From the Desk of Ms. Kaim:
It was a busy month as always in Room 104! In science, the first graders continued studying earth materials. The boys and girls investigated sand, silt, and clay. They also explored how scientists use fossils found in rock to learn about dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.
The first graders visited the North Park Village Nature Center to experience tapping sugar maple trees for sap. They also went on a math mission as part of a trip to the Chicago Children’s Museum with their fifth grade buddies. The first graders acted as the big buddies during a Dr. Seuss activity with the kindergarteners. Later in the month, Lenny the Leprechaun surprised us all by sneaking into our classroom!
We finished reading The Hundred Dresses and then read A Grain of Rice. This mathematical story set in ancient China helped us practice addition with lots of regrouping! We also created tangram pictures after reading Grandfather Tang’s Story.
Our continent of the month was Asia. The boys and girls created carp kites to fly in the classroom. They are symbols of perseverance in Japan. The class also created fish prints and read the book Crow Boy. Guest speakers helped us all learn more about Indian culture. We also read Gandhi: A March to the Sea. We ended the month with a Taste of Asia.
One other special event during March was Meet the Authors. The first graders were thrilled to share their 100 Page Books with parents, fifth grade buddies, and other guests.
The first graders will begin another exciting adventure in April. Hint: it will involve eggs!
From the Desk of Ms. Poczik:
March went by in the blink of an eye! We were busy this month preparing for the arrival of our crayfish. They should be arriving right before break and we can't wait to learn about them, their habitat and their adaptations. In math we have been devouring fractions. We have learned to compare them, draw them and we are moving to learning about equivalent fractions. We have also spent the month working and finishing our Interest Projects. These projects were open ended and allowed the students to work on and create something that they were excited about. This is getting us ready for Genius Hour, which we will begin after Spring Break. We have also been busy reading Charlotte's Web. This is a wonderful book on friendship that we are enjoying reading! We can't wait to watch the movie and begin work on our end of novel projects. One last, and very exciting thing, is that we have been in the computer lab exploring the exciting world of coding! Ms. Newberry has been doing activities with us on Code.org and now we are working on our own Scratch games. It's been a great month!
From the Desk of Mrs. Thiel:
In math we continued to learn fractions! We learned multiples of fractions and unit fractions. The children are able to multiply fractions by whole numbers as well as mixed numbers. We will learn how to divide fractions before we jump into decimals.
This month we focused on our reading anthology Junior Great Books. We finished the theme of courage with our story Pierre’s Dream. The students participated in group discussion and shared inquiry and engaged in written response to this story. We began the next theme; Cleverness with a new story the Dream Weaver. The students also celebrated Women’s History month. They each selected one woman they thought was important, researched her and designed a stamp in her honor. These are displayed on our bulletin board outside our room.
Our unit on Energy continued in Science with a focus on the presence of energy in motion, sound, light or heart. The children learned how energy can be transferred and how objects in motion have energy. We will continue to explore kinetic and potential energy in April.
In Social Studies we continued to learn about Spanish explorers. We focused on whey they explored and the large areas of the Americas in which they conquered. The students worked on map skills to track the explorer’s journeys. To end the unit we discussed reasons why other Europeans explored North America and the things they found.
Our writer’s workshop continued to focus on persuasive writing. We focused on the key elements of a conclusion including how to restate your opinion and reasons. The children are finishing up their last proofreading and are ready to publish!
A highlight from this month was our paper cutting activity in Chinese! Ask your children to share their experience.
From the Desk of Ms. Milstein:
March flew by in Room 208! With PARCC testing occurring during this month, the kids had the need to get up and move! Check out some photos below of the class enjoying some Go Noodle movement and dance activities.
We had another STEM challenge this month, during which groups had to design, create and test structures that would keep 5 cotton balls dry when place in water. Photos below show the kids at work as well as the successful structures. This month all groups worked exceptionally well together to collaborate, plan, execute and reflect on the work.
During our most recent math centers rotations, the class was introduced to a new activity. The first group had the chance to use our new class set of VersaTiles, purchased with a generous donation from the parents of 208. The whole class is very excited about this new opportunity!
