From the Desk of Ms. Kaim:
The first graders enjoyed three field trips in May/June. They attended a science demonstration about electricity with their buddies at North Shore Center’s Youtheatre. The “Metamorphosing Monarchs” workshop at Notebaert Nature Museum was the perfect way to start a new science unit. Finally, Room 104 joined the other first grade classes for a rousing theatrical performance based on the book Last Stop on Market Street.
The continent of the month in May was Antarctica. The first graders learned about penguins and other animals that make Antarctica their home. They also studied the role of people (explorers and scientists) on the continent. The following books helped us learn about Antarctica: Pinkie Leaves Home, Without You, and Trapped By the Ice. Taste of Antarctica was a huge hit. Eating ice cream may have had something to do with that!
The first graders continued to work on the personal life history timeline component of their autobiography projects in the computer lab. They completed both slide show and banner views of their timelines. During math, the first graders practiced telling time and measured length of objects in nonstandard, standard, and metric units. They were also introduced to the Fibonacci sequence.
The Circesteem residency introduced the students to the German wheel and ended with a day to practice all the awesome circus skills they had been introduced to: balancing on a ball, juggling, plate spinning, and clowning. Another special event was the visit of animal and human guests from Historic Wagner Farm. The first and fifth grade buddies enjoyed spending time on the Bell School playground with a chicken, a sheep, and a cow.
By far the most exciting event was the arrival of the chicks! The first graders were thrilled to hear peeping in the incubator and then fortunate to see several chicks hatch during school hours. Over time, the chicks made the move from the incubator to the brooder to the coop. The first graders observed the growth and changes in the chicks. When it was time for the chicks to leave for the farm, they had grown enough to almost fly or climb out of the coop!
Our final science unit of the year focused on insects. We referred back to our earlier study of ladybugs as we now focused more deeply on butterflies. The first graders watched painted lady butterfly larva eat and grow, become chrysalides, and finally transform into beautiful butterflies.
Other events in first grade included painting birdhouses to hang in the butterfly garden, writing in our memory books, working in our egg/chick books, and completing amazing autobiography projects.
We are looking forward to releasing our painted lady butterflies, performing in the Climb to Safety assembly, participating in the Options Department Showcase, and celebrating a fantastic year in first grade with our families. Second grade is just a step away!
From the Desk of Ms. Poczik:
As we move into the final months of Second grade we are exploring so much in our classroom and outside in our beautiful city. We have wrapped up our Civics residency with a trip to Jewel and the Common Food Pantry. The kids collected quarters all year and we spent that money on items that the food pantry needed. This was a great lesson, as the kids watched out total grow to almost $800 collected. We also had our big Downtown Chicago trip just last week. We took a double decker bus tour, visited the Tilt at John Hancock and ended with some fun at Maggie Daley Park. It was a beautiful day and we were so lucky to have so many parents attend the trip. We are also hard at work on our end of the novel projects for Edward Tulane. We visited Wishcraft Art Studio to sew bunnies of our own. We are so excited to display all our hard work at the Options fair. The genius hour projects have turned out great. We have had a amazing year and I am so to see my kids go but I know they will be amazing in Third Grade.
This month has been a very busy one! We finished our novel Bud Not Buddy. They worked very hard on their own Hooverville dioramas. They did a wonderful job recreating these makeshift shelters with concepts from the book. We have just begun our last novel A Wrinkle in Time. We are looking forward to great class discussions about the characters and plot as we approach the month of June.
In Math we finished two-dimensional figures and have spent the rest of May working on relative sizes of measurement including length, volume, and weight, time and mass. The month of June brings us to our last math unit; perimeter and area.
We had so much fun with our Social Studies unit on The Thirteen Colonies. We had an amazing trip to the Naperville Settlement where we engaged and role played in various activities just like the colonists! We experienced school, the post office, blacksmith and printing shops. We are very excited to move into the American Revolution in June. We will use the Chapter Book I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 as a supplement.
In Science the children selected an inventor or scientist to research. They did an amazing job finding key information and organizing it into a research paper. They then created a cover page in the computer lab. The children learned a lot from each other. We are all super excited about our Invention Convention projects which will be on display at the Options Showcase on June 11th. The children have all received a “patent” and are working hard on their inventions!
In Financial Literacy the children are also working extra hard practicing songs as well as learning lines to narrate our performance assembly on the afternoon of June 11th. We hope to see you all there!
It has been an amazing year of learning!
From the Desk of Ms. Milstein:
The 4th graders have been wrapping up the school year with some amazing things. A large focus in Room 208 has been the Civic Responsibility project. Students investigated problems that are occurring today in our communities, both local and global. After careful thought, as well as inspiration from peers and guest speakers, each student self-selected a cause for which they would like to have a positive impact. The class has been working to research their problem in order to help them brainstorm, plan and actually implement a solution that will create change. While provided with guidelines and support in class, most of this project is completely student directed. See pictures below of students at various stages of their work. The Civic Responsibility projects will be on display at the upcoming Options Department Showcase.
We have just wrapped up our final class-novel of the school year, Chasing Vermeer. Throughout this story, Room 208 worked in groups to become detectives in solving the mystery. The class has also been completing a variety of art history and evaluation activities to supplement the text. This past week we visited the Art Institute of Chicago where the students were able to respond to various pieces of artwork that spoke to them as individuals.
During our reading of Chasing Vermeer, Room 208 also began receiving mysterious letters and packages in the mail from a Spy Academy. The students have been enthralled by using ciphers, cracking codes, and using their detective skills to look for clues as we complete tasks assigned by this mysterious espionage. Photos below show the 4th grades using an alphabet cipher to decode a message we received.
Our final chapter in the math curriculum was focused on geometry. Although we are done with math text books for the year, Room 208 will continue to study this topic. The class will be working on designing and building tiny houses that will require application of their geometric knowledge and skills.
From the Desk of Mrs. Caskey:
We still have Atwood on the brain in 317! It was a wonderful day full of outdoor education, team building, and exploring.
In reading, students continue to read Animal Farm. We are examining character choices and how this aligns with the decisions made in Europe with the rise of Communism. We have also thought about author choices in representation of names and animals. Our big ELA activity, however, is preparing for the wax museum. Thank you to our parents for guiding us through the revising and editing process. Students are beginning their publishing and preparing to give a memorized, one minute speech. We can't wait to show off our hard work at the Options Showcase on June 11!
Math is being spent reviewing and building on the many purposes for decimals, and working with decimals in various operations. We're also being reminded of the relationship to fractions, which will guide us as we move onto percents by the end of the year.
During Science, we are working our way through our Family Life lessons, but we haven't left the exciting world of Earth History completely. We're mapping active volcanoes and major earthquakes. We should get to metamorphic rocks by the end of the year. Fingers crossed!
Finally, we are experiencing life on the Nile during our unit on ancient Egypt in Social Studies. We've randomly selected roles in the civilization, crafted menats to show off those roles, and created a 3D map with our nome (a type of district in ancient Egypt). Before the end of the year, we'll spend a day as a scribe, solve Egyptian math problems, and learn about mummification.