I hope everybody enjoyed their Winter Break. It is, by far, one of the best times of the year. I wish there was a little bit more snow to play in, but it just came a week late. We kicked off right where we left off before Winter Break. Here’s a synopsis of what we’re up to: We’re continuing a unit on maps in Gorge Studies. Before Winter Break, we learned the basics like what a map is, how to read it, and about the different components of a map like scale, key, and compass rose. Last week we learned the difference between three of the most used maps there are: physical, political, and topographical. In groups, students created characteristics of these maps and looked at several different types of maps on the internet. After they found one they liked, they made their own version of it. Next week, everybody in the class will be working on a map of the Columbia River Gorge. We’re going to create three different maps of the Columbia Gorge in each format that we learned: physical, political, and topographical. Since there will be three maps, almost every student will have their own panel. Continuing our obsession with the author Kate DiCamillo, at least it’s my obsession, we started reading her new book Flora & Ulysses. It’s part novel, part graphic novel. The main character rescues a squirrel, names it Ulysses, and discovers it has magical powers. Then again, doesn’t every squirrel have magical powers that help them evade the constant threat of domestic canines? I read this book as a recommendation from Mrs. Dawkins. A good recommendation it was! In Writing, we’re crafting our own nonfiction pieces. Students selected a topic of their choice and wrote about it. Cole’s writing about frying bacon; Lindsay’s writing about therapy animals; Liam’s writing about how to cut down a Christmas Tree; Cody’s writing about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; Savanna’s writing about owls. It is certainly a work in progress as I’ve witnessed a lot of sentences like, “Do you get it now?” and “If you read this, then you know how to do it now.” Again, it’s a work in progress. I suspect we’ll be done in the next two to three weeks. We’re also discussing what a complete sentence. Writing “Because” or “I added” do not qualify as complete sentences when answering a question like, “Explain why 2 + 2 equals four.” Students had a respite from spelling over Winter Break. New words were assigned last Tuesday so we’re back on the normal spelling schedule until Spring Break.
Welcome to 2014! Mr. Barnard