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Room 206 News - October 31, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007 8:00 AM

Dear Families,

We are lucky to have another author visiting us this Friday morning.  Her name is Ellie Matthews, and she wrote the book titled The Linden Tree.  Like David Lubar, she will discuss her writing and answer questions.  Our students have been reading this novel with a partner or independently.

Each student is reading another novel with three to four other students in lit circles, and the focus of students and their ability to organize their groups seems to improve every day.  On Thursday we will have some Native American educators visit our classroom to see how a lit circle discussion works.  Students are writing and drawing responses to their stories.  They are working on forming questions and writing thoughtful reflections.

We have begun writing a butterfly research paper in class.  The students are learning how to take notes after reading text and then forming their own sentences and paragraphs.  Each part of the essay will have focus correction areas (FCAs)that help students zoom in on particular organization, style, mechanics, and content areas.  Everyone just finished his/her rough draft of the introduction, followed by a peer-edit, and a teacher edit.  Each student will rewrite it for a final copy.  The final copies will become part of a fabulous booklet, so they need to be error free and neat.  Both final copies and rough drafts of the introduction are due on Friday of this week. The FCAs for the introduction were writing a captivating intro, complete sentences, and a transition sentence at the very end.  We have already begun taking notes for the first stage in the butterfly's life.  During this research writing experience, we will learn different types of sentences such as compound, dependent/independent clauses, and complex sentences.  We will work on variety in sentence beginnings and length.  All students will be challenged to write clearly, succinctly and creatively while weaving facts into each essay.  The students will write a total of six essays:  an intro, four stages of butterfly life, and a conclusion that focuses on migration to Mexico.  We will pace ourselves, giving ample time for completing each subtopic.  Each student will need to work at home to finsh the final copies.  Parents please don't throw out rought drafts!

Spelling groups have been up and running for a few weeks now.  We are emphasizing word meaning, usage and spelling.  Thanks to Sandy (Ellie), Anne (Peter), Jen (Olivia), Terrell (Ming), Karen (Andrea) and Emme (Sydney) for taking on the groups each Monday and Friday.  Spelling homework is due on Friday.  The students have time in class to complete most of the assignment, but they should take it home to study for the test on Friday.  The test consists of using five randomly chosen words from the unit list in complete sentences that show meaning and correct usage.  Each word must also be spelled correctly.

Picture Retake Day is next Tuesday, November 6.  Students should bring back old pictures or new money.

Remember no school this Monday, November 5th.

Be sure and check out 206's webpage, access from the Barton webpage.  There are extracts of everyone's descriptive writing essays that are really fun to read, along with photos from our Big River Journey field trip.  There is also a link to Journey North which is the online learning we have been accessing to help us learn more abou monarch butterflies.  Your child should know his/her way around the website somewhat.

Thank you to Karen Savage (Andrea) and Emme Corbiel (Sydney) for helping us to organize an October 31st party at the last minute.

We have a great class! Thanks for all of your support.