Conference Preparation begins…
In the coming week your child will be reflecting on their learning and growth this quarter in preparation for fall conferences. We’re looking forward to spending time celebrating and goal setting with each of you the last week of October. Please be sure to read the document, What to expect at a 5/6 conference, and fill out the Pre Conference Planning Form and deliver it to your homeroom teacher.
Students explored (or will explore) their ideas of leadership in an activity based on choosing top 10 qualities of a good leader. Afterwards, they identified leadership qualities they possess and ones they would like to strengthen in order to take on more leadership roles. Discussions revolved around leading down the “right” or “wrong” path and reflecting on situations they’ve encountered personally.
In reading workshop time, our students are putting finishing touches on their first literary response - the Grab Bag project. In this project students have gathered objects to represent symbolically each part of the narrative story (character, setting, plot, problem/resolution, theme and author style). Presentations will be occurring this week in homerooms. Look for a display of these responses during upcoming conferences!
In writing workshop, students have been working on their Traveling Notebook Projects. This is a multi-disciplinary project involving a study of the five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, regions and movement) and student writing incorporating these five themes as they share about their “hometowns” and how their families came to settle here. Students will be creating notebooks over the next two weeks that they will mail (with our help, of course) out to friends/family members across the globe. Currently we are helping them work on the writing components of the notebook. Once those have been finalized, students will assemble their own notebooks. We have composition books for all of our ⅚ students to fill with their writing, maps, photos and other visuals and mementos.
You could begin the process of helping your child brainstorm who might be worthy and willing recipients of such a notebook. It is nice to check in with possible recipients in advance to see if they’d be willing to participate. You could let them know that each notebook will come with clear instructions and flexibility about how they might choose to fill their pages. You can find a copy of the document for recipients here. Over the course of the school year, these Traveling Notebooks will be filled with similar writing from 2-4 recipients, returning to Horizons in May. In May we will have a grand celebration to explore these now full notebooks and learn about the geography outside of our Horizons community.
Rachel’s math class dove into an exploration of decimals and fractions. Students are converting fractions to decimals and vice versa. At this point, we are working with base 10 only (tenths, hundredths, and thousandths). In addition, students are reviewing multiples and factors to guide us into our study of multi-digit multiplication.
In Julie’s and Lynn’s math classes, we have completed our first mid-module assessment and the revision/repair process. We are now onto addition and subtraction of decimal numbers. Ask your student to show you how to demonstrate visually how to add and subtract decimal numbers and then double check their work using the algorithm. We’ve had numerous conversations in-class about the importance of being able to understand the “why” behind the algorithm. In the week to come we will explore multiplication and division of decimal numerals.
In Peter’s math class, we ended the Prime Time unit using the properties of operations of numbers, including the Distributive Property and the Order of Operations convention, to write equivalent numerical expressions. One day was spent discussing and practicing test taking strategies and reflection on the learnings of the unit. This was followed by the unit test. We plan on starting Comparing Bits and Pieces, your child will develop 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.
Lauren’s math class has been exploring Least Common Multiple, and Greatest Common Factor and learning when to apply each strategy during problem solving. Students have worked in pairs to develop strategies for finding the least common multiple and the greatest common factor. We are using the Connected Mathematics Project which is a problem-centered curriculum promoting an inquiry-based teaching-learning classroom environment. In Academic lab, students have been practicing long division skills to solve a math mystery, revisited concepts surrounding our first investigation about primes, squares, multiples, factors and products, as well as finding time to complete outstanding assignments in language arts, science and social studies.
Lauren’s science class explored the ways in which different landscapes create different wildfire intensities: Low, medium, and high. Students brainstormed and problem solved in small groups to classify data & visuals, pose and answer questions, and understand the components of fire. Students also used online resouces (Blendspace) to learn about Boulder’s watershed. On Friday, we had a two hour lab investigating the impacts of wildfire upon watersheds. Students poured water over a model of four different landscapes (pre and post-fire) and then tested the ‘watershed’ for changes in pH, conductivity (a measure of dissolved solids) and turbidity. Students wrote a conclusion which cited data to provide evidence. Next week, we’ll be working on science reflections for conferences, before delving into our study of climate change.
Students in Rachel’s science class practiced taking Cornell notes while learning about the Boulder watershed and the ways fire effects the watershed based on different landscapes. Discussions centered around low, medium, and high intensity fires and the effects of fire on Earth’s spheres. Students also reviewed information about watersheds using Blendspace, an online resource. All of this was in preparation for the Fire and H20 lab conducted on Friday. The lab provided students with a model of different fire intensities in which they poured water through different landscapes. The water was then tested for pH, turbidity, and electrical conductivity. The following week, students were instructed on how to write a scientific explanation using the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning format. The data collected from the lab was evaluated and applied to a CER explanation.
In social studies, we delved deeper into our study of the ancient civilizations of Africa. After examining Great Zimbabwe, we uncovered the kingdoms and civilizations that flourished on the Swahili Coast and Ghana. Through a series of activities, including a jigsaw reading, Socratic seminar, and role play, we examined the importance of trade in the spread of ideas, religion, family structure, government, and other aspects of these ancient civilizations. In the coming week, we will be exploring the Arab world during the 1400s, paying particular attention to the impact and spread of Islam into Africa as well as the impact of learning in Baghdad had on the European world and our world today. Students will be taking their first assessment in social studies this week. We will be preparing for this “open notebook” assessment in class helping our students organize their many weeks of learning.
In Spanish 1A classes, we continue to work on building our basic vocabulary entering into those, all important, words and phrases to talk about ourselves and learn about others. You’ll hear some new songs this week “Soy Guapo” and “Cómo soy yo” so be prepared to sing along. We have also now completed our first assessment and the revision/repair work along with them.
