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!