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.