The fifth grade class has moved on from studying how scientists think (The Scientific Method) to understanding how matter and energy flow through ecosystems. Currently, the class is delving into a Biome/Ecosystem Mural Project featuring:
- 12 animals common to their biome. Including at least one insect, one bird, one reptile, and one mammal.
- At least 6 plants common to the biome.
- A world map: coloring in the places where their biome is located.
- A description of the basic characteristics of their biome. Average temperature (summer/winter) and the average precipitation per year.
- Labelled abiotic factors found in their biome. Also an explanation of how these abiotic factors are used or needed by the biotic factors in their biome.
- A description of the adaptations of two plants on their mural and how those adaptations allow the plant to survive in its biome.
- A description of the adaptations of three animals on their mural and how those adaptations allow the animal to survive in its biome.
- The identification of at least three different decomposers found in their biome.
- Finally, the creation of a labelled food web of plants and animals found in their biome.
This will be one intensive hands-on project that requires students to apply all of the concepts they are currently learning in a creative and interesting way.
Wow! What an eventful week in 5th grade. The kids started off the week with a few quiet, focused, all-business NWEA testing sessions. As the week progressed, we finished the novel Hatchet and began to prepare for our culminating boat-racing project. Using only cardboard and a limited amount of duct tape, the kids had to build boats that would (hopefully) carry their entire team across the length of a swimming pool. The teams of three, spent time discussing boat design, drawing models, making prototypes and finally creating their team boats. The action at the swimming pool was positive, encouraging and supportive as teams cheered each other on regardless of the nautical success of the boats. Many ships sank, but everyone had a great time! This 5th grade class feels like a team that we could do anything with. Good thing, since this week we are all off to Camp Tamarack for yet another adventure.
Design with Mr. Lenz & Mr. Seehausen
Our upper school students are lucky in that they get to come to the lab 3 days a week. We dove straight into teaching the upper school students the proper workflow in order to use our laser cutter. This involves learning Adobe Illustrator, a powerful and equally complex design program that is used to create projects the laser cutter can understand. Our 5th, 7th, and 8th grade students tackled Illustrator and learned the basics by designing personal bookmarks as well as class norms posters to hang in their classroom. Each student got to have their bookmark design “printed” on the laser cutter, and the top 4 class norms posters were voted on and “printed” as well. With this basic Illustrator skill-set, students have a great foundation for digitally designing their future projects and are ready to acquaint themselves with the other tools in the lab.
Our 5th and 6th grade classes also completed the egg drop challenge. Over two days the students came to the design lab and designed an enclosure that would protect an egg from a 10 ft fall. Having both done the challenge before, we were impressed by the creative solutions that were prototyped in the lab.
Science with Mrs. Boyd
We have jumped right into the action this week in science class with me. For our first full week of school we have been delving into the big idea: What do scientists do and how do scientists think (The Scientific Method)? On Monday, the class observed two different specimens: worms, cherry tomatoes, crawfish, raspberry branches, and a selection of fossils. On day two, we formulated a testable question based on their previous observations. On Wednesday, we developed a hypothesis and designed an experiment to test our answer. Next, each student wrote a procedure, conducted an experiment and collected data. Finally, we had to draw conclusions and communicate our results to our peers. This was a very hands-on week of thinking and behaving like scientists. As Confucius says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
This week in science, we will conduct the Egg Drop experiment following the Design Cycle with the extra guidance and expertise of our 7th and 8th science teacher, Ms. Brannon. Watch out, it could get messy!!!!
In other news, Ms. Wenndorf and I will be heading to the coast with the 6th grade class Monday,September 25-Thursday, September 28. Mrs. Ferchland and Mr.Wenger will be covering all of the 5th grade classes while we are away.
Math with Ms. Wenndorf
I have so enjoyed getting to know this great group of 5th grade mathematicians! For the last week, we have been engaging in mathematical exploration, learning what it means to have a productive, mathematical mindset, and explicitly learning how to be a productive team member. Beginning Monday, we will dive into the 5th grade math curriculum, which begins by exploring foundational concepts of place value. You can expect homework to come home nightly (except Fridays), which will reinforce concepts taught in class, and include review questions that spiral back to important skills students tend to forget. Please join me in encouraging your student to take their time, think deeply, and communicate their thinking.
