Class Blog and Class Vlog
I wanted to remind you that March conferences are around the corner. If you would like to sign up for a conference you can find the sign up at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0C49AEA62DA4F49-march3
Here's what we have been up to across the curriculum:
In reading, we are currently in the 3rd Bend of our Argument and Advocacy Unit. In the first Bend, students were put into debate groups and together they chose one debatable issue to research. We had groups looking into whether space or the ocean should be explored more, whether zoos should exist, whether plastic bags should still be allowed, whether extreme sports should be played, and whether humans need more protection from sharks or if sharks need more protection from humans. Throughout the unit students learned how to create a balanced debate, learning about both sides of an issue. They also learned how reading related texts could help them come up with new reasons and evidence for their claims. Finally, students learned that they need to consider carefully the source of their information and learned strategies for identifying bias, like an article in favor of extreme sports written by an athlete who makes money off it, or an article written for space exploration written by an astronaut. Bend I concluded with great debates where students used their weeks of studying to have deep and rich conversations supported by real evidence. Next students moved on Bend II, where they had to generate their own topic for conversation/debate, under the umbrella of their initial topics. For example, the Zoo group had read several articles from PETA so they wanted to investigate more about who they were and if they were a good organization or not. The extreme sports group want to discuss whether extreme sports should be televised, and the sharks group wanted to explore what would happen if sharks were removed from the food chain. These inquiries led to another round reading, but this time students had to find their own resources, and evaluate them for credibility. They learned that google searches don't always yield the best results in this work, and that many of the databases the school has access to are better choices. Their research led to another great round of conversations, and student's discovered the real purpose of these conversations was not to "win" a debate but rather to learn. So students culminated Bend II by creating presentations to share with the class that showed all they learned about their topics and all they learned about summarizing other's articles and assessing their bias. Check out a sample presentation below.
So now we are in the final bend of the unit where each group has picked a new topic and is doing the whole process all over again independently! They have found resources, are reading articles, and for a final wrap up, instead of teaching the class all they learned, they will write a letter to someone asking them to take action around an aspect of their issue. The unit, after all, is called Argument and Advocacy!
In writing, we have spent the last few weeks getting inspired by the Creativity Project edited by 5th-grade teacher Colby Sharp. Colby Sharp invited more than forty authors and illustrators to provide story starters for each other; photos, drawings, poems, prose, or anything they could dream up. Then Colby took 2 prompts and sent them to each author. When they received their prompts, they responded by transforming these seeds into any form of creative work they wanted to share. The result is a stunning collection of words, art, poetry, and stories by some of our most celebrated children book creators. A section of extra story starters by every contributor provides fresh inspiration for readers to create works of their own. We spent time reading and responding to several prompts as a class, before I, like Colby, hand-selected 2 prompts for each student and sent them to them in "the mail". The students then set about to create their own unique responses to the prompts. They channeled all they have learned this year about writing and all their creative juices to produce some awesome works. We are currently compiling our own creativity project book, and hope to have copies home to you all soon. When the creativity project concluded last week, we moved on to our next unit Literary Essay. The unit began with us watching the story of the Panyee Football club, and we will be using that "text" as the inspiration for our first essay. Students analyzed the film like they would any text, first noticing details, and then coming up with ideas based on them. Students then learned how to try out multiple thesis statements, to find one that really fits well and feels good and easy to write. Next, we learned how mini-stories can be used in essays as a form of elaboration. Finally, Friday before break, students did a flash draft of their essay. This week they will look to revise it, before reading more short stories and writing essays about them.
