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Welcome to Quarter 3! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. We spent the first week back reviewing procedures and routines and making sure that everyone was comfortable again with the expected behaviors in Ready, Set, Action. Since then, the 3rd graders have been hard at work getting ready for their Reader's Theater performance of Little Red Riding Hood.  We have focused on four different techniques to engage the audience: facial expression, gestures, voice projection, and sound effects. Students have worked with partners using their iPads to record themselves using each of these techniques and then uploaded them to their SeeSaw account. Ask your child to show you their videos and/or demonstrate for you how they would use each of these techniques when reading a story. The goal for this unit is to give the students more confidence on stage while strengthening their reading skills.  The fourth and fifth grade classes wrapped up their unit on Fishbowl Discussions and spent their most recent class reviewing for their quiz and performance test next week! The students should be able to share with you the proper formation of a Fishbowl Discussion and the rules and components of this type of discussion. In addition to its unique set up, the fishbowl discussion allowed our students to practice good eye contact, positive body language, active listening, and the opportunity to stretch themselves in more in-depth conversations with their peers. To continue strengthening our speaking skills, we will begin a unit on poetry in the next couple of weeks!
Posted by vcallanen  On Jan 23, 2019 at 2:42 PM
The students and I had a lot of fun learning about Conflict Resolution! Throughout our unit we worked hard to make sure that we were practicing our good speaking and listening skills by facing the speaker, being active listeners, having quiet bodies, and speaking in complete sentences. Over the last week, the students participated in small group discussions to analyze what they learned about conflict resolution. The students were posed with discussion questions like “Why it is best for people to be able to talk and listen to each other?” and “Are disagreements always bad or can some disagreements be helpful?” Continue to talk with your child about healthy ways to solve conflict!
Posted by vcallanen  On Nov 12, 2018 at 9:47 PM
Welcome Back Biltmore Families! We are finishing up our unit on Conflict Resolution! Over the past weeks the students have been working on skits in which they were having a problem working together on a project. The students had to consider the outcome if they "reacted" versus "responded" to the problem. After each skit, we stopped to discuss each scenario to identify the problem and the solution. As the class discussed each scenario they were challenged to put themselves in the "shoes" of the character who was not at fault and imagine how they might feel if they were treated the same way. Students had to also speculate about why a partner might behave like the character who was at fault and consider what could reasonably be done to help change that partner's behavior. The students showed amazing stamina for thinking creatively about how to resolve each problem respectfully. To wrap up the unit, students will write a letter to one of the characters explaining in detail what s/he should do and NOT do to solve a problem peacefully and fairly and explain their reasoning. I encourage you to ask your child about their letter next week and take time to discuss as a family what problems you have encountered at work and school and how you chose to resolve them respectfully! 
Posted by vcallanen  On Oct 19, 2018 at 4:48 PM
We are so excited to have begun our first unit on Conflict Resolution! Most of the students did not know what the word conflict meant, so we worked together to define it and give examples. Afterwards, the students discussed the meaning of resolution and came up with some wonderful ways to resolve conflicts at school. We labeled the solutions given as ideas that could "escalate," "de-escalate," or keep a problem neutral.  The students were able to back up their ideas with some very good reasoning! Up next, we will talk about the difference between reacting and responding to a problem.  The students will practice lots of creative strategies for solving conflicts as we continue to use our good speaking and listening skills!
Posted by vcallanen  On Sep 25, 2018 at 8:25 AM
Over the past two weeks the students have been working on procedures and routines for visiting the speaking and listening classroom. In particular, we have focused heavily on greeting the teacher at the door and entering and leaving the classroom quietly. The students also had their first speaking assignment which was to introduce a friend using good eye contact and appropriate volume. The students are doing a fantastic job and I look forward to beginning our unit on conflict resolution next week! 
Posted by vcallanen  On Sep 25, 2018 at 8:24 AM
Hello Biltmore Families! The students and I have continued to work on conflict resolution over the past 2 weeks. We have talked about how and why friends might disagree and ways to solve the problem. We also talked about sharing our feelings in a respectful way and how to tell the difference between reacting and responding to a situation. We defined the words "aggressive," "passive," and "assertive" and discussed how each of these different ways of responding could either escalate, de-escalate, or keep a problem neutral. Once the students felt comfortable with these terms, we played a game called "Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right." The students participated in a few skits that allowed them to practice their good speaking and listening skills of making good eye contact, standing tall, and using their strong speaker voice.  I believe that this is such an important life skill, and I'm so thrilled to work with your child on this. At home, it would be incredibly helpful if you could chat with them about this. If there are siblings or playmates, ask your child how to solve disagreements!
Posted by vcallanen  On Sep 25, 2018 at 8:24 AM
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