Tuesday, November 26, 2019

November 26

Hello Parents,

The students received their Kindness t-shirts this afternoon.  They are awesome! The compass rose points to the letters in the word KINDNESS and then the Clipper ship has GO BE KIND on the back.  The generous PTO paid for our shirts. Please help your child keep track of their whereabouts.  We wear them for special events and field trips all year.

Thank you for sending in the beautiful photos for our figuratively speaking project.

Congratulations to Blake Doxsee and Declan Hickey... our November Students of the Month!

In reading we are just about to finish Flush by Carl Hiaasen.  We have all enjoyed the supporting characters: Shelly, Lice, Bull and Jasper Jr. The dynamic brother and sister team, Noah and Abbey taught us a lot. We had a surprise appearance from Grandpa Bobby. We laughed and enjoyed the story that is filled with figurative language. 

Mrs. Stuhr read to us Thank You, Sarah, the true story of how Sarah Hale saved Thanksgiving. We learned some pretty cool facts. Be sure to ask your child about this.  

We are printing out our personal narratives. We have wonderful stories filled with details that we have worked hard on. The students will get them back after vacation.

We were able to visit with our 8th grade buddies this past Friday and partake in a fun, science project. Ask how many pennies your child was able to float!

In math this week we investigated the area of rectangles with fractional sides and began to think about how many tiles with fractional side lengths to cover a unit square.  For example, if a square had a side length of 1/2 unit it would take 4 of them to cover a unit square.  Students want to say it would take 2 tiles to cover the square unit, but two tiles would only cover half of the unit square.  This kind of visualization is new for students.  We will begin volume next week!

In science we held a symposium to share the results from our investigations into which variables affect the strength of our electro-magnet.  Based on those results, students have redesigned the electro-magnet.  We also learned why we eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  

Conversation starters:
Sarah Hale
penny project
Project Sphinx
Area and perimeter challenge
No such thing as a birthday chicken!

Blake Doxsee -Teton Student of the Month
winter idioms
winter idioms

Buddies Penny Boat Challenge

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday, November 15

SharingThanksgiving poems with our senior friends at Bay Square
Happy Friday,

What a fun and busy week! Thursday's author's visit was so much fun.  Jennifer Nielsen gave us a lot of answers to our questions and even told us she is considering writing a sequel. Students created their own book covers for A Night Divided with scenes that they each felt strongly about. They are just wonderful.  We also wrote reflections on the characters. 

This afternoon we delivered our Thanksgiving poems to our senior friends.  Everything about the afternoon was beautiful. Our poems are filled with figurative language. 

author Jennifer Nielsen
Cover creations
favorite character reflections
In math this week we finished up unit 2 and began an investigation from Spaghetti and Meatballs For All involving perimeter and area.  This will lead us into an exploration of volume.

In science we have been developing experiments to test different variables in our electro-magnet.  We are trying to develop the strongest magnet possible with our materials.  Some students are testing the material of the bolt, others are testing length of bolt, number of coils, number of batteries, or length of wire.  Next week we will have a symposium to share results and then attempt to build a stronger magnet based on our results.

Monday, November 4, 2019

snapshots of the kids in action ..... Friday, November 1, 2019

Happy Friday!

It's November already and we turn the clocks back this Sunday! The fall is flying by.  We would love to update you on some of our activities through pictures.  We voted on our student of the month winners this week.  A big congratulations to Owen Advani and Ryan Kew.

Conversation starters:
The ending of A Night Divided!
Ms. Stuhr's spooky stories
Bleezer's Icecream  - (alliteration)
8th grade buddies
magnet field
traditional multiplication

Teton student of the month

Skull masks Boo!
Drawing monsters with a buddy.
The Acadian's Student of the Month 
Monster buddies!

Bibliotrek in the library
Bibliotrek activity in the library

Acadian homeroom Halloween costumes

Teton homeroom Halloween costumes

Friday poem share about witches
Monster writing and drawing with our 8th grade buddies

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Week of October 15

Happy Friday,

We hope everyone made it through this week's storm safely.  

Our fall goal setting conferences have been launched.  The students set goals with us today in class that they will share with you during conferences.

A Night Divided mid-book discussions took place after the late start Thursday.  Small groups of students from all of the grades met and had7m discussions.  Some groups shared a one word whip where they shared one word that they chose to describe the book.  Other discussion prompts include: Are walls always bad?  Did you agree with Gerta's decision to steal the pulley? How would you deal with Frau Everheart?

