Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Newsletter

Can it be spring? I suppose that remains to be seen, but April brings more than showers and warmer temperatures. April ushers in our study of the American Revolution, a student (and teacher) favorite! To learn about this fascinating time in our history students become Patriots and Loyalists and "battle" each other in various games and activities designed to engage, motivate and teach. This activity culminates in a presentation where students show what they learned by presenting it to their teammates. Shortly after our April break we head to the Concord Museum to take part in an interactive experience to learn about the battle at Concord that was the beginning of the war. I will send more information home regarding that trip. Also in Social Studies we are finishing up our look at the Boston Massacre. Students are having a great time debating whether it was indeed a "massacre" or an "incident" as the British called it. I urge you all to take advantage of our proximity to Boston, and visit some of the amazing historical sites our area has to offer.

In ELA we are currently reading an historical novel called Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.  It is the story of a young girl who is enslaved during the American Revolution. This dovetails nicely with our social studies curriculum, as one of the best features of this novel is the use of primary source documents to open each chapter. This book is long and has some challenging vocabulary, so we are reading most of the book in class. I have added a page to my blog which lists some vocabulary as well as some prompts or questions we will be considering in class. Students are enjoying reading this book, as it raises important issues about war, slavery, and class.
In Writing Workshop we are writing some poetry using Ralph Fletcher's work to model some forms and ideas. Students are also working on authentic pieces of persuasive writing as they continue to create PSAs and posters for our fund raising efforts. They are also learning how to frame an argument and write opinions.

In Math we are continuing our work with fractions, multiplying and dividing. Students are enjoying the Motion Math app on their ipads, and continue to practice problem solving. I am still available Thursday mornings for extra help in math!

Our Fifth Grade Student Council's enthusiasm for the Iron Giraffe Challenge I wrote about last month has spread to our whole fifth grade. Our students are all involved in some way to make sure we get to our goal of $1000 to help replace a drill for the people of South Sudan to keep digging wells. Our coin drive ends this Thursday. Next up is a Walk-a-thon. We may be asking for parent volunteers to help monitor our walkers at their recess time. More information will be coming soon.

Important Dates:
April 3 Good Friday, no school
April 20-24 Vacation, no school
May 4 Concord Museum Field Trip
May 7, 6:30            Fine Arts Evening
May 25 Memorial Day, no school

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