Mr. Taggart's Class

4/8/16

Science This Week

We had our second session from our unit on rocks and minerals this week. The focus was on identifying and comparing the rock and mineral samples. In particular we looked at their color. While it's easy to observe, we realized that color alone is not a useful property for identification as many different minerals are the same color. Instead, we scratched the samples on black and white porcelain plates. The color of the streak left behind is a characteristic property as it remains constant. Students recorded their observations of the streak test as well as a luster test where rocks were categorized as metallic or non-metallic. And then those that were non-metallic were further categorized as glassy, waxy or dull. Next week we'll focus on the the hardness of the samples as well as an acid test to observe chemical reactions (don't worry...it's vinegar!) With the data compiled from these four tests, students will work with partners to identify the names of their mineral samples.

Big image

Homework Update

After a couple recent parent conferences, I have decided to start distributing the homework for the week on the preceding Friday. In other words, this Friday April 8, they will come home with their assignments for next week. I am doing this in response to parents who have expressed that they have more relaxed family time on the weekend to work together on it, rather than rushed at night during the week. Please understand - this does NOT mean I'm now giving more homework or weekend homework. It simply means I'm giving it out earlier so that families that want to work on it on the weekend may. Those who prefer to keep weekends as sacred family time may certainly continue to do so.

New Weekly Homework OPTION

New Weekly Option for Homework

For the rest of the year, when homework is assigned, I will give students an option that I will explain to them in class. ONE time per week, they may opt out of ONE standard assignment (either the spelling homework....or ONE of the math sheets). Instead, they will write a FULL, well-organized paragraph journal entry that they can share with me. They may either do this on Google Docs and share virtually, print it out and turn in, or even hand write it the good old fashioned way. I will, however, expect it is thoughtfully written, carefully edited for basic conventions (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, complete sentences, etc), and at least half a page long. It could be telling me about a book they're reading, some interest they have that they explore on line to learn more about, or even to share something they would like me to know. The topic is less important than the continual, regular paragraph writing. I'll look forward to responding to their submissions.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi & Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

I'm taking a break from the Gregor series of books to do a new read aloud. This Newberry award winner is an exciting tale of adventure on the high seas. I purposely chose it for its strong, young female heroine, Charlotte. It's not an easy book - with advanced vocabulary and complex characters. But over the years I have found kids really enjoy it, especially after they take a little time to get into it.


We're using Love That Dog as a mentor text during our new writing unit on poetry. It's clever and engaging, even for the more reluctant poets among us.

MATH MCAS - MAY 11 & 12

Wednesday, May 11th, 8:45am

Estabrook School, Lexington, MA, United States