Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Feast
Next Monday is the Quest Feast!  I have heard from many of your students estimates of who is coming, and what you are bringing.  We are looking for main dishes, even simple ones such as bread and cheese, or a pasta.  Protein always helps :)  We usually have plenty of desserts!  If you haven't heard from your student, the details are in the first part of this newsletter.

In Questers Without Borders, we have been focusing on regional geography and regional current events.  Students have been researching local geography, culture, community events, and current events, and have been creating collaborative slideshows.  Students are sharing these slideshows with their peers in three different schools in the country.  Students in those schools are sharing their slideshows with us.  We have been connecting with Zoom, Adobe Connect, and our teleconferencing system here at school.  This provides students with the opportunity to interact with their peers in real time.  The schools who are participating are located in Houston, Texas, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Detroit, Michigan.

Language Arts
We are working on our weather unit in Language Arts.  We have completed several close reads, focusing on main ideas and non-fiction summaries.  Students are recording the weather on most days, and have completed several weather maps.  Students are now venturing into creating their own windvanes, focusing on scientific writing, and reflecting on an artistic / engineering pursuit.  We also worked on listening skills by participating in a virtual field trip with scientists on top of Mount Washington.  Students were able to interact with a scientist, and ask questions regarding the work done in the Mount Washington Observatory.  After this experience, students wrote a summary based on what they learned.

Siena Damon is taking the place of Curtis Taylor during the first part of his paternity leave.  Siena is a recent graduate of Harwood High School.  She enjoys horseback riding, and during the summer months works on cattle drives out west!  For the week and a half, Siena will be driving us in our math unit on fractions and estimating.  Mr. Taylor will be back after the holiday break.  Thank-you to Siena for your help!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

December 1st

Student-led Conferences
Kudos to all students and parents that attended student-led conferences last week.  It was great for Questers to be able to share their work from the first trimester as well as their goals for the second trimester.  If you have lingering questions/concerns, feel free to contact us via email or we are happy to set up a meeting.

States Fair
 Thank you to everyone that came out to our first ever States Fair and to Questers for their effort on their research papers and projects!  The support from family and friends was outstanding and and truly made the event special. 

Mr. Taylor's Leave
As of December 10th, I will be home with my wife and new baby until January 5th.  There will be a sub that will be filling my spot to work with Melissa and Diane for the 10 days I am out of the classroom.  We will also have support from our Math Coordinator, Mary Abele-Austin.

We will wrap up our unit on two-dimensional Geometry this week (Test on Wednesday) and begin our fraction unit, which will continue into January.  This unit contains some of the most challenging mathematics for 6th graders.  By the end of the unit, students should be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions.  During the time I am out of the classroom, the sub will be guiding students through lessons that I have planned for Questers.  These lessons will be on the application of addition and subtraction of fractions (most of which I will introduce this week).  There will be plenty of opportunity for students to solidify and extend their understanding through both practice work and extension problems. 

We are working on our unit about the weather.  We have been reading weather maps, barometers, and wind speed, and non-fiction text about the weather.  Students have read through experiments such as "Make it Rain!" and "A cloud in a bottle" and have completed the experiments on their own.  This week we will be learning about the atmosphere, creating barometers, and preparing questions for our virtual field trip to Mount Washington on Monday the 8th!  Next week we will be building weather vanes from found materials.  If you have any wood scraps, dowels, old flower pots, or anything else that looks "weather-vane-ish"  send it in!

In ESB / QWB, we will be focusing on regional history, and current events.  We are planning to teleconference with a couple of classes either this week or next week, and plan to compare and contrast our local history, economics, and geography, with other students' home towns.  Then, we will be comparing local current events, and state current events.  We would love to have a collection of Waterbury Records, and Burlington Free Press or the Times Argus.  If you have any around these next couple of weeks, please send them in!  We will be sprinkling in New England Colonial history throughout December, and then more specifically in January.

Recess Snow Gear
With winter weather upon us, we wanted to make sure students are dressed appropriately for outdoor recess.  Students will be required to have snow boots if they are walking in the snow (off of the pavement).  They also must have snow pants and gloves to sled at recess time.

Holiday Feast

ANNUAL QUEST TEAM HOLIDAY FEAST! We are planning to have our Annual Holiday Feast on Monday December 22nd at 11:00 (10:30 set up) - 11:45/ 12:00.  We ask each student on the Quest Team to bring in a sample (4-6 servings) of a dish that their family enjoys eating – perhaps something traditional – and we have a big potluck lunch. Families and other teachers from around the building are invited to attend. We will have live music, from our students!  We’ll need some adults to help us set up and monitor the feast. So, mark your calendar… we’ll send home official invitations soon! 

Questions to Ask:
How do you measure surface area?  Why would you want to know how to do this?
What were some features of plantations in the southern colonies?
What do you record when you record the weather?
What was one of the other projects for the States Reports?
What was the picture you drew to visualize the middle colonies?

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 7

Demonstrating the hard work that went into building and re-building Jamestown
Fundraiser  We need your help!  Our one and only fundraiser is in progress.  Please see the attached letter.  We will have a thermometer on the team to track our progress.  Cost of Boston field trip is $90.00 per student without fundraising.

