Five for Friday - A Whale of a Week!
Hi folks - Happy Friday and welcome to a three day weekend!  I am telling you, Friday could not come fast enough this week.  My sweet kiddos were all kinds of chatty this week!  I'm hoping a few days off will get it all out of their systems and we'll be back on track on Tuesday.
I'm linking up with Doodlebugs again for a Five for Friday look at my week.  Let the fun begin!

 We started our week by getting right back into our Arctic animals theme.  This time we focused on whales.  We read Dear. Mr. Blueberry, a really cute story about a little girl who writes letters to her teacher because she is convinced there is a whale in her pond.  Mr. Blueberry thinks just the opposite and tries to prove it to her with facts about whales.
Although the book is not a hard read, we did lots of close reading with it, focusing on perspective, character traits and response to challenges.  At the end of the week, my kiddos added a foldable activity to their interactive reading notebooks.  The goal was for them to use character traits to explain how Emily and Mr. Blueberry responded to the challenge other possibly being a whale in Emily's pond.  Fun for them... and a great little formative assessment for me!

Now if you're going to read some whale fiction, you also need to "dive" into some nonfiction (haha.. that was funny!).  The story of Mr. Blueberry is in our anthology, which I admit, I do NOT use all that often, but not only is this story a good one, after the story is an informational chart showing the lengths of different whales.  We will go into more detail about whales next week, but we sparked some enthusiasm by asking questions that might be able to be answered using the chart.  Which whale is the biggest?  the smallest?  How big is a humpback whale?  Do bigger whales live in bigger oceans?  Can I go to the bathroom?  There's always one who has to add that in there....
The most exciting question became, "Is the humpback whale (the biggest one on the chart) bigger than our classroom?"  We predicted and then decided to measure.  Each of our floor tiles is a square foot, so after figuring that out my kiddos realized all we had to do was count the tiles and see if we got to 100!

They realized pretty quickly that it would be WAY bigger than our classroom, so we took our tile counting to the hallway.

We discovered that a humpback whale would fill about half our hallway!  Some of my students decided to take it a step further and measure out the rest of the whale son the chart and put up signs in the hall to how the lengths.  It's a work in progress and I can't wait to see the final results!

Winter in New England means snow and snow means sledding!  We are in the middle of a fun narrative writing piece about a crazy sledding time!  We started by reading
(I do not think this book is in print anymore, unfortunately.  I got multiple copies a few years back from Scholastic and was hoping to replace some.  Guess the tape-job will have to do!)  This is the perfect book to show how to elaborate a main event.  It is filled with action, description, dialogue and sound effects that make the story more interesting.  We spent the previous week analyzing the story and identifying the different types of details.  This week we started our own stories!
This is the plan sheet we used to brainstorm ideas.... we did some shared planning, then everyone selected their own words that fit with their story plan.
After writing an entertaining beginning, it was time to start down that hill and encounter our first obstacle!
Next week we'll write about avoiding each of the three obstacles we chose - adding LOTS of details!
We spent this week reviewing some much needed subtraction skills.  My kiddos are just having such a hard time understanding the problem-solving aspect of subtraction, mainly finding the missing addend.  They can do it in an equation, but give it to them in a word problem and they freeze.  Sooo, we went back and reviewed how to use our little friend "the part-part-whole" diagram.  A fourth grade teacher showed me this wonderful app called "Thinking Blocks."
I LOVE this app!  It moves from a guided approach to an independent level so students can solve problems on their own.  There is one for addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, fractions and ratio and proportion.  I hooked out ipad up to the computer and projected the app onto the "big screen" and we worked through a few problems together.  Then it was time for some math journal work.
Although we are going to need LOTS more practice with this, at least we got a general understanding down pat.  Next week we'll use the app again and keep practicing!

 I shared in THIS POST about over at "Who's Who and Who's New" how our math centers time works.  This was day 5 of the week, so rather than do centers, we enjoyed more whale fun!
Can you tell what the picture is going to be?  Yep, it turned out to be a whale.  This activity comes from The Primary Techie's shop over at TpT.  It is part of her "Watch, Think, Color" series and my kiddos really like them.  (I have some f the "Move It!" activities, too.  They are a blast!)  This one focused one expanded notation, and with a whale for the final picture, it fit perfectly into our week.  (You can click on the picture to go right to the activity in her store.) 
Well, that's it folks!  I am so happy to be able to look ahead to three entire days off, although this will be a major "working" weekend for me.  Lots of planning to do, things for teacher eval, and a few projects to finish for my TpT store.  Enjoy your long weekend!


  1. Hi Lisa!

    I found your blog through Doodle Bug's Linky! Dear Mr. Blueberry is such a cute book! I need to dig that out!

    Kate :)
    McDee's Busy Bees

  2. Hi Lisa!

    I found your blog through Doodle Bug's Linky! Dear Mr. Blueberry is such a cute book! I need to dig that out!

    Kate :)
    McDee's Busy Bees


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