• Dear Parents,
    This February weather is sure throwing us for a loop! 50 degrees one day, snow day the next.  I hope you have all enjoyed the long weekend.  I wanted to send along some curriculum and classroom updates for you as we look into next week.  The 100th day of school is creeping up on us fast, pending no more snow days, it will be this Friday, February 12th.  That's right, more than HALF of the school year is over.  I have to say, your children have all made such wonderful progress this school year and it is always this time of year when they really start to tackle the increasingly challenging curriculum to gear up for fourth grade.  Also, your child will have the opportunity to pass out Valentines to classmates on Friday, February 12th.  Valentines are optional but I do ask that if your child brings in Valentines, they must bring one in for each student in the class.  They can be store bought, homemade, etc., just no candy, please.  Children are not allowed to give or receive food/candy in school as a district-wide rule.
    In Math, students have been working on understanding fractions.  We have been identifying, shading and comparing fractions.  We have looked at fractions on a number line, fractions of a whole, and equivalent fractions.  Finally, we finished off the unit with fraction number stories.  Next, in Unit 7, we will be looking at measurement and data.  We will study different types of graphs, revisit time and distance measurement, and also study liquid measures.  You will be getting a Unit 7 homework packet later this week.  Until then, continue the awesome work that you are doing!  I love seeing the mix of math activities you and your child are choosing for homework.  Some of you are in a clear technology rhythm where your children are practicing their fluency on Stretch-to-Go or Multiplication.com each night.  Others I can see love the paper and pencil tasks.  And those of you that tackle the games, bravo!  It is so great to see the level of homework differentiation at home to help give each of your children what they need.  
    In literacy, we are well underway with our Informational Units that were launched last month.  Students have worked hard to draft their own Informational Books using expert information about a topic they already know a lot about.  The kids have picked topics that are near and dear to them and have pushed themselves to think about how to share their expertise with others.  It is astonishing to watch and I love helping them take their chapters to the next level.  In the next phase, publication, the students will get to choose the types of paper they use when publishing to work in non-fiction features such as diagrams, charts, how-to lists, etc.  The work that we are doing in reading strengthens their ability to create their own books because they are able to study mentor texts to see how authors use features to help support their topic.  They are also working on identifying main ideas of passages and creating bullet points to highlight the supporting details.  We call this concept Boxes and Bullets.  Feel free to ask your child all about it!
    In Science, we have just finished our fun unit on Chemical Reactions.  Students have studies the properties of powders and liquids and how they undergo changes.  They have become avid scientists through experimentation, observation, and recording.  We are now beginning our unit on the Water Cycle where we will learn about the different stages of the cycle and how they have an impact on humans' life on Earth.  Through research, observation and experimentation, students will know more about the weather than ever!  
    In Social Studies, the students were bittersweet to see Mrs. Griffith leave us and Mrs. Lombardo return from maternity leave.  They have transitioned very well into having Mrs. Lombardo return and will continue all the great work they have been doing on the first settlers and the Wampanoags.  Their next direction is to study they colonial people who settled in Lexington.  They will assume the role of a colonial Lexington resident and work with other students in a "family" to research and learn about their impact on Lexington and Massachusetts.  This will all be followed up with a field trip this spring.  More information will be provided about the trip as dates and details are finalized.  
    Finally, just a quick note on report cards.  Though the Standards Based Report Cards aren't all that new to us anymore, they can still feel like a shift.  Remember, Bs and Ps are normal grades for the first marking period.  Students are working towards mastery of the standards that the report cards highlight, it is a year long process.  The things that they have been assessed on will continue to be taught throughout the year so your child will have many more chances to display mastery of these skills. Your children have all done extremely well this semester, I am very proud of each and every one of them!  However, should you have a question on some of the report card language or what a certain grade indicates, please feel free to email me and I can either reply or we can set up a phone call to discuss further.
    Thank you all for continuing to support your children and the practices of Room 209.  
    Most sincerely,
    Dani Turner