Newsletter 32 – 5/15/15

**The whole newsletter was again written by Ms. Kalei. Student voices soon!


This week we finished ISTEP testing! Collectively, we are feeling a return to our community norms and expectations. Thank you for helping students get to school on time with food in their bellies and brains ready for quite the endurance test. This week, we spent a lot of time amping up our work in writers and capstone.

This week we also spent some time celebrating The Watsons Go to Birmingham. We watched most of the movie of The Watsons, and spent time generating a compare and contrast chart looking at the book and the movie.

We also read the latest issue of Indy Kids and discussed a working definition for racism, in relationship to our experiences with the words prejudice, stereotype, and race.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week, students spent time thinking about character motivation. They connected the conflict the character faces to how they solve the conflict. They named WHY their character solves this problem. Writers also named an emotional arc for their characters using our mixed emotions cards.  Next week, we’ll be introducing a rubric for writers who are moving into a second draft or publishing their final pieces.


We are really zooming in on our capstone work. Researchers spent last week designing thick questions and are now answering them! This week, we introduced the template students will record information on.

Math Workshop

In Ms. Caitlin’s group, we are working on finding the area of irregular polygons. We also continued working on our whole group project.

In Ms. Kalei’s group we continued our discussion of algebraic functions and graphing. We read the book The Kings Chessboard. We also started some work on Dreambox – an internet program that is adaptive and responsive to student needs in math. We will be using Dreambox several times a week through the end of the year – and we’re excited to be integrating tech into our work. Students can access Dreambox at home, by going to this link: Here is more extensive information on parent facing stuff from dreambox:

In Ms. Kandi’s group students used base-ten pieces to represent and compare sets of decimal numbers and fractions.  They ordered 15 numbers between zero and two.  They then built collections to represent three different numbers that would come between 0.3 and 0.4 on a number line.  At the end of the week students learned a new game called Round and Add Tenths.  In this game, students practiced modeling, comparing, and using decimals to tenths.  They also practiced rounding decimal numbers to the nearest whole number.

In Jim’s group we finished our unit of study of decimals. We have been converting decimals and fractions, adding and subtracting decimal numbers, and ordering decimal numbers.


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