Student-Led Conferences- Thank you to everyone who provided feedback regarding upcoming conferences.  With your input, we have decided to continue the Quest tradition of Student-led conferences.  Please know that there will be an opportunity for teacher-led conferences the evening of November25th  conferences for parents who would like a follow up to their student-led conference.  Quest teachers are also available to schedule conferences throughout the year as needed.

ESB- For the next few weeks our focus in ESB moves from the scientific exploration of matter to a more social studies approach to the beginnings of our country. We will bridge our study of Jamestown to the study of Northeast, Middle, and Southern colonies.

QWB Project - This month we have been focusing on our State Reports in QWB.  Students have each chosen a state to research and learn about its culture, history, and geography.  In class, we have completed our research and our first drafts of our states paper.  Students will now be working on a visual to present at the "States Fair" on November 20th.  The goal of the visual should be to convince people to come and visit their state.  Most of the work on these projects will be done at home.  Guidelines can be found here.

States Fair - On November 20th at 9:00am, all family and friends are invited to come to CBMS and take a tour of the Quest States Projects.  Students will have tables set up with their projects and research papers to share. 

Math- We have recently started our new unit in Math, "Covering and Surrounding".  This unit's focus is on 2-D Geometry, which includes the discovery of formulas of area and perimeter of triangles, rectangles, and parallelograms as well as graphing on coordinate grids.  Lots of opportunities to connect to real world applications!

A reminder about goal sheets for Math:  students should be filling these in every night as a way to self-assess their progress in class.  It also gives parents an opportunity to see and discuss the content students are studying each day.

LA - We are wrapping up our study of Jamestown.  We have finished the book Blood on the River, which was a good vehicle for our study of history.  We also completed several close reads, taken from non-fiction text and John Smith's journals.  Our reading focus was main ideas, connections, visualization, key events, and key individuals.  Students also showed much creativity in the various projects we completed in and out of the classroom.  We are now comparing and contrasting select clips of two movies which represent Jamestown, The New World and Pocahontas. Next week we will begin our study of weather!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13

Hello Questers!

We hope you have been able to enjoy this incredible weekend!

ESB:  We are wrapping up our science unit this week.  We have been studying particles (molecules) and how they behave in solids, liquids, and gases.  There have been several hands-on experiments, scientists' circles for discussions, and model building.  We completed an engineering task during which we had to separate "toxic dust" from the environment.  The unknown toxins were glitter and unidentified black specks (iron filings), and our earth was bits of gravel. Our students were very creative in their methods of separating the toxins, and in the process, we ended up with a very glittery classroom.  Go future engineers!

We will continue with our work from LA into ESB, studying the African American experience in the New World.  This will lead into a study of the colonies beginning in November.

QWB:  Next week we will take our western states quiz on Monday, October 20th.  Students will then have a week and a weekend to study for the all states geography test on Monday, October 27th.  We are impressed with the increase in studying, and the increase in grades!  During the week of the 20th, students will be choosing a state to research and study for the rest of October, and the beginning of November.  Students will participate in a States Fair before Thanksgiving.  Details about this to follow.

LA:  Students continue to read Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone.  Some students continue also working on Pocahontas by Joseph Bruchac.  We are learning how the voyages were not so pleasant to the new world, and about the different perspectives of the Native Americans, and the early English settlers.  We have completed two related close reads, one a chapter from a text book regarding Roanoke Colony,  the other the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield.  There will be a project concerning this time period later this month.  This week's POW is regarding fall.  The information for this is attached to the calendar, and is in your student's email.

Math:  Students are currently learning about ratios and rates, and have been challenged to find real world examples of how ratios and rates are used.  Students who come to class with examples will be entered to win a sweet treat!  We are now using Goal Sheets daily, and they are a great way to check to see what students are working on in the classroom.  Students will begin to fill these in at home and reflect on their learning.  Our next areas of study include working with fractions and decimals on number lines as well as the first formal learning of percents.

Quest clothing:  We will be ordering more Quest clothing!  Please look for order forms to be coming home by the end of the week.  They will be due back by the end of the month.

Parent / Teacher / Student Led Conferences:
We are interested in your opinion!  We will be having student - led conferences in the spring.  We would like to know which you prefer for the Fall. We polled people at the Open House, and the vote came in 50 / 50 teacher led vs. student led.  If we have teacher led conferences, please know that each conference will be approximately 10 minutes, and will need to fit to a tight schedule.  Please fill out the form at the following link so we know your vote!  Please fill it in, even if you filled one out during conferences.  Click here for the link.

Questions to ask:
What strategy did you use to separate the "toxic dust"?
How are ratios and rates used in the real world?
Which Quest students left CBMS?
How are the particles in solids, liquids, and gases different?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14

Northern Lights

We had an excellent field trip to Northern Lights center in Essex, Vermont.  Students and staff participated in low ropes elements, in which we practiced our team work, and got used to our harnesses.  We participated on a variety of climbing walls, including one with a wooden bridge on which students could walk and toss rings to each other, forty feet up in the air.  We also were able to go up into the trees, and participate in elements far above the ground.  The zip line was a great way to end the high ropes elements.

