Our ⅚ students have begun the new year with new rotations and physical activity!
Winter sports information packets went home with students this week. We will be spending three days at Eldora learning and/or improving our snow sport skills. Thank you for returning all paperwork by Monday, January 11th.
Students will be engaged in four art, music, and movement “Rotations” between now and Spring Break during Arts and Sciences time and the first two hours of Friday mornings. All students will have the opportunity to work with Kara in an art study that complements their study of the Renaissance in social studies. All students will also be learning to play (or increasing their skills in) marimbas! Students will participate in either a keyboard or a choir class. They will also participate in a circus arts or a tech lab class. By the end of the year, all students will have had a skill-based experience in art, music, and movement. We were able to hire experts to teach each of these classes using the money generously donated by Council along with grant funds. Thanks!
Looking Back: Lauren & Rachel’s classes ended the year with an integrated language arts and science project. Students learned about the many facets involved in making a powerful oral presentation to communicate their self-selected research topics. Students engaged in online research, learning to find information; learned about design and presentation principals through mentor Ted Talk and Pecha Kucha presentations, and finally crafted their own presentations preparing scripts and visuals. They presented their research in the Hub for peers and community members. We are so proud of their powerful and informative presentations and the confidence with which they presented!
Lynn’s and Peter’s classes ended the year with royalty. As part of an integrated language arts and social studies project, small groups of students became explorers from the 1400-1600s. For two weeks they researched specific explorers and the events of their voyages to prepare an Explorer’s Notebook or portfolio of documents that would be used to persuade royalty to fund a future voyage. Presentations to our resident “royalty” King John/Queen Jaclyn and King Denise/Queen Hope happened right before the break. We are happy to announce that all of our explorers had future journeys funded!
Looking Forward: January (and the two-faced Roman god, Janus) invites us to reflect upon the year that has passed, and look forward to the upcoming year. Students have been considering last year and planning for next with a mind-mapping activity, and some structured invitations to reflect. Students will be setting goals for the next quarter in each subject area as they finish their mind maps.
Rachel’s math class continued work this week with multi-digit division. This was a review of strategies learned in December with the increased challenge of a double digit divisor. Students showed a strong retention of the division strategies taught, so we will be moving on. Next week we will dive into the exploration of fractions, starting with fractions with like denominators.
Lynn’s and Julie’s math classes spent this week re-acclimating after such a wonderful break. We revisited the Great Marshmallow Challenge (2.0) to apply new thinking from the fall. Our kids pointed out that this revisit helped them get back into the “groove of working collaboratively once again. We revised our 5.2 Mid-Module Assessment from before break and will forge ahead into the remainder of Module 5.2 which focuses on multi-digit whole number and decimal division.
In Peter’s math class one group is developing an understanding of the four basic arithmetic operations with fractions, including mixed numbers. They are also describing strategies for using these operations when solving problems involving fractions. Specifically, students are using benchmarks and other strategies to make reasonable estimates for results of operations with fractions, including mixed numbers; developing ways to model sums, differences, products, and quotients, including the use of areas, fraction strips, and number lines; looking for rules to generalize patterns in fraction operations; Using your knowledge of fractions, equivalence of fractions, and properties of numbers to develop algorithms for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions; recognizing when addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division is the appropriate operation to solve a problem; writing fact families to show the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction, and between multiplication and division; and finding values for variables by using operations on fractions, including mixed numbers.
The other group is developing and using different models (number line, chip model) for representing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of integers; developing algorithms for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing positive and negative numbers; and writing and use related fact families for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division to solve simple equations involving integers. Next week this group will explore using parentheses and the Order of Operations in computations involving integers; using the commutative properties of addition and multiplication; and applying the Distributive Property to simplify expressions and solve problems.
Lauren’s class finished the year with a review of our Prime Time study and students took a unit test. Students worked to clarify misunderstandings and made test corrections before retaking the test. We have now begun Comparing Bits and Pieces, a unit focused upon developing skills in using fractions, decimals, ratios and percents to measure and to compare quantities. Some of the goals of the unit are to: Use ratio language and notation to compare quantities; Distinguish between fractions as numbers and ratios as comparisons; Use a variety of scaling and partitioning strategies to reason proportionally; and others.
Looking Back: The year ended with a bang as Rachel and Lauren’s science classes presented their findings on various topics in a TED talk forum. We heard all about the effects of climate change on coral reefs, polar bears, and ways we can help. Other topics included forest fires, bottled water vs. tap water, cleaning up oil spills, and alternative forms of energy. This culmination of learning, coupled with their creativity, research skills, and oral presentations was impressive and inspiring.
Looking Forward: As the new year begins, so do the rotations for social studies and science. Rachel and Lauren’s homerooms are now studying social studies with Lynn and Peter. Lynn and Peter’s homerooms kicked off their science studies with a fun activity titled “Saving Sam”. We then launched into Earth Systems Science in which we will study how the four major spheres of the earth are interconnected. We’ve set up interactive science notebooks to record ideas, information and to house labs and activities from the classroom. Some of our learning has happened online through a self-paced, teacher-designed website, inviting kids to explore interactive websites, view videos and complete tasks linked to each media component.
Our Social Studies class this year is affectionately called “Explorations and Revolutions”. So far we have looked at what it means to be an explorer or the our local environment, the world, history, science and technology. We have also been reviewing and enhancing our map reading skills, bringing to the forefront of geographic knowledge of physical features, latitude and longitude. We have been making connections between our studies of ancient civilization last year and moving forward into previewing our focus areas of study this year using a variety of timeline activities. At the end of next week, we’ll be moving into our study of Africa during the 1400s - including Ghana and Great Zimbabwe.
In Xandra's Exposure Spanish Class we've explored various nouns by making "me gusta y no me gusta" charts. Students used Spanish/English dictionaries to find words that they liked and disliked. Each student then chose two words to play a game with and add to our classroom word wall. The following week we explored the phrase "de donde eres" (Where are you from) and shared about our families by creating mini books.
In Lynn’s Spanish class we completed reading and discussing our first novella completely before the winter break. We now have jumped back into our vocabulary and grammar study. Over the next few weeks we will cover helpful words and phrases regarding the human body, clothing and weather. Ask your students to sing some new songs for you - we have some wonderful ones that will stay with you longer than you might want.
Janus Project - The start of a new calendar year midway through the school year provides the perfect opportunity for reflection and goal setting. Students were presented with a project to create a mind map showing their feelings towards 2015 and looking ahead in 2016. This art project will set them up for revisiting their goals set in the fall.
Goal Setting - Students will be revisiting goals in the upcoming weeks in order to adjust and alter them based on growth thus far this year.