jan 17th, 2014 by ebelknap
It was so great to see the class on stage last night. I loved hearing them sing and seeing the group feeling so joyful!
We have been busy since returning from our winter break. We are currently finishing up our social studies projects that some students will share at morning assembly on January 30. There has been a great amount of enthusiasm for these projects, the creativity being shown is fantastic.
This week we began a project that incorporates reading informational text and writing to inform. We engaged in reading the nonfiction text, The Story of Snow on Tumblebooks and then read the hardcover version of the book all together. Students will be required to write an informational piece explaining what they learned about how a snow crystal is formed.
Next Wednesday we will travel to the Flynn to see Dream Carver. Here is how the Flynn describes the production:
“From a Broadway-trained company of puppeteers and singers called Swazzle comes this vibrant tale of Mateo, a young Mexican woodcarver who dreams of transforming a generations-old tradition into an innovative new art form. Despite his father’s disapproval, he bravely breaks with the past and becomes a powerful force for change in his community. Based on the children’s book by Diana Cohn and inspired by the life of renowned Oaxacan artist Manuel Jimenez, this bilingual puppet musical encourages children to think creatively, try new things, and follow their dreams.”
Please have your child bring a bag lunch that day since we will need to get ready to go skiing as soon as we return. If you would like to order lunch from Cheryl please let Kathi know by today.
As always please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about anything happening at school.
Dec 16th, 2013 by ebelknap
We have been working hard over the past few weeks. In reading we have been discussing close reading strategies and practicing these skills. Students enjoyed reading about Temple Grandin in the book Temple Grandin How the Girl who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery. We read a passage from the book together and answered text dependent questions to gain a deeper understanding. Students were then challenged to write a response to a focus question based on the text. The question required them to analyze figurative language and use evidence from the text to support their thinking.
This Thursday we will share our inspirational quote project with the rest of the school at morning assembly. We will tell how this student driven project came about and read our favorite quotes. We are still in the process of creating our own WE ROCK cards that we will distribute to teachers. Teachers will then be able to share our cards in order to acknowledge expected behaviors.
We are all looking forward to vacation, but this week the routine for homework and in class work will remain the same. We will have spelling quizzes Friday morning and enjoy a winter solstice craft Friday afternoon. I wish you all a happy, healthy & restful break.
Nov 18th, 2013 by ebelknap
It is hard to believe that the first trimester is ending. I look forward to seeing you all at parent conferences. Report cards come home this Wednesday. We will discuss report cards and set goals for the next trimester at conferences.
We are going to the Fairbanks Museum next Tuesday for the day. Please have kids bring snack & lunch for the day. The cost of the trip is $8. Please let us know if you are in need of scholarship funds for the trip.
This Wednesday is our Thanksgiving Lunch @11:25. I am hoping to go to Fayston Elementary to have lunch with my daughter since their luncheon is that same day. Enjoy the yummy food!
Oct 11th, 2013 by ebelknap
Kids did a great job this week on the NECAP testing. NECAPs test the knowledge that students have gained from prior years of learning. The photo above shows the mindfulness work we do at morning meeting that came in handy this week during testing. Kids were prompted to use positive self-talk and deep breathing techniques in order to reduce testing taking anxiety and improve focus. Everyone earned a “WE ROCK” card for their engagement during testing!!!!
Oct 11th, 2013 by ebelknap
In reading class (before NECAP took over our lives a bit!) we were learning how to build stamina as readers. We discussed a few tips for kids to use to become stronger readers with greater stamina for reading.
Strategies for Stamina:
• Try not to point under words. Follow the words with your eyes instead.
• Try not to read aloud. Read with your read aloud voice in your head.
• Guard against constant rereading. Only reread when you are confused.
• Read some parts faster, especially when it’s clear as to what is happening.
Some of these strategies were useful when kids were just learning how to read. For example, tracking the words with your finger helps train your eyes to follow the words as you read. However, if you see your child holding onto any beginning reader strategies encourage them to ditch these old habits!
Sep 25th, 2013 by ebelknap
Our focus in reading class has been on improving our lives as readers. We have learned what type of environment we need to make reading the best it can be, how to choose books carefully, and how to begin to take note of bad reading habits.
It is critical for all readers to be choosing books carefully. While it is great to, at times be reading books that are a stretch, it is also important to read books that are “just right” for the reader. When choosing books kids have been encouraged to follow these guidelines:
Make sure you………
• understand what you are reading
• find the book interesting
• get most of the words right
• read at a smooth pace
• read with expression easily
• read noticing punctuation
When a child has chosen a book that fits “just right” reading will be more enjoyable!
Next post will be on how to ditch those bad reading habits!