5CE April Update

Curriculum Overview

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While we have plenty of exciting things happening this month in the classroom, the highlight of April will undoubtedly be our 5th graders' first overnight class trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School in Worton, Maryland. Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Echo Hill provides an educational, fun, and peaceful retreat for our students as they bond with each other and nature. It's a wonderful experience, and I can't wait to share this time with them!

Reading and Writing Workshop

Students are hard at work on their Literary Essays. We will continue to spend time reading short stories and analyzing these texts in order to reveal information about our characters and to study the author's purpose in writing the story...Is there a bigger lesson that we can all learn by reading these stories? After selecting a story that resonates within them, students will craft thesis statements and begin to plan and frame their literary essays. In constructing their essays, students will learn how to use many different kind of evidence to support their points: other stories; summaries; lists; and descriptions of author's craftmanship. Their notebooks are brimming with ideas and thoughts from the stories they've already read, and we can't wait to work through the writing process with them in order to see their published pieces.

Additionally, we will also spend some time reading and writing poetry this month. We will have the opportunity to write many tried and true favorites, but we'll also learn new forms, including Odes, Tritinas, "Like What..." poems, and "Where I'm from" poems. I look forward to broadening students' horizons with regards to poetry. :)

Read-Aloud

5th grade is loving our read-aloud, The Giver. This Newbery Award winner has the kids on the edge of their seats, and we've just discovered that Jonas lives in a world of "Sameness," where most things are controlled and choice is limited. We will continue to discuss the pros and cons of living in a controlled society like Jonas, and the kids are having passionate discussions as to why they agree or disagree with his world. Ask your child for their thoughts; I hope it leads to a great conversation!

PS. The movie is coming out in August, and I think it would serve as a terrific reason to get together again! :)

Math

April = Geometry in 5th grade! This month, students will be studying triangles and quadrilaterals, including parallelograms, rhombuses, and trapezoids. Students will learn the properties of these shapes and will figure out unknown angles and side lengths in figures by applying these properties. This is always a favorite unit among students, as it is filled with fun, hands-on activities!

We will also do a fair amount of review of previously learned concepts in order to keep our skills fresh and our computation sharp! :)

Can you find the unknown angles in this figure?

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Social Studies

This week, students will spend a little bit of time studying the Code of Hammurabi, a set of 282 laws that were inscribed on an 8-foot-high stela, found in the Mesopotamian city of Susa. The laws in the Code reflect the values of Babylonian society, such as honesty, social class, gender, and the welfare of the state over the welfare of the individual. Students will learn that punishments were harsh; this judicial concept is known as "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." By reenacting court cases and determining rulings by using the Code of Hammurabi, students will have to judge eight different cases and determine the appropriate punishment. Good luck!

April will also have us traveling by riverboat down the Nile River! Lucky ducks! We will learn about the three major periods of ancient Egyptian history - the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms - by visiting monuments from each period in order to learn about different pharaohs and their achievements. Be sure to pack your cameras, 5th graders!

We will end the month by taking a closer look at Ancient Egyptian daily life. Students will be assigned an aspect of life, such as food and drink, education, or music and dance. After learning about their specific topic, students will create a glog (an interactive digital poster) in order to share their findings with the rest of the class. Each group's glog will be organized on a class wikipage that can serve as a digital museum! Stay tuned for more information!

Important Dates to Remember:

April 9-11: Echo Hill Outdoor School Class Trip
April 18 and April 21: NO SCHOOL for students
April 24: 4th/5th grade Music Show @ 7 pm
April 28-May 2: ERB Testing
May 2: Darfurnament