Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Display

Periodically at Third Street School, we have visitors from other schools in the district and even from other countries. Today, visitors from South Korea accompanied by our principal, Dr. Suzie K. Oh, came to room 19 to watch us work on our thinking and writing skills. Our students were amazing!

As I mentioned at our Back to School night, our class is using the 6+1 Traits of Writing program. Part of this approach to teaching writing - it isn't really a program in the way that Open Court was - has students reading anonymous papers and scoring them against a rubric. This helps sharpen the students' skills at analyzing good and bad writing. This was what our students demonstrated so capably today for our South Korean visitors. They looked at two essays, one on "Dinosaurs" and the other on "Rainy Days" and responded to them. Each was graded for Ideas and Organization on a scale of 1-5.

The students were so articulate as they connected the rubric with details in the composition. Our visitors were amazed and Dr. Oh was just bursting with pride.

After the visitors left, we finished our food webs. They were all good, but this one was particular nice.

Many of our students go to Beginning Strings after recess, so we did our math at this time instead of Science because I didn't want students to miss brine shrimp hatching. Our math lesson was pretty much review for tomorrow's test. After lunch we read a chapter of Island of the Blue Dolphins and worked on our body percussion piece in music. We did the usual rotations at Mixing.

Our somewhat belated Science experiment for the week is hatching brine shrimp. This is a great activity for several reasons. First, it connects to social studies because of the brine shrimp population at Mono Lake which is so important for our California gulls. Second, the experiment helps the student understand both range of tolerances and isolating one variable in an experiment.

The experiment works like this. The students fill four cups with 150 mL of treated water. In one cup, they add no salt. In another, they add one measure of salt. In another they add two measures of salt, and in the final cup they add three measures of salt.

Finally, they add a small mini-spoon of brine shrimp eggs to each cup.

We'll watch over the next couple days to see how many hatch in each salt solution.

Homework:  (1) Study for the spelling test. (2) Do "Reasonableness," pages 108-110 and "Test Prep" pages 112-113.

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