Today, as INQUIRING readers, we set out to use WORD STRUCTUREto determine the meaning of new or tricky words. Affixes were on the agenda.
We began by thinking about a word with the root “touch” introduced in Gloria Whelan’s book In Andal’s House and in Kids Discover: Ancient India.
We then looked at how the word can be modified by adding PREfix before the root and SUFfixes after the root. We also learned a new secret agent code: PqRS. We then had the opportunity to explore the STRUCTURE of words found in one of our resources. Each scholars was challenged to:
Lookthrough the Kids Discover magazine.
Identifya ROOT word.
ReSTRUCTUREthe word by adding prefixes and suffixes.
Explainhow the restructuring changes the meaning of the word.
Createa learning poster to make your thinking visible.
Seesaw your process. (We did not get to this today, but will try to Seesaw tomorrow.)
We also continued practicing PARTitioning rectangles and connecting our pictorial presentation to the more abstract PARTial products. Using these two strategies, we multiplied four-digit by one-digit factors.
To end the day, students began to access our prior knowledge about India. With STRUCTURE in mind, we began a KWHLAQ process. In small groups, students began to:
Ponder what they already KNOWabout India.
Pick and prioritize things they WANT to know more about.
As we worked through the remainder of this process, we will be able to narrow down and focus our inquiries.
As we settled back in to our scholarly routine today, we took time this morning to review a few changes to the schedule and to examine this week’s vocabulary words. “Antagonist,” “protagonist.” and the word part “struct-” seemed to be of greatest interest. Once personal and collective notes and noticings were made, a challenge was issued to be on the alert of clues and multiple sources related to this week’s words.
We then moved into an examination of our next transdisciplinary theme: How We Organize Ourselves. In small groups, students read and reread the title and description and highlighted and annotated words of interest or words that might help drive an inquiry. With their new multi-colored pens, students mused marvelously and considered critical connections and questions. As groups shared their thoughts, it was amazing to see similarities and exciting to see differences that will lead to wide and wonderful investigations.
As part of the launch of our new unit, students participated in a puzzle-making provocation. As the picture was revealed and the pieces poured out on the carpet, students immediately began to share strategies for sorting. Patient, polite, yet purpose-filled leaders emerged from the crowd and calmly conducted the construction process. Throughout the entire process, students remained respectful, riveted, and ravenous for the challenge.
Taking a brief pause from the puzzle, students also inquired into problem solving processes related to the estimation of large numbers. Data related to food consumption was shared and questions posed. Students approached each question with a variety of strategies, which were shared, compared, and considered by others. Multi-step problems proved to be a tad challenging, but we will continue our work with this in the days ahead.
To end the day, Ben chose to share a portion of his rock collection. With great detail, he described each stone sample, making connections to our work with the rock cycle. We might just have a geologist in the making.
During our word work time today, Mrs. Kovacs invited us to consider elements of an essay by analyzing and assembling colored strips containing parts of sentences. Working collaboratively, we pieced together sentences. As we explored options, we realized that some strips could be torn in two to create simple, complex, and compound sentences. One of the challenges we encountered was ensuring that the strips made complete sentences and not fragments. Once sentences were assembled, we pieced them together into a paragraph, which included a thesis and supporting details.
To extend our learning, we were presented with another set of sentence strips containing content about different types of rocks. Once again, we pieced together the information considering complete sentences and paragraph structure. When we were done, we captured our final paragraph on lined paper. These informational paragraphs were shared in a jigsaw format, so everyone had an opportunity to learn about the different types of rock.
After focusing extensively on reading yesterday, today we focused on writing. One of the articles featured in yesterday’s reading task was from Teaching Kids News. The article by Nancy Miller entitled “Japan’s 2011 Tsunami Sends Balls 8,000 Kilometers to Alaska” explained how a soccer ball and volleyball that were swept out to sea ended up being reunited with their owners. Today’s challenge required students to step into the skin of either the soccer ball or volleyball and to write a fictional story about the journey experienced from its perspective. Using facts from the article, learning from their inquiry into movement, and understanding about strong story development, students began crafting creative tales. Prior to writing, students identified the following criteria for a scholarly story:
figurative language (onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, alliteration)
This prompt prompted a plethora of plot possibilities including:
In an effort to dig more deeply into the idea of struggle and survival, we shared a read aloud of the book The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh by Frederick Lipp. Prior to reading, we paused to make predictions about the text, based on the title and Ronald Himler’s illustrations. To guide our predictions and our ponderings, we used a summary-style mneumonic device – SWBST-F (Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, Finally). This graphic organizer will be used again on Wednesday when we revisit the text. Then, as we read, we paused after each page to peruse the pictures, ponder the plot, find figurative phrases, and consider connections to our compass point conversation.
