Friday, January 11, 2013

Newsletter January 11, 2013

MathWe are getting through unit 6 with flying colors and the test has been moved to Friday January 18th.  I like how the first part is heavily focused on working with data and then the second half is all about adding and subtracting fractions.  To make fractions more tangible please point them out outside of school such as in cooking or shopping. 
Science We flew our planes and tangled a few lines.  We also evaluated each other science response, becoming reflective scientists, and now prepare for flipsticks.  We started today with a brief free time exploration of them and then decided which variables we could change to effect the distance of the launched item.  Our supertube challenge was a blast with students focused on their build for 45 minutes.  The videos will soon be uploaded to our website.
Social Studies – The focus has been main idea and details; learning the tricks for figuring out how to tell someone else the main idea.  Today’s culminating activity was for the students to jigsaw a page or two, figure out the main idea and details and then present them in note form to the class.  I was excited to hear the conversations taking place and the thoughtful approaches to discerning details from larger points.
Reading We are getting close to the end of Harry Potter and will then pick up “Wonder.”  We have been heavily focused on setting weekly reading goals, conferring with me on plans of how to meet them, and focusing in on our independent reading.  I have started assessments in class as well.  Biblionasium has been a huge hit and I love seeing the students recommend books to each other, and to me.
Writing Our fiction writing unit has been a lot of fun so far and I am intrigued by the imagination of many of the students.  We have focused on developing characters and setting up our story ideas.  Next comes developing struggles and wants.   
Special Notes
* What a wonderful week of learning.  I am thrilled every day with the way these students work together and how eager they are to explore.
* Congratulations to Graham, Michael, and Noah E. for representing the class in the geo bee next week.
* Our reading challenge is well under way and half of our bulletin board is filled with book covers.  How many books we have read!  We are hoping to reach our goal by January 30th, if we do a very special surprise awaits.
*  Thank you for party donations for the sledding party.  While it is bit wet, the kids and I are all excited to get this community building time.
* We have participated in 2 Mystery Skype’s this week, we did one with new Hampshire Wednesday and one with Wisconsin today.  The questioning ability of the students has greatly improved with a laser-like focus on figuring out the state – way to go!
* Book orders are due this afternoon.  I have 15 books ordered for our library; I cannot wait to get them into the hands of students.  Some current favorites are “The False Prince,”  “Out of My Mind,” and “A Tale Dark and Grimm.”
*  Snow shoeing is next week; if there is snow left, students must bring snow boots to participate.  I will let you know when I know.
* We got our tech tools that I was awarded in a grant; 3 Bloggie video cameras, 2 Canon Powershots, and a Livescribe pen.  Students are becoming experts and then teaching each other about the tools.
* The first map test; reading, will be this coming Thursday at 1 PM.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: MAPS testing January 17th and 24th, No school Monday, January 21st and Monday, January 28th, WM PTO meeting Thursday, January 24th 7 PM, Valentine’s Day Party 1:30 PM February 14th, Early Release February 12th.


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