We are very proud of our students.  Students were supportive of each other, cheering each other on, and helping out with encouraging words.  Many students faced fears of heights head on.  Others realized their limits, and knew when to stop.  Some took the opportunity of their love of heights to push themselves to different limits, and to learn how to encourage others who did not share this love of heights!

It was a beautiful day, and we are very happy to have spent it with our students at Northern Lights.

Photos from the trip.


Students have been focusing on writing Personal Narratives.  Our instruction has included general structure of a personal narrative, different brainstorming techniques, sensory language and transitions.  This week we will look more closely at paragraph writing.

For reading, students are working on their independent reading books.  We are writing "book entries," for which the students write about their books, and I respond.  The students are being tested this week for their level of reading using the DRA.  I am testing them one at a time.

Next week we will we begin our more intensive reading unit.  We will be reading Blood on the River 1607 by Elisa Carbone.  This is a novel about the founding of Jamestown, the first successful American colony.  We will be learning history and literature standards together in this unit. All students will read primary source material to compare it to the readings from the books.  Some students will read both this title and Pocohontas  by Joseph Bruchac side by side.  This will give them the perspective of this topic from two different authors (Joseph Bruchac, a Native American includes more primary source materials from the Powhatan).  Other titles for the year will be discussed at Back-to-School-Night.

In Questers Without Borders, students will begin to learn the geography of the United States.  We will have a geography quiz each Monday starting September 22nd.  Students will label and color maps of the Northeast United States tomorrow with the quiz coming a week later.

We are in our final week of the first session of iBlock.  Starting September 22nd, the iBlock groups will be shuffled and most students will begin a new area of work.  With the goal of addressing each student's individual needs during this time, we surveyed Questers to get their input about what their academic needs were.  We will use this information along with assessment data and teacher observation to make our decisions about placement.  iBlock sessions will usually last between 3-6 weeks depending on the area of study.

We ended our study of culture with groups of students creating their own restaurants based on a country of their choosing.  This week, our ESB will take a more scientific bent with the study of gases, and then liquids and solids.

Students just completed the first investigation of 6th grade around factors and multiples.  If your student struggled with this unit, here is a link for multiplication apps that can help as a refresher.  There are also help videos linked to the Quest webpage.  We will continue this unit as we explore common factors, common multiples, and factorization.

Students have a unit project, "My Favorite Number", due on October 1st.  Guidelines for this project can be found here.  The goal of this project is for students to be using vocabulary that we have learned in class.  The rest of the project is up to their imagination and creativity.

Back to School Night
Back to School Night is on Thursday, September 25th.  The night will run from 6:15-8:00.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Questions to ask your student
What are you working on during iBlock?
What is the difference between factors and multiples?
What is your personal narrative about?  (The one you are writing in school?)
During your restaurant project, what culture did you study?
What number did you choose for your math project?
What is sensory language?
What was your favorite obstacle at Northern Lights?

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1

Hello Quest Families!
Welcome Back!!
Here are some nuts and bolts of the start of September:

Field Trip
Next Tuesday, September 9th, the Quest team will be heading up to Essex, VT to participate on the Northern Lights Rock and Ice Challenge Course.  Here is a link for more details about what students should bring on the trip.  We almost have all of our permission slips in, so thank you for your effort in getting this returned.

This Tuesday, September 2nd, marks the beginning of our first iBlock session. The Quest iBlock will take place from 12:30-1:00 every day.  At this time, Quest students will have access to 10 CBMS staff members, who will deliver small group instruction based on student need. This session will last 3 weeks.  First session iBlock classes include Guidance, Band, Independent Research, Challenge Math, Reading Support, Math Review, Organization, Study Skills, and Writing Support.  iBlock is a school wide initiative, with each team receiving it's own block of time for access to these teachers.

Homework Board
Just like last year, homework can be found on the Quest Homework Board as well as in your student's planners.  Students will be required to write down assignments in their planner each day, so please check here first.  If a student is absent, left their planner at school, or happen to forget to write down an assignment, they will be listed on the Homework Board on the Quest website.

Our first unit in ESB began last week with a study of 'Culture'.  Students brought their own experiences along with knowledge from last year's Music class to create a definition of culture and what it looks like in our country.  We will continue to study culture this week through a project in which students create their own culturally sensitive fast food restaurant.  Our next unit will focus on the properties of matter.

This year we will be using the Connected Mathematics Program along with other resources to cover the Common Core standards in Mathematics.  We started our first unit, Prime Time (Factors and Multiples), and students completed their first homework assignment.  Here is a helpful link for parents who are new to the Connected Math Program.  This link also provides great questions to ask your student if you are helping with homework.  If there is a point when your student reaches an unhealthy level of frustration, feel free to stop and send a note/email in with your student's homework.  This shows that your student took responsibility for their work and was able to communicate their need for help.  Most assignments come with an 'Extension' for those students needing an extra challenge.  If your student is breezing through assignments, encourage them to try the extension problems.  Students will receive homework in Math 3-4 times a week and can be expected to spend about 20-40 minutes on each assignment. 