Spanish with Xandra
Spanish with Xandra continues happening with great enthusiasm and energy! Ask your child more about what they are studying recently with Xandra!
Art & Computer
In Art, students worked with watercolors, learning techniques in a brief 30 minute class last week. This week, they started preparing for a block printing project in which they will create silhouettes of themselves engaged in something they are passionate about (ex: dancing, reading, or biking).
Computer classes were put on hold for the past two weeks because of A&S classes.
Based on the unforgettable experience of having Jane Goodall visit our school and in conjunction with reading My Life with Chimpanzees, an autobiography of Jane Goodall, students will be completing a character analysis. This analysis uses the Periodic Table of Character Traits from letitripple.org and the Science of Character film. They will choose character traits they can identify in Jane Goodall and cite specific examples from the text. Next, they will look inside themselves and determine which traits they share or would like to develop in order to be more like Dr. Goodall. Finally, they will write about ways in which they can answer Dr. Goodall’s call to action, to make the world a better place.
Fifth and sixth graders were immersed in the world of Jane Goodall this week! Not only did students read their first autobiography of the year, we partnered with 3-4 classrooms to adopt a chimp— investigating the life and times of one of the chimpanzees dedicated to the trees in Gombe Grove. Projects included books and informational posters delineating everything from chimp’s biography to diet.
Students are also working hard to independently revise and edit several pieces of writing as we cycle through the publishing process. In various classrooms, students have been learning about using context clues to understand new vocabulary words, writing artist statements for a variety of art experiences, launching spelling practice, writing some poetry, and continuing to read self-selected books. In upcoming weeks, we’ll be launching our traveling notebook project, starting (or continuing) to read Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullay Hunt and working more with reading comprehension strategies.
Rachel’s math class is transitioning from whole number place value into decimals. We will focus on decimals in the tenths, hundredths, and thousandths. In addition, we will be working towards fluency of multiplication facts. Ten minutes a day of practice will help increase their accuracy when multiplying numbers 0-12. Students may also want to visit www.multiplication.com to practice facts using online games.
In Lynn’s and Julie’s math classes we are continuing our work with multiplicative and division patterns on place value charts, place value and rounding decimal fractions, and rounding decimals. We have also worked with using exponents as an efficient way to express larger multiples of 10. Next week, we will be taking our first mid-module assessment before we move onto adding and subtracting decimals.
Peter’s math class is using what we’ve learned in previous investigations about factors and factor pairs; multiples and common multiples to find longer factor strings and explore prime factorization. This leads to one of the fundamental theorems in mathematics--”a whole number can be written as a product of primes in exactly one way, disregarding order.” Exponents are also introduced as an efficient way to write repeated factors in the factorization of numbers. Next week, we’ll explore the distributive property and order of operations.
Lauren’s math class has finished the first investigation for our study of primes, multiples and factors. Students were able to show what they know and identify areas that still need to be mastered via an end of unit assessment. Students are completing revisions and corrections for previously completed (or missing) homework and are learning to keep track of assignments and progress as sixth graders. We are striving to use math language in explanations and conversation and to reinforce concepts and access to problems. Students have been learning what might be revealed about different numbers based upon their factors, and using critical thinking to problem solve and reason. Monday we will begin Unit #2— an investigation into common multiples and common factors.
Earth Systems Science
Students in Rachel and Lauren’s classes spent the week dancing and performing with Erin Turnbridge, a Boulder Ballet Middle School Outreach instructor. Reinforcing ideas and concepts (and learning some new ones) related to our Earth Systems Science study. What’s the connection between dance and science? Kids know! This week they wrote a reflection on the experience which they can share during conferences.
Social Studies-Explorations and Revolutions
Our social studies classes have been focusing on the continent of Africa with learning around both the physical and human geography of this vast space. Students began their exploration through a Blendspace assignment in which they completed a number of independent online learning experiences to gain foundational information. As we move forward into the next two weeks, we will be focusing on the African civilizations of Ghana and Ancient Zimbabwe during the 14000s. A film we will be learning from as a class is Timelife’s Africa: A History Denied. As part of our study of Ancient Ghana, we will analyze the formation of Islam and the role the Arab traders played in bringing revolutionary ideas to the European continent.
We have been studying the Spanish speaking world this week and perhaps you’ve heard your child singing one of a number of “catchy” tunes to help them as they’ve been studying. We have scheduled our first formal assessment (or examen) for Wednesday 10/7 on all vocabulary, and grammatical concepts covered so far - Greetings and Goodbyes; Basic Conversation; the Spanish alphabet; and the Spanish speaking world. I schedule Spanish exams with students a give them a week to prepare helping them break it down a little each day. I have sent Spanish students an email with helpful links and review games to help them prepare. If your child is having trouble preparing, please encourage them to come and talk with me. Our Spanish website is up and running and can be found here. Because we use so many internet links each week, I will send those out to students as an email rather than posting to this site.
Spanish with Xandra
Students continue to work with Xandra on basic Spanish conversational vocabulary needed to be successful in the classroom. Ask your students to sing Puedo ir al Baño!
Art & Computer
Students have completed their eye projects, spending their final week with Kara learning about mixing skin tone paints, and using mirrors to view their irises before painting. This week they created Zentangle art using black sharpies to depict a layers using knowledge of line, shape, and value to create movement and emphasis.
In computer class with Carol, students continue to work on their keyboarding skills a bit each class meeting. Each ⅚ class has completed lessons on digital citizenship and are now working on a review of online research skills - including using keywords and reliable sources.