4/5 Home

Chapter 1. Welcome to the new school year!

Later Elementary is trying out a new website and we’re really excited about it!  Follow this link: honeycreek4-5.weebly.com to check it out and give us feedback.

Chapter 2. Monthly Newsletter

  • March

    March finds later elementary students working as busily as bees!  We’re excited to celebrate our hard work with a field trip on March 14.  We’ll be traveling to the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra to experience a lesson Garry has been preparing us for during music time.  In the afternoon we’ll travel to the University of Michigan Museum of Art for a lesson in United States geographical regions.

    In language arts we’ve picked up a new curricular supplement: Flocabulary.  It’s giving everyone something to sing about and building our vocabulary and grammar skills. This month students will also start preparing for their tall tale, myth or legend retelling.  Look for recordings of these over-the-top productions at curriculum celebration in May!

    In literature we are still reading the novel Maniac Magee and were just lucky enough to have guest teacher, Simona Goldin lead a lesson at the end of February.  Book projects are also starting this month.

    4/5 Social Studies classes are knee deep in their studies of U.S. Regions as well as their individual U.S. State Projects.  Currently, they are working through a ‘road trip’ throughout their respective states, using budgeting skills to make their trips affordable, while still visiting the sites important to the project criteria. The kids are really excited about all they have discovered and explored so far!

    Students are completing the fantasy food chain project in Upper Elementary Science! Like fantasy football, students are assembling “teams” of living, extinct and established (think: in books, movies or games…) organisms to create a plausible food chain.  Students have to analyze the extinct and established animals and look for clues as to where they fit in a food chain, and what their role is.  Teeth, eyes, claws,beaks and more guide them to determining how their team fits together.  They will be writing sequentially about this team and the energy moves through it! They will also creating a fantasy environment that can support all of the animals in the food chain,
    creating a model of their food chain.  We’ll be studying about matter and it’s properties as our next unit, we’ll be looking at materials and how their properties influence how we use them. All through, we work to address non-fiction reading and writing skills that are so important in communicating what we have learned.

  • January

    The students are working hard at wrapping up our study of the “Life of the Environment!” It’s been a really great unit, meshing the life sciences with the study of waves and energy.  We’ll be wrapping up and completing our big project, a digital poster of how energy is transfered through the environment.  The focus of the poster is how do we, as organisms, sense the energy in the environment.  The unit focused on how the brain is really the processor for all of our sensory systems, the students really enjoyed the inquiry atmosphere.  They are great thinkers and problem solvers!

     In Social Studies, our kids have been finishing up the our unit on Latitude and Longitude and have begun work in our U.S. Regions Unit.  Our main focus is to help the students understand how these regions are defined via differences in: climate, geography, economics, landforms, resources, and historical events.

    The students have also been assigned their U.S. State for their upcoming State Project.  This project is enormous… and they are really excited to get started. This project has many components that work across our entire curriculum, and will take close to five months to complete. Please look for an email within the next week or two to help understand and be familiar with the pacing, deadlines, assignment expectations, etc.
    Literature finds us looking at a new book, Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli.  Students will love this tall tale that tells a timeless story of love and acceptance shattering stereotypes and prejudices.
  • December

    Fourth and fifth graders are currently working on persuasive writing!  They are learning about the elements of persuasion; finding an issue, taking a point of view, using evidence to support their claim, and examples that prove the evidence.  They will be working on some smaller pieces of writing, leading up to a larger piece of writing that will persuade their readers.  We will be working on a persuasion simulation in conjunction with our science studies, as well!  The simulation involves considering developing some of the property around Honey Creek, and the different sides to that issue.

    In science, we are learning about how our body’s sensors pull energy from the environment and make sense of the information through our brain.  It is an amazing process! We are doing a joint project with Jessica to develop digital posters that show how waves and chemicals bring information to our body, and how our brain can interpret those messages. We’ll be moving on to considering more about our brain and wrapping up with some work to learn more about our effect on the environment and other organisms around us.  This ties into the persuasive simulation above!
    Literature finds students having just finished reading Hoot.  It was well loved by all!  We are celebrating by watching the movie (so we can compare and contrast the story) and having a pancake party celebration on Monday, December 18.  We are all looking forward to this treat!
    Later elementary will also be going on their first field trip on Wednesday, December 20.  They will be seeing a one woman play that explores three women’s journey to Michigan throughout three different decades.  They will also get to enjoy a guided tour of the Detroit Historical Museum.
  • November

    Happy Fall!  We would like to thank all of the parents who took time to meet with us for Parent/Teacher/Student conferences.  As we have been getting to know your kids throughout the first months of the school year, it was really nice to be able to meet with you to set the tone of expectations and goals for the year.

