Students will practice cooperation, and work toward individual and group successes. our outdoor education trip to 100 elk in Buena Vista is just one week away. We are all looking forward to spending a week together and allowing the students to work and live together cooperatively, step outside their comfort zone, gain a greater understanding of the environment, and an increased sense of responsibility and independence.
On Tuesday, September 9th, please have your child pack a big and healthy lunch, sizable snack and a water bottle. When you arrive at school, have your child place their luggage or backpack under the school bus or in one of the parent cars that are driving to 100 elk before going to his/her homeroom. The 100 Elk packing list can be found at:
100 Elk Packing List
This week we have launched our reading and writer's workshop, punctuated by playing games outside to build community! Students are working to establish habits that will help them grow as readers this year including setting up reader's notebooks to record and reflect upon their reading habits and experiences with books; beginning each day with silent, independent reading; and building a community of readers by sharing book titles and plot tidbits. Next week we plan to begin our read aloud of Paul Fleischman's Seedfolks and write book reviews for summer reads. Students have also set up and personalized writer's notebooks and have had some choice in writing including poetry, reflections, and/or stories. Our memoir study has begun with a photojournalistic view of ourselves, using the photos that students brought to school. This week, writers shared the details of photos with a partner and recorded the five Ws (who, what, where, when and why) before crafting captions written from the third person perspective. Our project progresses to encompass revision techniques, and captions written in the first person, as we move toward publishing.
This past week we began our math work together in homerooms with measuring using non-conventional units. Students worked in groups and selected sticks, markers, shoes, and various other objects to measure the length and width of a table in a room. We then reviewed and calculated the perimeter and area of the table. Each group then worked on figuring out how many tables would fit in the room. For extension, some groups calculated the number of tables that would fit in all of the classrooms or in the volume of the gym! We also focused our time on describing our work and writing with enough detail to communicate our thinking to others. Beginning next week, we will be moving to math in non-homerooms groups from 10:30-11:30, Monday through Thursday. These groupings will allow us to focus on a group of students who are within a narrower range of skills and deliver curriculum tailored even more to where they are as mathematicians. The curriculum we will be using this year is a standards-based, common core-aligned curriculum from the state of New York called Engage New York. You can find the curriculum in detail at:
Fifth Grade EngageNY curriculum
Sixth Grade EngageNY curriculum
We began our Academic Lab classes this week. Students focused primarily on math skills which supported their work in a Measurement Project we were working on in homerooms. In Lauren's class, students began working on length and area models for decimals, and naming tenths. You can support this work by helping students to read decimal fraction names aloud (4.6 is read four and six tenths, not "four point six") to reinforce tenths as fractions(4 and 6/10) and equivalent decimal fractions (4.6). while Jim and Peter's class focused on problem solving strategies and math vocabulary.
You might have seen some math homework to support the learning being accomplished in class. As we head into next week, our 5-6 students begin their math classes which may/may not be with their homeroom teacher. We will focus our work in Academic Lab to support the learning being done in specific math classes.
Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilizations
This week students were asked to explore the essential questions of our year-long study of ancient civilizations by experiencing what it might have been like to struggle in an ancient land for survival. They created their own shelters, languages, plans for obtaining resources, governing systems, and dealt with challenges such as natural disasters, illnesses, and depletions of resources and how these factors affect their civilizations. Next week we will study time - how it is measured and organized - and complete a personal timeline project. Look for students in social studies history classes to be asking you some questions next week about important events in their lives. These stories will be incorporated into their personal timelines mid week.
This week we have begun work in science by diving into a study of flow rate! Last Friday, Lauren’s and Jim’s homerooms walked to South Boulder Creek and measured the width and depth of the stream at several points. We measured two 30 meter long stretches of stream and measured the time it took a tennis ball to travel that distance in the water. Back in class, we spent many days talking about and doing work around finding the mean of five depths, calculating cross-sectional area, talking about what flow rate means and learning to organize our work in a way that we can present it to others in a meaningful way. Next week we will begin work on buoyancy by observing objects that float and sink then making conjectures about the properties that cause this to happen. We will talk about, write about, and measure or calculate the mass, weight, volume, and density of various objects and have lots of fun – all at the same time!
For those students not in Academic Lab, we began our Spanish 1A Acquisition classes this week. In these classes, we spent the week getting to know each other as language learners, thinking about the many reasons why learning another language can be beneficial, choosing our Spanish class identities, learning and reviewing the basics of greeting each other in Spanish, learning some (silly) songs to help us, and reviewing expectations for our class this year. As we head into next week, our focus will continue to look at the sounds that make up the Spanish language and terms/phrases that are helpful to the classroom and managing those basic conversations when learning together.
Social Emotional Learning
Students began the week creating name tags then rendering them in watercolor. Each depicted four symbols: a favorite place, an inspirational or important person in their life, a time when ythey had three wonderful days in a row, and a passion that they enjoy. With these in hand, they shared them with another student in the class thereby getting to know them better. This was followed by a council.
Councils are based on age-old practices of deep and honest communication and building community. The 5/6 team holds it as a sacred time when we gather in a circle and close to the ground to ponder a question or issue. The beginning of a school year provides an opportunity to explore change and change within ourselves. We posed two questions: What habits or behaviors that no longer serve you would you like to fall off or shed? What new habits or behaviors would you like to establish and have as intentions this school year?
As the talking piece (to designate the speaker) was passed around, we asked that all involved (including the adults) to:
• listen from the heart-practicing the "art of receptivity:" suspending judgement, reaction, and opinion
• speak from the heart and with heart
• speak spontaneously without planning and only when holding a “talking piece”
• “keep it lean” or get to the "heart of the matter" so everyone has time with the talking piece
Each child served as a witness to what was shared and we hope this experience will help students move and support one another toward their intentions. Later in the week, students paired up and wrote appreciations and wishes on colorful tags. On Friday, these tags were tied to sunflowers and each student read them aloud to one another during the flower welcoming ceremony.
During art, students explored Pop Art and the work of Andy Warhol. Specifically, they used photographs of themselves to create self-portraits. During the next art studio, the students will duplicate the original portrait and transform these drawings by experimenting with line and color.
Each day this week, homerooms paired up to get to know one another and to play an outdoor game.
Computer class begins next week with an introduction to the lab, computer use expectations, and a typing test.
Flower Welcoming Ceremony