What a wonderful thing to learn about our students as readers and writers! As writers we have been all been working on writing vignettes of special moments or events in our lives based off photos students brought in at the beginning of the school year. We call these “Inside/Outside” Mini Memoirs in which students have been helping each other write colorful captions to accompany their vignettes. We have also been working on reflections of moments of particular growth, challenge and/or celebration from outdoor ed. Watch for those in the hallways shortly.
We are anticipating beginning our first class novel, Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman in the next two weeks. Students are enthusiastically engaging in choosing their own books to read and discuss via reading conferences with teachers and para-educators.
We kicked off the year with a place value project. Through interpreting data and working with numbers up to the millions, students showed their understanding of working with large numbers. The project asks students to add, subtract, compare, and round numbers in the millions as well as create a table and analyze the data in the millions. Following this project, we continued with a review of rounding, adding and subtracting. This review will allow students to move into 5th grade content with a solid foundation to build upon. After returning from Outdoor Ed, we began our 5th grade curriculum exploring fractions and building an understanding of what equivalent fractions are and how to make them. We will continue working with fractions and decimals up until conferences.
Diane’s and Lynn’s Classes
We have 29 students between our two classes and we are using the same curriculum, EngageNY (or Eureka Math) in both classes. You can find the link to our first module (unit) of study here. We spent the first week of our math study all together as a large group collaborating and getting to know each other as mathematicians. We have settled into two smaller groups now that formal lessons have begun, and expect to come together as a group periodically throughout the year for special projects. There may also be a need to move students from one class to another. We are in daily contact with each other about students and curricular planning so this can happen with ease, should there be a need. We are now working with place value, decimal and fraction equivalents, multiplying and dividing by powers of ten and a bit of rounding. You may notice that your child is drawing place value tables, tape diagrams, and vertical number lines to help them explain/support their thinking. A consistent theme of this math class is to explain mathematical processes pictorially and not to just use the short-cuts without the understanding. We will have our first mid-module assessment next week and will use a study guide to help our students prepare for the first one together. 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.
We began the year practicing composing and decomposing numbers to build a magic number game. Hopefully, students have practiced this with you at home. We have also been learning and applying divisibility rules for their study of factors and multiples. Our work includes learning and using math vocabulary as we categorize prime, composite and square numbers, and recognize patterns in factors. Please review your child’s notebook and planner with them to support organization and understanding. A copy of the letter I sent last week explaining the structure of our class can be found here. The students had a quiz today for our first 6th grade work, and we begin our second unit of inquiry on Monday, building upon their knowledge to understand common factors and common multiples.
The class is divided into two groups--One group is investigating factors and multiples, composite and prime numbers by investigating the following questions: How can you find all the factors (or divisors) of a number? What information about a number can you find by looking at its factors? If you know one factor of a number, how can you find another factor of the number? How do you know when you have found all of the factors of a number? How can you find the prime factorization of a number? How can the prime factorization of a number be used to find the LCM and GCF of two or more numbers? The other group is delving into the shapes and designs and exploring the following questions: What properties do all polygons share? What properties do some sub-groups of polygons share? What properties do all polygons share? What properties do some sub-groups of polygons share? What are some common benchmark angles? In upcoming weeks we will cover the following: When a drawing shows two rays with a common endpoint, how many rotation angles are there? How would you estimate the measure of each angle? How do you measure an angle with an angle ruler and a protractor? In a triangle, what measures of sides and angles give just enough information to draw a figure that is uniquely determined? For more information and assignment/activity calendar, please visit Peter’s math class website.
Social and Emotional Learning
Before we leave for 100 Elk, each homeroom held a council around a theme -- defining and expanding our comfort zone. The practice of council comes from a number of indigenous cultures and takes place when a group or community gathers in a circle to converse about a specific topic. There are four intentions of council: “The first intention is to “speak from the heart” when you have the talking piece. This means to speak not only with your head and your ideas, but with your feelings as well. The second intention is to “listen from the heart” when another person has the talking piece. This means to listen without judgment, to listen with an open mind, even if you disagree with what the person is saying. The third intention is to “speak spontaneously.” This means that we try to wait before the talking piece comes to us before we decide what we want to say. The last intention is to “speak leanly.” Use only those words necessary to get your point or story across. We will hold weekly or bi-weekly council meetings in homeroom. In upcoming weeks, we will explore stress through taking an analyzing student stress survey.
Science this year started with lots of hands on explorations. Students were asked to explore the properties of water with two experiments looking at adhesion and cohesion. Following that, we had the opportunity to investigate cast models of skulls showing the evolutionary traits of apes and hominids. Students examined the skulls and using calipers, measured and compared the size of ancient skulls with the modern human skull, and examined maps, artist drawings, and artifact photographs to help understand lifestyles and the fossil record. Hands-on laboratories helped students experiment with stereoscopic vision, opposable thumbs and the cooperation needed to successfully open and eat peanuts and tootsie rolls! We enjoyed the conversation and questions that grew from this study. Our next area of inquiry in science will involve things that float and fly, and buoyancy.
Social Studies - Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilizations
We started off the year turning the clocks back about two millions years. Our students tried their skills to survive through the challenges early humans had to face (gathering food and water and building shelter) through a simulation. Over the course of the week, we increasingly adjusted the simulations to follow the main ages of prehistory from the Paleolithic to Mesolithic to Neolithic and finally to the dawn of civilizations. Some of the conditions/tasks included creating “pottery,” more complex communication, processes to make decisions, ability to farm, creation of rituals and religions, etc. After setting this stage, we returned to our investigation of artifacts as a way to tell the story of history and investigated an article of the week (AOW) from the BBC titled A History of the World in 100 Objects. This week, we are exploring the language of time (including terminology) by developing an understanding of both historical and personal timelines.
Spanish 1A with Lynn
In Spanish 1A, we continued our review of Conversación Básico (basic conversation), classroom terms, and the alfabeto español. Next week we begin our study of the Spanish speaking world. Students will continue weekly quizzes. These quizzes will help us determine our level of mastery before we move onto our next topics. If your students in Spanish 1A are not singing songs at home yet, please ask them to teach you something. They have quite a dynamic and varied repertoire at this point. 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.
Kara began a unit on Pop Art with a focus on Andy Warhol. All students are rendering a Warholl inspired self-portrait learning about the use of line, light and shadow, and color theory. Some also worked on Andy Warhol inspired cans like his famous Campbell’s Tomato Soup piece.
All 5-6th grade classes have been working with Carol in the computer lab on a variety of topics since the school year began. Students have re-acquainted themselves with Google email and drive so files can be used efficiently and effectively. We have taken a typing skills assessment to determine how our finger placement development, speed, and typing accuracy is coming along. We are also focusing on what makes a digital footprint, the impact of our digital presence, and conducting ourselves with integrity when online.