Uganda pen pals -

Charlie Rosco came in to share slides with us about our pen pals from the St. Bakhita School in Uganda. This is a middle school tradition that continues our partnership/friendship with the students and staff there.  It's so wonderful for the kids to see and learn about a different culture.  Mr. Rosco will bring back letters for us from our new pen pals. He will also visit us again in school to share more pictures and tell us about his trip. He takes pictures of the students there as they read our letters that we have written to them. That's fun to see. We are writing them in class this Monday as he leaves on Wednesday.  

In language arts we have been practicing different writing skills in preparation for our fall writing narrative piece. This week we wrote similes and metaphors in our daily prompts.

Charlie Roscoe and Mrs. Vicenzi sharing about our pen pals from Uganda

Our Friday poem  - we used describing words, alliteration, and we tried rhyming.
Traditional multiplication! In math this week we learned how to multiply using the traditional method.  This is the way we were all taught.  The partial products method they have been using really helps them cement their understanding of place value.  Now we can apply that knowledge to the traditional algorithm.  Moving to the algorithm is a little stressful for many kids, at first.  Initially we compare how the partial products algorithm relates to the traditional method.  So far, so good.  The groups have learned how to do a 3 digit by 1 digit problem.  Soon we will do a 2 digit by 2 digit problem where we will apply what we have learned about extended math facts.  An extended math fact is when you know 2 X 4 = 8, then you know 20 X 4 = 80.  With this lesson kids quickly realize how important it is to know their facts!  Encourage your child to keep going with this method.  It can be confusing at first, but is often much more efficient than the partial products method they are used to.

In science we are finishing up the first half of our magnets and motors unit.  We have successfully built a straw compass and have learned why a compass seeks north.  We will review the concepts from our magnets portion before moving on to motors.  We will build an electromagnet next and devise a controlled experiment to see if we can make our electromagnet stronger.  

Conversation starters:
He has butterflies in his stomach.
Flapjack Flip
Traditional method
Think about it Thursdays
Turtles in bathing suits

Friday, October 4, 2019

Week of October 2

Happy Friday,

Our visit to Bay Square this afternoon was wonderful.  Our students were extremely well behaved.  The seniors thoroughly enjoyed having us.  We wrote six-word memoirs together based on kindness.

A few of our memoirs:

   Enjoy the photos.

Some photos from math and science.

Look, Mom.  No hands!
Working on math together. 

We have been learning about magnets through investigation!

Fridays's poem.  We wrote our own poems using personification and alliteration.
Our walk back from Bay Square. The weather was beautiful.
Fridays' poem Apprehended by Autumn . We practiced alliteration and personification in our own poems.

In class this week we wrote our own 6 -word Memoirs.  When we met with our senior friends at Bay Square we gathered our thoughts about kindness and write 6-word memoirs based on the kindness theme.

  **We have had a lot of large water spills.  If you could send water bottles with flip top lids it would be helpful.  Enjoy the photos.

Conversation starters -
6 word memoirs
Bay Square

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Week of September 23

Reminder -Weather permitting, we will be walking to Bay Square next Friday, October 4 at 12:30.  We will return by bus to school by 2:00.

We continued practicing PEMDAS this week by increasing the complexity of the expressions.  Not only have we added parentheses with our multiplication/division and addition/subtraction, we have begun working with exponents as well!  The students are doing a terrific job thinking about each part of the expression step by step.

The first unit we do in Everyday Math is unit 2.  Unit 2 teaches the students the traditional algorithm for multiplication after a quick review of place value and the way our base ten number system works.  For many students a quick review of our base ten number system is all that is needed, but for more than a few, the pieces are just coming together.  The addition of exponents to our vocabulary allows us to compare each place in our number system with its power of ten.  For example 10 to the zero power is the ones place.  10 to the first power is the tens place.  10 to the second power is the hundreds place, etc.  I love it when the "a-ha" moment happens for students.

We continue investigating magnets.  This week we investigated whether or not two magnets are stronger than one.  It's not quite as straight forward as you might think.  While two of our magnets are generally stronger than one, and three magnets are generally stronger than two, it is not always the case that four or more magnets are stronger.  It is always exciting to see students grapple with why this might be so.  They often think they must have made some kind of experimental error.  We will use technology to graph our data and insert the graph into our google docs so that we are able to draw conclusions.

