We began a new unit in Benchmark reading. Our new unit is Plants and Animals Have Needs. In this unit, we will be learning how plants and animals have certain needs to survive. We will also learn how animals and plants have different needs among themselves. We will be reading a variety of informational texts, poems and some animal fantasy. We started our unit with a short piece about the needs of a chimpanzee. Ask me to tell you what a chimpanzee does to survive. We also learned about how a mama bear teaches her cub to survive. Ask me to tell you what a mama bear does that teaches her cubs to survive. We wrote about a key idea we learned from the text. We use the writing process and spend time thinking about our idea for writing, rehearsing the words we are going to write so we are ready when we get our paper, and writing then drawing a sketch to go with our words. We are not spending our time coloring the picture unless this is a piece we are taking through the entire writing process and sharing. We instead are spending our time focusing on the writing. The children are to use a pencil or thin pen to sketch, without coloring it.
We worked on reading fluently. This is something we work on during our small groups, but also in whole group. We talked about the importance of punctuation in helping us know how to read the text. We talked about each of the marks, then practiced reading a piece line by line, with the students echoing the lines.
We continued our study of measurement by working with balance scales and weight. Of course, we needed to use a virtual balance scale. This balance scale can be found in our Google classroom. We read a story called Just a Little Bit, by Ann Tompert, to learn more about the concept of balance. This is a sweet story of animals who are helping an elephant to enjoy a seesaw. As you might imagine, it's not easy for an elephant to seesaw. I've included the story below for you enjoy with your child if you like.
We continued our study of weight by becoming human balance scales. We stretched out our arms and leaned toward the heavier item we were holding. We worked with a partner in a breakout room to practice using the language necessary to describe the weight relationship of the two items. We also looked at the comparison of two objects and talked about why one might be heavier than another, especially when the larger of the two items is lighter than the other. We discussed how the material an item is made of would determine the weight.
We also learned more about the word equal, and how it relates to the concept of balance. We read a story called Equal Schmequal, by Virginia Kroll. In this book the idea of fairness is considered in different ways. Two teams of animals are going to have a tug-of-war when it is discovered the composition of the teams is not fair. This is a wonderful book, and one you might like to listen to with your child. I've included a YouTube story below.
We stretched our thinking about balance to include balancing numbers with a virtual math balance that helps children learn about addition. I have added this virtual tool to our Google classroom as well.
Have a nice evening!