Enchanted Lands

We completed our Enchanted Lands project this week and the final pieces are terrific. We first explored the idea of background, midground, and foreground through classic pieces of art. Then we played a game in which students drew images matched to magical elements, they identified.

Their understanding was then leveraged to create art that included painting a setting and collaging. (Incidentally, thanks for all of the magazines!)

Stronger and Clearer Each Time

We were visited by Dr. Amy Salgo who introduced the students to Stronger and Clearer Each Time. The instructional approach was developed by the Understanding Language Project at Stanford University and has students engage in multiple rehearsals of a problem or question before coming to a final answer.

Dr. Salgo asked the students if fractions are numbers and the students ultimately arrived at the conclusion, yes!

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Fishbowl: Service Animals

We used a sample Smarter Balanced Test item to get ready for a persuasive essay on service animals. We read through three texts, annotated for evidence and then rehearsed for our writing using a Fishbowl.

In a Fishbowl, students sit in a circle with several students in the middle. Participants share ideas around a topic and if someone in the middle needs help or has run out of ideas, they will replace themselves with someone from the outside.

We’re Back and we were Busy

Although it was just a four day week, and student hadn’t been in school for 23 consecutive days, we got a lot done! We learned to multiply decimals and relate this to our understanding of fractions. We studied surrealism, sensory details, and word play as we moved further into the Phantom Tollbooth. We wrote with an emphasis on tone. We did a close read as we started our work with We the People. And we began a Doodles Academy Project.

Our Work with The Phantom Tollbooth Begins

Today we started our work with Norton Juster’s classic, The Phantom TollBooth. We did a lot of things to get us ready for this including careful observations of paintings by Salvador Dali (e.g, The Persistence of Memoryand a close reading of Abbott and Costello’s skit, “Who’s on First.” In addition we deconstructed how puns are largely based on homophones, homographs and idioms.

The hard work paid off and the student’s understanding of how author’s use word play to cause humor and confusion allowed for a successful launch of The Phantom Tollbooth.

Our Focus on Fractions

A big part of having a successful 5th grade year is being able to add, subtract, divide and multiply mixed numbers and fractions. To the credit of the students, we are quickly marching through this content and the students are doing extremely well with the first part, adding and subtracting mixed numbers. This success, will allow us to then move to the operations, division and multiplication. Moreover, with the right foundation, students will enter the middle school years ready for rates, ratios and proportional reasoning.

DiscussionThe first two weeks with fractions was largely conceptual with students creating models on how to add and subtract fractions. Now, students are using more traditional algorithms—the way their parents learned—with a great deal of success.

Learning how clocks measure the Sun’s movement

Today we learned how to build a sun dial and measure the Sun’s apparent movement. The study began with learning about why people needed to measure time and how Egyptians, measuring the number of finger segments in two hands settled on 24 hours in a day. If you don’t know how the Egyptians did this, it would be a great question for your kid.

A Visit from NevadaTeach

Today we got a visit from University of Nevada Reno students and the NevadaTeach program. It was a chance to work with engineering standards and learn to use the Richter scale by modeling earthquakes.

The NevadaTeach program is a great way of getting science and math students into Washoe’s classrooms.

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