Friday, May 29, 2015

POL planning and so much more!

Hello families!

The weeks seem to fly by, and having a four day week doesn't help!  Here's a bit about the week...

This week we were able to visit with our 8th grade buddies.  They were on their 9 day trip up California (to Sacramento, San Francisto, Big Sur...) and we were able to hear all about what they did, which cities they visited and more.  Monday morning we will have an assembly where we'll see photos of the places they visited and what they learned on this amazing journey!

Practicing for POLs!  The students are practicing now and working in pairs to help them get feedback and be clear with what they are explaining.  No matter how they do on their day, all their work- of choosing something meaningful, of planning and writing out what they were going to say, of working on presentatin skills- shows here this week!

Caterpillar math- One of the demo lessons that a teacher we interviewed (for next year) did with us was caterpillar math.  We decided to work on this more this week.  This was an interesting challenge that many friends want to continue in summer.  I also hope friends may begin making their own growing patterns and leave them as story problem type work for future kids!  What was interesting about this challenge for your child?

More secret project so I can't share that yet...  But a BIG thank you to Dawn for all your help with this!  Another thing I am excited about!  (As well as POLs, the book, the kids' party planning ideas...)

We were lucky to have two presentations this week!  Bayley and Fiona each made a powerpoint about something special for them.  On Wednesday, Bayley shared the research she had done on jellyfish and on Friday Fiona shared about her family trip to Washington DC!  We are lucky to have so many friends who are excited to do extra work and share more for us.  We have learned a lot from presentations like this all year!

These questions are things the kids might want to research with you at home!

The class was very excited to hear more about traveling tips and Washington DC since they are interested in our nations capital!  Thank you to Bayley and Fiona's families for helping them realize their presentation plans!

Well, I always could share more, but I do want to push the publish button, so I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our week!  Love, Jennifer

PS We started our June songs and poems a bit early so that we'd have more than two weeks to enjoy them.  Stay tuned for a simple post on those!  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Book planning, sign-posts and our state's capitol!

Hello Families,

I hope you had a nice week.  Also,  I hope you read my email that I sent out today- lots of dates and times to note!

This week we began research and testing for our next secret project, so there is some things I am already writing into a future blog post- to be published later... So stay tuned!

We also worked on our book and the kids are really getting good at editing and identifying better ways to say things.  Many times friends pointed out where we needed to change the tense or where something doesn't quite make sense.  Of course the book won't be "perfect" but it has been a fun journey to learn about how to get info out to others and how to reflect on this process!  I am so excited to send in the publishing order soon!  Thank you so much for your quick responses to the book order email!  That was an exciting day!  I heard from nearly everyone in less than 24 hours- that was so helpful for you to be so on the ball!

We looked at the sign-post strategy again, but this time how it relates to money. Last week's strategy was using 0-60 for time, and the kids had to note that breaking this up into fourths is different than breaking up 0-100 (a dollar) into fourths!

It was exciting to see all of the "aha" moments and hear them embrace using this strategy, along with the number line. to help them get to their answer more swiftly.  The kids talked a bit about the importance of strategies and being able to explain your work, even more than getting the right answer the first time.  The strategy explanations really helped others learn from their peers.  I took photos of our drawn representations of the steps that students took to figure things out.  Many times it was a group effort, with each friend adding a part that they understand to build onto the prior knowledge!

I hope this stimulates more discussion and fun practicing using these strategies to solve coin and change-giving situations.  (The kids realized this was just like what they need to do in story problems!)

We also investiated our state's capitol this week, since we researched about our country's capitol last week!  I learned a lot, as I didn't previously know much about Sacramento.  Did you know that we have had 6 different capitols over the years?  Did you know that the pony express was the home of the original Pony Expess?  The other fun facts were quite interesting.  We just scratched the surface on this research, and almost every fact lead us to looking up other things, too, so the kids have lots more questions and are interested in investigating more tangents that came up.  Don't be surprised if they enlist you into doing more research with them!

Here are a few links that we used to start with:

Rachel also brought in some of her dad's collection of money from around the world.  She was noticing that the Queen of England is on both New Zealand's and Canada's money.  Wow!  It is so intersting to see what other countries choose to put on their money!

Spelling words- so many interesting ones and it is uncanny how many things we notice about patterns and similar word that come up organically from the words they need in their writing.  I hope you enjoy working on these words with your kids and discussing what is hard about memorizing certain ones.  The class still loves discovering the words inside of words!

Also, this week the friends had a few discussions on how we are feeling about the end of the year.  I know a few friends have been sharing that they are moving schools, or even continents!  This has given us a chance to talk about how we react to change and how it can sometimes effect our behavior.  We talked about this to remind us that it is important to share your feelings if you need support, and for all of us to be understanding of others as they go through these feelings.  

Thanks for all your support this year.  I appreciate having such dedicated families!  Thank you to Seng for setting up our experiment Friday experience- it was really fun to see how creative the kids got with their engineering.  Thanks to Katrin for coming to help, also!

Have a beautiful three-day weekend!  Love, Jennifer