Sunday, October 27, 2013

Noteworthy Ninth Week! Spotlight on: Monster Exchange

We've been hard at work on our Monsters. That sounds a little strange, but it has been a great project! First everyone designed their own monster. The artwork was pretty impressive! We have triangular zombies, Robot manicurists, and egg-shaped vampire cats!
Next came the tricky part. You had to write a description of your monster that was so detailed and exact that someone else could make a perfect copy without ever getting to see it. This took several tries. We all wrote a first draft and exchanged it with a partner. No one even came close. Back to the drawing board! We brainstormed a list of what had caused problems and the students realized they needed an organized system to describe each part exactly.

We did second and third drafts, and then we decided they were ready. Our monster descriptions have been sent to our Book Buddies at Sinclair Elementary. We can’t wait to see if they can draw them accurately! Stay tuned for the results next week & a slideshow of our Monster Gallery!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Exciting Eighth Week! Spotlight on: Book Buddies

Every week we put our reading and writing skills to work and send a book review to a student across town at Sinclair Elementary. Our “Book Buddies” are also partners in our “Garden Exchange”. They send us pine needles and mulch from their nature center and we send them seeds we’ve harvested from our pollinator gardens as well as extra milkweed and other nectar plants we uproot for them.
Every Wednesday we read a story as a class and follow as specific letter format to send our recommendations to our partner. We write a brief summary (being careful not to give too much of the story away!), and our personal opinion of that week’s book. We get their response to our letters and their recommendations of a good book on Fridays. It is a good way for us to use writing for its real purpose – communicating information to another person at a distance.

The link in the sidebar this week will take you to our partner class’ blog, so you can meet them too. Click on 10/14/13 under the “Weekly Wrap-Up”.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Superb Seventh Week! Spotlight on: Journey North Symbolic Migration

We participated in Journey North’s annual journey south! Every year this organization sponsors a symbolic migration that follows in the footsteps? wingsteps? of the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch is a fantastic ambassador for North America as it is a beloved inhabitant of all three North American nations. The continued well-being of this beautiful insect depends on the cooperation of the US and our good neighbors to the north and south.

We have been working on several projects related to our research on the Monarch butterfly: writing poetry anthologies, origami art projects, designing educational games, and writing our research paper! One of the most interesting activities was the creation of paper ambassador butterflies that we mailed to Mexico for the winter! These monarchs will be given to a student from the highlands region of Michoacan, Mexico. This child will take our butterflies home and protect them from late October until late February. At that time s/he will take the butterflies back to school so they can make their return journey to the United States and Canada.

We can track our paper Monarchs on their trek to the oyamel forests and back. Our school has created two milkweed gardens to help replace a little bit of the lost habitat in our area. The garden club has been working on maintaining these gardens to be ready for the migration rush these next few weeks. We wish our ambassadors buen viaje!

To learn more about the symbolic migration, you can visit

To see this week’s slide show, please click on the 10/7/13 link under “Weekly Wrap-Up”.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sensational Sixth Week! Spotlight on: Making It Better

We started a new program at Piney Point this week! The 4th & 5th graders are doing a workshop about social issues. We met our workshop leader, Ms. Tasha Brown, and got some information about the program. Everyone introduced themselves and talked about their interests.

Next we completed a survey about social opinions. It was interesting because we had just finished reviewing the First Amendment and talking about our right to have our own opinions!

We wrapped up with a discussion on self-esteem. We have a lot of reasons to feel good about ourselves! We need to make sure we remember that when we feel bad about things. We also discussed strategies to help overcome low self-esteem.

We can’t wait to see Ms. Tasha next Friday! To see the slide show and get the link to additional information on Making it Better, click on the 9/30/13 link under the Weekly Wrap Up.