From the Desk of Ms. Kaim:
Many notable events took place in Rom 104 this month including two field trips. We attended a performance of “Montauciel Takes Flight” at Lifeline Theatre. A trip mix-up became the inspiration for a group writing piece patterned after the book Fortunately. Later in the month, we visited the Field Museum to learn more about our continent of the month, Africa, and our current science unit, earth materials.
The first graders enjoyed reading Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and Galimoto while learning about Africa. They examined musical instruments and other artifacts from the continent. They also used adinkra stamps, played mancala, and sampled food from Africa.
During science, the boys and girls began investigating earth materials by making observation about rocks. They examined three types of volcanic rock, categorized river rocks by their properties, and used screens to sort rocks by size. Several class sessions focused on volcanoes and the Ring of Fire. The students read Hill of Fire about the birth of a volcano. They made many connections to our earlier science unit about states of matter.
Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were the focus of several reading and social studies lessons. As part of the president-themed activities, the students compared their height to Lincoln’s, examined a timeline of Washington’s life, and wrote about what would happen if they lived in the White House. Reading The Hundred Dresses led to thoughtful conversations about friendship and what it means to be a bystander or an upstander. Slugs in Love led to smiles and laughter, as did Ms. Miller’s read aloud to the class: Creepy Pair of Underwear. Serious to silly, first graders love to read!
In addition to exploring two-digit addition strategies, the boys and girls participated in numerous activities to mark the hundredth day of school. They finished their 100 Page books, created a googol, imagined themselves at 100 years old, acted out the story One Hundred Hungry Ants, worked together on 100-piece puzzles, built 100 Cup Towers, and much more!
The first graders are looking forward to a field trip with their fifth grade buddies in March.
From the Desk of Ms. Poczik:
February was a short month but we had a lot going on! In math we starting our exploration of fractions. We are finding that our fraction lessons are always about food...so math has been very delicious! In reading, we have just started Charlotte's Web. This childhood classic is a great lesson on friendship and I am enjoying the conversations we are having throughout the novel. One of our big focuses this month was supporting Bell's Wish List. One of our homework choices was to make a donation to the list. The kids took their allowance or did odd job around the house so that they were able to make a donation themselves. This is a great way to connect the kids to the power of fundraising and showing them that every dollar helps. We also had 29 tickets purchased for our room to attend that gala. We had the highest number in the school which means we had our classroom wish granted. The kids selected $250 worth of things we wanted to add to our room. We have ordered recess games, yarn for crocheting, craft supplies, beanbags, and more.
From the Desk of Mrs. Thiel:
February seemed to just fly by!
In math we jumped into fractions! We studied fractions in terms of equivalence and comparison. The children were able to generate equivalent fractions, put them in simplest form and identify the common denominators. We then focused on applying these learned skills in problem solving. Students are now able to compare and order fractions.
We finished our novel The One and Only Ivan. The children did a wonderful job identifying figurative language throughout the text. We discussed theme and how it applied to our story in various ways. We finished our Scratch project in the computer lab based on the characters from the novel. Make sure to ask your child to show you their game at home!
Science led us to our unit on Energy. Investigations covered this month included the history behind light as well as focusing on different energy sources and how they relate to our everyday life. The students are very excited to move further in to this unit as we will be working on multiple hands on activities.
In Social Studies we began Unit 2; Exploration and Settlement. We have discussed how Native Americans groups lived before the arrival of the Europeans. The class also discussed reason or European explorations and learned about technology that made ocean exploration possible.
Our writer’s workshop continued to focus on persuasive writing. The children brainstormed ideas for a topic then narrowed it down to one choice. We centered our attention on writing an interesting hook to draw our readers in. The students then read two of their peer’s paragraphs and were asked to provide constructive feedback. The children are now revising their hooks before they move onto the body. We will continue to incorporate new grammar skills along the way.
The highlight of the month was our Lookingglass Informance. The children all worked so hard the past six weeks and it was amazing to see them all up there on stage!
