Lady Washington Field Trip

Today we set sail on the Lady Washington. Divided into our crews, we experienced navigating, hoisting the sails, and practiced our negotiating skills as traders. This was the first year we’ve done this trip and I loved it! It was such a fun way to connect to our Explorer Unit. I can’t wait to see how our explorer projects are inspired by today’s learning.



Counting Collections

We’ve reached 10,320 orbeez in our class counting collection! Our class has worked together to build a mathematical model and counting collection. We’re literally building our understanding of place value, equal size groups, power of ten, multiplication, and addition. Although we will dig deeper into these big ideas, the conversations and early connections were exciting and fun! The best part is we’re not done yet; deconstructing our collection will open up discoveries in subtraction, division, arrays and so much more.

Currently, we are zooming in on multiplication. Over the coming weeks we will be developing and deepening our conceptual understanding of topics including: problem solving equal size groups; finding factors, multiples, prime and composite numbers; distinguishing additive and multiplicative comparisons; analyzing patterns; deconstructing base ten place value; and using the three read strategy to solve word problems.

Reader’s Workshop: Building a Reading Life

In Reader’s workshop we have building a reading life. Part of learning to love reading is figuring out what makes reading successful for us. We began the year making goals, tracking our progress, reading books like they are gold (we are always on a treasure hunt), and sharing our reading ideas with others. At the beginning of the year, learners often struggle with confidence sharing their ideas. They think that their idea might be wrong or a “bad idea”. To help build confidence, we have spent a lot of time building each other up and supporting each other because we value everyone’s ideas.

Using our read aloud, Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner, we have started practicing comprehension strategies that help us talk and write about our reading. Each colored strategy in the image below is a mini-lesson we have worked on over the past few weeks.  After I teach a strategy, the learners will practice by writing in their writing about reading notebook or on “jots” which are post-it notes that they can share with me or their classmates.

One of the best ways to support your reader at home is to talk to them about their reading. You can ask them to try these strategies with you or you can model them if you have a shared reading book that you read with your learner.

Writer’s Workshop: Crafting True Stories

We have been very busy working on our first writing unit: Crafting True Narrative Stories. We began our writing process by brainstorming ideas. We thought of people and places that are important to us to help spark ideas. You’ll notice from the images below, that each anchor chart has several colored strategies under a big idea or step in the writing process. Each of these strategies is a mini-lesson taught in the first 15 minutes in class, then practiced independently or in a small group. During independent practice or group work, I focus my time meeting one on one or in small groups to help differentiate learning based on each learner’s goals. Please take a moment to look at each of the strategies and talk to your learner about the story they have been working on. You’ll notice one of the strategies we have been working on is rehearsing the story orally MANY times to get help from partners, practice different leads, add more storyteller voice or action. This could be a fun connection for you to try at home.


This year, our year long unit of study is “It Takes Many Voices to Tell the Story of California.”  Starting with early exploration, it is important for our learners to try and feel empathy and compassion for the native people that called the land of California their home for thousands of years prior to the first European explorers arrival.

Today, the 3/4 team worked with the 5/6 team to stage a surprise “invasion.”  This morning, our classroom was invaded by Fran’s homeroom class. Fran and his class were from “Franlandia,” a land we had never heard of.  We had no warning and we had no real understanding as to where they had come from and why they had chosen our room to invade.  They had strange customs and didn’t know the names for ordinary objects in our room.  When they found something they liked and wanted to take, they chanted the name of the item over and over again.  The ransacked our classroom, taking books and chairs, sitting in our chairs and on our couch.  They even took learners captive them after their raid.  It was very upsetting for many of the learners who were struggling with what was happening.

As a class, we talked about how it felt to be invaded.  The room was charged with emotion.  The learners were bouncing around and on the edges of their seats, ready to run outside and get their revenge.  It was difficult to even have a class discussion because everyone wanted to share at once. The class shared that they felt mad, weird, not able to learn, dazzled, confused, sad, annoyed, scared, jealous, frazzled, and unsafe.  We talked about how shocking it was that many learners had the first impulse to turn to revenge or to start a conflict with the intruders. We had to reflect and remember who we are and what we value rather than let anger or frustration take over, especially because our community has always valued peace, communication, respect and cooperation. Many said they were needing hugs, love, comfort, reassurance, inclusion, and respect for their belongings.  I told them that it was just a simulation, not a real invasion.  

I also read the picture book Encounter, by Jane Yolen. Encounter is a fictional account of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, written from the perspective of a Taino Native American boy.  As we read the book I asked the class to imagine what it would have been like to be a Native American boy or girl, encountering European explorers for the first time. Many of the learners had a strong sense of empathy for the Native Americans after their experience.

Over the coming weeks, we will look at exploration through the eyes of the European explorers to gain understanding of their perspectives as well.  Please take a few minutes to talk with your learner about their feelings, and how there are often many sides/voices to a story.


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Welcome Back To School

Welcome!  I am looking forward to a great year ahead!  Below you will find information that will be helpful for the start of the school year.
Summer Reading News:
We are looking forward to exploring our summer reading book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It is one of our favorite books and has many wonderful themes to explore.  This book will be used to launch our reader’s workshop for the year as well as our first collaborative project.  Please make sure your learner has read the book, and if they have a copy of it, please have them bring it with them on the first day.  If they have added jot notes while reading, encourage them to leave them in their book as well.
Classroom Blog: 
Please take a moment to subscribe to our classroom blog.  We are in the process of updating it for the current year.  We’ll use it as our main source of communication about the learning that is happening in the classroom.  You can subscribe to the blog and get updates right in your inbox!.
Back to School Night:
The 2017-2018 SCCLC Back to School Night will take place on  Thursday, September 7th from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. The educators will provide information about the 3/4 program, milestones, etc.  It is a great chance to learn about all the new learning opportunities for the 3/4 learners and gain a better understanding of our program.
New School Schedule:
Our school will begin a new schedule for the 2017-2018 school year.
MondayTuesdayThursday, and Friday8:15 am- 2:50 pm
Wednesday8:15 am -12:35 pm
There will be more information regarding milestones and overnights in the coming weeks and at Back to School Night, but we wanted to give you the dates so you could calendar them now.  Stay tuned for the third grade parent informational meeting date for Pigeon Point.
Pigeon Point: Third Grade Milestone, October 18/19  (Rooms 23/26)
Coloma Outdoor Discovery School (CODS): February 13-15, 2018 (All 3/4 learners and classes attend together)
Age of Sail: Fourth Grade Milestone, May 15th/16, 2018 (Rooms 23/26)
Upcoming events:
SCCLC Back to School Picnic – Saturday, August 26
Labor Day Holiday- Monday, September 4th
School Pictures- September 6-8
Back to School Night – Thursday, September 7th.
I can’t wait for another fabulous year.  I am so excited to see the fourth graders again and get to know the incoming third graders and their families!