Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Peek at My Week (before break!!!) 3.24.14

Well, it's, why does it come so fast?  I don't know about you but I feel like Sunday is usually the day that I try to catch up on everything, but sometimes nothing gets done. Ok, I need to give myself more credit than that--I did have a productive weekend... I just spend Sunday doing all of the prep stuff for my week: grocery shopping, meal planning, school work, cleaning, etc.  As you can see, I haven't gotten really far on the personal stuff....

The meal board is still empty.  My husband is on Spring Break this week, so maybe I'll just cut my losses for this Sunday evening, and make him be in charge all week.  :)  Since it's Sunday I'm linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to share what I've got planned this week.  I have to admit, I'm trying to cram about a million things in before break, when we only have time for 100.  Let's hope I can get all of it accomplished and have a great week, just like I did last week!

Math- We're wrapping up our addition and subtraction unit this week, and we still need some practice and work on story problems- the two step ones.  I've been struggling with the teaching of this, because I feel that when we talk them out and the kids work together in class they have it.  Then they do some on their own, and we're spending the next day fixing everything.  It's like they instantly go back to seeing three numbers, picking two and adding them together, and then subtracting the littlest one to get their answer without taking the steps that we've learned. So again, I'm going with task cards from our book to show some different strategies to solve 2 step problems.  We're going to spend the first part of the week doing as many word problems as we can.

Source: Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions

LA- We're going to hit the ground running this week on our Pioneer Simulation. We will spend most of the 4th quarter working with non-fiction materials and use this pioneer simulation to spark motivation with our students!  I'll be posting more in-depth once we actually start moving along with it.  Our pioneers aren't officially leaving on the trail until after we get back from break, but this week we're prepping to leave.  We've spent a lot of time building background and the biggest thing we did I talked about it my Five For Friday post this week.  So for our preparation, we're bringing in a school interactive learning experience tomorrow called 'The Adventures of Ma and Pa.'  Students will get an interactive assembly where Ma and Pa come in with all of the items that they could possibly pack into their wagon and talk to us about the supplies, food, tools, family heirlooms, and much much more!  This gives students the visual of the different items that they will see on their packing list later this week.   Students have been grouped into 4 wagon train groups, and tomorrow will be given their pioneer names, along with their family history.  They will then work with their groups to prepare to leave on the journey out west.

This is a small sample of the list of items that the pioneers can pack.  It's a big list, so hopefully after Ma  and Pa, we can figure out what is important to pack with us!

We will be working a lot with vocabulary.  Students will be asked to use their new pioneer vocabulary while we're on the trail, so spending time to work with and use new words will be important.  Students will each be given words to look up for their group.  We will use the dictionary for definitions and also we will use some pre-made word lists with definitions with some students.  This is a great way to differentiate but also give each student the opportunity to contribute to their wagon train groups.  We'll be using my vocabulary boxes from my TpT store as well, and sharing as a class.  We will then hang the papers up so we can refer back to them!

Here is a small sample of some pre-made vocabulary words that students will be given. My co-worker put these together for our use with this unit!

Click photo to go to TpT.

In their small groups, students will be learning about various locations that either they will pass through on the trail, or that the pioneers did encounter while on the Oregon Trail.  They will read and learn about these places to share with the class so we can discuss different things that happened at each location. We will be talking about pros and cons for stopping at different forts along the way and also talk about why/how certain places may have gotten their names.  We will then look at the map that we will be traveling on to see if we can find any similarities on the Hacker Trail (the trail we will be traveling on) to the places that we have spent time discussing. This will give groups the time to discuss some of the new places on this map to discuss pros and cons to the different routes that are mapped out (Massacre Canyon probably = death....why???!!).

Just a small sample of reading we will do to prepare for different locations on the trail. 

There is so much going on in this unit--- I could write for days! To spare you the longest post ever, I'll be sure to update this week like I said and as we move along the trail.  I'm getting excited, and so are the kids.  I have to share one thing quick before I'm done.  On Friday I collected some student work and looked over it this weekend.  I shared the graphic organizers that were used to discuss connections between the movie American Tale, to some big themes from people leaving their country to move to another one.  Everyone did a great job relating the movie to our big themes.  The last two questions they had to answer were opinion questions.  They were asked what they were nervous about with the upcoming unit and what they were looking forward to.  I had one respond with.....

"I am nervous because I am going to get a wife......" Tomorrow students get their identities, and some will find out that they have a significant other, who is imaginary, but they will have to make sure they are taking that, their occupation, and if they have any children into consideration as they pack to leave on the trail.  It's so sweet that someone is nervous about that.

Have a great week!


  1. I got a huge kick out of the "nervous about a wife" response!! I feel the same way about Sunday! No matter how productive I am, I always go to bed with unfinished jobs! Oh well! Have a great week!

  2. Too cute about the nervous response. I would probably be thinking the same exact thing! Lol!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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