Thank you to all who attended and contributed to the Bear Walk- it was a huge success. Envelopes are coming in with the hard-earned money students raised for their Crews by walking around our track. Both Crews have collected over $200.00 already! Students had a great time coming up with a wish list for their classroom and the items they requested will be purchased as soon as grand totals are released. Thank you again for your efforts.
Students are wrapping up the first case study, The Adventurers this week. Building a tri-fold brochure as their project final, students are following a project proposal complete with learning targets that measure their learning. In the brochure, students are expected to meet the learning target "I can describe various routes prospectors took when migrating to California," by researching the three routes and writing an informational piece based on their research. Included in the brochure is a map of California that indicates mining sites, area of the "Mother Lode," Sacramento, San Francisco, and Coloma. Students also are researching the reasoning and motives behind why Prospectors took the routes they did (their second learning target) by choosing an opinion piece from a menu. To cover learning our state facts, students are also creating a page on California State facts and the American River.
At the completion of the brochure, students will then kick off the next case study: 'The Outliers," in which we will analyze key figures from the Gold Rush time period who capitalized on the prospectors themselves.
Students are continuing their work with the Daily 3 by Working on Writing, Spelling and Word Word, and Reading to Themselves. Conferencing happens in a regular basis in both classrooms, and our Reading Specialists and ELD Specialists, as well as our RSP Support come in regularly. Students also participate in a Writer's Workshop in which they use anchor texts and Author's Chair, as well as the Peer Review model to hone in their writing skills. Spelling words are assigned every other week, and the assessment happens every other Friday.
5th Graders are exploring the connections between math and art this week by analyzing paintings, woven pieces, music, and poetry exemplars. We are also learning how apply appropriate strategies in solving multiplication problems- whether to use the standard algorithm or the array model. Students continue to do a daily Mad Math Minute, Daily Sponge, Daily Cornell Notes to support their lesson, and homework. Generally, on Fridays we take a mini-assessment to track their learning.
The 4th graders have been practicing how to find the products of 2-by-2 digit multiplications problems using base ten blocks. They have also explored base four counting and patterning to help with base ten understanding. We have created our own Great Wall of Base Ten as a cooperative group. We will be exploring how to use base ten skeleton arrays to explore two digit multiplication. We will continue our exploration with math and sports with an upcoming sports day. Daily, we practice our multiplication facts with mad minutes and students have really made gains with their completion times!
Our design principle the month is Service and Compassion. It is vital to our character program to ensure that our students understand that doing good for others with no return builds strong character. Doing something for the betterment of the community is a positive for all. Please try to ensure your child practices these actions at home and in the greater Truckee community.
The start of the year has been extremely positive! Our crew is establishing strong ethics in the SIERRA Norms and Habits of Work through investigation of the Design Principle of the Month: Responsibility for Learning. This language is unpacked every day and students and teacher refer back to it on a consistent basis to keep fresh on the mind. For example, students are reading Steal Like an Artist- a favorite text by Austin Kleon. In this gem of a book, Kleon describes, in a nutshell, that if you can harness your creative and individual spirit by letting go of the constraints of being "original" you can unleash something brilliant and freeing within your education and art. Please remind yourself and your student what it means to be in-charge of your learning and how only YOU can be in the driver's seat of what you can achieve.
Students have been building the background they need to create a dynamic and individual learning program for themselves through organizing their materials and learning the daily ritual behind our schedule. This takes time, and the students and teachers are quickly figuring out the most effective and realistic program to accomplish the most throughout the day. As you will quickly find, 4th and 5th grade has MUCH to do this year with little time- we are ALWAYS on the go, not a minute is spent wasted. Our time together is precious and rich with learning.
Both 4th and 5th grade students are reviewing the structure of rectangular arrays as they relate to both multiplication and division (5th only). Students are working with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) every day and are learning to not only DESCRIBE in detail how they arrive at an answer, but they are also grappling with working from the inside out- they learn the how and why behind mathematical concepts, then the standard algorithm. This provides a very, very strong foundation for more complex stages of mathematics- algebra, geometry, etc. Students have taken a Unit 1 Pre Assessment (5th grade) and are exploring mathematical concepts outside of just Bridges. Sponges, 5 minute games or mind teasers to reel the kids in at the beginning of class are daily, as well as Mad Math Minutes and math expedition goodies. The 4th graders are involved in a Sports Math Expedition and 5th graders a MathMusicians expedition.
Students in the Daily 3 program are preparing themselves for lift-off next week. We have assessed all students for a baseline level in their reading and have set up the Daily 3 board, as well as given them their post-its, which they placed on one of the four strategies that they feel they need to work on most. One Reader's Workshop has been taught- Check for Understanding, and next week we launch Back Up and Reread. Monday and Wednesday are our Reader's Workshop days- we use anchor text and students practice the strategy before they work independently. Ask your child which book they chose from the Book Tasting (such a fun event!)- they will be very excited to share with you their choices.
Tuesday and Thursday are our Writer's Workshops. Students have learned how to build the tastiest paragraph possible (ask them how) and have practiced through an On Demand Writing piece (our School- Wide Work Plan for the year). Last week we also introduced the Ideas Writing Trait, and students are compiling a "Fierce Wonderings" list of their own based off the anchor text Amelia's Notebook. Have them explain to you what a "Fierce Wondering" is, and tell them some of yours.
Fridays are our Conventions and Spelling workshops/ studies. We have reviewed the importance of Commas, Periods, and Capitalization, and students are also practicing their spelling words through a menu form. We are refining the Conventions packets and are figuring out the best way possible to serve our kids the proper amount of material.
Expedition boards are up, Guiding Question is posted, and Learning Targets/ Case Studies are in full view. We are kicking off our first cast study: The Adventurers this week, and students will examine the various routes Prospectors took to locate hot spots for gold. Students have participated in a BBK that included viewing Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush silent film with note taker, fieldwork to Bodie with Scavenger Hunt, Reader's Theatre, On Demand Writing piece, Gold Rush Bingo and Expedition Word Wall construction, as well as kicked off a read aloud of The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Next week we begin a simulation of a Clipper Ship game which the students will LOVE. (Students who are in 5th grade and studied the Gold Rush last year are beginning the anchor text Chains which examines the American Revolutionary period- if you have questions, please contact us).
***A very special thank you to all of the efforts of our parents who helped make the fieldwork to Bodie happen- Planners, Drivers, Chaperones, Guides, Chefs, etc. Thank you for making the experience SO memorable!
Things to remember for the next few weeks:
1. Picture day is Monday September 23. Please make sure your child is present as this is the photo for the yearbook. Also make sure your envelopes are filled out with a check and ready to turn in!
2. Make sure to look at the Director's Notes for other important all-school information.
3. Please look at and initial your child's planner EVERY DAY. This will ensure proper organization for the middle school years.
4. Minimum Week is October 14-18. This is student Goal Setting Week- paperwork will go home in the next week or so.
5. Fieldwork is on October 10-11. Itinerary will be sent to you as soon as possible.