Spring Greetings!

Later elementary is busy gearing up for lots of exciting new things.  In language arts we are continuing our work on our myth and tall tale pockets.  Look for these comprehensive projects at curriculum celebration.  We are also getting ready to launch into explanatory essays.

In literature we’re wrapping up Maniac Magee and focusing on our book projects.  These are due May 9th and will also be on display at curriculum celebration.

“What’s the matter?”  It’s a common comment we are hearing around the later elementary science classroom, as we study the materials that make up the universe! The elements are taking up much of our classroom time as we learn about these most simple and pure atoms and how they combine with other elements to make up all of the “stuff” in and around us!  The children are mesmerized with the idea that so few things create everything we know.  We have used a project, creating a partial Periodic Table in the hallway to learn about atoms and molecules and how they join together into new substances.  Conservation of matter, mixtures, solutions, solvents, solutes and dilutions will all be discovered through hands on activities involving collecting data using scales and graphing the outcomes!  Be looking in the hallway after break for a glimpse of a new take on the table, and look for lots of photos of the students engaged in chemistry!  Go, Science!

Social studies classes have been working really hard through our American Colonies unit. Students have been building interactive journals- a kind of story-board study guide that they will be able to refer to throughout the rest of the school year.  This is the first year that I’ve tried building these with the kids, and while the journals are ridiculously time consuming, I think the kids are really getting a lot out of the process.

The students have also been hard at work on their U.S. State projects.  It’s a big one.  And it’s one that will hopefully help them practice time-managements skills, with a real focus on quality and attention to detail. Back in January, the kids all chose a state- and since then, have been assigned small components of the project.  Each activity is assigned with a rubric, with each respective due date being a week to ten days later.  Below is a (tentative) listing of the project components.  Although each component is assigned as homework, the FINAL product will be compiled and completed in class- to be shown at Curriculum Celebration in May.

State Flag and Description
Political Map
Topographical Map
3 Resources: tri-oramas
Influential Person
Fast Facts
Historical Site
National/State Parks

Most of the rubrics will be on the social studies page of our website, although all students will be given a hard copy as well.

State testing (M-Step) is coming our way right after spring break so it’s going to disrupt most of our usual schedule.  Science, social studies and literature will be meeting less frequently but will continue to push through and get in as much content as possible.

We are really looking forward to our field trip to the Howell Nature Center on May 18.  We’ll be doing some teambuilding on an obstacle course, structure building and an owl program.



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