Later Elementary update for December, 2011

Hi, All! Hopefully everyone had a family and food filled Thanksgiving Holiday! It’s hard to believe that this Holiday season is upon us once again! We hope you all have many opportunities to spend time with friends and loved ones at this time of the year. Here’s a brief recap and look ahead at events in 4/5.

In social studies students are finally wrapping up their Mr. Help posters! These projects have taken a lot of time, but the end products are pretty cool! Over the past several weeks we’ve also spent some time discussing the geographic regions of the U.S. For our purposes this year, we’re discussing five major regions – the northeast, southeast, midwest, southwest, and west. Obviously, these five regions don’t do justice to the physical geography of the United States. Arguably, you could break the U.S. into about ten geographic regions. But these five regions give us a place to start when talking about the physical and cultural geography of the United States. As we move forward into December, we’ll begin looking at the first English settlers to arrive on the North American Continent. We’ll also be talking about push/pull factors that influence immigration and migration. Some questions to consider include: What was going on in England in the 17th Century that encouraged settlers to travel to North America? What “pull” factors encouraged more people to move to the “New World” once permanent settlements were in place? What are some push/pull factors the encouraged people to migrate from place to place once they were settled in the New World? How did the permanent presence of the English in North America impact Native peoples? This last question is one we’ll continue to examine throughout our study of early U.S. history. One of the forgotten stories of U.S. history is how European exploration and settlement in North America resulted in the destruction of Native cultures and Native life. Every now and again we’ll change direction and talk about the present; and we’ll examine how Native Americans today still face major challenges because of events in the past.

In science students have been making their food webs. These food webs show the interaction between living organisms within an ecosystem. Students have also spent time talking about how ecosystems recover from damage caused by humans or natural disasters. These discussions have centered around the idea primary and secondary succession.

In language arts, students are wrapping up Hoot. Look for some great projects on display in January! While working on their group projects in school, students will be reading their independent fantasy books at home in preparation for completing their first book project of the year. The week of December 5 everyone will receive the requirements for the final project which is due January 9th. During class time students will also be discussing fantasy and advertising elements. At the end of the unit students will create an in-class advertising poster to publicize the fantasy book that is being read aloud.

Again, we hope you all had a great Thanksgiving break! Please feel free to contact your child’s math teacher if you have any questions about math. As always, thanks for all you do for your kids!

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