Language Arts: (completed memoirs, begin Seedfolks)
Students put the finishing touches on their memoir study and we have begun an intensive readers workshop during our language arts block using the book Seedfolks as a shared novel. This novel celebrates community and connections and is told from a multitude of perspectives. Students are analyzing characters using inference and evidence from the text, as well as examining author’s language.
Rachel’s 5th Grade Math Class:
Over the past month, our math class spent time and energy setting up math talks. Math Talks provides students an opportunity for deeper understanding through communication. Individually or in groups, students articulate and defend their ideas and analyze the reasoning of others. It has been a pleasure to watch them grow as mathematical communicators and analyzers.
In addition to math talks, we practiced Mad Minutes, a one minute multiplication test of fast facts. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, higher level math becomes more accessible. We are continuing our exploration of fractions by comparing fractions and more recently conversions from mixed numbers to improper fractions and vice versa. We will begin adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators in the upcoming weeks. This is a challenging segment of the unit on fractions.
Lynn and Diane’s 5th grade math classes:
In the last week and half, we have completed our first module study of place value and decimal fractions and students have completed their first round of formal assessments and “fix ups” (revisions). We are now onto module 5.2 which focuses on multi-digit whole number and decimal fraction operations. We have been using the standard multiplication algorithm (the method that many of us were taught when we were younger people) to multiply decimal numbers by multi-digit whole numbers. Students are also applying their understanding of place value, which was covered in previous lessons, to help estimate and reason about the placement of the decimal in the answer (product). We love word problems because it helps us apply what we’re learning to “real world” situations. Have your student show you how we use Google Classroom and Infinite Campus (IC) - two online tools to help them stay on top of their work.
Lauren’s 6th grade math:
Students have been exploring the ways that prime factorization can be used to solve problems in math. Kids have also been engaged in a series of explorations about how to think about mathematical learning in new ways, including looking at patterns and exploring number sense. Hopefully you’ve been hearing a lot about brain research, and the ways our math experiences influence our attitudes about learning. We’ll continue exploring these math projects in the weeks to come before heading back into multiplication and the distributive property.
Peter’s 6th and 7th grade math:
Most students have been investigating comparing fractions and ratios and asking the following questions: How does a “for every” statement show a ratio comparison? When you fold fraction strips, what relationships do you see emerge that show how the numerator and denominator change to make equivalent fractions? How can fraction strips help you find part of a number? What does it mean for two fractions to be equivalent? What does it mean for two ratios to be equivalent? The other group has been exploring operations with positive and negative integers the following questions: How can you predict whether the result of addition of two numbers will be positive, negative, or zero? How is a chip model or number line useful in determining an algorithm for subtraction? How are the algorithms for addition and subtraction of integers related?
Students explored the habits of thinking as a scientist, using puzzles and experiments to understand how we inquire and investigate. Kids played games and worked with partners at science stations to practice observing carefully and thoroughly and to infer using evidence. We practiced the scientific method using mystery boxes and now are learning about things that fly and float. For conferences, students revisited six essential questions and created visual notes to convey their understanding. Our current investigation helps students understand how to build a controlled experiment, collect data, and use data to make accurate predictions - all while measuring the number of penny passengers supported by ‘paper cup’ boats! Kids have learned to make scatterplot graphs and use a trend line, measure accurately using graduated cylinders, and use Google Hyperdocs to guide and record their learning.
In Social Studies we are watching and processing the film “Guns, Germs, and Steel: Episode 1 Out of Eden” 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 are also working 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. over the last few weeks. This acronym - Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economics, and Social Structures - provides us a lense through which to examine civilizations - both old and contemporary. In the weeks to come, we will begin analyzing the Fertile Crescent civilization of Mesopotamia by applying the lense of G.R.A.P.E.S to deepen our understanding. Have your student show you how we use Google Classroom and Infinite Campus (IC) - two online tools to help them stay on top of their work.
As an extension of the work we did over the past weeks with Peter Menzel’s Material World: A global family portrait, children have also been investigating life for children throughout the world as they prepared for and participated in a Socratic Seminar on Where Children Sleep (Atlantic). Many insightful conversations have been happening both in and outside of school around this photo exhibit. Make sure to check out the bulletin boards outside the hub.
Election Learning Opportunities:
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking time to study the election process and results. Our focus will be on the Constitutional provisions of a Presidential election along with the responsibility as citizens we have participating respectfully in such a system. Our 5th/6th graders will be hosting a mock election where each ⅚ homeroom will take on being the precinct hosts, helping students K-8 register and cast their private ballots for President. Focus will be placed on being respectful of all viewpoints and analyzing the characteristics that make up a positive leader.
Español 1A with Lynn:
As a concluding assessment of our work on adjectives, students wrote songs about themselves using the “Soy Guapo” song by Sr. Wooley as their mentor text. If you have not yet heard your child perform (and explain) their song, please ask them to do so - they are muy impresivo. This past week students have added the verb hay and había (there is/there are) to their repetoire. We are presently fully engaged in a cultural study on Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) this week and next. We have studied practices of this holiday in Oaxaca, Mexico where Lynn taught and lived. We are watching the animated film “Book of Life” and will be processing in both Spanish and English as we deepen our understanding of this very special holiday. Have your student show you how we use Google Classroom and Infinite Campus (IC) - two online tools to help them stay on top of their work.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL):
Across homerooms we have been exploring a number of aspects of social emotional learning to help our 5/6th graders gain further knowledge of themselves as learners. In some homerooms we have completed an activity in which students map out their time usage both in and outside of school, making reflections and gaining insights. In some homerooms we have been helping students investigate their own well-being by using the Well-being Progression and an internal google survey about stress factors in their lives. Our hope is that by helping young people understand the causes of stress in their lives as rising adolescents, we can help them also amass strategies with which to positively manage the stresses that are a natural part of our lives.
Students are exploring different presentation tools, including Prezi, Google Slides, Easel.ly, and Screencastify chrome extension. After a brief introduction to the basic uses of each of these tools, students will become an expert in one and create a presentation about the presentation tool. Students will then view exemplary presentations in a jigsaw format and learn the pros, cons, and specific uses of each tool.
We have also switched over to Typing Pal for typing practice. The Horizons K-8 specific link is on the ⅚ tab of the computer class webpage. Students can log in with their bvsd accounts.
We completed our “Andy Warhol Self Portrait Study” on line and color theory and will be writing an artist’s statement in the weeks to come. We have found the process of reflection after completion of an art study like this can help us assess that the art teaching objectives have been internalized. Kara is now leading us through a collage study, using contrasting color and patterns as students create a unique piece with a tree as the central focal point.