Mrs. Murphy's Classroom Website

Room 1 Newsletter

Dec. 17, 2018

Dear Families,

I have been enjoying seeing the progress that your children have made in the last several weeks. Students have been working hard and working cooperatively on several projects. We have also enjoyed a winter art activity with our Kindergarten buddies!

I want to invite families to our January Open House on Thursday morning, January 10th from 8:15-8:45. Families will have the opportunity to view our Plimoth structures (and to take them home at the end of the Open House), as well as enjoy other projects which students have been working diligently to complete.

Also, students will enjoy a special Winter Solstice pajama day on Friday, December 21st. We'll enjoy cozy reading and other seasonal activities as part of our work that day! Families are invited to send a special snack for their third grader only, to be enjoyed during our festive time.

Students have been hard at work, completing their "Best Place in Massachusetts" opinion essay during writing lessons. For this essay, students have been asked to revise their initial drafts." We talked about how "re" means "again" and "vise" means "see." Students have learned about how to "cut and grow" their essays, after checking to see if they have all of the "parts" of a good opinion essay. This technique allows them to add a missing section to their essay. To do so, students cut the top part of their essay, glue it onto a new paper, and add the section that they were missing. Then, they glue the rest of the essay onto the new page. This technique helps students to add sections without having to add symbols, write up or down the sides of the page, or just decide it is too much trouble to add their new section! Students have responded well to this revision technique. In addition, students have learned the importance of "hooking" the reader with a lead sentence which gets the reader's attention. We are also experimenting with adding a "preview" sentence in the topic introduction which gives the reader a hint about the reasons students include in their essay. I look forward to reading their finished essays.

Students have been working in small spelling groups. They have learned about prefixes, suffixes, base words, and base words. They also have practiced using words they can spell to help them to spell new words, based on the spelling patterns of rhyming words. Every English writer, however, knows the limitations of using rhymes to spell, and we have discovered the many exceptions or "rule breaker" words, which make English orthography a challenge!

Our reading work in the past weeks has included enjoying a fiction book by Sharon Draper called The Clubhouse Mysteries: The Buried Bones Mystery. Students protested at the end of every cliff-hanger chapter, begging me to read another chapter of this engaging book about four boys who start a club and try to discover the reason that a box of bones is buried near their newly-constructed clubhouse. After finishing the book, students have been invited to read one of the other five books in the series - we have four complete sets of the series - and when finished with a book, to write me a letter answering questions I have asked on a special bookmark, as well as telling me their thoughts about the book. In this way, I can teach students how to think about a work of fiction, and how to write a complete reader response to that book. Students who complete each book and letter will receive both a letter back from me, and a "book badge" - a sticker on their "paper book vest." Students who choose to read all six books and complete the letters for each will be invited to a special lunch later in January. In addition to this series project, students are learning about how good readers ask questions before, during, and after they read a book. We have just begun reading a biography about Frederick Douglass' exciting, and at times heart-breaking adventures, and we will use this book to learn about how to ask thoughtful questions that help the reader to learn, to comprehend, and to extend one's thinking after finishing a story to consider the unanswered questions asked before and during a story.

Students; work in Math has centered around the properties of multiplication - the commutative property (the property which allows the solver to switch two factors and still arrive at the same product; they associative property (the property which allows the solver to switch any of three or more factors and still arrive at the same product; the distributive property (the property which helps the solver solve a problem by decomposing a larger number and multiplying the two parts with the other factor in order to find the product of the original factors); the zero property (which holds that anything times zero is zero); and the identity property (which preserves the value of anything that is multiplied by one). In addition, we have been looking for patterns on the hundred chart when coloring skip counting numbers. Last, we found that any odd number times any odd number makes an odd product, any even number times any even number makes an even product, and any odd number times any even number makes an even product! Students have also dipped their toes into division, and talked about how it "undoes" multiplication. Students have also been working daily to practice their multiplication facts, so that they become automatic. Are you traveling somewhere in the car over the holiday? The car is a perfect place to practice multiplication facts. Challenge your child to learn all the facts which include the dastardly 7 as one factor in the expression. Ask them to tell you the "trick" we learned to quickly remember the nines!

We have enjoyed sharing students' wetus and pilgrim houses with the class. I have enjoyed the fruits of students' labors; what creative and interesting ideas they employed to make their models. In addition to this sharing, students worked in teams of two to make a teaching poster during Social Studies lessons. We split up a chapter of our Massachusetts textbook (much like taking apart a jigsaw puzzle), and each team of two read a one to three page section. They then worked together to answer some questions, and then they planned and created a teaching poster. Now, students are sharing these teaching posters - helping their classmates to learn about the First People of Massachusetts. When each pair has shared and taught their poster information, our class will know all of the content in the chapter!

Our Science work has involved learning about weather and climate. We have tracked the outside temperature, precipitation, wind direction, and weather conditions for a period of more than two weeks, and examined the patterns in that data. Students have learned about evaporation, completing two experiments - one which helped them conclude that surface area of the water container affects the speed of evaporation, and one which investigated how water evaporates in different conditions. Students chose four locations to place 50 mL of water in a cup - a closet in the classroom, a sunny windowsill in our classroom, a high perch on our cabinet under the heat vent, and the main office windowsill. Students in pairs measured the air temperature in each of these locations twice daily. After four days, we found the average temperature of the air in each location, and measured how much water was left in each cup using a syringe. We then made guesses as to why some cups held more water than others. We also learned about condensation, experimenting with different conditions inside a closed cup. We will complete the last section of our unit, learning about extreme weather. Let's hope we don't have any extreme weather of our own this week, however

Enjoy the week, and our upcoming winter break!


Kristin Murphy

Everything is possible

Claypit Hill School requests that students bring non-food treats for their class birthday celebrations. If your child would like to share a non-food birthday treat, please let me know. Here are some suggestions:

pencils (all the same kind would be helpful, please)



post cards


inexpensive books for everyone

donate a new and popular book to the classroom

Dates to Remember

Nov. 9: Field Trip to Plimoth Plantation

Nov. 12: NO SCHOOL

Nov. 21: HALF DAY: Dismissal at 12:00

Nov. 22 and 23: NO SCHOOL

Dec. 24 through Jan. 1: NO SCHOOL: WINTER BREAK

Jan. 2: Classes Resume

Jan. 21: NO SCHOOL: Martin Luther King Day

Feb. 18 through Feb. 22: NO SCHOOL: FEBRUARY BREAK

Feb. 25: Classes Resume

Apr. 15 through Apr. 19: NO SCHOOL: SPRING BREAK

Apr. 22: Classes Resume


Jun. 17: End of School (With no Snow days)

Jun. 24: Tentative End of School (With 5 Snow Days)

Specials Schedule

Mondays - Strings/Music Workshop

Tuesdays - Technology

Wednesdays - Art

Thursdays - Library and Gym

Fridays - Music