Language Arts

We will begin our year with writing personal narratives.  I have been reading memoirs aloud, and we have been noting what makes for good memoir writing.  For the next week, students will be collecting stories from their lives and writing them in their notebooks.  The POW for this week is in regards to this writing unit. We will also be looking at our independent reading books, and preparing book shares for the class.  In two weeks, we will merge Language Arts and Social Studies to read Blood on the River, 1607.  There will be other books available to read with this book including Pocahontas by Joseph Brucahc and Morning Girl by Michael Dorris.  Students will be in small book groups to discuss the history learned in these books, and to decipher corresponding primary sources.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22

Hello Quest Families!

Welcome to 6th grade!   We are looking forward to getting the school year started with Quest students!  Our new Quest planners ($3.50 per student) have arrived and look fantastic.  New to CBMS this year is iBlock, which will be time each day when students will meet with teachers in smaller groups to address individual goals/needs.  More information to follow.

We are excited to let you know that the Quest team will be taking a field trip on Tuesday, September 9th to Northern Lights Rock and Ice in Essex, VT.  We will be leaving school at 8:00 and returning at 2:00.  Students and teachers will be participating on the ‘challenge by choice’ course as well as completing team building activities.  Through challenges involving group problem solving and personal goal setting, Questers will have the opportunity to grow as both a team and as individuals.  

Attached to this packet are three forms that need to be filled out and returned to Quest teachers by August 29th in order for each student to participate.   We are also asking for each student to contribute $10 towards the cost of the trip.  Please let us know if this is a problem and we can help cover the cost.

Thank you for all of your support,
Melissa, Diane, and Curtis

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6

Hello Quest Families!

Field Trip 
On Tuesday, June 17th, Quest students will be taking an end of year field trip to the Reservoir.  Here is a link to the permission slip which is due on Wednesday, June 11th.  Students will be participating in team building activities in the morning and have free time in the afternoon.  Please see the permission slip for information about what to pack.

Step Up Day 
Quest students participated first ever "Quest Step-Up Olympics."  We had relay races, tug-of-war, and capture the flag!  Many students then helped in the cafeteria as "lunch ambassadors."  They sat with the incoming fifth graders to answer their questions.

Talent Show
On Wednesday, June 18th, Questers will have their final team talent show as 5th graders.  This will take place at the end of the day at the outdoor classroom. 

Human Body Websites
For the past few weeks, students have been busy learning about different systems of the human body, careers in the health field, and ways to keep our bodies healthy.  The culminating project of this unit is a website that students have been designing in small groups.  The bulk of the website work has been completed during ESB class time.  At this point, students are to finish their websites during Guided Study or at home.  Students are also welcome to work on these websites after school.  Here is a link to the requirements for the websites.

Last Day of School
On Thursday, June 19th, students will be headed to the pool for most of the day.  At the pool area, students will be able to play different games such as basketball and soccer, as well as swim in the pool.  The first 45 minutes of the day will be spent on teams, closing out the year.  After team time, students will travel with their AGs to the pool.  They will return from the pool with their AGs as well.

Last Week of Homework
Next week  (6/9-6/13) will be the last week for homework assignments.  We will not be assigning homework during the final week of school.

Students have been exploring growing patterns with their first introduction to using variables in mathematics.  This unit involves making tables, graphs, and writing expressions with variables.  We will finish this unit next week.  During the later half of the week, students will be working an engineering task with a partner.  They will have to design and build a skyscraper using only certain materials.

We are finishing the year creating book trailers for our favorite books of 2013-2014.  We are creating these trailers using iMovie.  Students will be expected to read five books over the summer.  We are creating these trailers with the intention that students might get some ideas on what to read for the summer!  The trailers will be linked to the library website, and some will be included in next year's DCF introduction.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16th

Hello Quest Families!

In ESB, students are studying one of the Human Body Systems.  We are building 3 dimensional models!  We had planned on having students bring items from their recycling bins at home to make these models, but the students had other plans!!  They were all a buzz when someone mentioned edible systems!!  Going along with the enthusiasm, I piped in, how they could make edible systems out of items such as kale and celery! but I don't think anyone is jumping at that opportunity.....If you have been asked to go shopping for items that look like the heart, that is for this in class project.  We will be completing it on this coming Monday.

To encourage healthy habits, students will be taking the information they learn about their systems, and will be interviewing experts about how the systems work together, and how they can keep these systems healthy.  These interviews are occurring on Wednesday morning.  However.....

We need more people to interview!!

Do you have expertise in any of the following?
  • Fitness
  • Health care
  • Nutrition
  • Mental health
  • Circulation
  • Digestion
Are you a(n):
  • EMT
  • Nurse
  • Health practioner
  • Doctor

Do you have time on Wednesday between 8 and 9:45 to be interviewed?

If so, please let us know!  We would LOVE to have you come :)  Just email Curtis, Melissa, or Jen Hill, and we will have it arranged!

LA:  The Word Study unit continues!  Each day students are working on spelling, a word project, or vocabulary / comprehension in Small Steps.  There will be a test each Friday.  Details about the test (spelling list, roots to know for the week) will be linked to the homework board.