At the end of the month, the 4th graders participated in the music assembly celebrating diverse cultures from around the world. The students showed off their musical skills as they played songs on their recorders. See some of the groups featured below.
From the Desk of Mrs. Caskey:
We have been busy in 317 despite PARCC testing. We took a field trip with our buddies, where we helped them explore collections and groups. We also took a field trip to the Old Town School of Folk and listened to incredibly unique music from Spain inspired by the Middle East. This is a great start to our world music residency with Fulcrum Point.
During Reading we continue to read the memoir Red Scarf Girl and we've been supplementing the text with a lot of propaganda analysis, including Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book", which is the most published work in history with over five billion copies printed. This memoir has given us great exposure to primary sources and critical analysis. Language Arts learning has included wrapping up a "types of verbs" unit in grammar and exploring roots that mean origin, birth, build, and work, as well as attaching suffixes to these stems. We will continue learning mostly math and science connected roots as we continue. Writing has picked back up with a new project where we are travel blogging. Our first stop as a class is a trip to the Grand Canyon, where we focused on a research-based question and synthesized a visit to the Grand Canyon to answer this question. Stay tuned for a link to our blog!
We explored linear and nonlinear patterns in our math unit called Variables and Patterns. We used the visual representation of these patterns to begin building equations and solving for x. We were even brave enough to solve for x in multi-step scenarios and check our work by plugging x back in. We wrapped up our unit before Spring Break by being introduced to inequalities.
Science has 317 continuing to explore the origins of rock layers, sediment, and soil. We modeled erosion with a stream table, and explored different variables with our table. We will collect soil samples and compare that to the rock and sediment samples we have observed.
Social Studies has got to be the most exciting time of the day, so I saved the best for last. We have a city simulation up and running. We are keeping daily ledgers, adding new ordinances with some heated debates at city council meetings, and we are even having a little bit of fun exchanging goods and services (and even buying lotto tickets!) We've also been reflecting throughout the process and gauging our risks and successes. We will wrap up our city after the break.
From the Desk of Mr. Prince:
6th grade has been busy during the first few weeks in March. During the first two weeks students worked on PARCC testing and completed a biography project based on a woman in science or mathematics. We have just started reading Fahrenheit 451. To preview this book students wrote stories “outside the lines” In math we finished our comparing and scaling unit with a Paper Pool project and are now well into investigating probability in What Do You Expect?
7th grade math Has been working hard discovering the world of quadratic equations. Using a combination of Kahn Academy and Frogs Fleas and Painted Cubes our students are investigating the world of quadratics.
In 8th grade math students are working through the CME Algebra text at their own pace. They are currently working on a range of chapters from Linear Equations and slope to Quadratics. There are quite a few who have completed this unit and are working on Geometry
From the Desk of Mr. Klein:
March signals the beginning of spring and that end of school year is rapidly approaching.
In sixth grade physics, the study of electricity, the flow of electric charge, dominated the month as students explored from where the charges come, how people move those charges, and to where do the charges move as well as how an electric charge causes mechanical motion or make things light up.
Seventh grade chemistry focused on the concept of solubility, the chemical property referring to the ability for a given substance to dissolve in a substance. Here the students took a look at the maximum amount of solute dissolved in a solvent at equilibrium, saturated solutions, how certain substances are soluble in all proportions with a given solvent, and the equilibrium solubility that can be exceeded to give a so-called supersaturated solution.
The eighth graders in biology have been studying DNA, including what substances make up DNA, where it is located, the structure of DNA, the rules that have been established regarding how to understand the manner in which DNA replicates, and its relationship to RNA.
Despite PARCC testing, language arts featured a wide variety of readings and activities. In creative writing, students have completed original fairy tales and started work on short stories, studied Edgar Allan Poe through the stories “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Black Cat,” created projects such as paintings, sculptures, book jackets, and collages to display understanding of science fiction works such as Robert Heinlein’s “All You Zombies,” Theodore Sturgeon’s “A Saucer of Loneliness,” and Isaac Asimov’s “Robot Dreams,” and reviewed the similarities and differences between the fairy tales “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty” and poetic interpretations of those tales by Anne Sexton.