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January 15, 2017

Snowflake Similes

Snowflake Similes are one of my favorite winter activities.  This past week we read Snowflake Bentley, and did numerous activities with the book.

For the similes themselves, I have a half sheet template that we first brainstorm and then they create their own.  

Snowflakes are as unique as...

Snowflakes are as fragile as...

Snowflakes are as light as...

Here's the template if you need it.

After glueing on their template, the kids get to take a coffee filter and make their own snowflakes.  It's always art after the writing... Some years I have had the foam snowflakes (think Dollar Spot), but this year we resorted to the filters.  They really do make them unique.  We started fractions in math, so were able to practice that a bit as we were folding the circles getting ready to cut.  

NONFICTION Mentor Sentences: Vol 2, Fourth 10 Weeks (Grades 3-5)

I also love Mentor Sentences and recently realized that Jivey has Snowflake Bentley in her Volume 2 Unit 4 product.  I love that my read aloud could also be used for our mentor sentence.  

Stowflake Bentley The Official web site of Wilson A Bentley (1865-1931) " No two snowflakes are alike"

I wanted to direct you to the Snowflake Bentley website, where there is much more information, photos, his articles, interviews, gift shop, etc.  So much realia to share with our students. 

What do you do with the book?  Hope you have a great day!

January 13, 2017

Earthquake Challenge


We have started our Rapid Changes to Earth unit.  Oh, how I LOVE this unit.  The kids are so engaged, and there are so many hands on activities to complete.  This past week we started studying earthquakes.  Living in California, it's one of those things that we are used to hearing about.  We have prior knowledge and a bunch of connections... like the ones that we just felt during Christmas break.  Well this year I decided to use wooden blocks to have the kids try to design buildings that could withstand movement.  I hope the movies work, I love watching the kids problem solving, but also to hear them share their joy.  :)    

So Much Fun

Students worked with a partner to form a building on two "plates" - actually two books.  It needed to be able to have those plates move in 3 different ways while still remaining intact - sliding, pushing/pressure, and separation.  There were tons of laughter and problem solving at the same time.

We still have more to learn before we move onto Volcanoes, but the interest level has been piqued.  


Next up my students will be reading Jivey's Paired Texts on Natural Disasters.  

Paired Texts / Paired Passages: Natural Disasters Grades 4-8

She covers Earthquakes, etc.  and then I will assign their Natural Disaster Research Report from 4th Grade Flipper.  

Natural Disasters Project Editable Nonfiction Writing Task

The Paired Texts give that deep knowledge that our text lacks, and the research is giving the kids choice, which ups the interest level.  How have you studied earthquakes?  

January 11, 2017

Easy Star Goals

At the beginning of every trimester I like the kids to come up with new goals.  We hang them on the sides of our room from the ceiling using pipe cleaners and paper clips. Well it's not the beginning of the trimester, but it is halfway through the school year, so we made some New Year's resolutions to stay focused.  The students created the big stars themselves using construction paper, some patience, and a ruler.  After drawing the lines, we cut away the outside pieces to form the shape.  

Inside the star, the students had to write their name in the smallest section at the top, then had to think of 5 things they want to work on in the coming weeks.  I gave them some examples.  :)  

Did your students make new goals?  It's always nice to look ahead.