    In Social Studies, 4/5 students have been finishing up their Autobiography Landforms project.  They are excited to show them to you at curriculum celebration in January.  From there, we have been moving on in our geography/mapping unit to learning about latitude and longitude.  This includes a large scale “Battleship”-type game between the classes.
    In science, we are continuing to learn about how organisms sense the environment around them and what it is in the environment that they are sensing. We are talking about chemical energy, electromagnetic energy and mechanical energy and the structures organisms have that sense these. Specifically, this week, we will be studying the eye. On Nov. 8th, we’ll be doing a very structured and supported dissection in order to study this structure.  We’ll move onto modeling the way organisms sense, how our brain interprets the energy signals and onto thinking about the human effect on the environment.
    Hoot continues to be an engaging book that is keeping us wanting more!  We are a little more than halfway finished.  Students will be making their own Hoot glyphs to reflect on their own opinions of the book when finished.  In addition, in literature, students were also just assigned their first book project.  They will be selecting a fantasy book and creating a scrapbook to go along with it.  Look forward to seeing these at curriculum celebration in January!
  • October

    The 4/5th graders are off to a stellar start!  In science, we are learning about living things and how they sense their environment!  We’ve studied organisms, looking for details about their structure and how that helps them succeed in their environment.  We’re also looking at the environment, and how organisms respond to it.  Coming up….  how are our senses like sensors? We’ll be studying the way organisms take in energy from the environment and react.  The eye will be studied in detail, culminating with a very carefully planned dissection.  We’ll work under the direction of Sandi Little, a veterinarian and parent at our little school!  Adults will work directly with children on this project in order to get the maximum learning experience. The children have been excited about this since day one of this year!

    In literature students are fully immersed in Carl Hiaasen’s novel Hoot.  We are about halfway through and some students are having a hard time refraining from reading ahead since it’s such an engaging story!  This book has offered a plethora of new vocabulary words as well as opportunities to discuss author choice and voice.  Each class is also reading another book by Carl Hiaasen which has given opportunities for students to make comparisons between his characters, themes and plot lines.

    Landforms have ruled the day in social studies!  Students have created landform study guides and are now engaged in creating their landform autobiographies.   Look for these creative works of art at our winter curriculum celebration!

    Math finds many upper elementary student digging deep into the foundations of math.  Numeracy and place value are essential to a deep understanding of mathematics, and we are working hard on not only calculations, but understanding of numbers,patterns, problems and multiple ways to solve them. Flexible thinking is encouraged and we are looking at the why of math in order to promote a real love of math and the processes!  We love our growth mindsets!
  • June

    Later elementary student were very proud of the work they were able to show off at curriculum night!  Thanks to all who came and supported the students– a special thanks to those of you who listened to our wax museum figures!

    As the year draws to a close there are many more celebrations to be had.  Our fifth grade students will be traveling to Camp Tamarack June 8-9 for a farewell adventure!  There, they will work on teambuilding initiatives and have some fun surprises.  Also, the whole grade level will have one final field trip on Tuesday, June 13.  It is the biannual photo scavenger hunt in downtown Ann Arbor.  If you are out and about that day you may see groups of Honey Creekers and their loyal chaperones roaming the streets and accomplishing missions.

    It’s been a fantastic year and we hope everyone has a terrific summer!

  • May

    Can you believe there are less than two months to go in this school year?!  It doesn’t mean things are slowing down though!  In later elementary students are going to be wrapping up Mstep testing, completing the maturation curriculum and digging even deeper into our last units.

    Literature finds us wrapping up Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  This book has kept students riveted!   Look for some reflective projects at curriculum celebration.  There, you will also see students’ science fiction book projects.

    The Earth has been a huge piece of our learning in science this year.  Everything can be tied to it.  If you have time, check out some of the student’s work using the USGS website of 3D photos of the National Parks.  We incorporated writing and language arts standards along with our science standards to look at a formation and determine how it was formed and what will happen to it in the future.  It was exciting to wear 3D glasses for a professional simulation.  Mysteries are what geologists solve!

    We will be tying together the technology and engineering project that Jessica has been working on, Wigglebots!  Energy and electricity will be our course of study for a short bit before ending with our journey into space!  Again, we’ll be tying reading standards into science standards, for more close reading of non-fiction materials as well as labs and activities.  It seems fitting to hit the final frontier as we look to wrap up the school year!
    In 4/5 Social Studies, we are deep into our Three Cultures unit, studying how European, African, and Native American influences affected colonial history.  We have almost come full circle now in our year.  Having started with foundational information on units of Government, the Revolutionary War, and Early Colonial History— we moved back in time then to help the students understand the leading issues, back-stories of those units. Be sure to take a look at our maps and historical timelines at the May Curriculum Celebration!
  • March

    Later Elementary has been tackling a lot of challenging topics since returning from winter break.  In literature we are reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.  This has brought up a lot of issues of equality, discrimination and justice.  We’ve examined Jane Elliott’s work with the blonde eye/brown eye experiment which gave some new perspective in understanding the racism that comes from a group being told they are superior.  We also conducted an activity called Cross the Line where students were able to self identity with a variety of statements.  It helped students connect with and understand each other more deeply and we’ve gotten some great feedback from this!

    Thanks once again to the generosity of the fine arts committee, 4/5s will be taking a field trip to the UMMA on March 8.  We will participate in two different programs and are excited about the ways that they will tie in and support our science and social studies curriculum.

    Finally, the time is here to begin our biography project.  Students have selected their historical figures and will be starting to research and prepare for writing essays.  Look for news of the final culmination–our wax museum–in April!

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