In math, we headed toward the conclusion of Unit 4. In unit 4 students have been focused on two main concepts: decimals and the coordinate plane. With decimals, students have extended their knowledge of place value out to the thousandths place and have learned why rounding is so important in decimals. They also learned how to add decimals using the traditional algorithm, and this week will focus on subtracting decimals using the traditional algorithm as well. As you may remember keeping digits lined up in the correct place is the key to success, so encourage your student to work neatly at home. As far as coordinate grids are concerned students learned about the x and y-axis, and the focus on going over then up. They also learned how to determine distances and routes on a grid and how an image is effected when you multiply or divide one of its coordinates. Based on how the students return from break we will likely have our test at the end of this week or the beginning of next week. Then we will move on to Unit 5, multiplying and dividing fractions!
Last week your students began their final science rotation going to Ms. Davis's class for Earth Science. Before that, they were with Ms. Barkin for Life Science learning all about photosynthesis, food chains, and food webs. In 2 weeks when this next rotation concludes, we will return to social studies picking up with the drafting of the Articles of Confederation and Consitution after the revolutionary war.
We recently had another Red Knight Award Ceremony and Maya and Fiona were the recipients from our homeroom. Congratulations to them on their never give up attitudes.
We also celebrated our 1000th Day of school sharing our 1,000 memories and 1,000 things we have learned. We also set ourselves a goal as a 5th grade to get 1,000 more girt stamps by the end of the year!
Finally, it was awesome to see so many kindergarten pictures come in. Check out the gallery below.
Vlog # 8
Vlog # 7
Important Notes from the video:
- In reading we are currently working on Non-fiction. You should see these books come home most nights and students are still expected to read for 30-40 minutes while noticing and coming up with ideas. The ideas in non-fiction are the main ideas of the text. Students might also have a novel they are reading so that when they complete their non-fiction work they can return to a story. (Sometimes non-fiction texts are shorter)
- Debby Irving author of Waking Up White will be in Lincoln on Wednesday. We will be having discussions in class about identity, race, and privilege in an age-appropriate way.
- We are taking our Unit 2 Math Assessment this week.
- I forgot to mention our wonderful celebration that ended our first reading unit, the watching of Pixar's Inside Out. As students watched they had to pull out and take note of important details and then had to use them to discover the multiple themes of the movie. They did an amazing job, and in our popcorn discussion after, they talked happily about the text/movie for almost 45 minutes straight, with students adding on to one another, growing new interpretations, and seeing meaning in things they never would have previously. Next students used there work with themes to inspire some personal reflection. Two big themes the students pulled out were "Emotions can be complicated" and "As we grow we change". They used these themes to create their own islands of personality like the character in the movie but pushed themselves even further to create both their islands of strength and their islands of challenge. In the coming weeks, we will discuss how we handle the challenges that come at our islands (like the events in the movie came at the main character's islands) and how that affects our emotions. Finally, we will explore what we can do to handle those situations.
Important notes from the video:
- Conferences start this week. Follow the link to check your time or sign up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c49aea62da4f49-fall2
- Hale Reservation trip is Monday - 10/21 - Students need:
- Long Pants
- Long Shirt
- Bug spray (already on)
- Water Bottle
- Bagged Lunch
- Minuteman Trip is 10/29 - Please send in Permission Slip and/or fee if you haven't already
Vlog # 5
- Picture Day is this Tuesday, October 8th - you can order the pictures online or send in the paper form.
- Minuteman Field Trip Permission slips are due this week. Please send in the slip and the $20 fee.
- Book orders from Scholastic have shipped and hopefully will be in this week.
- Here is the link to Middle Matters which includes the new Social Contract.
- If you haven't already please join our class on Class Dojo - please contact me if you need your student's code.
This past Thursday was Curriculum Night at Lincoln Middle School. It was so nice to see so many of you! Please accept my apologies if we didn't get to talk personally, our Fall conferences will be here before you know it, and I will know your student a lot better by then.
For those of you who couldn't make it, and for those of you who did but were on information overload, I have posted both presentations (the whole 5th grade and the one specific to our classroom) below.
Here are a few key points to review:
- Close communication is important to me and I aim to be as available as possible.
- Emails are great for questions/concerns and sometimes phone calls are even better.
