## January/February 2018

## 5/6 Homeroom

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

We are in the midst of our 2nd read aloud of the year:

We are in the midst of our 2nd read aloud of the year:

*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 pairs very well with*Rules*, the book the students finished recently in ELA class.

On rainy or cold days, we do a

During our Wednesday afternoon time, we are working on our newest quest. These are poetic scavenger hunts that teach questers about the area of town they are exploring.

Location: School and library grounds

Format: Acrostic poem

Current work: Narrowing down our landmarks, visits with South Bristol Historical Society to learn about our town and the school property.

Up next: Begin writing the quest, more research, another site walk

*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. We've done many of these lately with the cold weather.During our Wednesday afternoon time, we are working on our newest quest. These are poetic scavenger hunts that teach questers about the area of town they are exploring.

Location: School and library grounds

Format: Acrostic poem

Current work: Narrowing down our landmarks, visits with South Bristol Historical Society to learn about our town and the school property.

Up next: Begin writing the quest, more research, another site walk

## 7/8 Hands-on Math

Students who have opted not 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 on another. There is no homework for this class.

## 7th Grade Friday Afternoons

The 7th graders began the year by going to the Darling Marine Center in Walpole. The DMC has opted to stop their education outreach programs for at least a year. So, the 7th graders have been meeting with me each Friday afternoon since Thanksgiving break. We start 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.

Soon, we'll start a literature circle about the book

Soon, we'll start a literature circle about the book

*The Tomorrow Code*by Brian Falkner. This is a science fiction novel that deals with environmental issues, deep space probes, biological horror, and even time travel. It is a gripping, fast-paced book with much to discuss. The students tend to really enjoy it. We'll complete the book and discussion in 4 short weeks before February break.
## 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 will also begin to work 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 winter break, each student has completed at least 675 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 in the midst of working with decimals, percents, and fractions. They have been converting between the 3. They now know what rational numbers are. They are converting units from one system of measurement to another (ex. feet to meters). We have been doing a lot of review of these concepts to get students very comfortable with this skill. In chapter 5, we'll begin our study of algebra. We'll begin by writing and manipulating algebraic expressions.
The 8th grade is deep into their study of algebra. They've been working with equations and functions. They've solved equations, graphed them, written tables of values, and solved systems of equations with 2 variables. Chapter 3 was a big challenge for the group. In chapter 4, they've gotten much more comfortable. Chapter 5 takes us into geometry: triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem. The Algebra I group just finished chapter 6. In this chapter, they derived the quadratic formula and used the formula to solve quadratic equations (the variable is to the power of 2). They are now working on their mid-term exam. Next, we'll be solving systems of equations by graphing, using substitution, and using linear combination. This is the essence of the Algebra I course. 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 winter break, each student has completed at least 750 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 recently finished their study of the 4.6 billion year history of the Earth. They studied instantaneous changes to Earth's surface caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, meteors, and storms. They also studied long term changes caused by plate tectonics, rain, wind, and water. They used the earth's strata (layers of rock) to determine the relative age of a fossil and learned how scientists use radioactive decay to determine the approximate age of a fossil.
We are now doing a unit called Force and Motion. We began with a study of magnets using materials in the classroom and an online gizmo. Students have a good understanding of how magnets work. We are now moving on to the study of motion through an Interact simulation called Rollercoaster. Students are working in teams to solve the mysterious issues that arise when a roller coaster park undergoes a major renovation. They will be learning the science of motion in order to crack the mystery. At the end of the simulation, they will design and construct their own roller coaster. 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 wrapping up their unit on heredity and reproduction. We studied inheritance, Punnett squares, mutations, and genetic modification, among other things. The test for this unit will happen soon after December's break.
We will then move on to a study of evolution. We will look at the fossil record, population data, embryonic similarities, adaptation, and natural selection as evidence of evolution. There are many hands-on activities and a couple of great films during this unit. 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. |