Page 1

Banyan Newsletter WINTER 2010


Banyan students explore nonfiction books at their tables.

Reading Nonfiction What is nonfiction? I read the students two books about frogs and they decided which book was fiction and which book was nonfiction. Then, we generated a list about what we think makes a nonfiction book nonfiction. Here is what they said: •tells us real things •has true facts •we learn things from it We l e a r n n e w information when reading nonfiction. The students explored nonfiction book baskets at their tables. They used post-its to identify newly learned information. Your children are such

sponges for information that they used up a whole pack of post-its this week! We ask questions when we read nonfiction. Banyan students used their post-its to record questions they had as they read. Sometimes the questions were answered in the text and sometimes they were not. Nonfiction books contain specific elements. We identified and some of these elements. •photographs •index

Did you know...? The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have existed!

A Banyan student discov ered this amazing fact!

•table of contents •fact boxes •glossary and so much more.

Writing: We are illustrating and putting the final touches on our small moments books. We will start exploring and writing nonfiction soon!

Balls And Ramps

Math: Data and Surveys and Measurement

We began our new science unit in which we will be learning about balls and how they move. We will eventually be exploring concepts such as force, gravity and friction. The children will discover these properties through our investigations.

We explored the bal ls with our partners and described their attributes. The children told us what they wondered and noticed as they explored. Then, we conducted an investigation about their differences. Which ball is the most bouncy? Which ball rolls the farthest? Which ball seems the heaviest? Then, we talked about the concept of a fair test and how did you test each ball fairly. Did you apply force? What surface did you roll on?

We also practiced freezing when the teacher turns the lights off. Banyan students are getting very good at this!

We measured fish in pairs and decided if we were going to keep them or throw them back.

We learned to collect data and represent it. Banyan mathematicians conducted many surveys last week. They learned m e t h o d s o f g at h e r i n g d at a a n d representing data. Then they learned to interpret the data that was represented. They even did their own representations.

We measured using nonstandard tools. We started a new unit about measurement. We begin using nonstandard measuring tools such as 1 inch tiles, cubes and paper clips. The students measured the length of a variety of materials at a measuring station: paper, unsharpened pencils, a block, a book and much more. They recorded the lengths and the tool that they used. We discussed measuring techniques and accuracy. We also talked about rounding the number when we did not have an exact measurement.

Then Banyan students went on a fishing trip! They could fish for either perch, mackerel or alewife. They had to measure each fish and decide which ones were keepers and which ones they would throw back depending on their length. The students really enjoyed this activity and were very involved in the accuracy of measuring their fish.

newsletter 09