SEL with Amy Parks
Upper School started their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons on Fridays. SEL is the process of developing the fundamental life skills needed to effectively and ethically handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, in other words, developing the whole child. Our first lessons focused on the science behind SEL and the connection between our breath and our brains. We watched Dr. Dan Seigel show us his hand model representation of our brain/body connection and the need to be able to calm ourselves. You can see it here: Dan Seigel Hand
Students practiced communication, trust, and patience with many movement activities such as untangling themselves from a group knot, supporting each other in partner activities and learning to power through a challenging activity as they drew a star while looking at it only through a mirror. The focus is caring for ourselves and caring for others.
Benefits mentioned by students at the end of class were feeling more calm and connected! We will continue to build community, compassion for ourselves and others, and learn ways to stay focused as emotional or difficult things come up in their lives.
Welcome to the Upper School, 5th graders! Your teachers will be eagerly waiting for you in the commons at 7:50 on Wednesday morning, ready to hand you your schedule and your locker combination. Mrs. Boyd will be your homeroom teacher, so you’ll be starting your day with a familiar face in a new classroom (okay, 3 familiar faces if you include Mrs. Ferchland and M.C. Flufferton). We will be providing all the supplies you need, but please bring a backpack and a lunch to keep in your locker. We can’t wait to see all your smiling faces, and welcome our new 5th graders, Annika and Kennady!
Bienvenidos! I am looking forward to seeing you all following a super busy and fun-filled summer. I’m excited to start off this year with you and look forward to sharing our new Spanish classroom, which I designed with each one of you in mind! We have a great year planned with a lot of new vocabulary to learn, conversations to share and cultures to experience! Hasta luego, amigos! See you this week. — Sra. Jylan Maloy
The Design Lab is welcoming all upper school students starting on day one. Their classroom teacher will join the students in a lab tour and some get-to-know Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen activities. We will model design thinking as we discuss ways to make sure that the design lab is a safe, comfortable and inspiring place for them. A common question regarding design thinking is about curriculum: It is important to emphasize that design thinking is intentionally not a stand-alone curriculum. The goal is to integrate these concepts and skills into existing units of study. My role as lead design thinking teacher is to help classroom teachers find meaningful and relevant ways to incorporate design. Upper school students will be in the design lab three times per week during the afternoon, with additional time available in the morning if the lower school is not using the lab.
Welcome back to school, 5th grade students and families! I am Mrs. Sara Miller and I am so thrilled to be your music teacher this year. This year in music, we will continue our study of recorders, xylophones, drumming, singing, dancing and playing – all while having tons of fun in our well-appointed music room. I teach Pre-K through 8th grade music at Seven Peaks as well as enjoy cooking, reading and walking in my spare time. I have a fun family of 7 that also keeps me hopping, with kids ages 16-14-10-8-5. I look forward to getting to know each one of your families – feel free to stop by the music room any time and introduce yourself!
Welcome back to art. I am so excited to have the 5th grade as part of our upper school this year! Looking forward to a year full of fun and creativity. My name is Hope Macauley, and for those of you who have had me in the past, my new last name will take some getting use to for all of us, me included! This year in art we will be creating with a wide range of materials and will be working through a number of art movements, looking at the masters within each. We have lots of new and exciting things going on this year from exploring and learning about our new glass kiln to utilizing the design lab as an extension of the art room! See you soon.
The 5th graders have been hard at work learning the names and locations of the 50 states. Students are learning what tools and tricks are helpful for them as learners, and graphing their personal daily progress. For the first time ever, with the addition of our new Design Lab laser cutter, students were able to design and create a customized puzzle as a study tool. Each small group of students had many decisions to make…What material should we use? What do we want the base of our puzzle to look like? Where do we want to write the state names or abbreviations? If we want words on the backs of the puzzle pieces, how do we design a template for that? Once students created templates for their puzzle base and pieces, the amazing Kent Chapple went to work with the laser cutter, turning their templates into actual puzzles! Kids were so excited to see their designs come to life. We’re all looking forward to implementing more design thinking into our learning with the addition of our new Design Lab opening Fall of 2017!
It’s Spring time, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, the snow is finally melting, and the 5th grade has delved into the infamous Science unit covering the endocrine system. For adults, this means that the kiddos will be studying the pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, and adrenal glands.
For kids, this means we will be addressing the much-giggled-about topic of puberty. For this topic, students will learn about what changes to expect in their own bodies for their own gender as they go through puberty. Girls and boys will be separated, girls with Ms. Wenndorf, and boys with Mr. Wenger. We will watch a video that is specific to their gender, then have time for questions and answers.
