Ms. Paparella's Class

January 2015

An Inquiry Into Air

Since we arrived back from break, our students have been uncovering the properties of air though hands-on experiences!


We began our focus with the simple question, "What is air?" Students had the opportunity to discuss and chart their existing knowledge and compare it to that of their classmates. It sparked some very incredible conversations!


Students were given an array of materials that would lead them to make some conclusions about air. Some of the most popular objects were a balloon and a feather. This led students to notice and name that air could take up a space and that it impacted the way objects moved.


Our next experiment involved water and bubbles! Since we have some very incredible fish tanks at our schools, our students were very excited for the opportunity to replicate bubbles of their own in their basins of water in our classroom.


I was able to challenge students by asking them to place a paper towel in the bottom of a vial and submerge it into the water...without the paper towl becoming wet! Our small learners had a blast trying to solve the mystery! Eventually, students came to the conclusion that air takes up space!


Most recently, students were able to consider the properties of air resistance though the use of parachutes. They were able to create their own. They took great care and ownership in the process.


We will continue our focus on collecting measurable data throughout this experience! As we continue this inquiry, I expect students understandings about the importance of air and it's effect on weather to grow. After all...


"DFES is where wonders grow!"

Magnet Open House

On Tuesday, January 20thh, DFES The Academy of Environmental Sciences, will host an Open House Magnet Fair for potential new families from 6:30 – 8:00pm.

We would like for your child to help us with this Open House. Our students are the most capable people to show and tell potential families about the wonderful program we have at our school. If you are able to attend, your child will be leading a demonstration in his/her classroom.

We thank you in advance for allowing your child to help us with this evening!

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Narrative Writing

"One day it was raining and the boy was observing the rain. He wondered if it was hot or cold outside so we went outside to see." Preston Scott


Our authors are incredibly invested in their work. Personal narrative writing has offered our students with the opportunity to express themselves though their own stories. It amazes me the connections that they are making to our school's magnet!


Within our writing focus, we have spent time looking at mentor texts that introduce books in a way that compels the reader to keep reading! We call it "mining for writing gems."


As they uncover these gems from some of their favorite authors, they feel inspired to write their own stories. The engagement pictured above was when students were asked to create an introduction based on a picture they observed. This picture was about a student caught in our storm since we have been focusing on weather!

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Interactive Math Journals

Students have had the opportunity to become teachers in our classroom through the use of Interactive Math Journals. Through a timed and focused experience, students are given scenarios the require their mathematical expertise.


Questions always involve the students and their interests. Very recently students were able to use their growing understanding of subtracting two-digit numbers to solve a cupcake crisis! One of our girls was celebrating a birthday and we had to share with another class. We needed to know how many cupcakes would be left for our class!

*We didn't actually share the cupcakes, but the students did get some in celebration of a classmate's birthday!*


These questions are in line with our math goals for the year. We are currently focusing on subtraction. Therefore, this is another opportunity for students to strengthen their understanding and learn from one another.