Community 3

November 13, 2015

Coming Up....

The Native American Project

Our next project will focus on the early people of Alabama. Learners will study the prehistoric and historic Native American cultures, governments, and economics. With this project, we want learners to examine the Native Americans of Alabama, describe their way of life, and learn from the mark they left on history.

This topic will also allow us to look at some "bigger ideas" in history such as, why we study the past, "how" we learn about the past, and how history is passed from generation to generation. These ideas will drive our project as we ask students to, first, study these early people and then design a project to communicate this knowledge to others. Stay tuned to see where this takes us!


During the coming weeks, students will continue to apply strategies for comprehending informational text as they research Native American cultures. This includes identifying the main idea within informational text and the supporting details. As part of our project on Native American history, student will also be reading various folktales and legends from different cultures. Learning will focus on summarizing or recounting details of the story, as well as, determining the theme or moral lesson.


Writing is integrated throughout our day on a daily basis. Learners also participate in the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, sharing/revising, and publishing). We will be taking notes and writing information in our Native Americans project. This year, we want students to be able to take brief notes and categorize their notes. As we read various folktales and legends and study the narrative elements within these stories, students will write their own folktale or legend to be shared. Teaching and learning will focus on establishing a problem and a solution, sequencing events in our stories, and describing the actions and feeling of our characters. Again, the writing process will be a large part of this. Therefore, as they "publish" students will be engaged in editing and applying their knowledge of correct conventions (grammar, usage, spelling, capitalization, etc.).


Our work on multiplication and division is soon coming to a close, but as you well know, students will be using multiplication and division constantly to do higher level math and in many aspects of life! Therefore, it is extremely important for student to become fluent with these facts. Fluent means that students can recall a fact from memory in a reasonable amount of time.

Until now, we have focused a great deal on teaching various strategies to understand and "figure out" a math fact. Such strategies included using the properties of operations. You may have seen these properties listed within the standards on Fresh Grade. But, what does "using the properties of operations" mean? There are three properties that we want students to understand and use:

  • The Commutative Property - If I know that 4 x 3 = 12, then I also know that 3 x 4 = 12. The order of the factors does not matter.
  • The Associative Property - If I have to multiply 2 x 4 x 3 = _____, then I know that I can first multiply 2 x 4 = 8 and then 8 x 3 = 24. Or, I can first multiply 4 x 3 = 12, and then 12 x 2 and I will still get 24. The way that I group the factors does not matter.
  • The Distributive Property - I can use this property to figure out multiplication problems that may be too difficult or that I haven't committed to memory yet. When I use this property I can "break apart" one of the factors into small parts and then "distribute" the first factor. For example, if I don't know 6 x 9, then I can break the 9 into 5 + 4. Then I can figure out 6 x 5 (which is 30) and 6 X 4 (which is 24) and add the two products together to get the answer. 30 + 24 = 54, so 6 X 9 = 54. Once students understand this process, they can figure out problems such as 7 x 15 = ____ before learning the traditional algorithm. Most often, students will use this property to figure out an unknown math fact by thinking of the fact that is one less and adding on another group. For example, I don't know 6 x 5, but I know 5 x 5 is 25 so I simply need to add on another 5.

Now that we have learned these various strategies, it's time to challenge ourselves to become faster at recalling our facts. Keep practicing at home! This will remain a focus over the coming weeks, even as we shift our focus to other concepts in math. Coming soon: area and perimeter!

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Raptor Center

We enjoyed the Raptor Center from Auburn University this past Monday. They taught us about the raptors in our very own "neck of the woods".
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The birds that were brought from the Raptor Center have been rescued and treated by the Raptor Center. We were very impressed by this!

The Can Project

We completed a mini project out of Community Two's project, "Socktober".

Learners have been creating bar graphs and pictographs from raw data.

Learners will use their own graphs to analyze and draw conclusions from the data.

We want learners to be able to see a graph and answer questions based on the information in the graph.

We can use the information to know how much we contributed as a community. We can also analyze what type of food was the most popular and least popular. Learners are beginning to understand why analyzing data is important. We can't stop at the answer-we need to draw conclusions.

The Hook Project

Some of our learners are working with learners from Community 5 and 6 to determine the appropriate height and placement for backpack hooks throughout the school.

This year, learners will learn how to measure to the nearest 1/4, 1/2, and whole inch.

The hooks project has been an authentic way to practice measuring.

We have been impressed with our learners problem solving skills. Many of their yardsticks and measuring tapes were not long enough to measure some of the learners from the older communities. See the pictures and notes below to see how learners solved the problem.

We are beginning to see more resilience in problem solving. Learners are becoming aware of the need to push through when things are tough, and look towards a solution.

Veterans Day

We all enjoyed speakers for Veteran's day. Some of us wrote letters to Veteran's and sent to Veteran's Hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Mrs. Cobb offered to take letters to the Veterans and we jumped at the opportunity. What a simple way to give back to those who have done SO MUCH for us!

Huge thanks to Major Baggett (Mrs. Baggett's husband) and Technical Sergeant Jackson, Abigail Jackson's dad, for speaking to our classes. They were phenomenal.

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Come Support Our Patriots!

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Lunch and Breakfast Menus

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We will send a paper copy (Smore) home until January. In January, we will only send digital copies. Look for the link to the digital copy in FreshGrade announcements and through e-mail.