From the Desk of Ms. Milstein:
The fourth graders in Room 208 worked their way through many interesting units during the month of February. Our math curriculum has switched over from operations with decimals to operations with fractions. As a class, we have been working with fractions all year long during our daily morning work times. With this background knowledge, the students were ready to jump into Chapter 6 with confidence. They applied math skills to real world contexts making fractions come to life. We will continue expanding our knowledge and application of fractions over the next two chapters in math.
Our Living Systems unit has come to a close at the end of this month. The fourth graders performed various experiments to take a closer look at nutrient systems. We investigated yeast as a model for single-cell organisms' nutrient systems, wheat plants as a model for autotrophs' nutrient systems, and the human digestive system as the model for heterotrophs' nutrient systems. The students loved the hands on engagement and working on scientific method lab reports to demonstrate their learning.
We celebrated the Chinese New Year this month. Mr. Qiao brought in a special guest to demonstrate and teach the class a variety of traditional Chinese dances. See the picture below of the kids enjoying and participating in these activities. They also made lanterns, and played a Chinese culture trivia game. Happy Year of the Dog!
As we finished reading Kira Kira, the students wrote thematic essays on the novel. We have been practicing this method of analyzing text all year with each story completed in class. The students have grown so much as readers and writers. The class had a chance to type their essays on Chromebooks to create more professional pieces of work. As we move onto our next novel, The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963, the students are engaging in various activities to help build background knowledge. See the photos below of students working in pairs to read about, discuss and react to primary documents from the 1870s-1950s depicting important events related to Civil Rights.
From the Desk of Mrs. Caskey:
How is it the end of February already?!? 317 has been engrossed in discussion during reading, examining a memoir with some primary source documents about the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The memoir, entitled Red Scarf Girl, sees the transformation of the narrator during a difficult time in history. We are discussing the impact of propaganda on stereotypes, as well as how fragile leaders lead to fragile governments. This exploration has been fascinating!
We continue to work on verbs during grammar, and we've moved onto various Greek and Latin roots for vocabulary. Your fifth grader should be looking for these roots everywhere in their reading! In writing, we are moving toward a "travel blog" on the Grand Canyon and then a national park of our choice, with a focus on paraphrasing research from sources first.
Math has taken us to linear and nonlinear patterns and independent and dependent variables. We're following a simulated business closely by analyzing their maximum income, expenses, and profit at certain price points. This will move us toward one step equations with variables. This ties in very nicely to Social Studies!
Speaking of Social Studies, we are continuing an economics simulation with a classroom city. Town of 29 was established just a week ago, and already we have a system of laws in place, as well as many businesses to choose from. It's a wonderful experience . . . until we have to pay fines and bills.
Finally, our new Science unit on Earth History is off and running. We've simulated many rock tests performed by geologists, as well as created a model of water erosion based on the Colorado Plateau. We continue to focus on the Grand Canyon area, which connects to our writing above.
From the Desk of Mr. Klein:
The month of February featured studies in the following areas in the science laboratory of room 225.
Sixth grade physics completed work on the nature, properties, and behaviors of waves, with special emphasis on sound waves (and music) and light waves (and color). Work was begun on the basic principles of electrostatics in order to explain how objects become charged and to describe the effect of those charges on other objects in the neighboring surroundings as well as how the flow of charge through electric circuits occurs.
Seventh grade chemistry explored the concept of molarity with special emphasis on the conversion between moles and mass and the calculation of percentage composition. The students also experimented with the concept of solubility with special emphasis on dissolving a solid in water, comparing the concentrations of saturated solutions, the effect of temperature on solubility, and the use of isopropanol as a solvent.
Eight grade biology looked at how chemistry is related to biology with special emphasis on the structure of water and organic molecules. The students also explored how the possibilities on life developed on this planet and the relationship of life to cells, their components, and the emergence of multicellular organisms.