Learning without Walls
Independent learning projects are well under way. Students have created posters announcing their projects to the community which will be on display in the hallways. Students have mapped their project timelines and should begin work if they have not already. We will be checking in with students weekly to help them monitor their progress. Four week projects will be shared in the classroom the week of April 18th and again during our schoolwide museum on Friday, May 13th at 8:45AM. Longer projects will be shared in the classroom the week of May 9th and again during our schoolwide museum on May 13th at 8:45AM in the cafeteria. If your child has not yet shared with you their “LWW” google file with all documents regarding this project, please inquire about it. Please join us to celebrate self-directed learning and engaging the head, heart and hands!
Students have been working to connect reading and writing in a variety of ways. In some classrooms, students have crafted literary essays in response to short stories they’ve read in small groups. In other classrooms, students began reading Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, a novel about a sixth-grade boy on a hero’s journey. In triads, students will read with a focus on the archetypal journey and close reading of the many mythical allusions. As they begin the novel, they will also read a complex informational text that explains the archetypal storyline of the hero’s journey which has been repeated in literature throughout the centuries. Students will then explain, with text-based evidence, how Percy is an archetypal hero. Next, your child will shift their focus to narrative writing skills. This series of writing lessons will scaffold students to apply their knowledge about the hero’s journey and the elements of mythology to create their own hero’s journey stories.
All students have creatively responded to self-selected novels including designing book jackets, writing book reviews, creating comic strips and more. They have shared their independent reading actions with peers. All students have used writing to reflect upon their growth as readers and writers for spring conferences. Across content areas, students have been reading non-fiction, writing summaries and reflections and creating presentations for science and social studies.
Our Academic Lab classes have shifted from a math focus to many students receiving language arts support in either reading or writing. Areas of study include comprehension in literature and informational text, word study, book groups, and writing skills.
Rachel’s math class focused on graphing for the past month. Our graphing focus was around line plots and secondarily, bar graphs. Students created an experiment (such as “How long can a 5th grader stand on his/her hands?” or “How far will different types of balls roll down an incline?”), carried out the experiment, recorded the data, and then plotted the data on a graph. Graphing continued with an exploration of mean, median, mode, and range as students learned to analyze the data on a graph. Following Spring Break, our focus changed to decimal work. We will continue to work with decimals for the next few weeks moving towards multiplying and dividing decimals.
Students in Lynn’s/Bede’s and Julie’s classes have been working on deepening their understanding of division and multiplication of fractions. Students continue to develop their conceptual understanding using pictorial models such as tape diagrams and arrays to support thinking and check for accuracy and reasonability. Now, when we use the traditional algorithm, students understand even better the “why” that supports it. Feel free to reference the Engageny 5th grade math curriculum for even more details. Please note that we do not use every single lesson in each module.
Lauren’s math students have been continuing to develop skills in using fractions, decimals, ratios and percents to measure and to compare quantities. Students have compared quantities using double tape diagrams and benchmark fractions. We have reviewed operations with fractions and converting improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice-versa. Students have practiced finding 10% of a value using decimal shifts, and have worked to understand the meaning of division and multiplication of whole numbers and fractions using models and equations. Students have completed 3 formal assessments for this unit of study. Our next unit of study delves further into fraction operations.
Peter’s math class began the week with an assessment on the decimal operations unit (decimal Operations and Estimation, addition and subtraction of decimals, multiplying and dividing decimals, and using percents). Over the next few weeks, our focus will be the analysis of data distributions, including shape, measures of center (mean, median, mode) and variability (range, interquartile range, mean absolute deviation).
Students enjoyed two weeks of dance choreography in conjunction with our study of the Earth’s spheres. They then performed their dance for their peers and family members who could join us. Following this arts-based experience, our study of climate and climate change began. Students explored climate vs. weather and created posters of the different climate zones of Earth. Our study will target carbon’s role in climate change and the greenhouse effect.
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 are 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 world-view. Small groups read and summarized a reading on the Scientific Revolution then viewed films on Galileo and Newton to gain some background knowledge. 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.
Spanish 1A with Lynn:
Students have finished reading and discussing our second novela Casi se Muere this past week. Students now will be working in pairs to dramatically depict each chapter in skit form. This will help with reading comprehension and synthesis, oral language fluency and bring additional creativity and challenge to our learning environment. This assignment will also provide an authentic way for students to demonstrate their understanding of verb conjugations of regular -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs along with some irregular verbs we have been learning and using in the context of the novela.