Language Arts Loop

Your News for What's Happening in Room 404-Jan 5, 2016

Hello 2016

Today was a great first day back after our much needed break. We hit the ground running full speed ahead into the spring semester, which will prove to be full of adventure and fun. Before we leave the fall semester behind, please take a look at how we rounded out 2015.

Reading News

We dug in deeper to our study of the expository text structures. Thus far, we have explored Descriptive, Sequential, Cause & Effect and we are just beginning to examine Compare & Contrast. For each structure we have studied mentor texts, looked for patterns within the structure and key words associated with each structure. The students are keeping a personal anchor chart in their Reader's Response Notebook that mimics the one we are keeping together as a class. We will continue on with expository text this fourth six weeks until we reach the last text structure, Question & Answer.

Facts & Opinions

Before the break we spent some time looking at author's purpose in writing expository text. We noticed that even in expository writing where we expect to find factual information, at times the author's opinion can come through as they share ideas in the text. The students researched the 5 words that opinions typically originate from, those words are good, pretty, think, feel and like. Students grouped up to find synonyms and antonyms for these key words which act like red flags for us as readers to identify the presence of an opinion. Below are a few pictures of the students doing the work of creating their opinion key words lists using iPads, computers and their notebooks.
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Writing News

In writing, we ended the six weeks trying out the different strategies that make up the How and Why CAFE for adding supporting details to our expository pieces. We learned each strategy and practiced using each one with a variety of sentences and paragraphs. Looking ahead, we will begin disecting the format of the STAAR expository writing test, specifically the section in which we will write our expository essay. Students will become familiar with the format of the prompt, the paper used and how to use their space for planning and to go through the writing process to create a strong piece that will receive a score that is their personal best. We are beginning this week looking at the following prompt: Write about a place that is important to you. Explain why it is special. You will notice in this prompt students not only have to be able to name their special place but also must explain well the reason(s) it is important. This is the area that is sometimes tricky for students and the area we will work hard to improve.

Grammar/Spelling News

Students received their new spelling list this week. We are working on Plurals, plurals made by adding an -s, or -es. Extra copies of these lists can be sent home with students at your request.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Let's end this week's newsletter by looking at some of the fun we had celebrating at our end of the first semester party. Thank you for all of your support and providing of supplies for our parties. The students had a blast enjoying the treats, snacks and decorating their gingerbread houses. It certainly felt like a time of great community and celebration.
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Staying Connected

Reading Log Homework begins again this week. Students are expected to decide on a book and carry the book between school and home as many nights as necessary until the book has been completed. Students are encouraged not to have too many books going but rather, to work to build stamina within the same text over time. Reading Logs are checked each morning for out of class reading. You can help your child by setting aside some nightly reading time. Reading Logs are kept in the red Homework folder and are to be filled in daily. Remember you can check book levels at http://www.scholastic.com/bookwizard/

There is even a handy app that can be downloaded to your phone, iPad or other device.


Thursday, January 7 - 9:30 Golden GATOR Ceremony

Monday, January 18 - MLK Day, School Holiday

Wednesday, January 27 - Early Release

Tuesday, February 2 - Practice Writing STAAR Test