Author Archives: mrsmarcus

April is Here!

We had a busy week that was filled with hands-on learning. We had a visitor from the John Ball Zoo who brought along a Mexican Porcupine, King Snake, and scorpion. We learned about the habitats required for these animals and how the zoo only takes in animals that have been injured, or that they have acquired from another zoo. For our science unit, we will be working with Mrs. Kipling and Mrs. Andrews in STEM and ART to create a zoo habitat for an animal that we are studying within our research groups in Reading Workshop. We will also be writing an All About information book on our specific animals.

Sheepshank Sam day was a huge hit! We learned a great deal about lumbering in Michigan during the 1800s. To see more photos of our zoo presentation and lumberjack day, have your child show you their Seesaw newsfeed.

In reading we are working on learning strategies to research animals in our research clubs. In writing, we are learning strategies to organize and elaborate an All About book. This first draft is an “all about” on any topic students feel like an expert on. The second “all about” will be on the animal being researched in our reading workshop groups.

We are about to end our mini-topic on Two-Dimensional Shapes. Our next mini-topic will be solving problems involving perimeter.

Reminder, we will have our first of 2 swimming lessons tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18th. We walk over to the Aquatic Center right after lunch recess. Please help your child remember to pack a suit and towel. Again, if there are any dads that can meet us there to help with the boys locker room, please let Mrs. Bulthuis know you are available.  Thank you!

March 24th Update

Please look for your child’s update on the week in Seesaw today. We had an assembly with author and puppeteer, Kevin Kammeraad. It was interactive and fun!

A quick overview of our week: In reading we have wrapped up our character unit and are in nonfiction-research book clubs with the focus on animals. We have started by noticing what a researcher does and are beginning those steps. Many students are also reaching their reading goals they are making each week! It’s great to see!

In writing, we will begin All About books on a topic that each child already knows a lot about. We will go through the process of planning, organizing, revising, editing, and including tools that make our writing more detailed and interesting.

In math, we are about to wrap up our unit on measurement. We have worked on telling time to the nearest minute, elapsed time, and metric measurement of volume and mass. The math test will be before Spring Break begins. When we return, we will begin a unit on geometric figures.

In science we are learning about plants. I hope that your child did their homework–sharing with you the different plant parts and functions of them! 🙂 We also learned about photosynthesis and pollination. After Spring Break, we will begin investigating animal habitats and adaptations.

Next week is a 4 day week! Have a wonderful weekend!

March is Reading Month!

Class President for the Day: Miss Mac

I hope your family is enjoying The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester! Since March is Reading Month, we also began setting our own personal reading goals to help us become stronger readers. Several students have already achieved 2-3 goals!

We watched the movie, “Because of Winn-Dixie” and compared and contrasted it with our book. This week in Reading Workshop, we worked on comparing and contrasting traits and actions of two characters from different books. We also looked at ways characters react to problems that they face and lessons that our characters have learned. Students learned about book club expectations and how to conduct meaningful conversations. I was very impressed with their book club work this week!

In writing, we have wrapped up publishing of our fractured fairy tales. Early finishers were challenged to create a fairy tale of their own that does not follow a traditional fairy tale story line.

In math, we are moving right along with learning how to identify and draw fractions on a number line beginning with 1/2s and 1/3s and moving to fourths, eighths, and sixths. This week we took on the challenge of comparing fractions with the same denominator (ex. 4/6 and 5/6) and fractions with the same numerator but different denominator (ex. 4/6 and 4/8).

In social studies, we have learned about the French and Indian War, the impact of the British in Michigan, and are approaching the year when Michigan became a state.

I look forward to meeting with you at conference time, either March 9, 10 or 13th. Remember, students have an 11:50 dismissal Thursday and Friday (9th & 10th). The Book Fair is open during conference times, and our class will visit the Book Fair as well on Monday, March 13th.

February 17 Update

Dear Parents,

We finished our mentor text, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. As we continue to study characters and story elements, I would like to show the movie to this book over a course of 2-3 days. Because of Winn-Dixie is rated PG. Due to the rating of PG, rather than G, If you prefer your child to not watch this movie, please send me a note and I will arrange alternative plans for your child during that time.

These past 2 weeks, students have been studying characters with a book club, or book partnership. It has been a way to share their thinking and take part in discussions about their stories. Because of Winn-Dixie has led to many thoughtful discussions in our class as well.

In writing, we are attempting to incorporate new strategies into our fairy tale writing. This week we learned ways to add personal style to our writing. I am encouraging students to add style by inserting adjectives, similes, using a balance dialogue with action, and varying sentence length. We have many creative writers in our class!

In math we began a unit on fractions. Basic concepts we are exploring are where the numerator and denominator are and their role in a fraction, unit fractions, fractions on a number line, and measuring to the nearest 1/4 inch. As we move along in math, we continue to master our multiplication and division facts on timed tests Tuesday-Friday. We have made a great deal of progress this year!

Recently, conference sign up sheets went home. All sign ups are online, as they were in the fall. If you have difficulty with the sign up, please let me know and I can sign up for you. Thank you!

Conference Scheduling LInk


February is Here!

We had a short week back, but accomplished much. In reading workshop, we are working in book club partnerships to study characters. We are practicing thinking more deeply about our characters by paying attention to what they say and do to grow theories about them and make predictions about what they may do next and why.

In writing workshop, we are now drafting fractured fairy tales on a fairy tale of choice. We have created a “writing colony” in our classroom. Techniques we are working on are using narration, refrains, balancing action and dialogue, and descriptive language.

In math we have jumped ahead to fractions. While we work on this unit, we will continue to memorize our multiplication and division facts.

