Nov 3, 2014

October, November, December

We have just completed our first quarter of school.  Time flies when you're having fun!  We investigated the realistic fiction genre in reading, as well as, diving into informational texts via Newsela, textbooks, and Time for Kids magazine.  Students wrote three five paragraph essays during the quarter, and also practiced writing  comparing and contrasting paragraphs (we need a little more practice with this skill). Math focused on number theory and our wonderful base ten system.  Students honed their skills in  estimation, addition, subtraction, and multiplication of whole numbers and decimals.  Computation skills were embedded in word problems. Social studies began with a study of United States geography and morphed into the settlement of the Americas by the first peoples.  Science began with a unit on atomic theory which dove tailed with identify physical properties of matter, specifically minerals. 

We are now heading into the second quarter, a very busy time of year.  Below is  an outline of up-coming units of study and activities.


We will be delving in the mystery genre over the next few weeks, and mystery will be the focus of students next Independent Reading Assignment. Students' Mystery Independent Reading assignment and AR points are due Dec. 1.  As a whole class, students are reading the mystery/fantasy children's novel The Dollhouse Murders. Our next genre study will be historical fiction focusing on colonization of North America.

We continue to do close reading activities, most recently with an excerpt from Roughing It by Mark Twain that described Virginia City during its early days. This reading was to support the Virginia City field trip. Students will be writing an essay comparing Virginia City in Twain's time to Virginia City today.  Through this essay, students will be practicing citing sources of information.

Students continue to have weekly Newsela and fluency reading assignment.


We are finishing  up our studies on minerals and physical properties.  Students are currently involved in labs in which they are finding volume of a mineral by displacement, finding mass using a balance scale, and are using these measurement to find density.  Students will further investigate volume and density by finding the volume of blocks of wood of various sizes and calculating density.

Our next science unit will be the FOSS Kit Mixtures and Solutions.  This is wonderful kit investigating  physical and chemical chemical changes of matter.


Students are strengthening their understanding of measurement concepts: perimeter, area of rectangles, and volume. Geometry concepts  and division are focused skills throughout November and December.

Social Studies

Students have completed a jig-saw activity on North American Native American cultures.  Next up is Age of Exploration which leads directly into colonization. 

UNR Field Trip

I am currently in the planning stages of a field trip to UNR scheduled for December 18.  Students will be visiting the Keck Mineral Museum, the Engineering Department's earthquake shaker tables lab, and the Knowledge Center.  When schedule is firmed up, a permission note will be sent home.


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