Quest Clothing:  The Quest clothing came in, and it looks great!  We will put in another order in the fall if you would like to order, and were unable to this time around!

Homework: We have had some troubles getting homework in from students.  On Friday afternoons, we have implemented a time for either extra recess, or time for those students to do finish homework that did not get finished during the week.  If your student needs reminding, please have them check their planner, or the homework board.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 9th

 Teacher Appreciation Week
Thank-you so much for an amazing Teacher Appreciation Week.  From breakfast to lunch, and enough snacks to fill us in between, we were glowing with praise for our PTO and all who contributed to the feasts.  We felt well cared for, and well appreciated.  Thank-you!

Greek Plays
The drama unit was a success!  Students did very well putting on the two plays last week.  We were very proud of their hard work, and their collaboration with each other.  Thank you to all who could make it to see the plays!  If anyone has any photos / videos from these, we would love to see them!

Spelling/Word Study
This last LA unit of the year focuses primarily on spelling and word study.  Students have begun reading Small Steps by Peg Kehret.  This book is a biography of a girl who is diagnosed with polio.  It is a well loved book, and it is a nice fit with our human body unit.  We will be focusing primarily on vocabulary in context with this book, as well as drawing details from a text.  Students will be working in a variety of groups, as well as working independently to complete written assignments.  Students who finish the book early will be reading historical fiction books regarding the Middle Ages.

Students have begun spelling tests.  Students have individual lists which they should study for a test each Friday.  I have chosen words based on words they will most likely use in their writing.  Students will be completing various exercises on these words including dictionary use, synonyms, and different types of sentences using the words.  Originally, the words were going to be based on a pretest, but many students are begging me to "just give me a list!" so we will see if we can come to some sort of compromise!

The POW this week is a Project of the Week based on a word root to which they will be assigned this Monday.  The project is due Friday, although they will have time on Monday to work on it.  Students will begin teaching these word roots to their classmates beginning on Monday, May 19th.  Four students will teach each Monday.  The following Friday, the 23rd, students will be quizzed on their spelling words as well as the four word roots taught in the beginning of the week.  The word roots will be posted on the Homework Board.  The following week, there will be an idiom project which students will complete instead of their regular POW.

Vocabulary, responding to text, reading, spelling, sentence structure, word roots, and idioms will take up our month of May in LA!

Book Orders
Mrs. LaRock distributed book orders last week.  These are due this Friday, May 16th.

Students who have penpals in Poland received cards this past week.  We forwarded our personal biographies to a class in Ghana who will be choosing epals to match the students in their class.  We will be exchanging recipes with them soon!

Human Body Unit
For the past two weeks, students have been studying cells.  Students have been using microscopes to see a variety of cells, and have been using stop animation to demonstrate the transfer of materials through the cell membrane.
On Monday, we will be starting a project based learning unit on the systems of the human body.  Students will become experts with one of the systems of the human body and work with a health plan group to develop a website.  Throughout this unit, students will also be participating in social learning with a focus on developing skills for working in groups. 

We have been focusing on solidifying our multiplication strategies in Math this week.  Thank you to all adults who took the time to explain their strategies to Questers.  By the end of this year, students should have an efficient strategy for multiplying multi-digit numbers (standard algorithm-the way most of us were taught OR the partial products method).  Next week we will refine our long division strategies with a focus on place value and number sense.  Students will not be introduced to the standard algorithm for division until 6th grade.  They are still at the point of sense making. 

Questions to ask:
When is your chorus or band concert?
What did you see under the microscope?
What is stop-motion animation (Cell membrane project)?
What is Small Steps about?
Do you prefer the standard algorithm or partial products for multiplication?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15

Hello Quest Families!

The Plays:
The Odyssey (Blue Group) will perform on Thursday, May 1st at 9:00.  The Greek Heroes (Red Group) will perform on Friday, May 2nd at 9:00.  All are welcome!  We will perform these plays in the cafeteria.

Ferry Beach:
We had a fantastic time visiting the shores of the Maine Coast last week as well as local adventures at the Audubon Center.  Students had a chance to explore a variety of ecosystems by getting their hands (and faces) dirty!  We are all very proud of the Quest students, who did a great job representing their school, classrooms, and themselves.  This experience helped us grow as a team and as individuals.  On Friday, we will be watching a slideshow to reflect on all of the great memories made during Ecology Week.

Missing school:
At this point, we have twelve students who will be missing days around the April break.  We also have 5 - 6 students who have been ill!  While your student is out, your student misses a complex web of whole class instruction, small group discussion, group work and independent reflection.  We are often asked for "packets of work" for time missed.  Instead, we will post the objectives of our lessons on our calendar.  Please have your student check in with us upon their return for any additional work they will need to catch up on.  We will post for the end of this week, and for the week after break.

Missing work: We have a number of students who are missing work.  We will be emailing parents over the next week or so if your student is in that situation.  You can also check PowerSchool to get this information.

Green Up Day:  
On May 2nd, Quest students will be participating in our very own Green Up Day.  This will take place from 12:40-2:15 at and around CBMS.  We will also be greening up along River Road  We are looking for parent volunteers to help us clean up for Spring.  Please email Melissa or Curtis if you are interested in joining.

