January 2016

First Grade News

First Grade Chess Club has taken off! We had a great time kicking off our 1st Grade Chess Club last week and had a great number of new buddies to challenge since all four of our first grade classes were represented. Looking forward to Week 2!

For the next four weeks, our first graders will be using the Lego Simple Machine kits to learn about gears, inclined planes, levers, etc. Ask your student this weekend if they can tell you the names of a couple of specific gears!

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Second Grade News

Second graders are researching animals this week and next week. Students are choosing whether to present their research with a diorama (if their regular class didn't already do a diorama) or a Power Point. We have talked about how to take good notes, making sure we don't copy information directly from the text. We've also reviewed how to use the TPS databases for our research and for downloading pictures.

After we are done researching our animals, we will move on to a Lego Simple Machines unit. Last year we used the Lego Simple Machines kits and learned about gears, inclined planes and levers. This year we will go a step further and learn about pulleys and wheels and axles.

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Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade News

Third through Fifth graders have been quite successful logging into their Google Classrooms and completing the assignments I've personalized for each of their classes. Google Classroom sites have a "news feed" where the students can post questions or responses and I couldn't help but smile as I got notices that students had left messages such as "Mrs. Starr, can you please give us another assignment? I love this!" I love their enthusiasm. This week's assignments included a reading comprehension check-in for third grade, a geometry assessment for fourth grade, and a fractions multiplication assessment for fifth grade. Then all three grades had a fun, character-building assignment to watch a Kid-President video about "20 Things We Should All Say More Often." Some were comical but the majority were pretty thought-provoking. Students had to create their own document with 20 things THEY think we should say more often (and their humorous additions made me chuckle!). I have to say that one of the funniest moments this week was when one of our fifth graders logged in and noticed his parents had uploaded a profile picture for him from when he was little. He was a great sport about it and let us all get a good laugh with him :) I told the classes that I wish I'd thought to email all the parents and request some nice baby pictures for their profile pictures!

I've invited 5th grade classes through Google Classroom to participate in a Book Club. I've had a couple responses but will give them another few days to respond. Then we can choose a book together and use the website for some thought-provoking discussions. I'll keep you posted!

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