Yesterday marked the first of three winter sports days at eldora Resort. We were blessed with beautiful weather and wonderful learning opportunities.
Our recent writing focus at ⅚ has been around expository (or informational) writing. We have reviewed the elements of strong and interesting writing - using a variety of topic sentence strategies; introducing new ideas by using transitional sentences/expressions; making sure we have enough details to support each idea so our thoughts are communicated as thoroughly as possible; and concluding in a way that challenges both writer and reader to next steps or “calls to action”. Some students have been mastering the “stand alone” single paragraph and others have been working on building those paragraphs into longer essays. The content or topic of this writing practice has been around a deeper reflection on student Well-Being Progressions.
Our reading work for the next number of weeks will be around literary analysis through an exploration of the Hero’s Journey story through two different texts. In Rachel’s, Lauren’s and Lynn’s classes, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan will be used and in Peter’s class Gareth Hinds’ graphic novel version of The Odyssey will be used. The Hero's Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development.
Students have been learning how to express and use ratios to compare values and solve problems. They are using the skills and strategies that they learned earlier this year, applying knowledge of common factors, primes and multiples. This week we have been concentrating on modeling ratios to solve complex problems. Using visuals helps students decipher the steps necessary to solve problems.
Following break, our class reviewed multiplication strategies. It is clear that some students do not have fluency with multiplication facts. Practicing with flashcards daily would greatly improve their ability to solve multi-digit multiplication problems. We have practiced flashcards in the classroom and additional practice at home would really help. So far, we have utilized the array model and partial product as strategies for solving multi-digit multiplication problems. In addition, we began exploring the shifting patterns when multiplying by 10, 100, and 1,000 and 0.1, 0.01, and 0.001. Our math journey will continue with multiplication of decimals and eventually move towards division of multidigit numbers and decimals.
Lynn and Diane’s Classes:
Since returning from Winter Break, students have been studying addition and subtraction of fractions (Module 3 in the EngageNY curriculum). We use number lines to visualize fractions and fraction operations. We also use rectangular models to aid in finding equivalent fractions with like units to facilitate the arithmetic. This provides students with a concrete understanding of equivalence. Students demonstrated their understanding on the mid-module assessment by completing an extended contextual problem that challenged them to apply much of their modeling and reasoning skills. Students are working on an extension project involving adjusting a recipe and supporting their thinking in a more formal creative presentation (including pamphlets, reports, powerpoint presentations, songs, poems, etc.).
Recently, both groups have completed units of study. One group investigated visual and conceptual representations (as well as understanding the algorithms) of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with fractions while the other group explored ratios, unit rate, rate tables, constant of proportionality, solving proportions,markups, discounts, commission, and measurement, conversion. For the next few weeks, both groups will study two and/or three dimensional measurement.
Due to rotations, our time in science has been limited since winter break. Students are very excited for our unit on Chemistry. We began with building background knowledge on states of matter and ways matter changes states. Our unit will progress to looking at mixtures, solutions, and compounds in order to segue into studying molecules, atoms, parts of atoms and the periodic table. Students are experiencing the material in a variety of ways. Hyperdocs, experiments, ooey-gooey labs, readings, at-home assignments, in class group work, and self-paced learning.
Due to rotations, our time in social studies has also been limited since winter break. Our exploration of the factors that lead to the rise and fall of civilizations continue as we work our way into our case study of Ancient China. We have studied the relationship between China’s unique and varied geography and the longevity of this civilization through our own map work and critical reading. We are watching the Time Life film Ancient China: Dynasties of Power and are applying our GRAPES model of analysis to this case study. In the weeks ahead, we will explore more deeply the role of social structure and philosophy in Ancient China and influences on present day China.
Español 1A with Lynn:
In January, students finished their first formal oral assessment - a weather forecast entirely en español. Students infused their research and knowledge of a Spanish speaking locale with grammar/vocabulary lessons including weather, clothing, numbers, days of the week and things to do as they worked on fluency of delivery and presentation of their forecasts. We are now moving into basic present tense verb conjugations. Coming soon students will be reading and processing Casi se Muere by Blaine Ray - our first novela completely en español - to put new skills to work.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL):
Students have been reflecting on their Well-Being Progressions through our writing focus work. They have been challenging themselves to identify examples to support their present self-reflection as well as looking at ways they can move forward with goal setting for future growth this spring.
Students are beginning a “Selfie Photo Collage” project. As part of this project, students will learn about creative commons license, how to find copyright free images, and how to edit photos using online photo editors, like pixabay.com or photoflexer.com. Students are also discussing cyberbullying scenarios and learning how to be upstanders rather than bystanders.
Recent art classes have been scheduled to allow for a 2-hour “block” of concentrated studio time on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Each homeroom will have 8 hours of study during this time with Kara focusing on the the use of clay and symbols in ancient civilizations. Presently Lynn’s and Rachel’s classes have been working with Kara and beginning February 14th, Lauren’s and Peter’s homerooms will complete the course of study. Students are studying a number of techniques including clay figurine work in the style of ancient Babylonian votive statues and copper tooling techniques replicating some of the work found on bas relief carvings from Ancient Mesopotamia. As we move into March, students will be using knowledge gained from this study to illustrate, in clay, a hero’s journey story they will write in LA class.
