Independent Reading

This week, we launched independent reading in our classroom.

We spend part of our daily Reader’s Workshop sessions doing independent reading, to practise strategies and work on our individual goals.

During independent reading, we aim to:

  • begin reading quickly and efficiently
  • read with stamina for the duration of the session
  • choose a good place to read and stay in that place
  • read silently.

 

After independent reading, we catch up with our “Reading Buddy” to discuss our books. This is a great opportunity to share our reflections, ask each other questions and learn about other books and authors from our peers.

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What are you currently reading during independent reading?

Who is your favourite author?

What reading strategy would you like to focus on this term?

Do you have an all-time favourite book?

Interesting Idioms!

We have been learning about idioms in literacy this week.

Idioms are phrases that have a different meaning to the actual words in the phrase. For example, if something is described as “a piece of cake”, it is an idiom. It means that something is really easy, it doesn’t actually have anything at all to do with cake.

In class, we discussed the literal and the inferred meaning of lots of idioms.

  • The literal meaning is when you imagine the words in the idiom as being the real meaning.
  • The inferred meaning is what the phrase actually means when used in conversation.

Example: To “spill the beans”.

You might imagine someone tipping over a bowl of beans BUT this idiom really means that you have revealed some secret information.

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For this learning task, each student chose an idiom they liked. They had to draw the literal and the inferred meaning for their idiom. Check out our work and see if you can identify the idioms!

Learning about idioms is important because authors often use idioms in books, so we need to understand them in order to understand what we read. Since learning about idioms, we also realised that we use idioms all the time in our conversations!

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Did you guess any of our idioms?

Do you have a favourite idiom?

What idioms do you often hear people say?

Power Sentences

This week, we have focussed on writing “power sentences”.

A power sentence contains descriptive information to help the reader make a picture in their mind. Adding interesting nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs really brings a sentence to life. In class, we had some great discussions about how to add impact to a sentence.

We started with this simple sentence: The boy went up the stairs.

We all agreed that this sentence doesn’t have any impact and provides very little information. By adding some interesting words to create different emotions and feelings, the entire meaning of the sentence changes.

Here are the “power sentences” we came up with!

power-sentences

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Here are some other simple sentences. Try to rewrite them by adding interesting vocabulary and submit your “power sentences” in your comment!

I knocked on the door.

Bob swam in the pool.

The girl ate her apple.

The dog ran away.

Sam hit the cricket ball.

Author Study

This week in Reader’s Workshop, we are doing an author study.

We have collected lots of picture books written by a variety of authors.

We are reading the picture books to study each author’s style, themes and key ideas.

The authors we are focussing on include:

  • Margaret Wild
  • Mem Fox
  • Anthony Browne
  • Jackie French
  • Nick Bland
  • Alison Lester
  • Jeannie Baker
  • Julia Donaldson
  • Graham Base
  • Pamela Allen
  • Colin Thompson
  • John Burmingham

Students have set up a Google Sheet on their iPads to record their observations about each picture book they read.

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What observations have you made during the author study so far?

Who is your favourite picture book author?

Do you have an all time favourite picture book?

We Love Poetry!

The students in 3/4C are thoroughly enjoying our poetry unit.

Earlier in the term, we investigated poems and learnt about figurative language in poetry. Now, all students have started their own poetry anthology.

Students have written several poems for their anthology, including:

  • Observations in our environment
  • Colours
  • Environmental issues
  • Family
  • Free choice

The poems written by the students for most of our unit have not been of a particular structure, so they have had a lot of freedom with the style, organisation and layout of their poems. However, earlier this week, we did investigate five types of popular poem structures. They are:

  • Cinquain poems
  • Haiku poems
  • Concrete poems
  • Limericks
  • Diamante poems

Each of these styles of poems have specific features and a set structure. They are described below.

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The enthusiasm of the 3/4C students during our poetry unit has been absolutely fantastic! Miss Jordan is very proud of all their work!

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What is your favourite structured poem?

What do you like to write poems about?

***Please choose one of the structured poems and write a poem in your comment!***

Figurative Language in Poetry

This week, we started a poetry study in our writing lessons.

Students have participated in “poetry investigation” all week. This means we read lots of poems and analysed how they are written. Students observed the mood of different poems and the writing craft that is used.

We discussed what we sometimes see in poems. Here are some of our thoughts:

  • Humour
  • Emotions or feelings
  • Rhyming
  • Rhythm
  • Repeated words or phrases
  • Descriptive language
  • Inferences
  • A message or moral
  • A twist

We also focussed on how figurative language is used in poetry. Today, we investigated six different kinds of figurative language:

  • Alliteration
  • Metaphor
  • Simile
  • Hyperbole (hy-per-bol-ee)
  • Personification
  • Onomatopoeia (on-o-mat-o-pia)

Figurative Language

Some of these types of figurative language were new to the students and they enjoyed learning the new vocabulary. Learning how to say hyperbole and onomatopoeia was a challenge!

For their main task today, students worked in pairs to read a variety of poems. Their challenge was to identify which types of figurative language were present in each poem. Everyone did a fantastic job and it was great to listen to the conversations as they investigated the figurative language.

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Write some examples of figurative language in your comment!

What have you learnt about poetry so far?

Do you have a favourite poem?

Learning About Persuasive Writing

We have been working on our persuasive writing skills for the past few weeks.

