## May/June 2019

## 5/6 Homeroom

We are currently reading a novel called

*Fuzzy Mud*by Louis Sachar. This is a kid-appropriate biological thriller. Some students happen upon a biohazard in the woods surrounding the school. They try to figure out what it is and where it came from. This is a great lead into the 7th grade biology units next year. We'll probably also read a couple more short stories by Paul Jennings, a favorite author for the kids.

On rainy days, we do a

On Wednesday afternoons, we've built RoboPots, which are pots the kids sculpted, painted, and planted, and assembled the electronics to make the pot water itself a specific amount of water once per day. The kids have had a fun time with this project.

Up next on Wednesday afternoons, we'll be doing computer aided drafting. We'll use TinkerCAD. As we did with Hopscotch, the kids will learn the program through some lessons created by TinkerCAD. Then we will start drawing our own objects. Ultimately, I'd like the students to 3D print one of their small creations. Students will have access to their TinkerCAD accounts at home, too.

*Word Winks*puzzle during morning recess. These puzzles are a brain exercise where kids try to decipher the visual puzzle to find a common phrase. For example, the one on the upper right in the image to the left is To Lock Horns. Lately, the students have been creating their own*Word Winks*puzzles to share with the class.On Wednesday afternoons, we've built RoboPots, which are pots the kids sculpted, painted, and planted, and assembled the electronics to make the pot water itself a specific amount of water once per day. The kids have had a fun time with this project.

Up next on Wednesday afternoons, we'll be doing computer aided drafting. We'll use TinkerCAD. As we did with Hopscotch, the kids will learn the program through some lessons created by TinkerCAD. Then we will start drawing our own objects. Ultimately, I'd like the students to 3D print one of their small creations. Students will have access to their TinkerCAD accounts at home, too.

## 7/8 Hands-on Math

Students who have opted not to participate in a music-intensive study on Tuesday afternoons are participating in hands-on math with me. We are playing some games, solving difficult problems, and learning from one another. Students who need extra time to catch up on missing work use this time for that purpose. There is no homework for this class.

## 7th Grade on Fridays

We are watching documentaries during our hour and half together each week. The final documentary is called

The final half hour of our time each Friday is spent in study hall. This a great time for kids to get started on their Aleks time for the week.

*Dream Big*. It is an inspirational video about engineering. After watching the short film, the students will spend the rest of the year working on a few hands-on engineering projects in small groups.The final half hour of our time each Friday is spent in study hall. This a great time for kids to get started on their Aleks time for the week.

## 5/6 Math |
## 7/8 Math |

The 5th grade math group is getting into fractions heavily. They are comparing and ordering fractions with like and unlike denominators. They will soon be adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions.
The 6th grade group is in chapter 8 in their books. In chapter 8, we'll work with functions (rules that relate an x-value to a y-value) and inequalities (Ex. x+2<7, so x<5). In chapters 9 & 10, we'll do a lot of work with geometry. Chapter 9 focusses on calculating the areas of triangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, and irregular figures. In chapter 10, we'll focus on finding the volume and surface area of prisms and pyramids. Both math groups do math games once every two to three weeks. Students have 45 minutes of aleks.com to do each week. This 45 minutes needs to be completed between Monday at 8AM one week to 8AM on Monday morning the next week. I am using PowerSchool to keep track of work completion in math and to keep track of assessment scores. My goal for each student is to score a 3 or better on each mathematics standard. This score indicates mastery of the standard. Students will also be scored on the Habits of Work (engaged learner, responsible learner, and respectful learner). |
The 7th grade group is finishing the year with a study of geometry. In chapter 7, they'll learn to classify angles, find missing angle measures, do scale drawings, and draw and identify cross sections of figures. In chapter 8, they'll calculate areas, circumferences, volumes, and surface areas of different figures.
One group of 8th graders is working in Glencoe Course 3, chapter 8. They are learning and employing the volume formulas for cylinders, cones, and spheres. In chapter 9, the final chapter, the students will work with scatter plots and data analysis. The other 8th grade group is working with the Saxon 87 book. We have recently taken the test after lesson 50. We will probably complete about 10 more lessons this year. The tests get harder every five lessons because the students have covered more and more material for each test. Each week, the 7/8 students have work to complete on aleks.com. Those who have mastered fewer than 50% of the topics are required to master 8 topics/week. Because the material gets harder as you increase the percent of topics mastered, those students who have mastered 50% or more of the topics are required to master 5 topics per week. This change from 50 minutes/week to a certain number of topics/week was made on March 18th. I am using PowerSchool to keep track of work completion in math and to keep track of assessment scores. My goal for each student is to score a 3 or better on each mathematics standard. This score indicates mastery of the standard. Students will also be scored on the Habits of Work (engaged learner, responsible learner, and respectful learner). |

## 5/6 Science |
## 7/8 Science |

Our current unit is Earth Systems. We've already reviewed the states of matter and their properties., calculated density, made water distribution graphs, and learned about the rock and water cycles. Soon, we'll come up with ways to prove that invisible things exist (think air). We'll learn about the structure of Earth. We'll do a lab to test the hardness of different materials. Finally, we'll compare fossils to creatures still living today. There is some creative writing and visual art woven into this unit. Our final unit of the year will be Structure and Properties of Matter.
To keep up with your child's current progress in science, you can log in to Powerschool to look for assessment scores and for missing assignments. A score of a 3 or better is my goal for each student. This means they have mastered the content. Students will also be scored on the Habits of Work (engaged learner, responsible learner, and respectful learner). |
We have recently finished designing, building, and racing CO2 cars. We did this with a wooden block and will also go to Bristol Consolidated School to input our design on a program that will allow us to 3D print the cars. Later in the year, we'll return to Bristol and race our 3D printed cars with their 8th graders. It'll be interesting to compare the wooden cars' performance to that of the plastic cars.
We are currently in a unit about waves and energy. Students are figuring out what energy is, how it is conserved, and how energy transfers from one type to another. We've already done three labs about energy. We'll soon work a lot with waves. One of the interesting topics we will learn about is how wifi and digital/analog signals actually work. If there is time at the end of the year, we'll get into chemistry a little. To keep up with your child's current progress in science, you can log in to Powerschool to look for assessment scores and for missing assignments. A score of a 3 or better is my goal for each student. This means they have mastered the content. Students will also be scored on the Habits of Work (engaged learner, responsible learner, and respectful learner). |