December 9, 2015

What Happened????

Oh my goodness... I cannot believe it has been a month and a half since my last newsletter!!!!! What happened to the time?

We have had a very busy time, lately. Thank you to everyone who came to the capstone. The students greatly appreciate the opportunity to share what they have learned with an audience other than each other and myself. All students engaged in all of the activities as part of class, but they were able to give us feedback about which topic they wanted to investigate more deeply. We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we enjoyed putting it all together for you!

We are wrapping it all up this week with our Electricity test and our final design brief of PBA unit 1. The students are designing and constructing an electronic learning game that will light up when the correct answer is selected. We weren't able to get it finished before the capstone, but we hope to schedule a mini-capstone in our rooms when you can come and explore them.

Now, we are transitioning into our next PBA - How do parts of a system affect each other? Look below more specific content area details.


We are currently working on analyzing text for main idea and supporting details, discovering how Latin and Greek roots became our words, and summarizing.

We are also writing a fun winter story about how we once got trapped in a snow globe. We can't wait for you to see the art project that goes along with this fun narrative writing exercise. We are focusing on having the students revise and elaborate their writing, using interesting, sensory words that clearly appeal to the senses.


We are deep in division! The students know three different methods that they can use to solve division problems. There are videos where I demonstrate each method on our Homework planner page at Just scroll down to the very bottom to find them.

Very soon after vacation, we will be taking this unit test and moving on to the algebra unit. This is one of my favorites, because it's like solving little mini-mysteries and looking for/using patterns for problem solving. We have already jumped into it a bit by starting to discuss situation equations and solution equations and writing them when we do word problems.

Social Studies

Our current topic is "Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities". We will be learning more about our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The students will bring home a packet that has the first 10 Amendments explained in clear, kid-friendly language. The students will be tested on it when we return. Any students who correctly identifies the right that matches each Amendment number (no more than one mistake or switched answers) will have a yummy donut treat!

After this, we will dissect and analyze the three branches of government. Last year, they learned about the local level, and we will deepen their understanding to the state and national levels, as well.

Social Studies is a subject tested by the State this spring, so we have a lot to learn!


Our next science topic is Ecosystems and how organisms react to changes in their environments. We are going to investigate the changes to the West Creek Reservation over the past 50 years through satellite photos and maps. We will also prepare for our next capstone, which will be a Wildlife Sponsorship SharkTank. This is an amazing project that truly fits into our grade-level theme "Me and My Impact" as we work to make a real-world difference in our region.

The LittleBits that I purchased through the First Energy grant are here! After the vacation, the students will invent using this amazing circuit-based kit. We will also learn how to make LED lights that turn on and off by flipping them over and learn about real-world challenges faced by people who live in areas without electricity. This addresses our new essential question because infrastructure is part of the system of society that affects its citizens in real ways.