PEN Update

3rd Marking Period -- April 2015

Note from Mrs. Vice

Finally! Spring has arrived! And so has that busy time of the school year that is filled with exciting academic opportunities, events, and trips. Please review this newsletter to learn about what your child has been working on in PEN and important upcoming dates and projects.

I have also included a section with resources for some great summer camps as well as information specific to 6th grade students and preparing their GIEP for middle school.

Thank you for always supporting your me in my efforts to provide the best learning opportunities for your children. Together, we are their best advocates! As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child, please feel free to contact me any time at .

Mrs. Vice

Upcoming Events

April 23 - Gr. 2 Bridge Trip (rain date: May 6th)

May 18 - Gr. 4 Invention Convention at Pine Run Elementary School

May 28 - Gr. 3 Doylestown Architecture Walking Tour

June 3 - Gr. 5 & 6 Mock Trial at the Old Courthouse

2nd Grade

Second graders have completed their study of animation! Throughout this unit, the students explored the history of animation, from the development of the thaumatrope all the way up to current digital animation. They also learned about different forms of stop motion animation, such as Claymation, time lapse, and pixilation. Be sure to check out the compilation videos that the students completed on my website:

Right now, the 2nd grade students are exploring the forces and concepts related to Bridges. They have explored the shapes and materials involved in making bridges structurally sound. They have learned about the parts of beam bridges and have completed various challenges in which they were asked to construct a Beam Bridge strong enough to hold a particular weight, using the "cheapest" materials possible. Throughout these challenges, the students have learned a lot about the challenge of making a strong, cost-effective bridge.

They will continue their study of bridges to learn about truss bridges, arch bridges, and suspension bridges. Students will also have an opportunity to tour some of these types of bridges that can be found locally in Bucks County, Point Pleasant area on Thursday, April 23rd (Rain date: May 6th).

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3rd Grade

The third graders have completed their study of ancient civilizations. The culmination of this unit included research on an ancient civilization of the students' choosing. Then, each student chose how they wanted to share their research with the class. A few of these projects were electronic, and can be found on my website: For those students who completed an oral presentation, they have been encouraged to share these projects with you at home, so be sure to ask!

At this time, the 3rd graders have begun to learn about the basic principles of architecture -- strength, function, and aesthetics. We are exploring these concepts, learning about the different structural features and materials used to construct buildings. To apply the concepts learned, the students are "building" their own PEN facility, making choices about the structure and materials they wish to use. Next, we will begin to learn about function in designing floor plans, and the students will apply that concept to create a functional floor plan for their PEN facility. Lastly, students will add stylistic features to their buildings as well.

We will be conducting an architectural scavenger hunt in Doylestown on May 28th. All parents will be invited to join us for our walking tour of Doylestown to admire and learn about the wonderful architecture that is so close to home! Stay tuned for more information regarding this trip which will be coming home in Thursday folder soon!

4th Grade

If you have not already done so, be sure to view the 4th grade Rube Goldbergs from earlier this year on my website:

As many of you are aware, the fourth graders have been applying their creative thinking and problem-solving skills to create their very own inventions! The students and I are very grateful for all of the support that you have given us throughout this process! At this point, the students are working on building their prototypes and developing their marketing campaign for Invention Convention on Monday, May 18th.

All parents are invited to attend Invention Convention at Pine Run Elementary to see the wonderful display of creativity and celebrate in the students' hard work. Stay tuned for information about each student's scheduled time to present their invention, coming soon.

Also, I am in need of 3 chaperones to spend the entire day taking the students to the various activities at Invention Convention on May 18th. Please email me ASAP if you are able to chaperone!

5th & 6th Grade

The 5th and 6th graders completed their study of editorial cartooning. I hope that you enjoyed seeing your child's editorial cartooning portfolios, which reflected their creative and humorous reactions to today's current events! As the culmination of this unit, each student submitted 1 cartoon from their portfolio to a district-wide contest, in which three 5th grade winners and three 6th grade winners were chosen from the hundreds of entries across the district elementary schools. Buckingham was happy to have both a 5th grade winner, Michael Biafore, and a 6th grade winner, Galen Sutterlin. Congratulations to all students on a job well done!

At this time, the 5th and 6th grade students are immersed in their study of law. They have explored the Bill of Rights, becoming familiar with some of the basic rights of all U.S. citizens. The have discussed the challenge and importance of our justice system in protecting our communities, providing justice to the citizens, and following the letter of the law while upholding the intent of the law.

Now, the students are studying the concepts related to this year's mock trial. They are learning about how a trial works, who is involved in conducting a mock trial, and understanding the difference between prosecution and defense. They have closely studied the concepts connected with our mock trial, including the concept of reasonable and unreasonable searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment as well as law enforcement's use of profiling to prevent crime, as it relates to our 14th Amendment. Currently, students are analyzing the evidence of the case and are beginning to develop an argument and effective questions to be used in court on June 3rd.

Please remember that our mock trial will be held in the evening of Wednesday, June 3rd at the OLD Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown. The trial is expected to last about an hour.

Grade 5 - Trial begins at 5:00 PM

Grade 6 - Trial begins at 6:30 PM

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6th grade transition GIEP meetings

In May, 6th grade parents will be invited to sign-up for a transition GIEP meeting to be held in June. At this meeting, we will discuss your child's current GIEP and the goals that will be most appropriate for your child as he/she heads to middle school. I will have some information to provide regarding the PEN program at the middle school and hope to answer any questions that you may have.

It is strongly encouraged that your child attend the transition GIEP meeting, as they are strongly encouraged at the middle school level to become more actively involved in taking ownership of their education and looking for opportunities to challenge themselves and extend their learning. However, as always, it is at your discretion to have your child attend the meeting or not.

Please look for email communication in May about signing up for one of these meetings.

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Check out the links below for great educational summer camp opportunities for your gifted child! This information will also be posted to my website. I encourage you to share any other opportunities that you have experienced and enjoyed with me, so that I may add them to the list on my website. Thank you!