PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

This Week in 301

December has certainly been flying by, and in room 412, we’ve been productive and happy!

In Writing we’re up to drafting our Personal Narratives. After we chose one of our memories as a Seed Idea, we “story told” it aloud to our writing partners. This was the first year I’ve tried this strategy, and it really seemed to help the students tell their stories in a richer way. Then today we wrote “flash drafts,” just sitting down and writing fast and furious, letting our stories pour out onto the page. The students were utterly engrossed in their writing, and they were filling pages at a really rapid pace!

In Math, we’ve been continuing our work with equal groups, building the foundation for a strong understanding of what happens as we put equal groups together. This past week we’ve been investigating the context of a grocery store, using different “short cut strategies” for finding out total numbers of items or total prices. Partnerships made posters presenting their short cut strategies, which ranged from skip counting to doubling to using multiplication facts they knew to figure out facts they didn’t know yet (as shown with the paper towels, below).


Once the posters were made, we had a Gallery Walk to study each other’s strategies and to give constructive feedback, and then we had a chance to revise our posters, to present our thinking even more clearly.

In Social Studies we painted our relief maps, and they look fantastic! We’ll round out the remaining time in December by researching the continents we chose, and making “travel brochures” to present the interesting information we learn about them.


In Reading we’re about to start “Book Clubs” with our reading partners, where both partners will be reading the same book and discussing it with each other. This is a way of supporting the students’ thinking as they seek to apply our character work to the books they’re reading themselves.

Have a joyful Hanukkah, to those of you who are celebrating!