Thursday, April 11, 2013

Newsletter April 11, 2013

MathWhat a math unit this is; lots of pre-algebra happening and the students are definitely putting on their thinking caps before putting answers down.  I will continue to stress the need for secure math facts as 6th grade approaches; it is simply a lifelong skill that needs to be emphasized.  With only two more units to go, the test for unit 10 will be April 22nd.
Science We did our assessment by figuring out the resources we needed to figure put the questions.  Students will then self-correct their assessment and then take it home.  We have been excited about the Grand Canyon Challenge this week, more information can be found on our website.  This means that we have been working with Sketch Up; a fantastic free engineering and design program where students can sketch up their inventions in 3D. 
Social Studies – We are wrapping up the Revolutionary War and will be time lining 7 major events next week.   Then we get to the formation of the new government as well as starting a simulation on passing laws.  I love the enthusiasm for social studies in this class with many students expressing their excitement to study government.   We have also been busy doing genius hour, an hour long student-led exploration. Students are focused on researching and creating something while managing their time. 
Reading We finished and presented our author studies with mixed results.  Some students knocked our socks off while some left us wanting more.  As always reflecting on one’s success and shortcoming is a powerful tool to move our learning forward.
Writing We are poets.  The students and I have been studying poetry and writing some of our own.  We are currently focused on slam poetry and how using one’s word to get a point across is a very powerful writing tool.  Great blogging challenge this week as students ponder what the purpose of standardized testing is.  I love how they make me think about unintended outcomes and we discuss how to best get through the tests.  We will have 2 special guests next week as we wrap up poetry.
Special Notes
* We are at such a fun stage of the year where we get to have lengthier discussions as well as long-term explorations of topics.  The students have the stamina and the tools needed to research with some guidance from me and I love seeing how invested they get.  Also, the feedback given to me at various stages in invaluable.
*  Lots of 5th grade events coming up; Engineering Expo, visit to Glacier Creek and the track meet.  Egg Drop will happen in May, as will Innovation Day.
* Innovation Day is coming!  On May 8th, students will get a whole day to do whatever project they choose.  Some students are researching and building models, others are thinking of making movies, whatever they would like to learn more about.  Planning sheets will be sent home tomorrow and are due to me April 30th.  This day promises to be another fantastic learning opportunity for these amazing 5th graders.
*  Marilyn Bowers, the guidance counselor from Glacier Creek pays us a visit on Tuesday.  I look forward to hearing more about the middle school experience.
*  Tangle of the Titles 2013 was introduced last week to much student excitement.  More details about this great reading event can be found on our website.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Counselor visit April 16th 1:15 PM, Engineering Expo April 18th all day, Early Release CRT Tuesday, April 23rd , Glacier Creek visit April 30th 8:30 to 10:15 AM, 5th grade track meet Thursday, May 2nd, MAP testing Map 6th and 7th 1 PM, Innovation Day Wednesday, May 8th all day, Sub all day May 15th, Tangle of the Titles May 20th1 PM, Lock Out June 5th all day, 5th Grade Graduation June 7th 1:30 PM in lunch room.


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