Our discussions were deep and diverse, often diverting to delve into interesting individual incidences (here in Kinshasa, in our home countries, and from our travels around the world) that have influenced our ideas and impacted our lives. How will all these things intersect as we conduct our inquiry?
We also began to explore metric prefixes today. How could we incorporate these into our stories?
We had a fabulously focused morning of research, continuing our inquiry into essays. Students worked diligently to gathering information and piece it together into an instructional presentation. It was exciting to see all the pieces come together and to see how deeply we understood this new genre of writing.
In math, we used base ten blocks to explore decimals in concrete, pictorial, and abstract ways. Students use the manipulatives to represent a decimal, which their partner had to identify and explain. Most students were able to share their learning on Seesaw. As some prepared their Seesaw presentations, they made some minor mistakes, which were very valuable for learning. We love to celebrate mistakes because they provide us an opportunity to reflect and be open-minded.
Check out the following video from YouCubed (one of my favorite math and mindset resources).
Mr. Sheldrick and his kindergarten and first grade students shared their learning with us during their student-led assembly. We were able to make some connections to our compass point activities this past week.
After the assembly, we headed straight to Mrs. Fischer’s room for a top secret practice. I can’t say much more because… it’s top secret.
Here’s a link to the video, if you’re interested in practicing.
After a brief investigation into our words of the week, we continued with some word analysis related to the Primary Year Program (PYP) and our transdisciplinary theme. Using some of the same tools, we broke down the word and gained a better understanding of how the PYP is organized.
We then began to examine our theme for our current unit – Where We Are in Time and Place. Working in our table groups, we read the description of the theme and noted words and phrases that were interesting and into which we might inquire further. Working together, students annotated the description. This will be a document we revisit throughout our unit as we become more knowledgeable about and make connections with our central idea through our lines of inquiry.
We then continued our investigative work by conducting research about… essays (see related post).
We also continued our work with decimals, looking at how to create number lines… with hundredths in an effective and efficient way.
We had a incredible day of investigation. Whether we were using multiple sources to find the meaning or origin of new words or thinking about our new transdisciplinary theme or digging in to decimals, students demonstrated dedication and determination in delightful ways today.
As we move into our third unit of inquiry, we will be looking at a new genre of writing… expository essays. This type of essay is designed to explain. Beginning with a thesis or belief statement, students will seek to identify reasons for this belief and will work to support these reasons with elaboration in the form of anecdotes (mini-story), examples, and / or descriptions.
Today, we inquired into what an essay is. Students had a number of print and digital resources to explore. As students dug into the materials, parts, purpose, procedure, and perfecting were areas about which to research.
With Thanksgiving coming up, we will soon be presented with a prompt and determine what it is asking (part of the procedure). We will be writing about gratitude. After discussing this idea deeply, we will craft a thesis statement and record two reasons with supporting examples on our graphic organizers. We will use this information to draft our hook and body paragraphs. This will be a sample setting us up for a more significant essay about struggle.
The creators of Flocabulary use rap to review the elements of an essay and the purpose of each.
This morning, we started by finishing our Compass Points visible thinking routine. We jotted down things what Worries (W) us about the ideas of struggle and survival. Students then conducted a gallery walk, reading and reflecting on one another’s ideas. Observations, questions, and additional thinking were added to our recording sheets for future consideration. A number of powerful ideas worth pursuing were noted and shared. This will definitely be an interesting, introspective, and impactful inquiry.
Today, as we continued to launch into our new unit, we tackled a tough text titled A Song for Cambodia by Michelle Lord. This story takes us on a treacherous journey with Arn, a boy from a village in northern Cambodia. With well-chosen words, the author allows us to step into Arn’s shoes (an idiomatic phrase meaning to see life from someone else’s perspective). This story prompted a number of important inquiry questions related to survival and struggle and Cambodia’s history, which we will investigate further in the days ahead.
