September Class Newsletter:
What's Happening in the classroom:
This school year has gotten off to a running start as we are working and learning hard! Students are reading the novel Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and delving deep in order to create an understanding of Percy as a character. Students are working to understand the gist of a text, annotating the text with evidence tabs, making inferences about Percy as a person, and citing to justify their responses with textual evidence. Students are looking at text structure and the writing techniques an author uses to help readers infer information. Students are also analyzing example paragraphs to determine what qualities are essential to making their own writing stronger. But that's not all! Students are also reading informational articles such as "Shrouded in Myth" and "The Hero's Journey" (a synopsis of Joseph Cambell's A Hero with a Thousand Faces, a book I read in college!) Through this short synopsis of Cambell's work, students are analyzing the steps a Hero goes through on their journey and aligning them to our novel.
Over the course of this month, students are also working on attaining a deeper understanding of ratios. Not only are students learning about ratios in terms of their ratio relationships within real world contextual problems (such as taking on the role of head of the MVD, needing to know the number of commercial vehicles that travel on a highway in August to the number of noncommercial vehicles that traveled on the highway, or thinking like a business person to use ratios to determine the amount of a product that should be manufactured), but students will also be working to understand the relationship between ratios, fractions, and percents. Students have already learned four different ways of looking at ratios to help solve such problems. Additionally, students will continue to have multiple opportunities to apply their knowledge of ratios through science labs and activities.
Students have also been learning the importance of longitude and latitude, how these navigational tools allow them to pin point specific locations on the globe, as well as how they are used to determine time zones. Students will be using these map reading skills throughout the school year as we begin learning about ancient civilizations around the world. We will be beginning with the prehistoric era and Mesopotamia over the next few weeks.
Familiarity with the scientific method has been another focus the past few weeks. Students are able to explain the difference between a hypothesis and a prediction. They are also continuing to develop a stronger understanding of the difference between independent, dependent, and controlled variables. Next week we will be beginning a unit on animal and plant cells, and students will have the chance to use these skills in mini-labs and perfect their lab writing skills as well.
3 key ideas for parents about the common core:
The Common Core emphasizes critical thinking. It requires students to analyze more, discuss more, evaluate more, justify more, and explain their thinking & understanding deeply especially in writing.
Take-Away: Really thinking deeply is hard. Let it BE hard, help them talk it out.
The Common Core emphasizes learning across disciplines (reading with math & social studies standards combined into one task). Students spend more time working together with different settings, structures, & tools.
Take-Away: Problems & solutions happen everyday in the real world.
Showing How They Know
The Common Core emphasizes proof & evidence. Long gone are the days of worksheets and skill & drill. Students are not taught this way and they are not assessed this way.
Take-Away: The new tests will require students to explain how they know.
supporting the common core at home:
Important Upcoming Events:
Friday, September 6 - Jeans Day
Tuesday, September 17 - Curriculum Night 6:30 - 8:00PM
Friday, September 20 - Jeans Day