April Calendar View
Below you will see screen shots of my calendar for April. If you wish to plan time with me this will more effectively allow you to do so. As you can see, April is a slower month for me with all the test preparation. This would be an ideal opportunity to schedule time that would fulfill your TIP or plan a coaching cycle if that so interests you.
Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop:
- Your reading unit for this quarter is Social Issues Book Clubs. Finally, you get to move back to fiction! The focus of the unit is teaching toward social justice and will be a strong unit to assess synthesis in as the pull in all they know about fiction and nonfiction. Therefore, you will want to think about texts that show evidence of strong themes around justice and injustice, as students will apply this not only to their own lives but also the world.
- You will want to have your students set up in their book clubs before the unit starts, so I would begin thinking now about the number of book clubs you'd like to set up and what texts you want in their hands. Calkins' Social Issues Book Clubs list can be found at the following link: http://readingandwritingproject.com/resources/book-lists-classroom-libraries-and-text-sets-for-students/archive.html.
- Additionally, if this is your first time putting students in book clubs you will want to spend your time during your immersion phase setting up expectations and procedures. I have role play activity that I always used with my students to set this up. It was shared at Summer Institute as "Dysfunctional Response Groups". If you need that again let me know and I'm happy to send it your way. If you need help with the role play activity I'm happy to come in and help with that as well. The way in which you set up these procedures and expectations will determine the success or failure of this unit, so I would spend my immersion time on this and exposing them to the texts you wish to use. My advice is to not move into book clubs until students can show they are ready, because you will have enough to manage in this unit with the different book clubs, so you don't want to have to focus your attention on behavior as well.
- You are free to choose any read aloud and mentor texts you feel will fit best with your class or perhaps are some of your own personal favorites. However, if you are looking for resources, Calkins suggests the following: read aloud: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson and mentor texts: The One and Only Ivan and Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate.
- Make sure you are doing all you can to connect the reading and writing lessons together. This does not mean you have to teach them together, but it does mean you should be making a connection between the learning and work done as a reader and author. This will show students how to look at a text in more than one way, while also showing them the direct connection between reading and writing. The mentor texts used in reading can then be brought into writing, for students to examine what those authors did and try to emulate it in their own work.
- Your writing unit is focused around students writing a memoir about a learning moment in their life. Not only will this tie perfectly into the Social Issues Book Clubs reading unit, but I also have a fantastic publishing resource for them to use called "Faces of Learning". You can find it at the following link: http://www.facesoflearning.net/.
- You should be starting Topic 13, but may be further ahead (haha!) if you skipped Topic 11.
- For the sake of time and depending on pretest data, I might try to combine lessons in Topic 13 to make it only take 3 days. Therefore, 13-1/13-4, 13-2/13-5, and 13-3/13-6 could be combined so you teach converting length in both systems, converting capacity in both systems, and the same for weight. If you think that would be too much for your kids to grasp based on the background knowledge they are bringing to the topic, then go ahead and keep them separate.
- In Topic 14, I would use the data tables they provide, but require students to graph that information into an actual bar or line graph. You can include the line plots too, but make sure they are also getting the exposure to actual graphing as that is what they will experience this year on the test as well.
- In Topic 15, I would try to combine lesson 15-3 and 15-4, so I only spent two days on quadrilaterals. Spend one day on their properties and one on how to categorize/classify them. That will cut one day out of that topic.
- If you are on target, each of these three topics will take 24 without combining any lessons. That is including a topic opener and test day. So, if you are able to combine some lessons, you should be able to get through these three topics in April. Topic 16 doesn't need to be covered before testing and it is relatively short as well. So you can move into Topic 16 and go back to Topic 11 in May once testing has concluded.
- Additionally, just as we have talked about in grade level meetings, vocabulary is going to be key and one way to ensure students retain the content at a deeper level is to make sure they have an experience to connect the vocabulary to. Therefore, I would get any and all types of measurement tools and polygons in their hands for these topics. They will get these manipulatives for MAP as well, so it's just a good way to give them exposure and concrete examples of the concepts you are teaching.
Science and Social Studies
Science: Forms of Energy/Mechanical Systems/Scientific Inquiry
- I have experiments for this content endorsed by the NSTA that approach the content from the 5 E model of inquiry and include literature to teach the scientific concepts. If you are looking for material that incorporates inquiry and content in order to provide students with authentic experiences in Science let me know and I'll be happy to share those.
- I know many of you are incorporating you PBL projects from FLiP training with this content, which is a great way to foster inquiry in science as well. Science notebooking can also be a strong way to record their thoughts and work throughout the project, giving them something concrete to look back on for review. If this is something you'd be interested in, let me know and we could set up Science notebooks either digitally or tangibly, whichever you're more comfortable with.
Social Studies: A New Nation/Westward Expansion/The Civil War
- This content could easily tie into your social issues book clubs if you needed it to in order to get everything covered. If you are wanting assistance in tying this content into your Reader's Workshop let me know and we can meet to put a plan in place.
- Again, I have many texts that cover this content so if you are wanting something more than your Social Studies text to teach this with let me know. I'm happy to share!