Students have been busy with the hard work of revising and editing, workshopping with peers, and editing one another’s work, before publishing. Students worked on completing heart maps, as we introduce more choice into writing. Most classes have begun independent spelling studies looking at patterns and word families based upon assessments. We continue to read daily in class, and share what we are reading through a “status of the class” practice each morning. Next week we will be heading into conference preparation. Children will prepare a reflection and select work to share both electronically, and at conference.
In Jim’s class, we have been continuing our work with Archimedes Principle, discovering what properties of an object makes it float or sink in a fluid using water and using the ideas of balanced and unbalanced forces, weight, and buoyant force. We have also continued working with Newton’s Laws of Motion and how they apply to everyday life. We have begun experimenting with how the height of a ramp affects the speed of a sphere rolling down a ramp. We have drawn scatter plots as a tool to help us analyze and make sense of our data. We have continued our work reading non-fiction and note-taking using Cornell notes. Have your child explain them to you! At the end of this week, we worked with Lauren’s class to make hot air balloons out of tissue paper. We have our launch date set for Tuesday morning and are hoping for no wind or precipitation!
Lauren’s class has been wrapping up our study of buoyancy (in water at least) with a good old “Bill Nye the Science Guy” video and have moved into our study of Newton’s Laws of Motion. We had wheelie good fun demonstrating the three laws using rolling carts in the gym. Each team took pictures to use in a poster demonstrating the three laws. This Friday, students worked in teams with students from Jim’s class to build tissue paper hot air balloons which we will launch on Tuesday morning and investigate the displacement of cold air by hot air. Students also watched a video and read non-fiction text closely in teams to understand and record information in their interactive science notebooks. Next week, students will review what they have learned so far, study for an upcoming quiz in small groups, and take an assessment.
Over the last two weeks in Social Studies, we have been applying our G.R.A.P.E.S. (Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economics, Social Structure) structure to the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia. By the way, do you know this song yet? If not (and you have a student in Lynn or Peter’s Social Studies classes) ask him or her to teach you. Our study of Mesopotamia has included mapping work, reading comprehension on the various aspects of Mesopotamian culture, the processing of a Time Life film entitled, The Search for Eden which examines the early develop of the field of archeology and the lessons learned about Mesopotamian cultures. Next Tuesday, we will have our first Social Studies assessment. Students today and Monday are organizing their notebooks and answering some study questions in preparation for the in-class assessment on Tuesday. Next week, we will reflect for conferences and then move into our case study of Ancient China.
In Lynn’s Spanish 1A class, we have continued our work on how to describe ourselves and people around us. This week’s work focused around students re-writing the hit Spanish single, Soy Guapo, using their new vocabulary and sentence structures in new and unique ways. We’ll be performing these on Monday. In the coming weeks, we will move into a study about talking about time, numbers, the calendar as we launch our first cultural holiday study of Días de los Muertos. We also have started the process of self-evaluating in preparation for conferences. This past week, I met with each student to review their Spanish notebooks and to conference with them about their assignment completion. Ask your Spanish 1A student about this and remember to check out our Spanish 1A website for more information and links.
In Pat’s Spanish 1A class, the learning continues to be vibrant, meaningful and fun as well. Please check out Pat’s Spanish 1A page for updates and more information.
According to Linda Lantieri in Building Emotional Intelligence, “Children’s lives are much more stressful today as well [as adults’]. When adults live in a hurried, frantic pace, their children are at the receiving end. Our society itself, in the United States, has changed in many ways that increase pressure on children and compromise their childhood...There is a constant push for children to achieve at academic skills earlier, and so school becomes a bigger source of stress in their lives.”
In our homerooms, we wanted to explore this so we created a survey based on a national Kids Poll that all children took around the following questions: How would you define stress? Over the course of the week, do you experience stress? Over the course of the month, do you experience stress? What are your top worries or sources of stress? How do you feel when you experience stress? How do you feel (in your body) when you are stressed? What do you do to manage or deal with stress?
Next week, we’ll analyze the data and see if we can make some generalizations. In upcoming weeks, we will introduce some techniques and skills in cultivating children’s inner strength which will help them deepen their ability to quiet their minds and relax their bodies.
