Dress Like Devoto Day!
New Lunch Rule
Stack the States
This is why:
|Mr. Devoto's 3rd Grade||
Dress Like Devoto Day!
If you can believe it, the kids themselves voted to do a Dress Like Devoto Day. While I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, I found out what the students' interpretation of my dress is!
Family Life begins on Monday and it is a two-week long unit.
Students have been self-publishing their NaNoWriMo story this week, but they also still have an opportunity to get five copies free (+ shipping) from the NaNoWriMo organization. Follow the directions at this link.
New Lunch Rule
It is true that 5th-grade teachers are now issuing STOPs for students who enter the 5th-grade hallway during the lunch hour. It is for there safety since there is no adult supervision. They have all been notified of this policy change, and if they forget their lunch, they can eat it in class during silent reading.
Stack the States
I have never seen students so excited about learning the names, shapes, locations, and capitals of the states!
This is why:
We are beginning a digital citzenship program that teaches students how to make positive, safe choices with various forms of technology. This program was developed by Common Sense Media. Student lessons will focus on the following five areas.
•Make choices about what to do if they or their friends are cyberbullied.
•Learn why it's important to avoid multitasking with a cell phone.
•Evaluate examples of online messages. They decide what information is appropriate to share and when. Students are also reminded that nothing is truly "private" or "erasable" online.
•Learn how to choose effective keywords for searching online.
•Remix media content to create a new creative piece. Along the way, they give proper credit to the artists whose images and sound clips they use.
Students access the site by logging into www.digitalpassport.org and signing in with their regular usernames and passwords. Feel free to check it out.
Today we enjoyed the De Young Museum of Fine Arts. Part of the field trip involved a one-hour class where we learned about portraiture. We analyzed various portraits for lighting, gaze and expression, backdrop, setting, and props.
We then split into 3 groups and created a portrait based on a famous person. Can you guess who these three people are?
A special thank you to Courtney Finnegan for helping organize the drivers for both field trips and the 11 chaperones that made these filed trips possible:
Enjoy the week off!
It's been a few weeks since I've written a Friday Newsletter, and there is a lot to share!
For the sick students out there (we averaged about 1/3 of the class ill each day), we have really missed you! You may want to study multiplying/dividing fractions and decimals over the weekend and work on your artist project. We have a Unit 4 math test on Wednesday that will cover the math concepts listed above. See the artist project page below for project due dates. For math practice, I suggest IXL.com sections G, I, N, O.
The webpage for the artist project is more robust, with benchmark dates, links to helpful sites, project packet, example finished projects and more. Please visit it here. The final project will be due March 18.
Road Trip Math Project
For the past few days students have partnered up to plan a mock road trip to the south and back. Using various iPad apps, real gas price data, and their brains, they solved the problems and showed their work using tables, charts, maps, solved problems and explanations.
On Thursday Ginger Bagherian, Michele Sine, and Elaine Cooper joined us for math centers where students explored the Numbers iPad app, played a dividing decimal game, explored geometric patterns with paper and scissors, and attempted In the Balance problems. Could you solve the problem below?
Literature Circles (Book Club)
Thanks to Elaine Nolan, Michele Sine, Margaret De Somma, Julie Cooke and Julian Aldridge we started our second round of Book Clubs this week. For this trimester, students were able choose a grade-level book from the iBook Store and download it to their iPad. Within iBooks, students can highlight meaningful passages, immediately look up the definition of an new word, take notes and write questions for their group. Also on the iPad they can illustrate a scene, summarize the weekly reading, and access additional resources that can help their comprehension. When students want their group to read along to a passage, they simply type a few words in the search bar and explore the reading together.
My Hero Project
Yesterday I launched the My Hero project where students will explore what it means to be a true hero. Next the will choose a personal hero, write an essay about them and create a short movie showing why there are a personal hero. This project is being taught by Mrs. McKay, Ms. Cala, and Mrs. Conde (iPad pilot teachers) and utilizes some of the resources from the My Hero website.
The Jamestown project has been completed. Link to the explanation is here.
Mr. Davis's 3rd-grade class has been meeting with our class for 30 minutes once a week for the past month to share technology skills with one another. Our class has taught them
Enjoy your weekend!
Dear E4 Families,
In addition to the news items below, the Monthly Newsletter for December is available here too.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
Esin Tayanc (Kaia's mom who is a professional photographer) joined us last Wednesday to get students to start creating and designing customized covers for their novels. Students looked for common features in published novels, brainstormed ideas, and created a rough sketch. She will join us again next week to discuss graphic design elements such as font, color, and layout. Finally, she will be setting up a photo-shoot in January for students who would like to incorporate a photograph as part of their cover design.
Students working on their cover concepts.
Author Steven Johnson Visitation
Author Steven Johnson (father of Clay) joined us on Monday to share out his experiences with writing and publishing novels. There were so many questions and interested students that I barely had a chance to get my questions in!
Mr. Johnson sharing with the class.
Last Friday, we teamed up with 3rd-graders from Mr. Davis's class to help them learn how to design Keynote presentations. We showed them how to add titles, pictures, and animations to a presentation. Some students then presented to the whole room!
The Sign of the Beaver (Social Studies)
We are nearly finished with The Sign of the Beaver, an historical fiction about a boy who lives in the 17th-century and his experiences with a Native American tribe. Each student has the story on their iPad as an iBook which allows for students to take notes, define vocabulary words, and customize the font size and style.
