As you saw at fall conferences, students completed a vignette on as aspect of their outdoor ed experience that provided them a growth “step outside the comfort zone” moment. Writing craft focus lessons included slowing down time, adding sensory details, and beginning more topic sentences in a variety of ways including occasion position statements using AAAWWUUBBIS words and playing with numbers.
Traveling notebooks have been mailed and are on their way to their first recipients! This creative integrated project had students working with not only their written and oral expression, but also with geography, science, and history (both personal and of hometowns) through a collection of informational pieces.
Up next in January...Argumentative writing!
Our literacy work has also included learning about the BHH or Book, Head, Heart approach to reading and understanding text. This idea from the work of Bob Probst and Kylene Beers is helping us to dig deeper into the meaning behind the words we read while providing an opportunity to meaningfully connect with purpose. If you’re curious to learn more, take a look at the book Disrupting thinking: Why how we read matters.
Students have also been learning about reading comprehension strategies called Notice and Note. These strategies have us asking certain kinds of questions as we read to help identify parts of the story narrative and also why an author might choose to write in certain ways at certain points in the story. The conversations and in-class work around both of these strategies through our read aloud and independent reading have been inspiring to see.
Our read aloud, Fish in a Tree, has been the source of many deep conversations about being kind and compassionate to others. The book has reminded us about how we all learn differently. Some classes are also using Get Epic! This online library allows students to choose from a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. Nearly all students have finished taking their mid year iReady reading assessment. Please watch for communication from your child’s homeroom teacher for more details on results. We are taking this data to guide special literacy instruction through academic lab
Social Emotional Learning:
Students have been continuing their work towards becoming self-directed learners through the process of developing SMART goals for reading, writing, math and social emotional learning/executive functioning/community contributor. Thank you for your insights and advice around crafting goals that can be most meaningful as students head into the new year.
We have been fortunate to work with our younger buddies. Recently 5th/6th graders worked with their ½ buddy class to help them write their animal reports using the Step up format.
Annie’s 5th Grade Math
We spent October exploring relationships in our place value system, including looking at decimals to the thousandths place. We worked on representing decimals using base ten blocks, expanded notation, and in word form. We worked on comparing decimals, as well as adding and subtracting decimals. We have recently been focused on multiplying whole digit numbers using flexible strategies. Some of these strategies include using pictures, arrays, area models, and box method/partial product. Students started to guide their own number talks in which they solve problems in their heads (mental math) and then share different strategies for solving these familiar problems. During these number talks we have begun exploring multiplying decimals through looking at place value relationships.
Diane and Lynn’s 5th Grade Math
Over the last few months, students have been solidifying their understanding of place value and decimals operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division through pictorial representations and standard algorithms. More recently, 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 will be demonstrating their understanding on the mid-module assessment before winter break.
Rachel’s 6th Grade Math
Our class continues work with the 6th grade Connected Mathematics Project curriculum. We completed the “Prime Time” unit which focused on LCM and GCF, order of operations, as well as prime numbers. Students final project around their favorite number was a way to synthesize the learning into one culminating project. We have moved on to the “Bits and Pieces” unit learning about ratios and rates. Students continue to practice fractional skills utilizing Woot Math.
Peter’s 6th Grade Math
Over the past two months, we have completed the CMP unit Bits and Pieces which included investigations into skills in using fractions, decimals, ratios and percents to measure and to compare quantities; using ratio language and notation to compare quantities; distinguishing between fractions as numbers and ratios as comparisons; using a variety of scaling and partitioning strategies to reason proportionally; thinking of fractions and decimals as both locations and distances on the number line; moving flexibly among fraction, decimal, and percent representations; finding absolute values and opposites, and use them to describe real world quantities; using fraction, decimal, and percent benchmarks to estimate numbers; using context, models, drawings, or estimation to reason about situations; using equivalence of fractions and ratios to solve problems; and using rate tables and unit rates to solve problems.
We have supplemented our study of fractions with Khan Academy to practice operations with fractions and percentage problems. In January, we will explore areas and perimeters of figures. Attention will be given especially to quadrilaterals and triangles as well as surface area and volume of rectangular prisms.
You say you want a revolution?! After our introductory units on geography and time/chronology and our study of Africa and the Arab world, we have been exploring one of our main themes and essential questions of our social studies learning this year--What is a revolution? What is revolutionary thinking? What factors might lead to a revolution in thinking, technology, belief systems, economics, artistic expression, written expression, and worldview. Small groups read and summarized a reading on the Scientific Revolution then viewed films on Galileo and Newton to gain some background knowledge. Over the last two weeks, students worked collaboratively to create a performance project delving deeper into the work of Galileo, Newton and theories of the universe. Please see the photos on the gallery to be impressed. Last week and this week, students will be demonstrating their Scientific Revolution performance assessment to their classmates. Students chose to create a science kit to demonstrate Newton’s Law of Motion; a student-written drama about Galileo; and models of the various views of universe. From the Scientific Revolution we embark on our study of the age of exploration - analyzing the justification for it, the findings, and the effects of it.
Students chose a topic to complete a Science Inquiry Project. Within our science classes, students worked on research skills including finding reputable sources, citing sources, plagiarism, notetaking, and creating a presentation. Students also participated in “Dancing the Spheres” led by a member of Boulder Ballet, Erin Tunbridge. The dances are posted on Seesaw, so if you haven’t already, please check those out! To kick off our water unit, wee went on a Water Quest Field Trip at the History Colorado Museum. Students explored different time periods and how water use has evolved over time. Utilizing a Water Cycle hyperdoc, students created Water Cycle Sketchnotes which led into our first full-fledged lab. Students were tasked with engineering their own water filter which we then tested with some grimy water. To culminate our focus on how water moves around the earth, students created a “Choose Your Own Adventure” piece of writing. This story is a narrative that follows the journey of a drop of water around Earth. These should be posted on Seesaw as well.
In Spanish 1A, students have been working on acquiring vocabulary that can be most helpful to use in basic conversations - vocabulary and phrases related to greetings/goodbyes; things one likes or dislikes; talking about the Spanish speaking world; describing what characteristics people and things possess using the verb ser. Over the last two weeks, students have been working with a song story (una historia) called “Soy Yo” that incorporates all the grammar concepts we have been working on so for. In January we will beginning reading and discussing our first novela completely en español.
Through Spanish language games, songs, student-scripted conversations, art projects, total physical response (TPR) - language learning embedded in commands that have students up and moving - and some focused language-structure study, students are gaining more and more comfort and facility with subject-specific verbs, nouns, related vocabulary and short phrases. The students are capturing some of their language learning in projects that include book writing and personal introductions. Most recently, their cultural studies have focused on developing an understanding of dia de los muertos, an important Mexican/Mexican-American holiday, including some of the language and practices associated with it.
Ask your child to show you their SeeSaw reflections on the Collage Self Portraits and their Eyes Have It projects. These projects were completed before fall conferences. For the last month, students have been working on clay mobiles. These lovely works of art went home with students before the break.
In PE class, students continue to work collaboratively while building their strength and endurance. More recently they have been focusing on learning the skills necessary to play basketball.