Valentine’s Day:

A class list was sent home with your child to write Valentine cards. Again, this is not a requirement, but if your child would like to write Valentines, each classmate needs to then receive one. I also discussed with the students that I will provide a Valentine bag that we will decorate Tuesday morning to hold their Valentines/candy. However, if your child is wanting to make their own bag/box at home they certainly may bring that in on Tuesday. Again, our party will be from 2:30-3:15.

Next week is also Spirit Week for students. Each day of participation is $1. Money raised will go to the SLHS Student Task Force that grants money to projects throughout the school year.

Monday: Crazy Sock Day

Tuesday: Valentine hat/headwear

Wednesday: Dress like your teacher day

Thursday: “Nerd” day

Friday: Pajama Day

Mid-Week Update

Reminder that students have 1/2 days on Thursday and Friday this week due to the high school conference schedule.

Tomorrow, students have a math test on Topic 6: Using Multiplication and Division to find Area. We reviewed yesterday, and a few problems were sent home for homework to help with review.

We are working on finding character traits in our reading. We are enjoying Because of Winn-Dixie as our mentor text for this unit. Each child needs to be reading a fictional book at home to support the strategies we are learning in class. Reading homework is 25 or more minutes each night. Thank you for your support in this!

In writing we are adding narration to our fairy tale scenes. We are writing a twist to either Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, or The Three Billy Goats Gruff. What fun!

Monday, we honored Martin Luther King, Jr. through studying books about his life and accomplishments. We also worked on individual “6 Words” about MLK. Students who finished posted their 6 words to honor him on their Seesaw page.

In social studies, we are learning about the Three Fires Tribes: The Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa. Below is a video of our partner scavenger hunt using the iPads. Our next focus will be on the early explorers that came to Michigan, why they came, and the impact they had.

Video: An iPad Scavenger Hunt in Action

January is here!

Happy New Year to all! I hope your holidays were wonderful. Before break we had a great low-key holiday celebration. Thank you to the MacLachlan, Fine, Dewey and Garrett families for providing treats this time around. 🙂

This past week, we worked our way back into our routines. Math tests went home for Topic 5–although I saw many left in mailboxes on Friday. 🙂 We began Topic 6 in math–finding area of shapes using arrays and multiplication.

In reading we wrapped up our nonfiction reading unit. We will spend some time this week reflecting on our growth as nonfiction readers before we begin our next unit. Our 3rd unit of study focuses on characters in the fiction genre. Our whole-class read will be the story, Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

In writing, we shared our persuasive writing pieces. Hopefully you had an opportunity to listen to your child read their writing on Seesaw. We are studying fairy tales for our next unit of writing. Last week we revisited the classics of Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Before break, we wrapped up our science unit on Force and Motion. Our focus is now back to social studies. Last week we learned about the Hopewell people of Michigan, as well as the Ojibway, Ottawa, and Potawatomi. We will continue our study of early Native American tribes of Michigan and “The Three Fires” this week.

During these next 3 weeks, we will also be working on our second round of district reading and math tests to measure growth and identify areas of struggle.

Have a wonderful week!

December 16

What have we been doing?

We took part in the Hour of Code, along with thousands of other students around the world. The students learned the basics of coding to program a character to move specific directions and accomplish tasks. Students may continue coding at  (photos below).

We are learning to read narrative nonfiction this week with the introduction of biographies. Students are learning how narrative nonfiction is read as a story (characters, setting, problem, solution) rather than our previous expository or how-to nonfiction.

In writing, we have selected a thesis statement, drafted 3 reasons, and drafted an introduction to our persuasive/opinion essays. This has been tough work–we are writing more than ever! We have many speeches/essays on appreciating bus drivers, mail carriers, Watch Dogs, and more!

In math, we are wrapping up Topic 5 next week. We will have our 5th math test completed just before winter break! You child should keep memorizing those multiplication facts. We have now covered all facts 0-11 and have many strategies to find the answer. Now we need to memorize!

In science, we are finishing our unit on Force and Motion. The final assessment is the Book Creator project (letter was sent home earlier this week). It is due on Tuesday the 20th. We have had some time to work on this in class too.

Remember, next week there is no school on Friday, December 23rd. We return this year on Tuesday, January 3rd.

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December 2

December already! It was a great week back after Thanksgiving break! We had our Santa’s Workshop, vision testing, and our trip to Holmes to see a presentation on early Michigan mining (photos below). We also managed to set new reading goals, focusing on reading a number of books per week based on “just right” books. We are graphing books completed for 4 weeks to see if we can reach our goals. In reading, we also practiced the reading strategy of “synthesizing” information across two different texts. For spelling, we explored the Post-it app to create Post-its of our spelling words and to practice sorting them into their sound categories.

During writing, we generated ideas of people, places, and things that are beautiful, or right in this world. For example, “We should appreciate mail carriers for all they do”. We then fast drafted in our notebooks using stems to talk to our audience (You may be thinking . . . Did you realize . . . etc.).

Friction, mass, and gravity were concepts we explored this week by pulling blocks of wood on different surfaces. We then changed the variable of mass by adding a cup of stones to the wood to determine the difference in force needed.

We wrapped up Topic 4 in math this week. Monday we will review our assessments before beginning Topic 5: Multiplying and Dividing Numbers within 100. Mastering our multiplication facts to memorization (25 problems in 2 minutes) continues to be our goal. A few students are almost ready to move to division timed tests! Keep on studying!

Next week, we have a full, regular week of school. We will be busy stretching our minds! 🙂

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November 22

Over this break, I have asked students to read and record on their reading log at least twice for these 6 evenings they have. I was so happy to hear many say they want to record every night! 😉 We want to keep those reading skills sharp!

Here are a few pictures with our 1st grade buddies. Today we made Blessing Mix with them.

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