In Jim’s class, we have finished our work with ratios and unit rates (for now at least). We are now working on creating flowcharts to detail the process of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions. The focus is on understanding not only how but why we go through each step in the processes of combining fractions. Fractions can be challenging to work with and form the basis for much of the mathematical work students will pursue through high school and into college.
In Peter’s class, we brought together many concepts and skills we’ve learned over the past month. students worked together in groups to complete the table to satisfy the missing values, create a double number line diagram to support the values, and develop an equation to support the values. Then students associated ratios with ordered pairs and plotted the ordered pairs in the 𝑥–𝑦 coordinate plane. Students then graphed collected data on the coordinate plane. On Thursday, we had an end-of-the unit assessment. Next week, we will explore percentages.
In Lauren’s math class, students have been working on using place value to understand our base 10 system. We are using place value charts to recognize that each sequence of three digits is read as hundreds, tens, and ones followed by the naming of the corresponding base thousand unit (thousand, million, billion). Students use place value as a basis for comparison of whole numbers, and then to learn or practice rounding numbers to the nearest hundred, thousand, ten thousand and hundred thousand using vertical number lines. The practice of finding the midpoint on a vertical number line extends their number sense.
In Lynn’s class, we have finished our first mid-module assessment on decimals thus far. All students worked on revision work, identifying misunderstandings (or miscalculations) and making necessary adjustments. This week we are moving into operations (addition and subtraction) of decimal numbers. We will also be preparing reflections to be shared at conferences.
In Peter’s academic lab, we practiced learning multiplication facts to automaticity, adding fractions with like and unlike denominators, and setting up Khan Academy accounts and practicing sixth grade concepts and skills.
In Jim’s academic lab, many of us continue work from math class by deepening understanding of concepts, practicing using and understanding methods to work with operations focused on decimals and place value. Others have been working on mathematical puzzles using 4 9’s, tangrams, and mystery grids. Many of us have been reinforcing our thinking and computational skills using Khan Academy.
During Lauren's academic lab, students are practicing keyboarding, multiplication tables and working to understand and apply our lessons. Some students are working in groups on Do the Math curriculum to build fluency with addition and subtraction facts.
Fifth and sixth graders have finished publishing mini-memoirs and have had the chance to read each other’s work. Students have been busy writing book reviews based upon The New York Times book reviews we read in class. We considered different ways to write engaging leads, used graphic organizers to help craft summaries, and learned different ways to draft powerful conclusions infused with opinion. Students have also written artist statements to reflect upon their Andy Warhol portraits. As we continue to fill writer’s toolboxes with new ways of using author’s craft, we are also exploring some poetry, and choice in writing. We are helping students move toward more meaningful writing with a ‘heart-mapping’ art project, opening the door to writing long memoir pieces and writing about beliefs and values. We continue to build a community of readers through daily independent reading time. of self-selected books. Students should be reading at least 25 minutes per day at home. Classes will soon be wrapping up our read aloud of Seedfolks, and heading into some reading response work.
In Lynn’s math class we have continued learning about place value, decimals and fractions on both the concrete and abstract levels. We explored the use of exponents to name place value units and explain patterns in the placement of decimal points. We also have been working with decimal fractions and place value patterns.
In Peter’s math class, we have slowed the pace to make sure we understand equivalent ratios and fractions. With this added practice, students analyzed ratio tables to identify both additive and multiplicative patterns to solve problems. Also, students have employed different strategies (including finding the value of the ratio) to solve problems that include two or more ratio tables. Next week, we’ll use double number lines, the value of the ratio to formulate an equation, and coordinate graphs to represent and solve problems.
In Peter’s academic lab class, we have split our time between typing practice and division (whole numbers and decimals) skills. Students have also explored pi through a hands-on activity and put to use their conceptual understanding of ratios and the division skills they have learned during their math class.
In Jim’s math class, we have been completing our work with ratios, analyzing them using tables, tape diagrams, double number lines, writing linear equations, and graphing linear relationships. Next week, we will be spending a little time with unit rate and a review of converting fractions, decimals and percents. From there, we will be building models to represent multiplying and dividing fractions.
In Jim’s academic lab, we have been working on deepening understanding of the concepts we cover in class and adding to our problem solving tool boxes while solving word problems and number puzzles.
