## March/April 2018

## 5/6 Homeroom

One to two times per week, the 5/6 class participates in read aloud.

We recently finished

We are now reading

We recently finished

*Rain Reign*by Ann M. Martin. This book is a 1st person narrative about a 12 year old girl with autism. It gives a glimpse of what school looks like from her perspective. She has a keen interest in homophones, prime numbers, and prime number names (Ex. Bob would be 2+15+2=19, which makes it a prime number name). The students have been tracking the homophones that come up in the book and coming up with many of their own. This book paired very well with*Rules*, the book the students read in ELA class.We are now reading

*No More Dead Dogs*by Gordon Korman. We are reading this as a readers' theater. Each student has two roles to play and reads his/her part when it comes up. Many of the roles also act as narrator for an entire chapter. This is a funny book about a boy who cannot lie and ends up in detention for a very long time. He is a football player but slowly works his way into helping out with the school play. Past students have really enjoyed reading this book.

On rainy or cold days, we do a

During our Wednesday afternoon time, we are working on our quest. These are poetic scavenger hunts that teach questers about the area of town they are exploring. After many site visits, the students have begun to write the quest. First, we came up with an overarching statement from which to build the acrostic poem. Each letter in this statement becomes the start of a line of our poem. This is a challenging format that will give us difficulty, but I look forward to seeing what the kids come up with. Later in the year, we'll invite parents to come test of our quest to see how we did, just prior to finalizing the text.

*Perplexor*puzzle during morning recess. These puzzles are a brain exercise where kids use deductive reasoning to figure out, for example, what is someone's favorite color, book, and type of pet.During our Wednesday afternoon time, we are working on our quest. These are poetic scavenger hunts that teach questers about the area of town they are exploring. After many site visits, the students have begun to write the quest. First, we came up with an overarching statement from which to build the acrostic poem. Each letter in this statement becomes the start of a line of our poem. This is a challenging format that will give us difficulty, but I look forward to seeing what the kids come up with. Later in the year, we'll invite parents to come test of our quest to see how we did, just prior to finalizing the text.

## 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 have played some games, solved difficult problems, and learned from one another. We are currently testing challenging problems from a college professor. The students try to solve the problems, then rate how good they think each one is. There is no homework for this class.

## 7th Grade Friday Afternoons

We start each Friday afternoon by doing a check-in to see how life is going. Then we do some Saxon Math which helps the students solidify skills they've already learned, hone their calculation fluency, and work on mental math. We do a short science class focussed on review concepts learned on Monday and Tuesday each week. The final half hour of our time is spent in study hall.

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

The 5th grade math group is working intensively with long division. They are having to divide 4-digit numbers by 2-digit numbers. We are close to finishing chapter 4. In chapter 5, the kids will be adding and subtracting decimals.
The 6th grade group is working with multiplying and dividing difficult fractions. This includes converting units (ex. 1400 feet is the same as how many miles?). In Chapter 5, we'll get into integers and graphing on the coordinate plane. The 7th grade group just finished using all operations with decimals and fractions. Also, we worked with converting from decimals to percents to fractions and converting units from one system to another. Next, we get into algebra. This will include writing expressions, adding them, subtracting them, and factoring them. This group also works with Ms. Norris on Tuesdays. 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. As of February break, each student has completed at least 900 minutes on Aleks. This year, I am using a program called JumpRope to keep track of student progress toward meeting the math standards. All assessments will be recorded there. If you would like a progress update from JumpRope, please let me know and I will print you a report. To keep track of your child's homework completion, please check PowerSchool. |
The 7th grade is working with algebra now. They are solving both one-step and two-step equations (ex. 2x+5=7, so x=1) and inequalities (Ex. -5x+1<-4, so x>1). In chapter 7, we'll move on to our study of geometry.
The 8th grade is working hard with geometry right now. They've learned a lot of definitions and properties that allow them to find missing angles in all sorts of different shapes. They are also able to use geometric proofs to show that a statement is true. The students are using the Pythagorean Theorem to finding missing side lengths and to prove that a triangle is a right triangle. Next, in chapter 6, the students will transform shapes using translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations. The Algebra I group has completed chapter 7. In this chapter, they solved systems of equations by graphing, using substitution, and using linear combination. This is the essence of the Algebra I course, in my opinion. We have now moved on to chapter 9, which deals with properties of exponents. We'll be performing all operation with rational numbers and variables. On Tuesdays, during math class, Ms. Norris is providing math enrichment for many of the 8th grade students. The students are immersed in language, geometry, and algebra studies. Each week, the 7/8 students have 50 minutes of aleks.com to complete. This 50 minutes needs to be completed between Monday at 8AM one week to 8AM on Monday morning the next week. As of February break, each student has completed at least 1000 minutes on Aleks. This year, I am using a program called JumpRope to keep track of student progress toward meeting the math standards. All assessments will be recorded there. If you would like a progress update from JumpRope, please let me know and I will print you a report. To keep track of your child's homework completion, please check PowerSchool. |

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

The 5/6 class is working on a Force and Motion unit. We started by playing with magnets. Then we did an online gizmo about magnets. The students even created an electromagnet in class. We are now in the midst of our study of motion through an Interact simulation called
Rollercoaster. Students have been working in teams to solve the mysterious issues that arise when a roller coaster park undergoes a major renovation. They have been learning the science of motion in order to crack the mystery. The student successfully solved 4 of the 5 mysterious issues with the rollercoasters. It turns out the engineers they hired to do the renovation didn't do a very good job. The students also did 5 experiments and worked with the math of force and motion. The three groups have just completed their designs for their very own marble roller coasters. They are ready to construct. When the coasters are complete, each individual student will give me a tour of the group's coaster using vocabulary about force and motion. This is such a fun project for the students. To keep up with your child's current progress in science, you can log in to Powerschool to look for grades and for missing assignments. 50% of the grade is assessments (tests and quizzes), 40% is his/her grades on classwork and lab work. The remaining 10% is for participation and behavior in class. |
The 7/8 class is finishing up their study of evolution. We've looked at the fossil record, population data, embryonic similarities, adaptation, and natural selection as evidence of evolution. There were several hands-on activities and a couple of great films during this unit.
We are now ready to move on to a short unit about human anatomy. Students will become experts on key parts of the digestive and skeletal systems as well as a system they will choose to research and present to their classmates. They will learn how different systems interact to make the human body function correctly. To keep up with your child's current progress in science, you can log in to Powerschool to look for grades and for missing assignments. 50% of the grade is assessments (tests and quizzes), 40% is his/her grades on classwork and lab work. The remaining 10% is for participation and behavior in class. |