Our 8th graders are working hard translating word problems into mathematical representations. They have mastered many skills thus far, and are applying those skills to solve systems of equations that begin with complex contextual situations. Word problems, at any stage, can be intimidating and overwhelming. These past couple of weeks, the 8th graders have been compiling different methods of solving systems of equations and learning about which methods to apply under certain conditions. With these new skills, they are breaking down multi-level word problems by organizing the information provided and then applying problem-solving strategies. I have seen a recent increase in both productivity and understanding within our 8th grade mathematicians! It has been such a pleasure to see their progress as they prepare to take the next steps into high school. I have full confidence that this class will be well prepared.

The 7th grade mathematicians have entered into a unit of data. They are working hard to understand the realities and limitations of real-world data collection, intrinsic error, representative populations, and the various sampling methods. That’s just the beginning, of course! The real fun begins with data analysis, and your “statisticians” are mastering implementation of the many visual representation tools and how to decipher the story that the data is telling. “Data is just data, let it lead you to valid and reliable inferences” is one of the many phrases they are becoming familiar with, as they work hard to understand the need for objectivity when building their critical analysis skills.

Watchout! Students are brushing up on their arguing skills!

In 5th grade we have wrapped up our Narrative writing unit and are now working on Argumentative Essays. Over the next several weeks students will practice supporting their ideas with sound reasons and relevant examples!

In Reading we are focusing on how to get the most out of nonfiction texts. When analyzing nonfiction, students will be  identifying and discussing a variety of text structures. Nonfiction is amazing because main ideas and supporting details, cause and effect relationships, chronological sequencing and a variety of graphic features can all be found on a single page!

In 6th grade we finished up our Narrative unit and are starting our work on Literary Essays. Kids will be applying the essay structure that they utilized during their 5th grade Argumentative Essay unit, but in this case they will be making arguments about the significance of character traits. Their argumentative success will be based on how well they can support their opinions with quotations and explanations. So, don’t be surprised if you notice an increase in the effectiveness of the way in which your child justifies their need for that new iphoneX!

More than just a fun novelty! Did you know that research shows that having a pet in the classroom can improve empathy, respect, and responsibility? Kobe, our classroom bunny, does all of that and more. The 4th grade students are learning a lot about responsibility because they feed and clean up after him everyday, as well as care for him over the weekends! Kobe also helps the students feel comfortable and excited about learning. Everyday eager students arrive early to pet and play with him before school starts and reading and spelling work suddenly become very special when Kobe decides to join you. If you haven’t met Kobe yet, be sure to come on by to give him some pets and feed him a treat or two.

Third graders are experts! The students celebrated the culmination of their informational writing unit by having an “Expert Fair.” Each student selected a topic on which they knew a lot about, and moved through the writing process to publish their own informational piece of writing. Students learned many different ways to elaborate on their topic, not only learning to include facts, definitions, and other important details, as called for by the third-grade standards, but also reaching for the kinds of elaboration called for by fourth grade-standards. Students also learned various ways to connect paragraphs and chapters across their books, as well as ways to connect words and phrases. Throughout the writing process, third graders learned the importance of being aware of one’s audience, and practiced writing their informational texts in ways that are interesting for the reader! Come by the third grade classroom to check out our expert pieces!

If you want to see persistence in action, come in and visit the second grade classroom. We have read several books about inspirational individuals, such as Ruby Bridges, who persevered despite challenging situations. Then it was time to put these words into action. Thanks to the support of some generous parents in class, we have embarked on a coding adventure. Each Friday, the students take on the second grade course provided by code.org. Through lots of trial and error, they are learning how to give the computer instructions using a whole new ‘lingo.’ But we quickly learned that it isn’t easy and requires a lot of going back and re-thinking our original plans. With persistence, this hard work pays off and creates some pretty fun online experiences!

The first grade class ended their unit on how parents help their offspring survive by comparing and contrasting several mammal species, as well as reptiles species, and finding patterns in the behavior of the parents. Then, last Friday they went to the Reptile Zone to see, hold, and learn more about the reptiles that they had been studying. Our character trait this month is courage, and this was a great opportunity for the students to try something new that may seem scary at first. They held several species of snakes and lizards, and got to see a parent lizard and its offspring.