Newsletter 34 – 5/22/14

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This week we did NWEA testing as a whole class. Many students took the reading and writing tests. Some students also tested in small groups throughout this time frame. We will not be doing the math assessment until the first week of June. We are so proud of all the growth on the test this year!

Next week we’ll be working with faculty/students from IU to facilitate some learning around circuitry. We look forward to this hands-on engineering experience. We’ll have plenty of pictures to show you exactly what the kids will be doing, but feel great about this opportunity to explore, play, and “do” science.

Reading

In readers workshop this week, students finished out their book clubs. We met and discussed social action and defined what the “greater good” was in each of our stories. Some powerful topics have come up in these discussions. 

  • In the group reading the Hunger Games, students likened the relationship between government and citizens to be one of incentive (like training a dog) only to realize that this was the society created in the books and that it did not work. We discussed what can motivate people beyond material reward. 
  • In Twenty One Balloons, we discussed the presence or absence of diversity. We talked about the (likely) intentional choices made by the writer to include only white major characters. We also talked about how the book’s publication date affected/impacted the diversity included. 

Writing

In writers workshop this week we’ve started our last unit of the semester. Using the mentor text “Partly Cloudy” (a pixar short movie), we will be writing small moment fiction stories using characters we know of from our read alouds. This organizer  was the planning page we did this week. Students were to select one of the following characters: Ivan or Ruby (One and Only Ivan), Nicodemus & Mrs. Frisby (Rats of Nimh), Harriet & Old Golly (Harriet the Spy), Elmer or The Dragon (My Father’s Dragon trilogy). We will get into writing these the first week of June. 

A secondary writing component of our week was another round of picture books. Because of the middle school play Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Chris & Ms. Sara spent the week working with the 678 students. In 4/5 we used the mentor text Journey as an idea of how to write a wordless picture book. In continuing our discussion on diversity in books, students had to include some aspect of diversity in their pieces. We’ll be scanning these books and putting them into a google folder, so keep looking out for our almost-complete picture books!

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Math

In Ms. Kalei’s math group we are staring a project comparing our heights from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014. With these data points we will calculate mean, median, mode range, average difference, greatest difference and smallest difference. We’ll graph the data as well. Ms. Pam’s group is finishing up their work packets and joining Ms. Kalei’s group for this. In Mr. Jim’s group we did some games: variable (you pick a value of x and then build an equation), I’ll Buy This (you pick an ‘item’ and then have to buy it, you make change and if the change is correct you add it to your score), and AM/PM (elapsed time: you pick a card with a start time, decide whether it’s AM or PM and then pick multiple cards with time values to add to your original time). 

P3

In P3 this week we took a final assessment on engineering. Students were asked to reflect on the habits of an engineer and when they used those habits. The habits are listed on the charts in the pictures below, but in case you can’t read our pink marker: Persistence, stamina, focus, self-regulation, patience, flexibility, excitement, hope, taking risks, knowledge, planning, organization, learning, overcoming frustration, creativity & imagination. 

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Questions to Ask Your Child

  • What was your picture book about? How did you include diversity? (What is diversity?)
  • How did you choose your character for your story? What will your story be about?
  • What class issues came up this week (sharing food & appropriate behavior on the playground)?
  • Why do you think engineers have to have ____ ? (look at the habits list above)
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