Estimating and “Honest Abe” Biographies


What a biography filled day! The students have finally begun to write their biographies of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Since our February quilt pieces are of Abraham Lincoln, the students started writing his biography first. We worked really hard today to make sure each of the students had a main idea, at least three details and a conclusion in their biography. Since we have been reading biographies this week in reading, this English writing unit goes along so well. After reading a biography about Theodore Roosevelt in their reading textbooks, the students worked on rewriting a paragraph about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Rather than using the pronoun “he” in every sentence, the students had to look back in their notes and find other names to call Abraham Lincoln and George Washington (such as Honest Abe and General Washington). Then we went from working on that short paragraph to the students writing their own paragraph to get their biographies started. Each of the students turned in their biography and after placing revision marks and highlighting nouns pink I really am very proud of how well their biographies turned out. Many of the students wrote many details about Lincolin’s life and placed events in chronological order. The next step in their biography process is to look over the revision marks I made on their papers as well as the editing marks (such as pink highlighted nouns which need adjectives or more information added to them). Tomorrow we will revise a short biography that I wrote about Helen Keller as a whole class so the students get the opportunity to see what the revising and editing process looks like. Below are some samples of the students work on their Abraham Lincoln projects, which were all written really well. I look forward to the students revising their work and creating their final copies to hang on the bulletin board.

Click on the images to see a larger version.

            Student Sample 1            Student Sample 2 Student Sample 3

The students also had some fun in other subject areas today. For math we worked on estimating in large collections. For this lesson, the students were put into pairs and each group was given a plastic baggie full of random amounts of unifix cubes, crayons and plastic quarters. The students were then given a sheet about estimating which had them writing down their estimates and then counting the actual amounts. We talked about how an estimate needs to be an educated guess so the answer should be somewhat close to the estimate, but it is almost never exact. The students had a lot of fun working in their groups to estimate the objects inside the baggies and then we came back together as a whole class to fill out a chart about our estimates. We had a total of 7 baggies and we graphed each one onto the sheet in order to see just how close each group’s estimates were to their actual amounts. We will continue to work with estimation over the next few weeks, but the students were given a nice introduction to the concept today.

med-0D217C80-AC64-B2F5-DD8F7B02B4098F85Later in the afternoon we were able to read another Scholastic Weekly Reader. This time around we read Lion School, which was about Chinese New Year. The students read the article together and then we went over some questions about what they read. Some of the questions asked if Lion Dancing was hard or not as well as what other traditions the Chinese celebrate on Chinese New Year. Some of the traditions the students learned about were Lion Dancing, New Year Feast, Costume Culture and Giving Red envelopes full of prizes and money to loved ones. I have attached the digital weekly reader as well as some worksheets you can do with your students at home that are from this weekly reader. So throughout the day the students completed a ton of activities and writing today and I couldn’t be happier with the paragraphs the students wrote. Until tomorrow, enjoy your evening!

-Laura Hill

Digital Issue of Scholastic Weekly Reader “Lion School”

Activity sheets for “Lion School”
We did check the text together


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