Enjoy the rest of your April vacation!!

Quest Teachers

What was your favorite meal from Ferry Beach?
Do you have any missing work?
What is your strategy for multiplying decimals?
What book are you reading for independent reading?

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24

Displaying photo.JPG

Hello Questers

A big thank you to everyone that made it out for student-led conferences!

Quest Clothing
We will be ordering lovely Quest clothing designed by Siena Mazer (with assistance from Emilee Semprebon and Morgan Longe).  Order forms will be sent home with students later this week. Order Form

Astronomy Test
On Thursday, students will have their end of unit Astronomy test.  Students all have a study guide that was created as a class.  Please review this study guide before the test on Thursday.

Ferry Beach 
Ferry Beach is only 2 weeks away!  A packing list will be sent home with your student this week.  Please let us know when/if questions arise about this trip.  Ferry Beach health forms are due at the end of the week.  We are in the process of placing students in dorm groups as well as study groups.  Both of these groups will consist of only Quest students.  They will have dining groups that will be a mix of Quest, Dream, and Wizard students. 

Students were working on a "Shop Until You Drop" assignment this week, and showed an amazing amount of thoughtfulness when pretend shopping for their families!  We will continue to work with decimal numbers for the next couple of weeks.

Ancient Greece Projects
On Thursday, students presented their Ancient Greece Festival projects.  Students did a fantastic job on these projects.  The progress students made from their Bones and Stones projects was clear.

Questions to ask your student:

What was your favorite Ancient Greece project (not your own)?
What constellation's myth are you researching?
What color are the Quest shirts?
What gifts did you buy for your "Shop Until You Drop" assignment?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 12

Newsletter for March 12

Hello Questers!

We hope you are all well and if you had to travel, that your travels were safe.

Ferry Beach:  Yesterday, March 18th, two green papers should have come home with all Quest students.  One of the papers was information about the PTO plant sale fundraiser.  The other paper was a health form to be filled out for our Ferry Beach trip.  Please make sure this form is filled out and returned to us at school. 

Genius Hour:  During the last block of each day, students have certain choices.  If a student is not involved in the music opportunities at CBMS, they are asked to read, and do homework.  There is one other choice, and that is Genius Hour.  Students are able to choose a topic they feel passionately about.  They are then given time to research this topic, and to create a presentation for others.  If your student has Guided Study, you might ask them what they might want to work on for Genius Hour!

Coding and Programming:   One of these Genius Hours is taking off.  Beck is beginning to lead classes at the end of the day in coding and programming. (either Mrs. Williams or Mr. Taylor is also in the room) These classes will be offered on Tuesdays and Fridays during Music Block.  Students can choose to be in one or the other, or both if they are available and have their work up to date.  Many students have already signed up for these times to learn about coding and programming, and Beck has shown some excellent teaching skills!  If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to email.

Drama Unit:  The drama unit is up and running!  A reminder to all students (except for the narrators) that lines need to be memorized by March 20th.  Many students have been working on their lines, and some students are "off script."  We are working on developing personal responsibility with this unit.  If a student with a lead role does not memorize the majority of his/ her lines by this time, a replacement may be found for that student's role.

Students have been assigned a production team as well as a speaking role.  Production teams include props, set, costumes, and publicity.  Students are working in these groups to problem solve and devise lists of items we will need to create.  We will begin to create the props, set, costumes, and publicity at the end of this week.  Students may be scrounging around for props such as fake food, or some old sheets, but we do not need anything too fancy for the play!  If you have any interest in helping with any of these teams, let me know! 

Bake Sale: 
Our bake sale was a success!  We earned approximately $150 towards costumes and props for our play.  Thank you to all who sent in goodies!  Thank you to Amelia, Sarah, Ellie, and Eva, and our other student leaders who organized the sale!

Student-led Conferences:  Our conferences will take place on Wednesday, March 19th.  Please make sure to sign up online to hold your spot for the conference.  You can do this on the CBMS homepage.  The sign up deadline is Friday, March 14th.  Don't forget to bring your student to these student-led conferences.

ESB Festival Project:  Students have been developing the beginnings of their Ancient Greek Festival Projects in school.  The remainder of the project should be completed at home.  These projects and their presentations are due on Wednesday, March 19th.  Guidelines for the project can be found on the Quest-Ancient Greece webpage.

Math:  We are in the midst of our unit on decimals.  Students have been exploring the meaning of decimal numbers through ordering and comparing these types of numbers.  Decimals are everywhere, and I encourage you to find examples in your daily lives.  Here are links to different websites that can help students practice at home (Comparing Decimals, Rounding Decimals).

Mr. Weekly is back and #8 is due on Tuesday, March 18.  There will be quiz retakes on Friday, March 14th for students wanting to improve on their first attempt.  Here is a copy of the old quiz for students wanting to review some of the question types. 

Homework Board:
Our Homework Board is improved!  We are now using a Google calendar to map out assignments.  We hope this is helpful with the increase in long term assignment.  Click on any of the assignments to see a description.  Moon journals!  POWs!  Festival projects!  Mr. Weekly!  It's all there.

