ASPIRE 5th Weekly News

September 16, 2016

DATES TO REMEMBER:

Sept. 23 - Sock Hop from 6:30-8:00

Sept. 30 - Lunch with the Principal

Oct. 3 - Picture Day

Oct. 7 - Pep Rally

Oct. 10 - Student Holiday

This Week in ASPIRE 5

This week was all about assessment. We have completed our beginning of the year expository writing. We are nearly finished with our beginning of the year personal narrative. We have completed our beginning of the year iStation Reading and Math tests. For many of our students it has been most satisfying to cross things off the list in their My Homework Planner. (More about this later.)



In science we are talking about alternative energy. The scholars worked together to create posters about different kinds of alternate energy and then we did a gallery walk so all of the scholars could see and comment on what their peers shared on their posters. We have just launched a science project about ways to alter the energy plans for campuses in GCISD to include alternate forms of energy. There are 18 teams covering the 18 campuses. The teams include scholars from each ASPIRE 5 class.


We also had some fun this week as we celebrated Roald Dahl Day and Dot Day! Each ASPIRE 5 class met with their younger ASPIRE buddies for an activity on Roald Dahl Day and we met as a full group to celebrate Dot Day.

NEXT WEEK in CLASS:

Math:

6th Grade Accelerated Math
  • Classifying Real Numbers

5th Grade Math

  • Numerical Data
  • Dot plots, Stem and Leaf Plots and Scatter Plots

Humanities:

Reading:

  • Short story - The Dinner Party using Socratic Seminar.
  • Junior Great Books Clubs
  • Learning Commons Time on Wednesdays

Writing

  • Finishing BOY personal narrative essay
  • Updating our Writier's Interactive Notebook (WIN)

Social Studies

  • Present regions of the US
  • Exploring Systems


Science:

  • Mini PBL - Identifying benefits and challenges of alternative energy resources.


Leadership:

  • Continue My Life's Journey Presentations

My Homework Planner

Next week we will start full out with our new planner - My Homework Planner that the scholars have uploaded from the Chrome Apps Store. The main thing the ASPIRE 5 teachers love about this planner is that we push the assignment reminders to them, they don't have to write it down themselves. It is new for all of us and we are learning more about the program and all of its features.

Alternative Energy Model

Students will begin constructing models of their energy plans for GCISD campuses next week. We will provide some materials at school, and computer access for groups that selected a digital product. We ask that other materials be normal household items you already have. If groups want to purchase additional items, we are asking for a strict limit of $10 per group ($2-$3 per person). Additional items are not required, and their grade will not suffer from a lack of store bought items. Thank you for your support of this project!

Curriculum Night Q & A

Thank you to all of the parents that were able to attend Curriculum Night on Thursday. We enjoyed visiting with you, and talking about some of our initiatives. Here are some questions that were left for us after the presentation. Thank you to everyone that submitted a question!


Q: Can the homework app or their Chromebook planner be shared with parents? (Wondering if I could add that calendar to my calendar?)


A: Unfortunately, it is our preference that only students join our class, and that parents have periodic conversations with their child about assignments in their planner.


Q: Do we have a parent/teacher conference before report cards come out?


A: There is not a parent/teacher conference day on the calendar, but we are happy to set up a conference at your convenience!


Q: Can I plan a trip to take ASPIRE kids to an art museum? It’s free…


A: We welcome your input for field trips. Please contact us with the information. It sounds like a definite possibility!


Q: We’re not on Twitter. Is this an issue?


A: No. Essential information will never be posted on Twitter. Several of the pictures we include in this this newsletter came from our tweets.


Q: Are all three classrooms in sync? Are all assignments due at the same time?


A: Yes and no. We all have different students, and our classroom reflects their needs. We plan together, teach together, and our major assignments are all the same. However, timelines and smaller assignments will vary.


Q: What is the curriculum for spelling and vocabulary?


A: Spelling and vocabulary lists are pulled from content areas and reading selections. Some lists will be personal and some will be for the entire class. All 5th graders must prove mastery of the district “in a snap” words. While spelling tests are not a large part of the curriculum, students will show mastery in their writing, work samples, and an occasional quiz. Our Membean app will also play a role in vocabulary building and spelling mastery. All students will be calibrated on Membean by next week.


Q: Are there resources to do homework at home that coincides or emphasizes what is being taught in class?


A: Yes! Math has IXL and online access to textbooks. Language Arts has Membean, Social Studies has online textbook access, and Science has Stemscopes. We will be happy to give you more information on any of these digital resources.


Q: How do you print something off of Chromebook @ home?


A: You can print at home from Google Drive on another device. Teachers are happy to print things for students as well.


Q: How much does the ASPIRE curriculum differ from that taught to other students in GCISD?


A: The curriculum is the same, but our approach is different. We explore the same topics with much greater depth and complexity, analyze them from the view of experts in the field, and make connections across content areas. It is the work in ASPIRE and the GT strategies that we incorporate that are very different from what is offered in the traditional classroom.


Q: Some of the parents missed the general 5th grade meeting about the field trip and end of year celebrations. Will we be informed about these events?


A: Yes! Details will be sent home as the events get closer.


Q: How do you expect ASPIRE kids to perform (academically, but perhaps primarily socially) once they are no longer in the program?


A: We hope that our students grow academically and socially while they are in the program. We spend a lot of time exploring identity with the goal of having a better understanding of ourselves and the communities we live in. With the integration of specials and our efforts to combine ASPIRE and traditional classes in social activities monthly, we believe that the transition out of ASPIRE will be more successful.


Q: How is the ASPIRE curriculum individualized to meet each child’s unique needs?


A: Some classes offer tiered assignments to meet the ability, interests, and talents of the students. All classes offer open-ended assignments that allow students to take their learning to a level that matches their academic readiness. We always strive to design work that will challenge students, incorporate a wide variety of GT strategies, and develop higher-level thinking skills. However, there is not an accelerated curriculum outside of math. We provide opportunities for depth and complexity of the traditional 5th grade curriculum.

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@FullhartASPIRE5

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