Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Conferences

We are looking forward to talking with you about your child's progress in third grade during the upcoming week. 

We are also looking forward to jumping into our new engineer design challenge where students will be using what they know about force and motion and the EDP (Engineer Design Process) by acting as green engineers to design a car made of recycled materials that can travel down a ramp and meet our distance criteria. The students will imagine ideas, design a prototype, test their cars, write conclusions using their data as evidence, and work together collaboratively to problem solve. Stay tuned for more information and follow us on Instagram @wcsmosaicmoments for updates and pictures. 

We sent an email last week to request supplies for this project. If you have any materials that you are looking to donate please send them in with your child as soon as possible. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Measuring Mavericks

Thank you all so much for joining us at our annual Passion Project Breakfast event. It was an amazing turn out and the students were all very obviously proud to share their hard work with a large interested and supportive audience.

 To see pictures of the event follow us on our new Instagram account @wcsmosaicmoments We have set up the account as private so you'll just need to click on the blue "follow" button to see images and leave your comments. We hope this tool will allow us to easily update you on the happenings in our classrooms in a way that seems accessible with  busy lifestyles. My daughter's teacher has been doing this and I love getting the quick, easy glimpse at her day. We hope you enjoy it as well and we welcome your feedback.

This past week students have begun a new science investigation where they will conduct investigations around phenomena of how gravity, friction, and force affect movement. Students will use science data to make claims and support their evidence in writing. Then they will use the Engineering Design Task to design a car ramp using their new understandings. Stay tuned for their discoveries.

We are finishing up our math unit on measurement and fractions and the students are now moving into Unit 5 where they will learn more about multiplication and division using models for area and perimeter. Look here to see more about the concepts included in this unit.

Enjoy that extra hour of sunlight. Spring's got to be just right around the corner, right?!

Liz and Jess

Monday, March 6, 2017

Passionate People

We hope that you all enjoyed the winter break despite the frigid temps! This week the students are hard at work finishing up their research reports on their passion project topics. We have had students studying everything from Helen Keller to spicy peppers and they can't wait to share their learning with you.

Students learned about informational text through studying Steve Jenkins last month and you will see how they thoughtfully incorporated many of the styles and features that are part this genre. Students chose to use formats like Question/Answer or Compare/Contrast, and added features like timelines, diagrams, maps, labels, and captions to teach their readers new information about their topic.

Join us on Thursday morning from 8:00-8:45 to celebrate their hard work and learn all about these interesting topics. If you are able to bring a healthy breakfast treat or beverage it would be greatly appreciated. We'll provide the coffee!

Things to ask you students:
What nonfiction text features or access features did you include? Why?
What text structure did you choose to use? Why?

Thanks so much for supporting our amazing students and their hard work. See you Thursday morning!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Days!

We have to extend a HUGE thank you to our FAP members for helping to bring the amazing Natalie Kinsey Warnock to our school. She was so energetic and full of incredible stories. After she left our classrooms were abuzz with talk of how students were going to start collecting their own memories to write about. Thanks for this rich experience!

Students have been hard at work gathering research on their passion project topics. Now they will begin to organize their research using headings/subheadings into different google slides by topic. Then they will write using some of the nonfiction text features we learned about while studying the works of author, Steve Jenkins. Lastly, students will present their research projects to you on the morning of Thursday, March 9th. The time is still to be announced, but we usually like to start early in the morning to make it possible to stop and see you child's work on the way to work. More detailed information will be coming home at the end of this week.

In last week's Friday folder you received a letter from our wonderful colleague, Susan Stewart. Susan will be traveling to Africa over the Winter Break to visit the Hands of Love Educational Centre . She is looking for certain items that these students and teachers could benefit from and will be collecting them right up until the break outside of the Equinox doors. You can also bring any contributions to Mosaic and we would be happy to send them down to Susan to take on her journey.

Thank for all that you do to support our work,

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Passionate People

We wrapped up the reading portion of our nonfiction unit by nominating one of Steve Jenkins books for a fictional award inspired by the Orbis Pictus medal for nonfiction. The readers had to use what they know about text structures (i.e. question/answer, cause/effect, chronological, narrative, etc.) and Jenkins use of text features as criteria for their award. See this week's Let's Recap for some of the books they chose and their reasoning behind it.