Questions to ask your student:
What is your Festival Project?
What is one of your lines for the play?
Who won the staff vs. students basketball game?  :)
What is a moon journal?  What do you do if you can't see the moon?
What causes a solar eclipse?
Where are decimals used in our day-to-day lives?
Are you retaking the decimals quiz on Friday?

Happy Snow Day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4 Newsletter

March 4, 2014

Hello Questers!

We hope you have had a restful vacation, and that you have been able to stay warm!

Of note:

Drama Unit:
Questers are embarking on their fifth grade drama unit.  There are two plays for our Quest students.  They both correspond with our Greece / Astronomy / Mythology Unit.  One of the plays is The Odyssey - adapted for middle school students!  This is a journey with Odysseus and his men through the dangers of his travels home from Troy (cyclopses, the Sirens, ...)  The other play is called Perseus and Theseus.  I (Mrs. Williams) wrote this - adapted from the book many students are reading called Greek Heroes.  This is about the adventures of these two Greek heroes as they travel on a particular quest.

We are conducting two plays so each student will be able to have a role, and will be able to be a part of the play.  In addition to memorizing lines, and working together to perform, students will be a part of one of the production groups.  These groups include: props, costumes, publicity, set, and sound effects.  If you have talents in any of these dramatic categories, and would like to help out, please let me know.

The production of the play will be during the first week back from April Break.  The Odyssey will perform on Thursday, May 1st at 9:00, and the Greek Heroes will perform on Friday, May 2nd at 9:00 AM.  It will be a low key event, with parents and families welcome.  We will perform in the cafeteria.  Be sure to ask your student which play he/she is in if you plan on attending!

Bake Sale:
To help raise money for our drama unit, we will have a bake sale.  The bake sale will be happening this Friday, March 7th at 1:30.  We would love baked goods!  If you or your student is able to bake, you may drop these treats off at any time before 1:30 on Friday.  Thank-you for your support.

Student Led Conferences:
These will be happening on Wednesday, March 19th.  They will be in the same format as we had in the fall, where your student will lead you through a conversation of their portfolio.  Sign ups for this can be found on the CBMS homepage, and will open on March 8th.

Festival Project
Although we are learning about astronomy during our ESB section of the day, students should still be thinking about their Festival projects.  These are due on March 20th.  If you are not sure what these projects are, please visit our ESB page :)  We will be reminding the students this week, and will be developing a plan for them.

Ferry Beach / Ecology Week
Our Ferry Beach Trip is happening in a little more than a month.  We will begin our study of beach ecology during ESB after our Greece / Astronomy unit.  Let us know if / when questions arrive.

PTO - Thank-you!
After a rocky ride with the cheaper of the Aubuchon's sleds, students were sliding on mere fragments.  Thank-you to the PTO for  purchasing us four Mad River Rockets!  They will survive any winter, snowy or not! 

That's about it for now!  Let us know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 4 Newsletter

One of our fantastic Ancient Egypt dioramas!  Now it's off to Ancient Greece and Astronomy!

Hello Questers!

The following is a newsletter for the week.

Ancient Greece Quiz

There will be a quiz on Thursday about the learning thus far in our new ESB unit.  Students will have to label different city-states on a map (Athens, Megara, Corinth, Sparta, Ithaca, and Troy).  They will also have to answer questions about some of the quiz cards they have been studying in class.

Map to study
Quiz Cards to study

Geometry Quiz

There will be a quiz on triangles and quadrilaterals on Friday.  Students will be responsible for understanding the following vocabulary words:  isosceles, scalene, equilateral, rhombus, parallelogram, rectangle, square, acute, obtuse, right.

Valentine's Day

Due to popular request, we will be having a Valentine's Day party next Friday!  This may look a bit different from elementary parties in that it is optional for students to bring in Valentines.  Many students want to bring them in!  We will not have "mailboxes" for these, but students are welcome to pass them out individually while we play some games and watch a movie.  If your student would like to bring them in, I recommend they do not write individual names on them, as it is easier to pass them out without the names.  If they would like to put names on them, that is very nice, and we can help to make sure they are distributed.

We would love some snacks!  If you are able to send in a drink, a snack, or a Valentine treat, please email us and we will put Mrs. LaRock on the coordination.  We won't need something from everyone, just enough to keep it festive.  Although the students insisted on all sugar, all candy! we could do with a cheese and cracker plate somewhere in the mix.  Thanks for your help with this!

Drama Unit

We have begun our Ancient Greece drama unit!  Students have been reading scripts, and choosing roles for two plays:  The Odyssey (kid's version) and The Greek Heroes (I wrote this one based on a book they are reading in class).  Many students would like some of the lead roles!  There will be auditions early next week.  For the auditions, students will need to read some of the lines from their role from the stage.  I will have a couple of people help me determine who should have the part.  If your student is interested in one of the leads, encourage him / her to project, project, project, as that is the most challenging part with a play for fifth and sixth grade students!

I will announce parts by the end of next week.  Students will have a couple of weeks to practice their lines before we begin rehearsals.  Rehearsals will happen during our LA block.  During the time students are practicing their lines, and throughout the unit itself, we will also be reading from our Greek mythology books.

