Has writing a paragraph ever made you hungry? No? Well, writing them made the fourth graders especially hungry this week. We spent a great deal of time learning the basic structure of a paragraph. Although this is not a new concept for the students, it is a skill that most continue to need to practice and improve. So where does the hunger come in you ask? It comes in my comparison between a paragraph and a big, yummy sandwich.
Imagine for a second, the top piece of bread is the topic sentence. It helps to tell us what the rest of the paragraph is going to be, without it, we don't have a sandwich or a paragraph. Then under the bread comes all of our yummy ingredients that help to make that bread taste better, like turkey, tomatoes, cheese, bacon, etc. These ingredients are the details to our paragraph. Of course, like a sandwich that tastes a lot better with what I call "spice" (mayonnaise, salt & pepper, mustard, butter), the paragraph needs "spice" to help it from being dry. Finally, if we don't have a bottom piece of bread, or a conclusion sentence, our sandwich falls apart and makes a mess on our clothes. Ask your child about the "ingredients" of a paragraph!
The fourth graders have been spending a lot of time working on Animal Adaptations over the course of the week. In science class they began to learn the details of behavioral and physical adaptations of animals. This learning carried over to reading where the students read a fascinating article about The Great White Shark and its very many adaptations and collected notes based on their reading. In writing class they began to organize these notes into the two types of adaptations. Next week they will put all of their information into their first written essay of the year.
As much as they enjoyed the incredible details of the shark, the fourth graders loved the science project more, which allowed them to think of the many different types of adaptations we were learning and to create their own animal that lived in an assigned habitat of the world. Their imaginations were running wild, but I was most impressed with the thinking that happened around this project. After they finish the final touches of their posters, I'll be sure to post some examples here, but in the mean time check out the pictures of the amazing collaboration that was happening between the students as they discussed their animals.
On another note, remember that Wednesday we will be heading to VINS for a field trip where we will be studying animal adaptations with hands on experiments and lessons. It is such a fun trip. Also, if you haven't already, please remember to sign up for your child's Parent/ Teacher conference http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080a45aea72ca13-fall