Thursday, June 6, 2013

News from Room 13

Can it really be June already?  We still have much to accomplish, but we have certainly made the most of the months behind us.  May saw a great Social Studies culminating activity that actually spread into two days.  Students spent April and May reading and researching the people, places, and events of the American Revolution.  They shared their knowledge in writing and in presentations to each other.  With a focus question in hand every student listened as classmates told about Nathan Hale and Thomas Jefferson, the battles at Saratoga, Bunker Hill and Yorktown, and women and weapons of the Revolution.  In learning about these people, places, and events the children began to learn about the ideals upon which our country was founded.  We continue this month looking at the documents that brought focus to our emerging government: The Articles of Confederation, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

As I mentioned, research has been a focus this term, and our writing assignments are the result of careful research and note taking.  We are currently writing reports on planets using books, encyclopedias and various web sites.  

As you know your child now has a google account, which has an email and google drive.  They have also established a blogger account to which they will be posting examples of their work. This will certainly be a wonderful addition to the "box in the attic" filled with priceless school memories we all keep for our children (and for ourselves).  It is also a great way to view your child's growth over time, as this account will continue through 12th grade!

Our final unit in math is measurement.  Most classes are looking at area, perimeter, volume, standard and metric units of measurement, and polygons.  Problem solving in these areas requires not only good reasoning and computation, but clear and concise notation- all parts of math that we have continued to highlight as the year progressed.  There has been some educational research that suggests "summer slide" as a phenomena that occurs with school children.  I have certainly experienced this with my classes over the years, but I think we can minimize it if we involve kids in everyday math that we do such as estimating amounts needed for recipes, calculating tips at restaurants, counting change, measuring for projects around the home, etc.  Using the math they practice in class will bring a facility that can't be achieved by just classwork and homework.  

The same advice holds true for reading and writing.  The more experiences students have with literacy  the better they will do in school.  This is obvious, and probably most every student's intention (or at least their parents') is to read over the summer.  The summer goes by very fast!  I would suggest making a weekly visit to the library a part of your summer routine.  BPL has great activities planned for middle schoolers (yes- your fifth grader is soon to be a middle schooler!) Please take advantage of these!

See you at the fifth grade reception on June 20 at 7pm!

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