PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Spinning Sky


This week we began our unit about the sun, moon, and stars. In our first few lessons we will be learning about the sun, in particular how its place changes in the sky throughout the day.  In our first lesson, your child observed the surprising fact that the shadow of a stationary object moves, even though the object itself is not moving! This is because of how the sun’s place is changing in the sky.

Although we will not yet be introducing the idea of the Earth’s rotation, next week we’ll be learning more details about the sun’s path, including learning about east and west (the direction of sunrise and sunset!).

You can encourage your child’s curiosity about the sun by going for a late afternoon walk around your neighborhood, and inviting them to notice where the shadows are. You can bring up interesting questions to ponder, such as: Which direction are the shadows pointing? How can you use a shadow’s direction to know where the sun is (since it’s not safe to look directly at the sun)?  How might these shadows be different in the morning?


Readers Workshop

The past few weeks we have been working on reading fluently with expression and meaning. To help students meaningfully practice and celebrate this work we have been using readers theater.  Readers theater is a way to involve students in reading aloud. In reader’s theater, students “perform” by reading scripts created from books or stories.

Reader’s theater is a strategy that combines reading practice and performing. Its goal is to enhance students’ reading skills and confidence by having them practice reading with a purpose. It helps them understand the importance of “becoming the character,” and making movies in their mind.  

During Family Friday, which is this Friday April 27 at 8:40, you will have a chance to see these performances in our classrooms.  Hope to see you there!

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop, we have been writing opinion letters.  We took a walk around the school to think of and notice ways our school could be made better. Students were also able to think of ways their homes or neighborhoods could be made better.  

Students are learning how to form an opinion and provide reasons to help support their opinions. We also discovered that providing mini-stories and possible solutions in our letters make them more convincing.  For example, we have been working on writing an opinion letter to the custodian as a class. Rather than saying:

We think the garbage cans at breakfast are too full!  It is very messy and unsafe

We could write:

We think the custodians should give us more garbage cans during breakfast time.  The garbage is overfilled and is spilling over. There is milk and food on the floor. It is unsafe. Students have tripped before and one day we even noticed Ms. Ferguson tripped on a banana peel that fell from the garbage.