Now we have moved into the writing portion of the unit where students will use what they know about text structures and features of nonfiction text to research and write an informational piece about a topic of their choice. The choices they have made range from spicy peppers to snub nosed monkeys and everything in between. We have jumped into notetaking and next week we will use Google Slides to begin to organize our notes with headings. Then students will decide on which structural elements they will include. Maybe they will choose to have a vocabulary section, a question and answer text box, side bars, diagrams, or endnotes. We can't wait to share our Passion Projects with you when we return from the Winter Break. An invite for our Passion Project breakfast will be sent home next week.

We wrapped up our math unit last week and students self-assessed their growth. Many of them were so proud of themselves for how much they grew in developing efficient strategies for multi-digit addition and subtraction and using estimation and rounding to support a reasonable solution. Now we are moving into Unit 4 where students will be learning about measurement of time, mass and volume and beginning to explore fractions. Read here to learn more about the math concepts in this unit.

Also this week we are excited to welcome Vermont author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. She will be visiting all of the 3/4 teams for an interactive and in-depth look at her writing process. Look forward to some pictures after her visit next week!

Please remember to have your child bring all of their winter gear to school and expect to change into some more comfortable shoes upon arrival. Our rugs are taking a beating from the salty/sandy boots!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Let's Recap

During our most recent literacy unit we are exploring nonfiction texts as readers. Steve Jenkins, creator of books like Actual Size, The Beetle Book, and Never Smile at a Monkey has been our mentor author during this unit of study  and his books have provided us with opportunities to explore access features like headings, contents, index, and glossaries. We have also used his books to explore different structures of informational text. Some are organized by Q&A, Compare/Contrast, Enumerative, and Narrative. Students have learned to use the features and structures to access information efficiently in nonfiction books. Next up, students will share their understanding of informational text access features and structure by nominating one of Steve's books for a fictional award.

During the second part of this unit we will use what we have learned about reading nonfiction to research a topic and write our own informational pieces that will teach others about a topic that students feel passionate about. This will culminate in a Passion Project Breakfast in March where they will share their writing and projects with you. Stay tuned for more information.

This week we also tried out a cool new tool called Let's Recap. Students can respond to a variety of questions using a video commentary. The application then turns their responses into a slideshow to share beyond the walls of the classroom. Here is our first recap video

Just a reminder that students should have all winter gear with them at school as we go outside each day for fresh air and time with friends. We also ask that students have shoes (preferably sneakers) to change into after they arrive at school.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Learning Goals

We hope that everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday and that your new year is off to a wonderful start. We began our new year together welcoming our two new student interns and setting mid year goals for ourselves. We also had the opportunity to share our weather projects that we hadn't gotten a chance to share before the break due to a power outage!

Meet our new interns, Naomi and Katie....

My name is Katie Johnson and I am so thrilled to be student teaching in Mrs.Parker’s 3rd grade class. I am a graduate student at Saint Michael’s College working on an Elementary Education Licensure with a concentration in Literacy. I graduated from Smith College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

When I am not doing homework or wrangling socks from my very cute but very mischievous dog, Dahlia, I like to ski, run, bake, spend time with friends and family, and drink coffee.  I am looking forward to this tremendous opportunity to work with Mrs. Parker’s Class and Mosaic Team.

Greetings! My name is Naomi Risch and I am the new student intern for Mrs. Eaton’s class this Spring! I grew up in the Fryeburg, Maine area which is in Western Maine, right near the border of Conway, NH near Mount Washington. I moved to Vermont 9 years ago and worked in adult mental health for 6 years. I’ve wanted to be a teacher for years but could never make the leap to go back to school and in 2015 decided I couldn’t wait any longer! I started the Graduate Degree and Licensure Program at Saint Michael’s College that Fall, which has lead me here, to Williston Central School for my student teaching internship. In my spare time I am passionate about being outdoors; rock climbing, skiing and hiking. I also really love cooking and trying new recipes. One of my personal goals for 2017 is to learn how to make ravioli from scratch! I am really looking forward to my time at WCS and getting to know all of your children. I’ve only spent a quick four days with them so far, but I can already tell they’re an incredible group of students!

Here are a few photos from our presentations to Kaleidoscope. The Mosaic students were articulate and prepared and the collaboration they showed was commendable. The Kaleidoscope students were attentive, curious, and asked wonderful questions that got everyone thinking. It is so gratifying to see students engaged in project-based learning!

Next week we will continue working on efficient, reasonable ways to solve three digit addition and subtraction problems in math. We will also be launching into a unit on reading informational/nonfiction texts and crafting informative writing pieces. This will lead us to a favorite Mosaic tradition of creating Passion Projects based on a topic of students' choosing. The culminating event will be a showcase breakfast in early March. Stay tuned for more on this!