We did it! Summer is officially here!
Thank you families for your support, your volunteer time, your kind words and gifts, and mostly for the opportunity to work with your children. It has been such a pleasure to watch them grow in so many ways. I have learned as much from them as I hope they have learned from me. Best wishes for your summer break and 5th grade!
Summer is an important time to relax and refresh. It is also a time to keep the learning going! Students have active accounts with Khan Academy for math and programming and www.mobymax.com for math. I am going to leave the class blog active for former students to access the variety of math games as well as the reading links to help find good books to read over the summer. At some point the link to the class blog will disappear from the Wade King website, so here it is in case you need it: https://classanderson.wordpress.com. You might want to unfollow the blog by simply clicking “unsubscribe” at the bottom of this email alert just in case I come back to teaching one day and posts start reappearing in your inbox!
The Bellingham Public Library is an awesome resource for summer reading. For reading lists and book ideas go here. The NoveList K-8 link is really cool. It gives you read-alike lists based on books kids have already read. Check it out!
Enjoy your summer everyone. Thanks for everything!
As part of our Sharing the Planet unit of inquiry, we recently went on a field trip to Padden Creek to be salmon scientists. We investigated the water quality of the stream, the macroinvertebrates present the water, as well as the native/invasive plant species growing in the area. It was great to get outside in the fresh air and have a close look at the health of our local watershed.
In recent weeks reading groups took on chapter book sets to practice the strategy of making inferences. Finding clues in the text and coming up with your own meaning isn’t always easy! Learning to “read between the lines” takes careful reading and practice.
Another reading strategy we have focused on recently is comparing and contrasting. During our poetry unit, students had the opportunity to choose from a variety of poems in order to identify the similarities and differences among them and organize this thinking into a Venn diagram. Students then used this organizer as a plan for a written explanation. We have practiced comparing and contrasting with sources linked to our economics unit as well. Students practiced finding the similarities and differences between a video about the working conditions in a garment factory in Bangladesh and an article about the same content from http://www.newsela.com.
We have just launched book clubs in Reading Workshop! From now until the end of the year, students will follow their interests by signing up to read chapter books together in groups and hold daily discussions about their agreed upon reading assignments. Students are responsible for finishing their daily reading assignment and recording their Four Qs in their reading notebooks. The Four Qs consist of at least two quotes and two questions from the book. The quotes can be any word, line, or section of the reading that students find interesting or that they have connections to. They then explain in writing why they chose these quotes. The questions can be about anything they are wondering about in the text. Students are encouraged to come up with open questions – questions with more than one answer – to help fuel their discussions. Book club assignments that don’t get finished during independent reading in class become homework. This can count toward the required 20 minutes of daily reading outside of school. It is fun to see students grouped in unlikely combinations, committing to read books that they may not have chosen on their own.
With poetry behind us, we have just launched How We Organize Ourselves, a unit of inquiry on economics. While the central idea focuses on the exchange of goods and services, we will explore concepts such as trading, bartering, monetary systems, supply and demand, and perceptions of value. Using Play-Doh (believe it or not), we are creating economic situations in which goods and services are exchanged. These experiences are helping to build background knowledge in concepts like scarcity, natural resources, labor, capital, opportunity cost and how supply and demand affect market price. Inquiry groups will have the opportunity to follow their own questions during this unit and take on research projects around an economic theme.
We had a blast on our recent field trip to the Lightcatcher Museum. We started off touring the three different exhibits, followed by some time in the studio with paper, pastels, scissors and more. We continued our work from our pre-field trip classroom visit on organizing compositions with a foreground, middle ground and background.
We recently started a new math unit on measurement. This has involved looking into the base-ten nature of the metric system and how important standard units are in communicating measurement data. We are measuring distance, mass, volume and temperature while practicing converting to smaller and larger units within the metric system. In addition, we are looking at how our own imperial system differs and are observing how conversions of distance, mass, volume and temperature behave much differently than when working with tens. We will revisit area and perimeter, as well as practice measuring angles with protractors. In the end, students will have opportunities to apply their measurement thinking to solve multi-step word problems in both the imperial and metric systems.
Following our work with opinion essays, we embarked on a realistic fiction writing unit a couple of weeks ago. We started off developing believable characters. Brainstorming lists of inside features (how a character thinks and feels) and outside features (how a character looks and acts) has helped us get to know who we are writing about. Next we explored possible conflicts that characters face, in this case those of a typical 4th/5th grader. Then we planned our fiction pieces using a Story Mountain. This is a way of building a series of events or scenes that follow the arc of the story through some sort of conflict, then a resolution. Thinking about what characters want and what gets in their way has been helpful for students when developing these plot lines. Most students are now drafting their pieces, which will be followed by revising, editing and publishing. There are some captivating tales brewing in Room 27!