- The Class Blog/Vlog will be your go to place for longer more in-depth posts about what we have been doing in the curriculum.
- Class Dojo will help you stay connected to the classroom through photos, video clips, and posts of student work, you will have lots to discuss with your student about their school days.
- Class Dojo also has a messenger with is great who quick text-style messages to me and from me. Please note that these messages are just that, the type of small things you might put in a text, any question or concern that needs a longer response should be sent via email.
- Invitations to "Join our Class" should have come home on Friday if you did not get yours at Curriculum Night.
- Here are two videos that will tell you a little more about Dojo- do note we will not be using the "Points" component consistently. I may give them occasionally just to communicate with them and you something that did in the classroom that deserves to be recognized :
I spoke about the class homework policy which can be found here on the class website (click here to view). Every day your student will be responsible for writing their homework in their planner, packing their Homework Portfolio with the appropriate folders for the subjects they have homework in, completing their homework, and bringing their homework back the next day. On Friday, since we do not have weekend homework, the folder will contain any notices, corrected work, forms etc. that students are responsible for retrieving from their classroom mailboxes.
PhilosophyOne thing I mentioned in my presentation was the importance of instilling a growth mindset in our students. The video below gives a deeper overview of this concept.For a full explanation by the principal researcher, Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University view this presentation she gave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXhbtCcmsyQAnother key idea I touched upon was the importance of teaching and valuing all types of learners in our classroom. I mentioned the "Multiple Intelligences" that students have and how I aim to present content and concepts in a way that appeals to many of them. For more about Multiple Intelligences check out the video below where Howard Gardner of Harvard University explains the idea and research behind it.Finally, we talked about the 4 C's: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking. Below is the video I wanted to share with you that exemplifies these ideas. I will be sharing it with your students as well and it will serve as a model for all of our work.
- Hale Reservation - Monday, October 21st
- Minuteman National Park - Tuesday, October 29th (Permission Slips came home Friday)
- Conferences October 23rd, 24th & 30th
My apologies again for the long video but I promise it's worth it! Photos seen in the video can be viewed in the gallery below.
Other quick reminders:
- Curriculum Night is this Thursday at 7:00 pm
- Scholastic Book Orders came home Friday. Find a digital copy of the flyer here. If you would like to place an order they are due on 9/30 - please submit them online at scholastic.com/bookclubs
- Picture Day is Tuesday, October 8th - Flyers will come home soon or you can order now online: https://www.coffeepond.com/prepay_enter_order.aspx?school=206&md=add
Important Notes from the Vlog:
- Reading Homework has begun - students are asked to read for 30 to 40 minutes while stopping and jotting notices and ideas.
- Writers notebooks are coming home to be decorated. They do need to be back in class tomorrow but students can take them home again to keep decorating.
- Math is up and going and Home Links have begun to come home as homework.
- Hale Reservation is this Thursday. Find the "How to Dress" sheet here. Long pants, long socks, and long sleeves are your best bet.
Week 1 in the Books
We are off to a wonderful start here in Eightex. We have learned a lot already about how to work together during our 3 team-building challenges: Puzzles, Sonic, and Ball and Cup. Be sure to ask your student what they learned about communication, fairness, and GRIT during these challenges.
While these challenges are fun we need to take the lessons we are learning and apply them to our academics. So while these challenges were going on, we introduced our first group project, where students were tasked with researching the 3 branches of government and creating a bulletin board for our classroom. Figuring out how to share responsibilities, communicate, and get the job done, with academics proved a little more challenging, but after some class reflections got right back on track. Check out the finished board below and ask your student to tell you about how the branches will work in our classroom.
You might also see some Grit stamps coming home today, we will talk more about this at Curriculum Night, but for now ask your student if they earned any today and for what! I will say there were some very impressive things happening during our writing block today!
Below you will see some more pictures from our week! I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend. More blogs and Vlogs coming soon!
Week 1 Vlog