The Smithosians Mrs. Smith Grades 3 and 4 What a busy last few months it has been for the Smithsonians. From cold days to a Valentine’s party that warmed our hearts, Grades 3 and 4 are “Marching” into the last trimester full steam ahead! In reading workshop we finished reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Students became attached to the main character, Melody, and rooted for her to win the quiz team championship competition in Washington, D.C. The author took us on an unexpected ride at the end that shook us to our cores--missed flights, devastated feelings, near tragic car accidents, all combined with a heroic speech threw us for a loop but left us feeling hopeful and satisfied for our friend, Melody. We all realized the importance of never judging a book by its cover and never giving up, even when the odds are stacked against us. We are now reading a fantastic fantasy, Emmy and The Incredible Shrinking Rat, by Lynn Jonell. We are about half way through, and with each new chapter we find ourselves sinking deeper into a mystery of magical rodents, mean nannies, and wondering what new twist could possibly happen next. During independent reading students are enjoying sharing the Barry Loser series called I am NOT a Loser by Jeff Smith--a funny and quirky book that is half graphic novel, half chapter book, about a young boy named Barry Loser. He endures life in school with the last name Loser which he is anything but! And because of the newly-released movie A Wrinkle in Time, many students are reading the novel and discovering it is the first book in a popular trilogy. In writing workshop, students continue to draft and publish several books. Besides the many chapter books ranging from fiction to expository to reader’s theaters, students have been writing poetry as well. Together, we read Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech to look deeper at how poetry can tell entire stories, not just explain one moment in time. Students enjoyed reading from Jack’s point of view while writing to his teacher about the poetry they read in his class. Students felt Jack’s frustration of not understanding how to interpret poems by famous authors such as William Carlos Williams or Robert Frost when he encountered them for the first time, but in the end CTL students, along with the fictional character Jack, come to appreciate the power of poetry. Students wrote their own poems experimenting with lines, stanzas, alliteration, and rhyme. Many students also submitted pieces to the Dana Kay Barber Writing Awards Contest sponsored by Abydos Literacy. Winners will be chosen in April. If students win in either poetry or prose, they are invited to attend the Abydos Conference in Dallas in April to receive their awards during a special ceremony for all of the winners. Both third and fourth grade math students have been studying fractions. We all started our fractions unit together with a fun introduction of Lucky Charms math. Students were given a serving of the cereal and separated the cereal pieces from the marshmallows. They then sorted and graphed 11

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