The Pirates of Grammar Island
We were treated to an excellent performance of "The Pirates of Grammar Island" earlier this week by Mrs. Bjeldanes's 3rd-graders.
PE - Dance Unit
Below is a special message from Nathan Jacobson, PE teacher:
December brings the dance unit to Bel Aire PE classes. California State Standards dictate that fifth grade students should be able to design and perform a dance. The theme will be country, and I have posted a few examples of dances the 3rd and 4th graders will be performing in the student section of the Bel Aire Physical Education website. I would like the fifth grade to watch these videos to learn moves like a do-si-do or an alaman left, and get an idea of dance counting and developing patterns. Please have your young cowboys and cowgirls watch the videos so they can do-si-do like pros in class.
Have a great weekend.
Dear E4 Families,
This week marks the beginning of the second trimester, and while some learning experiences continue (novel writing, fractions exploration), we are starting fresh with a few others (Sign of the Beaver, science unit).
For social studies, we have begun reading The Sign of the Beaver. This novel takes place in the late 1700s and follows a 12-year old boy who is struggling to survive on his own. He runs into a young Native American boy and his grandfather who he then becomes friends with. Through this rich story we will explore several of the 5th-grade social studies standards. Each student has a copy of the book and we read it together.
In science, students will be learning under Mrs. O'Leary for the next two months. The 5th-grade team rotates teachers for our science units to increase community across the 5th-grade and to improve mastery teaching of each unit. They began their study of chemistry by observing properties of three different substances and then mixing those substances with water to make mixtures. In the coming weeks they will study mixtures and solutions.
Math Weekly Challenges
Dr. Gold is helping to administer a monthly math challenge by the Continental Math League. He has provided hundreds of practice problems (involved problems that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills) for us to use. I am offering up to interested students a sheet of practice problems each Monday. On Fridays, we will meet together as a club and share out the various strategies we used to solve the problems. This will be a great opportunity for all students to push themselves and their mathematical reasoning. Below is this week's practice problems.
To celebrate the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, students created ofrendas. Take a look at some of the great work below!
Outdoor Education at Walker Creek Ranch
1. Yesterday your child will came home with a Student Behavior Contract for Outdoor Ed at Walker Creek Ranch. If you have not reviewed and signed it yet, please do so by Tuesday.
2. We are in dire need of male cabin leaders. At the moment we have two women assigned to boy cabins which leaves us with no alternate cabin leader for boys' or girls' cabins. Our experience has shown us that we always use our alternate cabin leaders as people have last minute changes to their work or home situations which prevent them from attending. Please let me know if you are available to attend Outdoor Ed as a cabin leader for the week of 11/22-25. It is hard work but very rewarding!
As a reminder, next week is a short week. Wednesday-Friday there is no school for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Enjoy your weekend!
Dear E4 Families,
What a week (I feel like I say this every week, and somehow it is always fitting)!
Together with Mrs. Gaine's class, we studied the effects of yeast when activated with warm water and cookies.
Thanks to Rose Costa and our parent volunteers, our Halloween party was a blast! Check out this slideshow to see the amazing costumes, cookie decorating, guts game, and other fun we got into.
Yesterday we started writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For homework, students created the initial draft of their main character. Here they are sharing them with their table groups. Some students (by choice) took home additional documents to work on their supporting character and villain over the weekend.
For the past three weeks students have been researching, writing, and creating projects about a European Explorer who came to the new world. They were given a choice to do an iMovie video, a Keynote presentation, a Comic Life comic, or a Toontastic cartoon video.
The sixth and last Friday seminar took place today. Here is a mini village designed by my architecture group.
Next week is the final week of the first trimester! Wednesday is the last opportunity for students to take Accelerated Reader tests. This might just be a great weekend for your child to cozy up with a book!
Have a safe and happy weekend!
Dear E4 Family,
Somehow, the four-day weeks often feel longer than normal five-day weeks, and this week was no exception! Perhaps it is because our week was packed with so much engaging activity.
On Tuesday, to mix things up, students were given new table partners. They each told me 5 students they would like to sit with, and I promised to get each student at a table with at least one of their friends on the list. They knew, however, that classroom expectations would be even more rigorous under this new arrangement. They agreed, and have so far kept their end of the bargain.
Also on Tuesday, the class voted for Kaia to be our Student Council representative for the year and for Max to be our alternate. Congratulations to both of them and to all the students who ran. I am proud of each of you for going for it! In addition, Kaia announced to us that he will be running for school president! Go Kaia!
Yesterday we had our second round of math centers, and we thank Robert Giebler, Danielle Racich, and Kim Dilena for their help in running the math games. I'll try to remember to snap some pictures next time!
This week Mrs. Gaine and I teamed up for a science lesson on photosynthesis. Her students brought their chairs into our classroom and we got cozy! Amazingly, the students maintained their professionalism and enjoyed the benefit of both of our energies. We took an informal poll and the students voted almost unanimously to try it again. They will have their chance on Monday when we do an experiment with sugars.
Today was Crazy Hair Day! Here are a few of the students' styles.
Some of the students didn't even believe this is my actual hair!
Today was also the last day of our Literature Circle groups. Thanks again to Courtney Finnegan, Rose Costa, Carolyn Cohen, Alexa Robinson, Christine Svanfeldt, and Patrick Maher for their dedication in coming in for 5 consecutive Fridays to guide students in literature-based discussion.
This afternoon author Henry Neff came to our school and shared his book series titled The Tapestry.
Next Week: Our class leads the Monday Morning Assembly!