Sunday, November 12, 2017

Here Comes The Sun

Thank you to our parent volunteers who made our Harvest Craftermorning a success! The students always look forward to this day and after the excitement of the storm and no school it was a nice way to ease back into the week!

We spent some of the rainy days last week using our data and what we learned from Gary B and his solar bus to build our prototypes. Then the sun finally shined and we were able to test them. None of the teams were entirely successful with melting the cheese on their nachos, but they did discover that by adding plastic to the tops they were able to create a greenhouse effect and many of them got hot! We wrapped up our solar energy unit by using all of our new understandings to write reflections about how successful our designs were for how they heated up and how much of an impact they had on the environment.

Now the students are moving into a social studies unit. They will learn about the geography of Vermont and follow its history from the days of the Abenaki to its statehood. Students will head to the Flynn this week to see a presentation about the Abenaki tribe presented by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. They will then work in small research groups to become "experts" on an aspect of Abenaki culture. Their informational writing will be on display alongside a mural  that they will create in art class with Mrs. Beeken. Stay tuned for more photos and information on this unit of study.

The days are turning colder but we still want students to be able to head outside during the day for fresh air. Please help your students to be sure and pack accordingly so they can be warm and dry during the cold winter months. We hope that you all enjoy a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday with your families.


Liz and Jess

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Going Solar

This was an awesome week with some special visitors and events sprinkled into our regular schedule.

On Thursday we learned about how seeds travel from our Four Winds Volunteers. Students identified the different parts of seeds using a lima bean model, engaged in several hands on activities to understand how they travel and spread, and enjoyed fruits with different types of seeds. Thank you to all of our amazing parent volunteers!

On Friday, Gary Beckwith and his Solar Bus came to teach us more about the science and engineering involved with solar ovens. Students learned about the three different types of solar energy and how they can power everything from a calculator to a car (or bus!). Gary was really impressed with all of the understanding that Mosaic students already had from our unit and we even invited him to come back and see how our solar ovens stand up to the test of making nachos this week!

We ended our week in the garden celebrating all that it brings to our school and community. Kaleidoscope lead us in song and our wonderful staff and parent volunteers served us up some delicious hot cider. It was a beautiful day to celebrate!

Just a reminder that we will be having our Mosaic Crafter Morning on Tuesday, October 31st from 10:30-11:30. Thank you to those of you who are volunteering your time or sending in a snack for us to enjoy.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Happy Hikers

Thank you to all who donated canned good and pledges towards our annual Hike For Hunger event. All of the money will go towards Hunger Free Vermont and the food will be donated directly to our Williston Food Shelf. The students got a beautiful day and we enjoyed spending time together as a team doing something for our local community.
Mosaic Team Hike For Hunger

Our beautiful backdrop at Catamount Family Center 

This week we tested different materials to see how they worked as insulators. Students tested plastic, paper, felt, and cotton and recorded the difference in temperature after submerging cups full of the materials in ice water. Students now have lots of ideas on how they will use these tests to make decisions on how to build their own oven prototypes. Our goal is to have an oven that can successfully heat up and cook food while still having a low impact on the environment.
Testing thermal insulators

We started a new unit in mathematics this week. Students are learning about models and strategies for multi-digit multiplication and how to divide with and without remainders. See this link for more information on the content of this unit and how to support your child's math growth.

Next Tuesday is our Harvest Craft Morning. We are looking for parent volunteers to run a craft or activity for three groups of approximately 10 students in each group. A form has gone home and we would love it if you could join us for this fun team event. If you want to help,but need an idea we are happy to help. If you need certain materials for your craft idea just let us know beforehand and we will try and organize them for you.

Happy Harvest,
Jess and Liz

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Solar Scientists

Scientists began learning about different types of energy this week. Some new vocabulary that came up in our scientist meetings were: fossil fuels, renewable/nonrenewable, and geothermal. Students then concentrated their focus on solar energy and designed an investigation around how the color of a material affects how it absorbs heat. They established the controls and variable and worked in groups to collect and analyze data. This information will help them as they design their own prototypes for mini-solar ovens in the coming weeks, but first we need to test for which materials insulate the most heat. Stay tuned!
Collecting Temperature Data

Setting up our colored materials for testing

This Wednesday we will be doing our annual Hike For Hunger at The Catamount Family Center. Our hike will begin at 10:00 and go until about 11:00. We would love for families to join us on this team event. Pledge forms were sent home via email and should be returned with any donation by Friday, October 27th. We will also love to collect non-perishable food items to donate to our Williston Food Shelf. Thank you for anything that you can contribute to this important tradition.
Mathematicians investigate mass 

Learning about liquid volume 

On Monday students in fourth grade will attend an assembly to learn about the WCS beginner band program. They will learn about the different instrument options and the responsibilities that come along with joining the band. We encourage them to discuss this new option with their families and teachers before making the year long commitment. More information will come home to you in the next few weeks, but we are happy to answer any questions.
Students of the Week reporting live from Midday With Mosaic!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Growing Writers

