Alas, we are in the final week of our first semester together. What an amazing time spent building our community, exploring our curiosities, and growing as individuals. Nothing is meant to be easy but rewards come to those that work hard and that is something every child in Room 223 can be proud of this year, as I am certainly proud of each of them!
Our final week together in 2016 will be used primarily to finish up existing projects, mainly our writing piece featuring a planned plot, a thought-out setting, and interesting characters. The story’s point of view should be apparent and a theme may just be icing on the cake. We’re working through rough drafts as we piece together the different parts of this story towards a final typed draft, the masterpiece!
We’ll also be finishing up our unit on immigration by hosting two guest speakers in the classroom from the Alaska Institute for Justice (a non-profit organization that provides legal services to immigrants and refugees). One speaker, Carol Forner, will talk about general immigration challenges and Anchorage's diversity, while the other, Ms. Nyachan, whom immigrated with her family when she was young, will talk about her challenges and all of the ways she has helped her mom navigate immigration.
Last week our field trip to the Naturalization ceremony was a huge success. Although we were surprised by a different judge, we were also surprised to be addressed by Alaska’s U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, who provided some Q&A time exclusively for our class following the ceremony. Ask your child what their thoughts are on the words that were spoken at the event!
This week in math we will work mostly in the realm of geometry, from shapes to coordinate planes, to measurements. MathWhizz will also be utilized by different students. It is very, very important that students continue ALL of their extra math practice THROUGHOUT the winter break. It is common for students to experience a decline in their testing from December to Spring as a result of a break in study habits. Let’s keep the momentum rolling, or even use the extra time to pick up steam, and keep our students on the right track by studying outside of school. This goes for reading as well! Reading journals can help with this.
Before the break comes, we will be hosting the previously mentioned pot luck on Thursday. (Avoid nuts/almonds and label any dairy/carrots). All family is invited to the room for some food, reflections, and celebrations. If you are able to bring/send a dish of your choosing, the contribution is much appreciated! We’ll be eating 12:15-1:15pm. Parent volunteers to help set up and clean up are always so so so welcomed!
Thursday is also a Read-In. Students are allowed a pillow, blanket/sleeping bag, teddy sort of animal, pajamas, and must have at least ONE chapter book.
Thank you all so much for a wonderful first semester. I am so excited and looking forward to 2017! I wish you all a very meaningful holiday break full of family and memories that will last a lifetime!
Winter break is approaching quickly and we are trying to make full use of our time left in class this week. We will continue working through math; Fourth graders are working through multi-digit multiplication with materials, GoMath, and partner exchange work, fifth graders are exploring decimals through materials, and sixth graders continue to look at fractions. Various other students are working on individual concepts such as analog time-telling, patterns, MathWhizz exercises, and Pre-Algebra.
In cultural studies we are studying origins of major immigration movements to the United States, including Irish, German-Jewish, Chinese, and Mexican immigration waves. We will be adding these routes to the large world maps students have been working on all quarter. This unit will take us on our field trip, on Friday, to the U.S. District Courthouse to witness a naturalization ceremony for our nation’s newest citizens. Students will also likely have time to ask the District Judge questions, (which we will be preparing this week), and attempt the same “citizenship test” immigrants must take before naturalization.
In science we will continue with our STEM explorations, working through electricity on our way to coding. Students really enjoyed last week’s attempts at making complete circuits with size D batteries, light bulbs, buzzers, and mini-motors.
Our language this week takes us through skyscrapers work on contractions and continues our look at literary elements such as plot, setting, theme, and characters. We will integrate this into writing by creating a story by putting these pieces together.
In reading, in addition to our immigration studies, students choose between optional work in subject/predicate materials, SRAs, Fiction Box Cards, or Research Lab. These materials are almost exclusively to practice our reading comprehension and it is expected students make at least two choices every week from these materials. Ask your student which they prefer and how active they are in completing the tasks.
As previously mentioned, our class will be hosting a potluck on the last day of the quarter, Thursday, December 22, from 12:15pm – 1:10pm. Families/siblings are invited to this community event and are encouraged to bring a dish to share if possible. Please avoid dishes with peanuts or almonds. If you bring a dish with dairy or carrots, please label it as containing these ingredients. This potluck will be in addition to a Read-In on that Thursday.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the final day of our Kindness Challenge at school. Ask your students if they will finish in time and if they plan to continue. Thank you for all you do in helping with the success of our students; the kindness they show here in the community begins with the kindness they see and feel from all of you!
Greetings! I hope you had as much fun in the snow this weekend as possible!
As it continues to look and feel like winter outside, we’ll continue to make progress inside the classroom. Students are still working on a world map and will begin adding major routes of immigration as part of our cultural studies unit. We have been in reading partners/groups studying immigration to the U.S. in this historical context of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, and will now begin broadening our exploration; eventually leading to the role immigration has in the U.S. today. This, of course, will take us to our field trip next week to the District Courthouse. Many permission slips still need to be turned in.
In science we will begin looking at electrical force (electricity!) This will include an experiment in circuits and conductors. Our assigned lab groups are mainly made up of a single 4th grader, 5th grader, and 6th grader, creating a group of three. Check in with your students to see what effort they are contributing towards their lab group’s success.
In math we are generally splitting time between algebraic work, multiplication facts, and geometry. Our fourth grade math group is exploring various methods of multiplication included expanded form and using partial products. In our fifth grade math group we will be focusing on line plots, graphs, ordered pairs, and intervals as well as decimal place values. In our sixth grade math group we will continue to practice working with fractions (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing).
In language we will continue analyzing plot and begin crafting a story in which we compile previous pieces of the unit together. Students have already written two paragraphs about a setting and have practice introducing a character. These tools, along with a story board they will create for the plot, will be the meat and bones of their story. As part of this process we will continue to look study what “Plot” is (the storyline), and begin comparing it to a the next element: “theme” (the moral). I’m hoping we can finish this project by the end of quarter but it will take dedication from everyone.
In addition to our literary elements unit, our language includes skyscrapers this week: abbreviations, phrases, and subject/predicates. In reading we will be completing our weekly graphic organizer, choosing a weekly reading task (fiction box cards, SRAs, or Research Lab), and reading for examples of plot and research on immigration. As always, students have weekly jobs to contribute towards their classroom community. Unsure about what some of these work choices and responsibilities are? Your child will tell you!
Another reminder to all families of sixth grade students: please turn in permission slips and money for KFT by the end of the week. If a scholarship is required please make note of that and let me know as soon as possible.