:Dressed in our best, our learning journey today took us from a simulation about "Rediscovering America" to the Boulder Philharmonic. The author of the simulation began our time together with this introduction: "Today we’re going to experience a little of what American history has been like for the Native peoples – the original inhabitants of this land. There is a lot of suffering and injustice in this story...During this exercise, we’re going to imagine what it was like for the people who lived here before Europeans arrived. Back then, some of the Native people called this land “Turtle Island.” These blankets on the floor represent Turtle Island before the Europeans arrived, and you are going to represent the Indigenous people – the people who lived here before the Europeans came. You can stand up now and walk onto these blankets. Move around until you find a place that feels like home to you. (When they have settled). This is your homeland. It is the homeland of your ancestors and of your children and your children’s children.
Within a few hours, we were off to Mackey Auditorium to experience the Boulder Philharmonic. In an engaging presentation led by Michael Butterman, the maestro, and one of the CU science wizards, the orchestra explored the science of sound (pitch, volume, how sound is produced) and highlighted various sections of the orchestra thourgh demonstrations and pieces by Bizet, Bach, Prokofiev, and other composers.
Short videos of the demonstrations and pieces are posted here:
Bach (analyzing pitch with the whole orchestra)
Brahms (demonstrating sound produced by the strings)
Prokofiev (illustrating volume, watch the decibel meter)
Verdi (showcasing brass)
Marquez (demonstrating percussion)
Garden House French Horn
On Friday, the students began the first of two sessions of their art, music, movement, and technology rotations. When we designed the 5/6 program three years ago, we wanted to create opportunities that go beyond exposure and provide students with specific skills in the arts, movement, and music. Based on the choices they made earlier in the year, students will experience many of the following offerings: Marimba, African drumming, choir, keyboarding (piano), coding, hip-hop dance, ancient civillization pottery, and fitness bootcamp.
There will be two performances when students will showcase their talents and skills:
February 14 and March 14 @ 6:30pm.
Thanks to your generous donations, we are able to have highly qualified and dynamic instructors teach their passions. Their impressive profiles are below:
Ellen Moeller has been a choir teacher at Horizons for many years and this is her third year teaching the 5/6 choir rotation. She is a professional singer and voice teacher as well as a mother of three Horizons graduates. Ellen has performed with the University of Colorado Opera, L’Opera Piccola, Chicago, and Depaul Opera Theater. When she is not singing or teaching, you can find her running on the beautiful Boulder trails!
Warren Hammond is teaching circus arts. He was a virologist and genetic engineer for a few years after college, but then decided to drop everything to run away with the circus. Warren has been on the Late Show with David Letterman, toured with the Off-Broadway show, Lazer Vaudeville, and currently tours with his two-man show, SMIRK! Warren has received numerous awards, including the International Jugglers’ Association Excellence in Education award (shared with his wife, Bekah Smith). His former students have gone on to have successful performing careers spanning the streets, fairs and festivals and even Cirque Du Soleil.
Scott Mast is teaching African drumming. He has been teaching and performing rhythms of Africa and the diaspora for 20 years. Scott currently lives in Boulder CO. Although most of his own learning has taken place in the USA, he has also studied and traveled in Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Ghana. For more information about Scott's drum classes and performances, visit his website at spmast.com.
Cory Potash is teaching marimbas with Diane Michel, Calen’s mom. Cory Potash has taught marimba and Zimbabwean music for 12 years in public schools and privately. She is passionate about the music and sharing it, as well as, using it as a vehicle to create community and inclusivity. Cory loves the aural tradition which affords the magic of working with beginners and creating beautiful music almost instantly.
Diane Michel is again co-teaching marimba class with Cory Potash -- they have team-taught marimba at Horizons since 2010. Before Horizons she taught marimba in year-long programs in private school and has been playing marimba since 2002. It takes a village to create a marimba song! She loves the way kids rely on each other and even begin to look at each other differently as they make cooperative music. Diane is mother to two boys, including Calen in sixth grade at Horizons.
Alice Shuffield is teaching the keyboards class. She studied the piano and flute performance at Davidson College in Davidson, NC. She continued her studies at The Tanglewood Institute and The Aspen Music Festival, and later taught music at The Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Alice then pursued a career in the law, but she always kept her music close. In addition to teaching private lessons, she played with a chamber music ensemble in Washington, DC, recorded 3 CDs with her folk-singer sister, and has played at numerous weddings, festivals and events. Alice is also mom to Clara, June, John, and Will.
Nonie Rand will teach the Fitness Bootcamp class with Rachel. She is the founder of Mind Body Spirit Vacations, mbsvacations.com, a company that hosts wellness retreats all over the world. For over 23 years, she has been a fitness pro who teaches yoga, pilates, dance, TRX, land and water aerobics. She began volunteering in BVSD schools 4 years ago, leading all school movement for various campuses, pure joy! Nonie’s daughter, Haven, is a sixth grader and her son, Noah, is in seventh grade.
Erin Tunbridge will teach the hip hop dance class. She was born and grew up in Australia and has taught dance for early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools, private dance studios, and universities. In 2015, Erin joined the Boulder Ballet as Education Outreach Manager, delivering educational programs to middle schools in Colorado. Recently, she has been commissioned to set a choreographic work for Joy of Motion Dance Center (Washington DC), Glade Dance Collective, and Ailey Citigroup Theatre in New York City.
Kara Priest will be teaching ancient civilization pottery. Lauren, Lynn, Diane, and Peter will be teaching coding.