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?

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