Newsletter 31 – 5/2/14

Our newsletter this week has been totally written by adults!

This week we did a LOT of ISTEP testing and practicing on Monday-Thursday. Some highlights included:

  • Using the “No” and “Maybe” strategy when dealing with multiple choice questions in a test setting.
  • Using the skills of map/chart reading and vocabulary inference making when taking a social studies or science test.
  • Building a LOT of independent reading stamina (before and after the ISTEP) each day this week.
  • Eating some delicious snacks, mints, and gum, a BIG THANK YOU to our families who were able to donate extra supplies this week.
  • Continuing to write in our fantasy pieces when there was time.
  • Talking about and discussing the community, trying new strategies to make morning meeting a time where all children feel they can be heard and respected by their peers.
  • Playing new activities (ESP, Screaming Eyes) during morning meeting time; trying the game Mouse Trap outside. Running laps and doing sit-ups as a stand-in “P.E.” class after many days of sitting and testing.

On Thursday, students got their book club books. If your child has questions about their book club schedule, you can find them here.  We will start meetings next Tuesday.

On Friday we had two very different days.

The fourth graders stayed back at school and wrote to a fantasy writing prompt that started “The day the 5th graders disappeared…” We used mentor texts Tuesday and June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner and Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg. In partners (and independently) students wrote a piece…everything from the spirit world to disappearance & saving popped up in this fun partner writing activity. The fourth graders also continued the tradition of building Rube Goldberg machines for science. Pinpointing specific (and purposeful) classroom functions such as ringing the chime, turning the lights off, turning the projector screen on, etc. were talked about and over-complicated in our fun engineering process. Several machines were off to a success and many were just a few hours short of amazing.

The fifth graders went to Sycamore Land Trust. Learning specifically about environmental concerns, they engaged in a variety of nature-based activities. Students went “fishing” in a pond, looking for macro-invertebrates, and found a newt they lovingly named. They also looked at eagles nests through a telescope. Some questions they wondered: Should the beaver population be controlled – if so, are they trapped or eliminated? Should they build a boardwalk so eagles are more visible? Should the natural succession of plants managed or stopped or should the natural prairie to scrub to forest be able to proceed unhindered?

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