Observing as Journalists

Dear Families,

Our journalism unit started this past week and to say we love it would be an understatement. The foundation of being a journalist is the art of observing. This week, students walked the halls of the school silently observing things that were happening in and out of classrooms. Students observed small groups, noticed the bleachers in the gym had litter on them, noted that the bathrooms could be cleaner, watched kindergarteners practicing their counting skills, and second graders practicing their multiplication facts on Reflex.  After observing these events, students wrote as journalists, focusing on the what, when, where, why, and how of the events.  

Here are some great examples of headlines our young journalists developed for their articles:

Don’t Break It

The Stinky Bathrooms

Come On!

Wow! They’re Participating!

Say What!?

Through our partnership with the Right Brain Initiative and Acts of Wonder, Nikki Flynn is helping us learn how to become stronger observers by looking at the little details like vocalizations, speech patterns, body language, and emotions. We’ve played some fun games in Drama with her. This weekend, we asked students to bring their drama journals home and observe a person’s physical patterns and vocal patterns and record these observations in the drama journal.

While we focus on nonfiction in class, remember that your child’s reading life at home should focus on nonfiction. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to read about a topic that is important and is of interest to them.

To pair with our unit nonfiction literacy units, I started a new read-aloud book this week titled Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz. For each letter of the alphabet, Schatz picked one woman whose first or last name starts with that letter. These women have all made historical contributions to American history in meaningful and impactful ways. B was all about Billie Jean King, a tennis player who became a role model for female athletes across the world. C was for Carol Burnett, a comedian who overcame a troubling childhood to become an actress and earn her own variety show. E is for Ella Baker, who played an important and quiet behind-the-scenes role in the Civil Rights Movement. While we read about these rad women, I’m supplementing the reading of the book with some short videos about some of the women to reinforce the historical impact they made on our country’s history.

This week, and next week, our class is hosting the Morning Meeting held with all the fourth and fifth grade classes on Thursday mornings. In preparation for yesterday’s Morning Meeting, we made memes that displayed a range of expectations for fourth and fifth graders. It was a really fun activity! I loaded some of the memes on my classroom Instagram account.

Speaking of the Instagram account, it’s a great way to see what we’re up to in the classroom. If you have an Instagram account, please send a follow request to “mr.barnard” so you can follow along.

The next two months have some weird days in the schedule. Here are some important upcoming dates to make note of:

  • Monday, November 12th- No school in observance of Veterans’ Day
  • Friday, November 16th- Friday school day
  • Wednesday, November 21st and Thursday, November 22nd- No school because of Thanksgiving
  • Tuesday, November 20th- Last day of the First Trimester
  • Wednesday, December 5th- Progress Reports sent home
  • Weeks of December 24th and December 31st- No school because of Winter Break

Lastly, don’t forget the weekend expectations:

  1. Your child should be reading (30 minutes each day)
  2. Practice their spelling words (5-10 minutes a day)
  3. Practice their math facts on their Reflex Math account
  4. This weekend only, observe someone’s physical and vocal patterns in their drama journal

Enjoy your weekend,

Mr. B

Idiom of the Week: Toe the Line