Research tells us that students learn best when they are given choices, and when they are working in their “Zone of Proximal Development”, which is that sweet spot just at the edge of what the student can do independently. In 5th grade math, we embrace these principles during our Math Workshop. Each day, after the new concept has been introduced, students make their choices…With whom will they work? Where? On what math task? Students develop independence, and begin to know themselves as learners, pushing themselves to take academic risks and taking responsibility for their learning. Step into our Math Workshop, and you will see students writing problems for each other on whiteboards, playing focused games, solving problems on ixl.com, or trying the Enrichment activity. While some students are working on grade level division problems, others are inventing new algorithms, making up story problems, or trying dividends with many digits. It’s our favorite part of math!
In other academic news, readers are continuing to analyze themes. Writers are choosing a controversial topic of personal interest, which they will then research and write an argument supporting their position. Historians are immersing themselves in the ancient cultures of the Maya, the Aztec and the Inca civilizations. Ask them to tell you about their religious practices!