Library - Mrs. Stuhr read The Stranger to us on the first day of fall.  It's by Chris Van Allsburg, author of the very popular, Polar Express and Jumanji. Farmer Bailey thinks he's hit a deer while driving his truck, but in the middle of the road lies a man, an enigmatic stranger. He goes home with Farmer Bailey, his memory apparently gone. Weeks pass at the Bailey farm; the stranger seems happy to be around them, and helps with the harvest. Oddly, while trees to the north of the farm turn red and gold with the arrival of fall, Bailey's land seems to be in a state of perpetual summer. One day, the stranger sees geese flying south and knows that he, too, must leave..... The reader is left to guess who the stranger is. Many of us believe it is Jack Frost. :)

A Night Divided - This week's read aloud has ended on a very suspenseful note. This author is a master at cliff hangers.  Gerta's father has been standing on the platform in West Germany at the specific times that Gerta passes on her way to and from school.  Gerta realizes that the clue he has been giving her is to dig.  But for what? Where? Gerta makes an X in the dirt to signal to her fahter that she undertands that he wants her to dig, but does not know where. Anna, Gerta's friend, receives a hand-drawn picture of a building that arrives in the mail labeled to Gerta that arrives inside one of the letters of condolence cards that Anna's family receives.  It's a picture of a specific building that Gerta hasn't seen before. However, after school she takes a different way home and she discovers the building.  It just happens to be a part of the border......

Writing - We are polishing our paragraph writing skills.  -Our topic is  that we are good at... Students are writing about sports, piano, violin, languages they speak, and painting. We will sneak in some

Friday Poem -Most every  Friday in the fall language arts classes begin with a poem that ties into our figurative Language unit.  This week's poem is The Front Yard Where The Maple Tree Stands by Allan Wolf. We were successful picking out the personification. Next, we had fun brainstorming all the various fall activities that we enjoy.  We used our autumn word splash as subjects in our own poems.

Conversation starters:
The Stranger
He's all tied up.
Number talk Tuesday
magnetic strength

Friday, September 20, 2019

week of September 16

Happy Friday,

It looks like we will have a wonderful weekend with summer-like weather! 😎

Additional after school activity  = Birding Club - This club takes place in the library with Ms. Stuhr the first Wednesday of every month. 2:45 -3:30 ish.

Reminders - the orange folders have been distributed.  We are learning how to use them to keep our papers between home and school organized. Please send in the $2.00 for the folders if you haven't yet had the chance to do so.

* Thank you for sending in healthy snacks for our morning snack time.😀

* Please help remind your child to pack their books for school. We read in class every day.

Read aloud -

This week in A Night Divided:  Gerta sees her brother, Dominic, staring at her from the platform in West Germany.  This is the first time she has seen Dominic in four years!She waves to him, but she is caught by a Grenzer. Gerta is sternly warned to not wave at anyone or to look at the wall. Gerta attends her Pioneer meetings after school where she learns that freedom is overrated and they must always avoid fancy clothes and music from the Beatles.  Fritz and Gerta sneak some time and listen to the Beatles in his room. Fritz was able to purchase the album through the black market.  Gerta shares that she learns that her friend Anna's older brother, Peter, will be sneaking out of East Germany in the trunk of a car of some students from West Germany. The students are in East Germany visiting museums.....     We had lots to think about and discuss.

We have the comfiest reading corner in the school.  A big thank you to an extremely generous donation, we enjoy our mini lessons and reading time with new Big Joe bean bag and chairs and reclining cushioned small beach chair AND gaming chairs.  It is heavenly and makes reading even more enjoyable.  It is very cozy when we hold class discussions.

Language Arts

One of our lessons this week was a full class and small group lesson about our Life Role Outcomes:  Self-Directed Learner, Quality Producer, Collaborative Learner, and Responsible and Involved Citizen  Both groups did an outstanding job working together and presenting.

Thinking about the right bullet ideas for each learning outcome

presenting to our classmates

In math this week we learned more about PEMDAS.  We have learned how to solve problems with both multiplication/division and addition and subtraction.  Next week we will add in exponents and parentheses.  Big stuff!

We also added another couple of challenge choices to our homework repertoire.  We learned how to solve Sodoku puzzles and Mr. Gross introduced a new puzzle called Skyscrapers.  As a reminder, the expectation is at least 20 minutes of math each night Monday through Thursday and a completed packet returned to school on Fridays.  If your child finishes the packet early in the week they are expected to work on challenge choices for those twenty minutes.  Children have access to a new set of challenges each Monday.

In science we began our exploration of magnets.  Our budding scientists discovered that magnetic force travels through paper, wood, skin, and cloth.  They also discovered they could push or pull another magnet depending on which poles we placed near each other.  We'll soon read about the first known magnets; lodestones.  We will also test items to decide if they are magnetic or not.  It's always fun to see fifth graders grapple with the idea that not all metals are magnetic.  This is new learning for many!