Students have just completed the first of four rotations through art, music and movement and showcased their learning with a fabulous night of circus arts, marimbas, keyboards and an art display. Not wanting to rest on our laurels, we jumped right into the next rotation this morning! This class will last until our next sharing on February 6th from 11:50-12:45 in the gym.
Readers continue to enjoy independently selected novels during DEAR time, as well as our read aloud novel Liar and Spy.
Students in Jim and Lauren’s classes are immersed in a study of Pourquoi stories. This study is supported by the work students are doing in social studies with Peter and Lynn. Students have read a variety of stories, identifying common characteristics and charting plot lines. They are using planning tools to craft a story including elements of plot, character, setting and language.
Students in Peter and Lynn’s classes are writing poetry using mentor text to learn about specific language and writing with imagery and rhythm. Next week we will be applying revision techniques to deepen our poetic images.
Over the past month, we have been identifying, using, and completing exercises with nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
Our focus during academic lab has switched to literacy for January and February. Students are working in small groups to examine various aspects of understanding what we read based upon student need. Some of our work includes comprehension in literature, building vocabulary and understanding informational text. Others are working in teacher facilitated book discussion groups enjoying novels with a theme of ‘courage.’ Some of our titles include: Lupita Manana, The One Hundred Dresses, Twenty-one Balloons, and others.
This week some of us moved into a discussion about multiple intelligences, learning styles, and what research shows how the two ideas and theories can support learning. After a brief introduction, students self-assessed and ranked their learning styles then took an on-line learning style survey. In future sessions, we will compare the self assessment and results as a basis to begin our discussion about the upcoming independent learning projects.
Jim and Lauren have started working with Lynn’s and Peter’s classes this month. Our beginning science explorations help students learn to use measurement tools correctly and accurately including triple beam balances, graduated cylinders and rulers, while reviewing units of measurement. Students practiced measuring Gummy Bears in a variety of ways before predicting changes in mass, volume and density when we soaked the candies overnight. Students will continue to investigate density through experimentation as well as buoyancy, capacity, variable and displacement during our boat & hot air balloon studies.
In Jim’s class, we have been on how to use nets to find the minimum surface area and midline length for a given volume. We are now turning our focus to solving algebraic equations in one variable. We are solidifying our understanding of operations and their inverses and how to use them to simplify and solve equations with variables as well as how to demonstrate our thinking using number lines, tape diagrams, and arrays. We have also rediscovered the importance of know multiplication facts and how to use operations on whole numbers, fractions, and decimals in an accurate and efficient manner.
In Peter’s class, we are continuing our exploration of expressions and equations. Specifically, we are extending their arithmetic work to include using letters to represent numbers in order to understand that letters are simply "stand-ins" for numbers and that arithmetic is carried out exactly as it is with numbers. Students explore operations in terms of verbal expressions and determine that arithmetic properties hold true with expressions. Students determine that letters are used to represent specific but unknown numbers and are used to make statements or identities that are true for all numbers or a range of numbers. They understand the relationships of operations and use them to generate equivalent expressions. In upcoming weeks, students will move to the to algebra to solve one-step equations.
In Lynn’s class, we are wrapping up our study of division of whole numbers and decimal number next week with our final assessment on Module 5.2. We will then be moving into addition and subtraction of fractions in the weeks to come.
Lauren’s math class has been solving word problems involving area and perimeter using multiplication. Students are approaching mastery using three different strategies for solving multiplication problems including using arrays, finding partial products, and tradition algorithm. Students completed a mid-unit assessment last week of multiplication skills and concepts.
In the Spanish 1A classes, we have been working on present tense verb conjugations as our vocabulary continues to build. In Lynn’s class we are preparing for an exam on Monday, January 26th to cover basic and “regular” conjugations. We are also reading together our first novela in Spanish Casi se Muere. We are reading aloud together to work on pronunciation, translation, and comprehension skills along the way. Don’t be surprised if your Spanish student holds the family pet “captive” while reading aloud this text. The 15 minutes of nightly Spanish practice might include re-reading to build fluency. If you have time, encourage your Spanish students to read aloud to you! Please refer to Pat’s and Lynn’s Spanish webpages for more information and links.
Spanish with Leticia: Leticia Solari worked with Spanish exposure students this week, getting to know one another, remembering some vocabulary, and working to revive basic conversation skills with partners. Students have really enjoyed working with this native Spanish speaker and are looking forward to weekly Spanish lessons.
Peter and Lynn have started working with Jim’s and Lauren’s classes this month. We have begun our study of ancient civilizations with a 4 day simulation that helps our students explore in a hands-on way what being a member of a civilization entails. They tried to “survive” on their own on day #1 of the simulation - gathering food and water and building a shelter. On day #2, they were part of a small group working together to gather food and water and build shelter for the all groups members to “survive” - without a common language. On day #3 the groups created their own governing system, economic system and religious/philosophical beliefs. On day #4, the smaller groups joined together into a larger group and held a council in which they needed to come to consensus on the logistics of their ever-changing (and growing) civilization. Along the way, the civilizations had to cope with the elimination of certain members of their group due to flood, sickness and famine. In the next couple of weeks we will look at the concept of time - how it is measured, what are key events in our own personal histories as well as in a more global sense of the word. We will also begin looking at the work of Jared Diamond through the National Geographic film Guns, Germs, and Steel. As a coming attraction...on Thursday, February 5th, we will be taking the current social studies classes to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to experience the Traveling the Silk Road Exhibit.