Please know that it is our intention to support you as parents as your kids enter this hormone-y season of life. We will provide a basic level of information and promote a safe environment for your kids here at school, but hope that you will have continued conversations about this topic, including your own family’s values, at home. Again, we will only be addressing puberty, and not the topic of reproduction in 5th grade.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the buzz in 5th grade is all about BizTown! Students have been hard at work learning about personal finance, including how to write checks, use a debit card, and balance a checkbook. We’re learning about philanthropic opportunities to support people in our community that have unmet needs (perfect timing with our Ronald McDonald House service project!). In the coming week, students will explore what kind of job they might be well suited for, and the characteristics of a good employee. All this preparation will culminate in our overnight field trip to Portland where students will get to be grown-ups for a day. This is such a unique and memorable experience for our kids, where they will learn the importance of time management, working with a team, and why their parents are so tired and stressed after working all day!
As always, this experience wouldn’t be possible without the support of our awesome parent community! Thank you for driving kids across the mountain, sleeping on the floor at the zoo, and wearing highly unfashionable green aprons as you supervise and support our kids in their businesses. This is an experience your kids won’t soon forget!
Buen trabajo, Elementary Spanish! I am so proud of all my students this year. My greatest reward in teaching them is seeing their improvement in their conversational skills and written sentence constructions we have been working on since the beginning of the year. I am definitely witnessing it in the classroom. I know some parents have shared with me their enjoyment in having their kids help, by listening and speaking, in the Spanish-speaking countries your have recently vacationed in this past Spring Break. I expect that, and told them before they left, not to be shy. However, practicing their conversational skills with strangers is never as easy as doing it in the comfort and familiarity of our classroom at SPS. I can not begin to tell you how grateful I am for the loving atmosphere, enthusiasm, happiness and the great attitude your kids bring to class everyday. Their willingness to learn, participate, and practice with their peers always goes beyond my expectations.
I would like to witness with your own eyes the progress they have made. In the next few days you will be receiving an email from me inviting you to watch them “show off” how they are developing their gift of a second language. I know they can’t wait and I hope you can find the time to come to watch them. If you are not able to attend, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to meet with you during a time that is more convenient.
The end of the school year is quickly approaching. In the final two months, I will be gradually immersing your kids further in to the language. There will be a little confusion during the first couple of days, but I know by experience they will find it a lot of FUN. Let’s all remember that, at their age, FUN plus IMPROVEMENT is what should be about! Muchas gracias for sharing and trusting all your child to me.
As we progress through the school year, and the kids continue to grow academically, it is also important to continue to foster a strong sense of classroom and school community. Community building is something that we spend quite a bit of time on at the beginning of the year, but it is important to revisit and reestablish feelings of belonging as we transition into spring. Over the past two weeks we have been working on reconnecting and celebrating our classroom community through fun team building activities.
Our 5th grade team building activities have been centered around kids reaching out to peers who might be outside of their regular go-to friends and exploring common interests to express a sense of belonging. What brings us together is so much greater that anything that might separate us! Creative team names, group cheers, collaborative problem solving tasks and a fair amount of silliness are some of the paths that kids are taking to better relationships.
For example, in the activity “Island”, kids formed teams and had figure out how to transport their team of 4 from one “island” (gym matt) to the next “island” without touching the floor separating the matts. Each team had a scooter, small ring and two 6ft sections of rope. Discussions, plans and techniques varied, but were all supported with positive comments and often comical implementation. Kids completed the activity feeling connected, supported and excited about their community of peers!
It has been a joy to work with your students this year – they are full of creativity and enthusiasm and with the smaller group we have this year, I’ve enjoyed simply getting to know them and what makes them tick. We are having a lot of fun working this past week on a research project using Google Slides. Each student, or partnership of students, was able to choose an instrument and find out the history, the materials used to create it, look at famous musicians who play their instrument and find various videos showcasing their instrument. Additionally, we’ve all learned a few fun tricks from our resident computer expert, Tyler Haverland. It truly is an enjoyable class – thank you for the privilege of teaching them each day.
Have your student pop onto Canvas over Spring break and listen to our upcoming Spring Show as much as possible! Summer Camp is going to be a great night of celebration as we sing for the last time as 5th graders AND honor our very own Beth Basham in a Retirement Celebration. Make plans to join us on Thursday, June 1 from 6:30-8:30pm.