Lauren’s math class has been working on building number, and addition and subtraction with regrouping.
In both Spanish 1A classes this week, we completed our first exams. The students did a fabulous job demonstrating their learning thus far on both the oral and written sections of the exam. You may have heard students talking about making revisions on their exam work. We believe in helping kids really understand what they might have missed on Spanish exams so we will ask for revision work to be completed. Sometimes students will choose to revise even if they have not been asked simply to deepen their own understanding. Our hope is that in the revision process, students will gain clarity and a deeper understanding of the material.
In Lynn’s class we are moving onto to our next unit of study including the grammatical concepts of adjectives - definite, indefinite, possessive and descriptive. We’re also learning the verb ser (one of the ways to say “to be” in Spanish) and gustar (to like). By the end of next week, students will complete a piece of writing about themselves in Spanish that incorporates all of these components. Of course, along the way we will have some new songs to help us not only become more clear on grammatical concepts, but also to help gain fluency. We continue to work with each other en español and share current events from the Spanish speaking world. If you haven’t checked out Lynn's Spanish 1A class webpage yet, please do. It’s a helpful resource to support your students
Pat’s Spanish class is just finishing up their first unit on introductions, starting basic conversations and sharing information about ourselves. We've also been studying the calendar as well as working on pronunciation practice and spelling in Spanish. The kids just finished up their first written assessment as well as their first oral assessment. Each student sat with me for a minute and a half to two minutes and we had a little conversation completely in Spanish. Our conversations were recorded and we're hoping to use them in our reflections of progress throughout the year. If you haven't already, please be sure to check out my 1a webpage for updates, homework, and useful links to support the students. ¡Gracias!
This past week in Social Studies we completed watching and processing the film Guns, Germs, and Steel based on the work of Jared Diamond. Diamond looks at the idea of why certain early civilizations were more successful than others and how the idea of “geographic luck” plays into the success of a civilization. We also worked on a definition of “civilization” by exploring what characteristics are present for a group of people to become a civilization. You may have heard your children talking (or singing) about G.R.A.P.E.S. this week. This acronym - Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economics, and Social Structures - provides us a lense through which to examine civilizations - both old and contemporary. We have begun analyzing the Fertile Crescent civilization of Mesopotamia by applying the lense of G.R.A.P.E.S to deepen our understanding.
As an extension of the work we did last week with Material World, this week children have also been investigating life for children throughout the world as they prepare for a Socratic Seminar on Where Children Sleep (Atlantic). Many insightful conversations have been happening both in and outside of school around this photo exhibit.
In Lauren’s science class, we supported scientific thinking and investigation by learning to read non-fiction textbooks and take notes. Students practiced pre-reading using sub-titles and titles, and used text features including diagrams and pictures to understand what they read.
We also blew up gummy bears! Students measured gummy bears including length, width, height, mass, volume and density and then measured again after soaking the candies in water overnight. As well as having good squishy fun, they learned to use a triple balance beam for measuring and measured centimeters accurately to 1/10. Students read lab instructions closely to determine materials needed for our investigation into Cartesian divers. Next they built the divers, assembled and observed and inferred to figure out exactly how they work. Oh, yes, and we emptied the soda bottles using mentos, but that’s another story. Next week, more notetaking, a debrief and assessment and we head into the air!
In Jim’s science class, we have been spending time working with forces and measuring. We have been using triple-beam balances and graduated cylinders to measure mass and volume, then calculating density. We have been experimenting with balanced and unbalanced forces, and buoyancy (including floating bowling balls and steel spheres). We have recently been exploring Newton’s Laws of Motion by pushing each other on carts in the gym and rolling spheres down ramps to collide with blocks of wood. Please ask your son or daughter to share what they have been learning!
Social Emotional Learning:
In many of our homerooms we are Identifying feelings in situations when needs are met and not. From there, we’ll delve into what our individual as well as communal class needs are. Once we identify our classes needs, the students will brainstorm behaviors and actions that support these needs.
Lynn and Lauren’s homeroom shared their mini-memoirs with one another and all homerooms got together to play Capture the Flag.
In upcoming weeks, we plan to introduce the work of Linda Lantieri and Daniel Goldman found in Building Emotional Intelligence to help our children cultivate inner resilience. More details to follow.