It is already the last week of March! The snow is quickly melting in the sun so I hope you’re getting out your final winter playtime before break up swamps us! I made use of the sunshine to get in some ice fishing over the weekend…which just made me that much more excited for summer fishing!
This week in class we’re going to ramp up a bit from last week by launching our cultural studies unit on the U.S. Bill of Rights. We’ll be matching descriptions and examples with each amendment while analyzing the unusual language that is sprinkled throughout.
This week we’ll also begin a novel study. Our class will be divided into three groups between the books I Am Malala (Young Reader’s Edition) by Malala Yousafzai and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. Throughout the novel study we will alternate days between partner reading and group reading/discussions. In order to ensure discussions are most meaningful for the entire group, students will be asked not to read ahead.
In science we will be looking at different adaptations we find in the world around us. As part of this and as mentioned in last week’s newsletter, we will be participating in a dissection of a sea otter on Friday afternoon. Sea otter adaptations include their thick fur coat used for survival in cool ocean waters, flippered feet for swimming, and giant lungs for buoyancy.
Our look into figurative language will begin this week as well. We’re going to start with similes (ex: the player was as tall as a skyscraper). We’ll also be working on some skyscrapers dealing with classifications in addition to our weekly graphic organizers for practice in sequencing and compare/contrast in reading comprehension.
Math this week we’ll see 4th graders adding and subtracting fractions, 5th graders multiplying and dividing fractions, and 6th graders working with units of measure. Additionally, the entire class is doing the second part of a project on mean, median, mode, and range where they collected data from peers or faculty; this week they will organize the data onto a histogram.
As a reminder to our fourth grade students: next week is our state assessment in science, on Monday April 3rd. (All other tests for our class are during the week of April 17). These are computerized tests produced by a new-to-Alaska company, PEAKS. For more info, please check out ASD’s information on the tests at http://www.asdk12.org/peaks/ .
Finally, on Friday evening our choir is performing for our Fine Arts Night, 6:30-8pm.
As always, please feel free to call/text/email/or stop by with any questions, concerns, or celebrations!
I hope you had a great Spring Break and found some rejuvenation in the Alaskan sunshine or by traveling outside! I found some extra peace (and cold) skiing out to Portage Glacier and tent camping. Though the days saw hundreds of visitors, by night the glacier hosted only my companion and me!
Now that school is back in session I am excited to get going on our final quarter! Report cards will be going home this week to reflect on the progress each student has made over the previous quarter while being used to set goals for the fourth quarter. If you have any questions, concerns, or celebrations, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Before spring break the class addressed a distraction that was disrupting the peace: mechanical pencils. In a secret vote the class overwhelmingly decided that they would no longer allow mechanical pencils in their community in an effort to better foster the peace. Therefore, we will exclusively be writing with the dozens of wooden pencils that families so graciously contributed at the beginning of the year.
What will we be writing with our conflict-free pencils? This quarter we’ll be looking into all the fun forms of figurative language (alliteration, idioms, onomatopoeia, poetry, etc.). We’ll also analyze different sentence structures, finish our skyscrapers, and continue reading comprehension exercises. Yes, reading…we’re going to take on a novel study this quarter as well.
In math and science this quarter we’ll continue on our trajectory of progress. In science we’ll complete our unit on interconnectedness and adaptations with different lab experiments including observing a live sea otter necropsy performed by one of our parents, Verena Gill, and a salmon sorting math simulation hosted by retired fish biologist Doug Molyneaux. Additionally, fourth graders and I will be preparing for the state’s standardized science test for fourth graders.
Our math for 4th and 5th graders will continue to explore fractions for a while and continue to pop into geometry. For 6th graders we will finish up percents and move through units of measure and into algebraic expressions while practicing geometry. This will all be done while keeping an eye on the clock (I’ve covered up the digital clock in the classroom, forcing students to use the analog clocks…they need the practice!)
In cultural studies, although we have concluded our unit on the different types and levels of government, we will host Senator Murkowski in April as she had to reschedule last quarter. Our new unit will explore the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights, and the movement towards equality in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Finally, this Thursday, the Denali Student Council is hosting a community dance for all Denali family members. Every student must have an adult family member accompany them while in the school. Please contact the office with any questions.
I hope you all had a great spring break! As always, call/text/email/stop by with any questions, concerns, or causes for celebration!
Don’t forget spring pictures are tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7! Students should bring smiles and info for the photographers if you are planning to purchase. Please contact the office for any details.
In addition to spring pictures (and the Iditarod beginning), we’ll be wrapping up third quarter before the much anticipated spring break. Any outstanding projects like our “Tree of Government” poster (featuring three main branches), form of government written summary, and our verbs work, should all be completed by the end of the week to make it on report cards. Ask your child the status of each of these projects.
New lessons this week will close out our months long look at verbs by tackling regular vs. irregular verbs. In math we’ll continue learning about fractions and percents while also looking at the Iditarod to explore mean (average), median, and mode. We will also try to explore the erosive properties of water upon soil using turkey pans of wheat grass we started growing last week. Besides that, catch up and make up time will be allowed for during this short week (Friday is an in-service day for teachers).
Next week is spring break and we are all so excited! I am, however, hoping that students that work with Math-Whizz are still allowed and encouraged to continue their 90 minutes of weekly usage by working at home next week. Testing is coming up.
Indeed, I have signed our class up for the big state standardized testing the week of April 17 – 20. Additionally, fourth graders will be taking their standardized science tests on April 3. This year, Alaska’s assessment tool is called “PEAKS”; more information can be found at https://education.alaska.gov/tls/assessments/peaks.html
I hope you all have a great spring break! As always, call/text/email/stop by with any questions, concerns, or causes for celebration!