Questers Without Borders

A poster regarding the languages of your student's continent is due this Thursday.  Many are coming along very nicely!

Questions to ask your student:

  • What part are you interested in for the Greek play unit?
  • What is one foreign word from a country in your continent?
  • What Greek polis are you in for the Greek unit?
  • What are the Quiz cards for the quiz on Thursday?

Let us know if you have any questions for us!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 24 Newsletter

Hello Questers!

Here is the latest news!

Ferry Beach

We had a good turn out for our parent informational meeting for the Ferry Beach trip.  In conjunction with this meeting, we talked with our students about the trip, and their questions, ranging from "What video can we bring for the bus?" to "Are the meals good?"  In order to give us time to plan for this, the deadline for informing us that your child will not be able to attend the Ferry Beach trip is Friday, February 7th, and you can let us know by e-mailing Tom Drake at

Questers Without Borders
We are officially on our third session of our "Questers Without Boarders" project.  Above is a link for the official QWB website and helpful links to all related assignments.  Students presented "Resources" Google Presentations of their continents on Thursday in their Geography groups.  This week we will focus on the languages of our continents.  Here are the guidelines for the week.

This week will mark the end of our Ancient Egypt in Motion unit and the beginning of our study of Ancient Greece and Astronomy.  Students will be be working in small groups throughout this unit, which will include an exploration of the history and culture of Ancient Greece as well as the interactions of the earth, moon, and sun.


Students ended the week with a quiz on multiplying fractions.  Our focus will stay on fractional reasoning, as this is one of the most important math topics for 5th graders.  We have built an understanding of the multiplication of fractions.  Here is a series of videos that may be helpful when working with your student at home.

Mr. Weekly help videos are now linked to the Quest website.  There will be NO Mr. Weekly this week.  Instead, students will be working on a fractions poster at home.  The guidelines can be found on the Quest webpage.  


Congratulations to Sarah Bartolomei and Ashley Proteau for representing the Quest Team at the School Wide Bee last week!   Good work Questers!

Language Arts

We have concluded our Ancient Egypt reports and dioramas.  Students used Google Research and learned how to cite sources using this tool.  We will continue to work with citing sources in the upcoming months.  Our POW for the week is to edit these reports.

 Students also participated in a diorama project for their Ancient Egypt topics. The dioramas look fabulous!  Now, we are moving into Ancient Greece, and our mythology / drama unit.

Questions to ask your student:

  • What did you put in your diorama?
  • What did you need to edit for your report?
  • What polis are you in for the Greek studies?
  • What are some of the languages spoken on your continent?
  • What will the theme be for your fraction poster?

Let us know if you have any questions!

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6 Newsletter

Hello Questers!
Happy New Year!

 We are diving into our Ancient Egypt in motion unit!  This is a completely interdisciplinary unit, and we are excited about the lessons and learning to come!

During the ESB time, students will be doing various experiments regarding motion and ancient Egypt.  We completed one regarding moving "pyramid stones" up ramps, and on Wednesday, we will be giving our "Chariots" a try.  (Please help your student to remember his/ her snow gear that day). We will also be creating physical maps of Ancient Egypt. 

 During LA block, students will be completing a Project Based Learning assignment in which they will be researching a particular topic with a small group, writing an individual paper, and completing a small group diorama to fit in the glass case at the end of the hallway. 

Research skills:  Students will all be reading Everything Ancient Egypt, a National Geographic book about our study. 
Students will also be learning keyword searches on selected search engines, and how to find a rich source for research.  We will begin citations with this paper as well.  The work for this unit will be done in class, but I will add photos of the completed dioramas to a newsletter!

Math:  Students will continue to explore fraction operations through number line activities and math games.  By next week, we will be jumping into fraction multiplication with an emphasis on understanding the mathematics through modeling.  Mr. Weekly #4 will be passed out on Tuesday and is due on 1/14.

Questers Without Borders
For the second half of this year,  students will be taking part in a geography project entitled “Questers Without Borders.”  Questers Without Borders will challenge your student to understand one continent in depth, and several continents in overview.  The students have chosen their continent, and have been put in groups with other students who are studying other continents.  

Students will be given a new geography ‘theme’ every other week to help focus their presentations.  They will begin their work each in class.  The presentation will take place the following week, with the intention that the project is finished at home.  It is incredibly important that students are prepared each week for their presentations as they are accountable to their group members.  At this point, the presentations are in a blue book, called their "passport."  Eventually, we will include other methods of presentation including  powerpoint/google presentation, summary/word document, poster/visual, drawings, and other artistic representations. 

The first assignment, due this Thursday, is completing a map that shows physical features of the continent they chose.  Students should select 5 - 10 of the following to label on their continent's map in their passports.
oceans / seas
highest point

This will be presented to the small groups on Thursday, January 9th. 

Other items:  There will be an evening meeting about the Ferry Beach Field Trip on Thursday, January 23rd at 6:30.

Questions to ask your student:
What continent will you be focusing on for your Questers Without Borders?
Have you looked at the comments on your narrative?  What will you edit first?
What is your small group going to work on for the LA Ancient Egypt Diorama assignment?
How did your group sort the fraction cards?

Have a good week!