February is Off to a Great Start!

We had another great week learning and growing and laughing together!

20160205_100134_resized Writer’s Workshop

Writers finished drafting their nonfiction expert books and transitioned to doing their final drafts.  They designed cover illustrations and worked hard to meet the deadline. They used a rubric to be sure they were incorporating enough text features, had a clear introduction and conclusion, and that their capitalization and punctuation was accurate and then evaluated their own work by circling the descriptor on the rubric that they felt matched their work.


There is a lot of creativity in this class! 🙂 Some students may be bringing their books home over the weekend to finish; they need to be turned in on Monday morning. Next week we will celebrate by sharing our books with our Kindergarten book buddies who will also share their nonfiction How-To books with us!

Reader’s Workshop

We continued our work with close reading this week and the kids had phenomenal insights and did such a great job analyzing the text! We used a text piece that included three interviews with people who had grown up during World War II and considered the different points of view and experiences shared. Readers noted the different structure and features of this piece, which included small introductory passages for each interview as well as a Q&A set up. We next practiced close reading strategies with poetry. Using Langston Hughes’s “Merry Go Round,” students analyzed the poem and annotated, noting choices the author made and parts of the poem that really stood out to them. Some of the connections they made were powerful, with one student saying, “I can infer that he was used to segregation because he wasn’t asking WHY he had to sit somewhere else, but WHERE he should sit.” A third grader noted, “This connects to “Star of Fear, Star of Hope” because in both texts, kids were not allowed to go certain places.” We next used the Holocaust poem “The Butterfly” and students made beautiful and deep connections with the imagery, with human rights issues they’ve studies, and with other texts. Try reading these two poems with your kids; I guarantee they will blow you away with their insights! 🙂


We also had sweet time reading with our Kindergarten book buddies this week!


This week we revisited a video we watched at the beginning of the year about the history of Human Rights, and now that we have more context, it was even more rich. Students researched and took notes about the different times in history leaders try to recognize and enforce human rights. We will begin building a timeline with which we can make connections around Human Rights from Cyrus the Great to Anne Frank.

Monroe County Energy Challenge 

After spring break, our class will be doing an energy unit. Currently, the 3/4 class has been working on an energy unit in P3 to identify our energy usage at school and find ways to reduce our usage. They have decided to take this work out to our homes as well. One of the resources our students are using is the information from the Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC).

The Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC) is a broad coalition of community organizations collaborating to reduce energy use in Monroe County, Indiana. MCEC was created in response to the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a nationwide, two-year energy savings competition. MCEC is one of 50 communities competing to see who can reduce their electricity and natural gas use the most during the 2015-2016 competition period, by using innovative, broad-reaching methods. The winning community will receive $5 million in prize money to further promote energy efficiency projects in the community!


They would like to hold a family information night about energy usage and what you can do at home to help reduce your energy consumption.  Members of the MCEC committee will come into our school to help educate our families.  If you are interested in coming to this informational meeting please fill out the following survey.  Free weatherization kits will be given out at the meeting for those who attend. (while supplies last!)

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 1st from 5:30 – 6:30.  You do not have to attend the whole time.  Just pop in and learn what you can do to help our environment and the challenge!

Please complete this survey if you are gong to attend.



Students worked to identify the main idea of short passages, and to find topic sentences. They also had opportunities to practice keyboarding skills, work on their nonfiction books, and to research their famous Hoosier.


Most of you have signed up for a conference slot and I am really looking forward to seeing you! I would LOVE to have your student join us! I think their voices in our conferences are really valuable. If you have not yet signed up, PLEASE do so asap! You can use this link.

Questions to Ask Your Child

  • What are you most proud of in your nonfiction book?
  • What are important strategies to use in a close reading?
  • What connections did you make with the poem “The Butterfly” you looked at this week?
  • What work have you been doing with Mr. Chris and Ms. Sara on Fridays?
  • What goals do you think we will talk about at your conference?


Thank you for the healthy snacks! Next week’s families are: Schaffer, Scheiber, Sequoy, Simmons

Have a great weekend!




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