We have been so impressed with the quality of Learning Without Walls sharings being presented through homerooms! Remember that on Tuesday May 18th from 8:45-9:45AM all student projects will be presented in a “museum walk” open to parents, families, and students from other classrooms at Horizons.
This I Believe
In our English Language Arts study, we are finishing the year with a very special writing opportunity. All 5th/6th grade students are writing a “This I Believe” essay which details their personal philosophy of life as of this moment in their lives. Based on Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe radio broadcasts, we have been listening and reading numerous mentor texts to gather inspiration. We have brainstormed what values are important to us and how and when we learned those values. Students will be workshopping drafts this week in class and will have finished pieces ready to share the last week of school.
In addition to the “This I Believe” essays, students have also written a poem inspired by Looking back through my telescope by Eben Court. If your child has not yet shared their poem with you, please ask them about it - these are particularly wonderful expressions of treasured memories.
Our students also will be composing an artist statement in homerooms to accompany their hand sculpture being made with Kara in art class. The symbols being so carefully painted onto delicate hands all hold some significance for students. This final artist statement for the year will document the meaning, feeling, and stories behind those symbols.
Lauren’s math class has been exploring fractions and operations using fractions. Students have expressed fractions, improper fractions and mixed numbers using three models: number lines and area and set models. Students have learned to compare fractions in 3 ways: using equivalent fractions, comparing fractions to benchmark numbers (0,½, 1) and modeling using numbers lines. We have practiced addition and subtraction of fractions with like and unlike denominators and solve word problems using the read, draw, write approach. Next week, students will travel to Safeway for a math exploration, and complete a year end assessment.
In Lynn’s math class we have completed the assessment for Module 5.4 on multiplication and division of fractions. We are now moving onto a two-week study of volume and area measurement using the skills we learned in the previous module. We also have completed the 5th grade transition assessment from which we can see each student’s mastery of mathematical skills and areas to work on next year.
Students in Peter’s math class just finished taking BVSD’s sixth grade transition test to identify areas of mastery and practice. Please let Peter know if you would like a copy. Students are studying some basic ideas of algebra and learning some ways to use those ideas through the Connected Mathematics Program. This includes learning how to Identify variables in situations; recognizing situations in which changes in variables are related in useful patterns; describing patterns of change shown in words, tables, and graphs; constructing tables and graphs to display relationships between variables; observing how a change in the relationship between two variables affects the table, graph, and equation; using algebraic symbols to write equations relating variables; and using tables, graphs, and equations to solve problems.
Students in Jim’s math class also finished taking BVSD’s sixth grade transition test to identify areas of mastery and practice. Please let Jim know if you would like a copy. We are just finishing up a probability and statistics study. The students each created a numerical or statistical question then surveyed several classes. We are creating dot plots, box-and-whisker plots, bar graphs, pie charts, and histograms to display our results.
Students in Alison’s math class also finished taking BVSD’s sixth grade transition test to identify areas of mastery and practice. Please let Alison know if you would like a copy. Alison’s class has been continuing their work
Students in Peter’s class have been studying chemistry with Lauren. We’ve learned about atomic structure, the organization of the periodic table and covalent and ionic bonding. Students used candy to build models of common compounds, and identified mystery compounds using chemical and physical property tests. We learned about phase changes and played with dry ice bubbles! Students are currently finishing a lab on acids and bases, testing various liquids using universal indicators. We even found time for some silly acid and base pop culture connections. Next week, we’ll finish up with a polymers lab, and head into the world of summer science discoveries.
After a few months studying the ancient civilizations of located in Mesopotamia, China and India, small groups in Lauren and Jim’s homeroom are developing a “Perfect Civilization.” Using the acronym GRAPES to organize thinking and planning, groups are creating artifacts to reveal parts of their civilization’s geography, religion, achievements, politics, economics, and social structures. Based on this evidence, students in another homeroom will determine whether the civilization rises and thrives or collapses and falls.
Our class is beginning a short study about economics. Our intentions are to make it an exciting, engaging, hands-on unit where we will turn our classroom into a “mini society” with a basic market-based economy making products and selling them during two market days. Your student will learn about economic systems (free market, command, and mixed economies) as well as the concepts of resources and needs, price, supply, demand, opportunity cost, profit, and loss.
For the mini society, students may choose to manufacture a product or provide a service. Each business will get the opportunity to succeed or fail. Sometimes the greatest education will come through failure. After the first market day between two homerooms, each student analyzed their sales, compared their actual profit with their estimated profit, and reflected on how they might improve their product or service for the final market day. We would like to end this mini society unit exploring altruism and philanthropy.
In both Lynn’s and Pat’s Spanish 1A classes, students have been hard at work demonstrating their year-end learning. Please visit Pat’s Spanish Website to check out more about what students are doing in his 1A class.
In Lynn’s class, students have been working on presenting two oral assessments using spontaneous speech. One scenario involves them navigating a shopping experience in Spanish and the other involves a restaurant interaction. As we head into our last two weeks of Spanish together we are also reading our second novela Los Agentes Secretos by Mira Canion. This novel is set in Spain in 1937 and centers around a mystery found within Picasso’s painting Guernica.
Leticia continues to work with our academic lab students one day a week!
Fifth graders have been working with Jim and Lynn reflecting on how to make healthy transitions over the threshold of elementary school to middle school. Students are spending time playing games, sharing and listening in dyads and whole group council settings to build community and trust They are thoughtfully considering what qualities make for positive friendship experiences, exploring public and private selves and emotions, building trust in self and others, honoring personal history and looking ahead into next steps (and how to do so with integrity), thinking about how to manage the times when feeling stretched and how to walk into 6th grade as engaged student leaders. Among other things, this first week students were to conduct an interview with parents. They shared about childhood beliefs and how things have changed since they “were little”. Next week we will look deeper within ourselves - what we know about ourselves, the influences and questions we might have and what we might visualize for ourselves as we look ahead. Our work with 5th graders will culminate in a transition ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th at 4:45PM. This special time for 5th graders and their parents will include an honoring and acknowledging of young people as they cross this threshold.
Sixth graders have been working with Peter and Lauren to reflect as 6th grade leaders and prepare for their transition into their capstone years at Horizons. Students have played games, shared stories and memories in listening dyads, and practiced self-reflection through drawings and questioning activities to help them consider their strengths and next steps. Our recent council on gratitude invited students to share ideas about areas of their lives (family, friends, inherent traits) for which they are grateful. Next week, 6th graders will meet again to continue their reflections, followed by a witness council and collaborative art project with 7th graders, as they forge next year’s community.