“A grandparent’s love is strong and deep filled with memories to cherish and keep!”
It doesn’t get any better than a beautiful day, grandparents and student artwork! Many attended our annual Art Show and Grandparents’ Day and were treated to visual feast and edible one too! Grandparents were specially invited by their grandchildren to attend attend. We thank our Art Teachers, Ms. Royes and Mrs. Santucci for, once again, for providing such a wonderful show.
One of my favorite units of the year is our unit on quadratics, which we are currently wrapping up in Advanced Algebra. As a fun way to end this unit I split the class into groups and each group launches marshmallows, gummy bears, and balls of clay from mini catapults. The students record the time the object is in the air and the distance the object traveled. With this data the students can create an equation that models the flight of their object. We then move the catapult up 150 cm off the ground and the students adjust their equation to match the new launch position of their catapult. With this new equation they are able to predict where their object will land. A target is placed at that location and they fire away. Each group gets four shots to score as many points as possible (the closer to the bullseye the more points earned) and the group with the most points is the new champion and their names are placed on the coveted Catapult Contest Trophy.
As the year draws to a close (where did the time go!?), we are wrapping up our WWII unit. Special thanks to Mr. Conrad for his collaboration on this and in fact most of our units this year. One of the best parts of teaching at SPS is knowing that our students are viewing key world events through the multiple lenses of our two classes–I feel that it brings history alive in ways that make a huge impact on learning.
During these final days, we’ll be shifting gears from spoken word to some on-demand writing assignments, which are not only a great brain-building activity but also preparation for the types of writing students will be doing in high school and beyond.
Thanks for all your support this year!
Our class is moving through the war and have begun creating individual scrapbooks. The next big step is for students to create their final journal entry of the war. This will be a reflective piece on how their character survived the war and what the future holds. Be sure to check in with your student and ask questions about their character and the war.
Your continued support in your student’s education is greatly appreciated as we approach the end of the year!
Our last unit in 7th grade, Geology, creates a strong foundation for the experiential learning that occurs on our upcoming Mt. St. Helens trip. We study Earth’s processes, then take a deeper look into volcanology and the events leading up to the 1980 eruption. Not only is this trip an incredible opportunity for students to connect with each other and their teachers, but provides a time to put their learning into action in real-world scenarios.
All this week students have been participating in a simulations of the Greek Olympics. Each table group is from a different polis (city-state): Megara, Argos, Athens, Corinth, and Sparta. Each polis has different values and strengths that have been largely formed by their geography. Students are also researching a famous Greek person and learning about how their contributions can still be seen in our modern world. The assessment of this project is IB Criterion B: Investigating.
Students got to choose between Black Ships Before Troy, an abridged version of The Iliad, and an abridged version of The Odyssey. Next week they will form groups and dramatize a section of the book, complete with a script and costumes!
It is hard to believe that fourth grade is beginning our final Core Knowledge unit — The American Revolution. We began this unit discussing why people immigrate to a new country and what conditions lead to a mass movement from their homeland. Students role played as their journey began as colonists boarded ships for a two month journey across the Atlantic to the Pennsylvania Colony. In journal entries, colonists detailed the what, when, where, why and how of their exodus. Once they arrived in the colony they named, planned and built their town (The Seven Hills), chose a governor (Caleb Kitchens/ as William Williams, Jr.), constructed laws and punishments, decided the tax structure and what they deemed important to fund like roads, a school, a jail and an armory.
So far life in the colonies is hard work, but the colonist see the fruits of their labor and are extremely proud of their new home. Each colonist has job, is paid a wage and contributes to the betterment of our town. Unfortunately, conditions are about to change. King George III is running low on funds (from the French and Indian War) and the Proclamations are about to begin. How will the colonists react to all of this taxation without representation?
Kindergarten continues to be full of life. In honor of our Mother’s Day Celebration we made paper bonnets. The students served their mom’s cookies and tea and presented to them their “My Favorite Recipe” Cook Books.
Second graders truly embraced a Growth Mindset when competing in the Noetic Learning Math Contest last month. This 45-minute, 20-question paper/pencil exam put their critical thinking skills to the test as they tackled different types of problems. Leading up to the April exam, students met in small groups to review previous test questions and discuss various solving methods. The goal of the contest was for students to further develop their problem solving strategies and to ultimately understand that math is FUN! The national results were posted beginning of May, so parents and extended family members joined us last week for an awards ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments. This test was optional and out of 15 students, 14 chose to participate! Of the 14, 4 made “National Honorable Mention” (they scored in the top 50% in the country) and our top scorer, Jonas M., received a “Team Winner” medal. Each student who participated demonstrated a powerful shift in their mathematical abilities, Growth Mindset, and overall confidence…all evidence of true accomplishment!
Several weeks were devoted to groups learning various strategies for researching and organizing information about a specific animal. The focus of this Lucy Calkins reading unit of study was more on the process of researching than the creation of an end product. This freed us to invite the students to draw on their creativity to design and present an interactive and engaging way of sharing their research with their peers.
After brainstorming a list of possible ways to share their research findings, the groups presented their learnings through games, scavenger hunts, comics, and nonfiction documentary styled day-in-the life stories, while including key vocabulary and concepts. From here we asked the students to reflect on their group work experiences and identify, “What Makes a Supportive Learning Partner?”. We used these reflections to support additional group work. The students next paired with someone who had studied a different animal and together they identified interdependent relationships that they observed in a video on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park (check it out!!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q. This activity was a springboard for discussing humans’ role and responsibility in our global ecosystem. Students were then challenged to create an image and a powerful message to humans about their responsibility in maintaining the balance of our global ecosystem, told from the point of view of animals (either researched, or observed in the Yellowstone video.)
The concluding piece to this unit will tie back to the individual student’s reflections on his/her own role in maintaining balance in our classroom / school / global ecosystem.