Writers have been working on writing opinion reviews and science conclusions in our integrated Gum Unit. We have been using microprogressions to help students learn how to elevate the quality of their writing. We look at other student writing and teacher models as mentor texts and then use the PQP (Praise, Question, Polish) strategy to help each other edit, revise, and aim for a 2-3 star piece.
Microprogressions for opinion writing

We look forward to sharing your student's writing and other information with you during our conferences. Please use the link on the sidebar (or teacher email) to sign up for a time that works for you.
Praise, Question, Polish
Peer Editing Tool 

Computational Fluency Work Place Game
We are nearing the end of our current math unit and students have been working on strategies for multiplication and division problem solving as well as building their computational fluency with multiplication facts through work place games. This week we will show our thinking in our post-assessment. Then we will reflect on how we have grown using our pre-assessment and reflection tools. These assessments will come home for you to celebrate how your student has grown as a mathematician.

Thank you for helping your students to use their yellow planners to organize their weekly responsibilities. This is just one of the ways that we can help our students to build executive functioning skills like time management and organization.

Lego Masters at Work
During Friday Workshops

If you have a special skill that you would like to share with students please remember that we would love to have family volunteers to run a Friday Workshop. These run almost every Friday from 2:05-2:40. You would have a group of about 10 students. Please contact your child's teacher if you are interested.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Popping Into Science

Scientists rate their gum based
on our chosen criteria. 
Over the past few weeks we have been learning about opinion writing by composing reviews. After looking at lots of different reviews and determining the components of this type of writing we then  tested and reviewed toys, books, and food to draft our own reviews.  Then we combined our new learning with science by creating a way to test and review the best kind of bubble gum. Students learned about how scientists use words like criteria, constants and variables. They worked together to  develop a fair test and decided on the best gum based on flavor, texture, and bubble size. Now we are working to write a gum review that also includes scientific data as evidence. Then students will mail their writing off to the gum company who makes their overall best choice! Having an authentic audience always help to ratchet up the level of quality in young writers compositions. Stay tuned for more integrated reading, writing, and scientific practices as we move into our next unit around energy and solar engineering.

Measuring bubble size to the
nearest centimeter

Mathematicians race in the
Arrays To 100 Work Place Activity
As we near the end of our first unit in math students have developed several efficient strategies for solving multiplication and division problems. They are using number lines, ratio tables, and the area model to represent and justify their thinking to other mathematicians. Our math class is never a quiet place and discourse is at the heart of developing understanding. We also have been developing our fact fluency by playing Work Place games that help us to think about multiplication flexibly using the distributive property. For example, we can think about 9x7 by doing 10x7 and then quickly taking away a set of 9 or we can thinking about any x4 fact by doubling and then doubling again. That is why we call it the Double Double rule. At the end of this week we will take our post-assessment and reflect on our growth and set new goals for the next unit of study.

We ended the week with our first Four Winds Nature Study about insects. Students learned about the difference between a simple and complete metamorphosis and had the chance to engage in some hands-on discovery in our own backyard. Thank you so much to our parent volunteers for this important learning component.

A few reminders:

  • Your child will bring home a yellow Friday Folder on Friday. Please help him/her fill out the weekly planner. They should be logging in the minutes read and type of reading throughout the week, aiming for at least 100 minutes. The log and folder should then be returned the next Friday. 
  • As the fall weather sets in we are sharing our schedules for fall conferences. If you would like to sign up for a time please click on the link on the sidebar and follow the directions on the WikiSpace sign-up.
  • Please follow us on Instagram @wcsmosaicmoments for photos and videos. 

Happy Autumn,
Jess and Liz

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welcome to 4th Grade

Hello Mosaic Families,

We have been busy during out first two weeks reviewing the routines and expectations of our classroom communities and modeling these for our third grade friends. Last week students also began working on their Hopes and Dreams project. The project is inspired by Daniel Pinkwater's book, The Big Orange Splot, where a street where every home looked the same decided to shake things up a bit. By the end of the story everyone's homes were designed to respresent their dreams. Our students then began to brainstorm and write about their own goals and dreams for this year and will be creating their own "home" as an artistic representation of their dreams. Stay tuned for pictures on our Instagram account (@wcsmosaicmoments) and on display in our classrooms.

Thanks to those of you who came to the dessert social. It was nice to catch up and make new connections. We will have our annual curriculum night this coming Thursday from 6:30-7:30. The information that we present will be very similar to last year. You are more than welcome to attend in person but if you would just like a review we would be happy to share our presentation with you via email.

We are still looking for a few more 4 Winds volunteers and a new FAP representative for the Mosaic team. Please let me know if you would be interested in either of these opportunities.

You should have seen a yellow Friday folder arrive home this week. In it you will find your child's weekly planner/reading log. Please help your student get into the routine of filling this planner out for the week and keeping a record of his/her reading. The folder and the planner should be signed and returned back to school next Friday.

Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Jess and Liz