Parent Welcome Package, 2017-2018 Version

Welcome families! Use the links below to retrieve documents from the 2017-2018 Parent Welcome Package. Each item was mailed to you but if you lose track of something or need additional copies, this page can help. Moreover, feel free to share this link with other caregivers who might be curious or need need to what was included. Thank you!

Welcome Letter and Overview of Classroom 2017-2018 version

5th Grade Supply List for 2017-2018

Blog Permission Form

Volunteer Form

Last Auction for this Cohort of Students

Students got to finally spend down all of their earnings with our last auction of the school year. Thanks to dozens of donations from local, national and multinational companies, students had plenty to bid on. Moreover, students who demonstrated a willingness to save money over the year were awarded with items like a Camelbak backpack, a Kindle Fire, and Virtual Reality Goggles.

IMG_8142

Zooming In

Today we completed a Zoom In. In this case we took a careful look at Edward Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom. This is an instructional strategy first introduced to me by Angela Orr which she describes as follows:

The Zoom-In Strategy is an excellent way for you to have students participate in document analysis in a new way. Zoom-In’s are images that have been manipulated so the students only see a portion of the image, rather than the whole thing at one time. Students often struggle to identify the nuances in art, details in a photograph, or historical significance of terms or images chosen by an author/artist/photographer/illustrator. Zoom-In’s highlight these nuances and with the use of guiding questions enable students to analyze primary sources in a new way.

The strategy is important insofar as reinforcing the the habit of making claims supported by reasoning and evidence.

img_6513

Investigating the Earth and the Sun

Our investigation of the Earth and the Sun began today with this focus question: How and why does your shadow change during the day. This is the launch for our studies that include a survey of the solar system, a look at our atmosphere, a focus on the Earth’s surface and defining characteristics of the Earth.

Below are images from our first investigation in which we traced our shadows at 11:20 and again at 2:40.

Socratic Seminar: A Game of Catch

This week we completed our first Socratic Seminar. We used the text A Game of Catch to reinforce the habit of buttressing claims with evidence from text. In this case, students had to build their case and answer the questions, Why did Scho fall from the tree?

Our Socratic Seminar followed the structure listed at www.ProjectTahoe.org (here) in which 100% of the talking and arguing is done by the students.

Using Pro/Con to get ready for our next SAC

We started the week reading about the pros and cons of recycling to get ready for our next Structured Academic Controversy (SAC). We continue to use this method so that students develop perspective taking and civic responsibility.

We are also using text annotating to go with our reading. This will help facilitate the process of making claims supported by evidence.

Starting our Google Classroom

Today we set-up our Google Classroom. Our first project involved using Google Docs to help us with taking our draft pieces of writing through the writing process and into publishing. Google Classroom also helped us with greater classroom flexibility and differentiation.

Students all have secure usernames and passwords and can continue working on their writing at any time. (This includes at home!) Moreover, I will always have access to what they are doing and I will be able to provide feedback.

Learning through Inquiry with Saving Sam

In a scenario titled Saving Sam, students worked individually and with partners to develop strategies and solutions to a problem. In this case, Sam (the candy worm) was drowning and his only chance of survival involved placing a life preserver (Life Saver) over his body with nothing but two paper clips. Working individually, two students developed answers. Working with partners, 16 students were able to save Sam. Apart from learning through inquiry, there was likely another lesson buried in there.

Thank you Jolene Hamilton, 5th grade teacher at Verdi Elementary, for first sharing this lesson with me.