Persuasive writing is a type of non-fiction writing used to convince the reader to agree with the author about an issue. The author expresses their opinion using personal beliefs and factual information in this argumentative writing style.

We have investigated a variety of persuasive texts and learnt more about:

  • The structure and organisation of a persuasive text
  • Types of arguments and reasons used
  • How to turn factual information into a persuasive argument
  • Word choice (emotive language, technical terms, rhetorical questions, powerful verbs, strong adjectives)
  • Linking words.

At the beginning of the unit, students investigated a variety of persuasive texts to identify the key components of persuasive writing. Students then chose their own persuasive topic and drafted, revised, edited and published their work.

It has been great to see the students honing their persuasive writing skills this term!

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Think of something you would like to persuade others about. In your blog comment, write a persuasive paragraph to convince other blog readers to agree with you!

Remember to use persuasive language, interesting verbs and adjectives and rhetorical questions. Don’t forget to edit your comment before you submit!

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How has your persuasive writing improved?

Where do you see persuasive writing?

Fun With Fictional Narratives!

We have been studying fictional narratives in class.

A fictional narrative is a made up story. Students really get to demonstrate their creativity when writing fictional narratives, so it is a lot of fun!

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We spent last week “immersing” ourselves in fictional narratives to investigate the key elements of a well written story.

We focussed on:

  • The structure of a fictional narrative
  • Thinking of ideas to form a quality narrative
  • Character development.

Narratives can be structured in different ways, but we identified the typical organisation of a fictional narrative:

  • Beginning (introduce the main character/s, describe the setting)
  • Middle – part one (complication)
  • Middle – part two (series of events that occur as a result of the complication)
  • Ending (complication is resolved).

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We read a variety of picture story books which are good examples of narratives. Below are some examples of quality narratives that follow the typical structure we are using for our own fictional narratives.


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We are also aiming to include some interesting vocabulary in our narratives. We have discussed how the following things can really enhance a story:

  • Interesting nouns
  • Adjectives
  • Verbs
  • Adverbs
  • Sensory details
  • “Show me, don’t tell me” strategy.

Everyone in 3/4C is doing a great job drafting their narratives! Once the drafts are complete, students will revise and edit, and then publish on their iPads! Miss Jordan can’t wait to see how all of the students’ narratives turn out!

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What is your fictional narrative about?

What kinds of narratives do you like to write?

What kinds of narratives do you like to read?

How have your fictional narrative writing skills improved?

 

Parts Of Speech

3/4C students participate in word study sessions each week.

During recent word study lessons, we have been learning about parts of speech.

Specifically, we have investigated:

  • Common nouns
  • Proper nouns
  • Pronouns
  • Adjectives
  • Verbs
  • Adverbs

There are other parts of speech to learn too, as well as a variety of other grammar terms, so we have these posters in our classroom to refer to.

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Adjectives and adverbs make writing more interesting to read. Learning about these parts of speech will help our writing skills develop. We are writing narratives this week, so hopefully the stories contain lots of adjectives and adverbs!

When brainstorming adverbs, most of our examples had the suffix ‘-ly’ and described how a verb is performed. For example, quickly, strongly, confidently. But there are actually five different types of adverbs we use in our speech and writing.

Types of adverbs

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We discussed that every complete sentence contains a noun and a verb.

Sometimes the verb in a sentence is not as obvious as a clear “doing word”. For example, in the sentence “I go swimming at the beach in summer”, swimming is obviously the verb. But the word go is also a verb.

The words in red below are also verbs:

  • He is good at football.
  • Do you have my iPad?
  • I will go for a run tomorrow.

Verbs can be present tense or past tense.

Past Present Verbs

You will notice a pattern in the verbs above. The past tense verbs all contain the ‘-ed’ suffix and the present tense verbs also have consistent suffixes.

There are some verbs that do not follow this rule. They are called irregular verbs. Do you know what irregular verbs are?

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Can you find out what irregular verbs are? List some examples in your comment!

Write a comment containing some interesting nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs!

What have you learnt in our word study sessions so far this year?

Do you have any favourite adjectives or adverbs?

What nouns and verbs do you often use in your writing?

Writing From A Photo

Good writers can create a picture in their readers’ minds.

They can do this by:

  • using interesting vocabulary
  • elaborating on details
  • showing, rather than telling, some of the details
  • describing all five senses (what can be seen, heard, tasted, felt and smelt)
  • using lots of adjectives (describing words) and verbs (doing words)
  • using synonyms (words with similar meanings) to make interesting word choices.

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During our writing sessions over the past two weeks, students have been writing entries in their Writer’s Notebooks. Our lessons included:

  • Writing “free choice” entries from the Ideas Page in the Writer’s Notebooks
  • Using sensory details in writing
  • Writing about the environment around us
  • Writing from a photo
  • Using the “show me, don’t tell me” technique to enhance writing.

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 All students brought in a photo from home to use as inspiration for a piece of writing. We focussed on including sensory details and adjectives. Everyone did a great job! Below is the writing by the 3/4C students. Enjoy!

Tip – Open in full screen to view in a larger format.

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Were there any particular words or sentences you enjoyed from the students’ writing?

How has your writing improved?

What writing activity have you enjoyed so far this year?

Do you have a writing goal for this year?