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Later Elementary News: April 2013

Greetings!

The later elementary level continues to grow and learn more every month!  Expectations have been increasing throughout the year and a lot of students really stepped up after mid-winter break.  For those who struggled a little more with these new expectations, this month is a great time to practice organizing time and communicating questions to increase efficiency.
All three classes continue to work on biography projects.  Research should have been completed last month and April will focus on taking those facts and organizing them into rough paragraphs.  The final papers will be on display at the curriculum celebration as well as two more extensions of this project!
In literature it is time to wrap up Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  If you could have been in the classroom to hear students plead to be able to keep reading as we ended chapters you would have been amazed! It’s great to see how touched some students can be by an “older” work of literature.  Students will be tested on comprehension and will write a literary analysis of the book this month.  Of course, outside of school, students are also working on science fiction book projects.  Near the end of the month, they will start science fiction books in class as well. These will be explored in small literature circles.
Students have been using their map-making skills in social studies.  They have been applying these skills to gain better understandings of the colonization of the New World.  The ultimate goal is to be able to describe how the three cultures (European, Native America and African) collided on North American soil.  Throughout the unit students have studied all three cultures but will now get the opportunity to study one more, intensely, in a small group.
In science we just concluded our short unit on electricity.  Kids loved building motors and circuits and making things light up!  This coincided with the vibrobot project taking place in technology and really allowed for knowledge transfer between the two classes.  April sees us beginning the study of the human body.  The first system we’ll explore is digestion, followed by the nervous system.  Others will follow in conjunction with guest experts for each system.  Look for a group project (though it may be in progress!) where students show off their own expertise about a chosen system.
Happy Spring!

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