Pausing periodically allowed us to ponder Arn’s experience deeply. Throughout, questions were posed – perfect for our pursuit into a tough topic. We also spent quite a bit of time talking about the foreword, which contains important historical information that made us yearn for more information. Another one of our wonderings was about the genre of the book – is it fiction or nonfiction? If fiction, is it realistic or historical? If nonfiction, is it narrative nonfiction? How can we tell? We highlighted a number of keywords we could use to find out more about this story and whether or not it is true? What other factual information related to the setting (time and place) would help use better understand this story? What kinds of multiple sources would be most helpful? Lots to think and wonder about…
In the days ahead, we will complete our summary graphic organizer, which will require us to think critically about the main character’s motivation, conflict, plot, and theme. We will also have opportunity to compare Arn’s story with others as we pursue the following lines of inquiry:
People adapt and change over time as a result of conflict
People’s personal responses to adversity
Action as a result of adversity
Watch the following video featuring the REAL Arn Chorn Pond. In his own words, he shares about his struggle to survive in Cambodia and the different, but equally challenging, struggles he had in his new home in New Hampshire. It is amazing to hear his story and to think about our own stories and the stories of those around us.
In math, we worked to apply our learning about comparing fractions by ordering a set of fractions. Using pictorial / visual tools like fraction bars and number lines, we were able to consider fractions’ relationship to the whole and to one another. We used what we knew about common numerators, common denominators, benchmarks, and equivalent fractions to help us.
We did not learn the following strategy in class, but it is another way to efficiently compare and order fractions. Your mom and dad probably know this way. The question is… why does it work? Hmmm…
This afternoon, we had a visit from Ms. TaShawndra. She reshared with us one of our favorite books, The Invisible Boy. As with any rereading, we were able to think more deeply about the ideas and were able to connect to our central idea – People respond differently to conflict. After reading and discussing the big idea in the book, we began a game of empathy jeopardy. Teams worked together to respond to the following categories of questions:
Act It Out
True or False
Each group, when presented with a scenario, has a short time to discuss their responses prior to sharing. All groups were excited about the game and thoughtful in their responses. Unfortunately, we were not able to finish the game, but we were able to schedule Ms. TaShawndra for a follow up session tomorrow. Can’t wait to continue conversing about empathy and ways to share caring to our community members.
While we are still finishing up bits and pieces of our inquiry into movement as a change agent, we launched into our new unit today with a reflective quick write and a visible thinking routine: Compass Points. We began by considering our Needs (N) related to struggle and survival. We followed that up by making a Stance (S) and exploring what Excites (E) us about this central idea. Tomorrow, we will consider what Worries (W) us.
Challenge: Compass Points
As an extension of our visible thinking routine, consider the formation and purpose of a compass and compass rose. Start by labeling the four cardinal directions (north – N, south – S, east – E, and west – W). Connect your work with fractions, by dividing your compass into eighths, adding the intermediate directions (northwest – NW, northeast – NE, southwest – SW, southeast – SE). To challenge your brain, divide the eighths in half to make sixteenths. Using your detective skills, determine how to label these tertiary directions, combining the adjacent cardinal and intermediate directions (north northwest – NNW, west northwest – WNW, west southwest – WSW, south southwest – SSW, north northeast – NNE, east northeast – ENE, east southeast – ESE, south southeast – SSE).
As a connection to our unit on Japan, check out this tutorial on making your own compass rose.
If you’d like to really exercise your brain, check out the following video that includes fractions, directions, and… degrees (angles), a math topic we will focus more on later in the year.
Challenge: Pointing Us in the Right Direction Padlet
What questions do you have about the compass?
How could you find out more?
How could a compass help us explore our area of focus?
How does a compass connect to our central idea of struggle and survival?
We moved further into our exploration of fractions today by considering how to compare fractions using like numerators, like denominators, benchmarks, and equivalent fractions. Number lines and strip diagrams / fraction bars were especially helpful as we tried to grappled with this concept.
To top off the day, we had an opportunity to celebrate Keira. While she is a special ray of sunshine each and every day, today Keira brought an extra bit of flare with her brightly-colored, sparkly-sprinkled cupcakes. Not only were they dazzling, they were delicious! Happy birthday, Keira!
Today, TASOK welcomed hundreds of students from schools across the city to join in on a journey through the jungle. The cross country meet provided opportunities for some students to run a rigorous race and for others to stand by and support. As a bunch of bystanders, fourth graders were able to witness the power of words to strengthen and spur others on. With outreached hands, we heartened competitors and community-members alike, participating in each person’s pursuit of perseverance. With simple words of encouragement, we saw smiles shine on fatigued and frustrated faces. With the clapping of hands and the chanting of cheers, we saw slow, struggling steps transform into speedy, strong strides.
We were grateful for the chance to serve with smiles and support and to see how easy and essential encouragement is.