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?

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