# The Patriot Progress

## Service Focus

Students have continued to ask, "How do connections affect our lives?" While studying connections in the content areas, we looked at some interesting connections people have made in their lives via volunteering during project time. So far for this unit, we have sent thank you cards to veterans over seas, talked with a Pike Road firefighter, and observed a Alabama Service Dog at the school. Each of these events gave the students time to focus on ways they can help others. Students brainstormed about connections they have in their lives and ways they could help out locally. This week, we have designed four different service projects based on the students' ideas that they will participate in on Wednesday and Thursday. These four projects include shredding paper and donating to a local animal shelter, dividing rice bags for local food pantry, writing notes for patients and attaching to candy canes for patients in the hospital, and writing letters to nursing home patients. Thank you to all of you who sent in the items we requested! As we move into January, we will shift our focus to change. Our driving question will be "How Does Change Contribute to My Environment?"

## Math

This week we will wrap up long division. We have noticed a couple of things that many of our students are struggling with. When they divide they must remember to line up their numbers. They can use graph paper or the lines on their notebook paper to help. Another barrier has been their uncertainty of their multiplication facts. These skills are ones that our Patriots will need continuous practice with. Please encourage your children to practice this weekly. You can also encourage them to use division to solve real world problems around the house. For example, you have 100 candy canes to distribute to neighbors. Have them figure up the number of neighbors and how many candy canes each would be able to receive. Any opportunity to use division will build those skills.

Upon our return from the break, we will begin fractions. This, too, is a difficult skill and will require lots of practice. This is another great opportunity to encourage your child to use this math skill at home. Have your child tell you the fraction of pizza that they’d like to eat, etc. We will begin by teaching the basics of fractions at school and then offer opportunities for them to use fractions to solve real problems.

## English

Due to the generous use of Clue games, our classes were able to enjoy themselves while honing their observation and communication skills. We truly appreciate all the parents who allowed us to borrow their games, and we know we couldn’t do our jobs without you.

In the past two weeks we have been reading short stories. First, we read “The Red Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame). We are currently reading “The Gift of the Magi” by O Henry, which we plan to finish this week. We have paired comprehension, vocabulary, detail recognition, and story elements with these stories, and we have been truly pleased with the enthusiasm shown by our students.

Once we come back from the break we plan to start a unit in which we will study fairytales. The culmination of that study will involve our trip to the American Shakespeare Festival to see the play based on the Perrault version of the tale. We will read both the Perrault and Grimm versions prior to our trip. On that note, please remember the upcoming due dates for payment for the trip. We are excited to share this learning opportunity with you and our amazing learners!

Please encourage your learners to read/write over the break, if the opportunity presents itself. Studies have shown that reading with your kids is very beneficial, even as they grow older. Many students still struggle with recalling details from a story. By encouraging reading at home, and even conversation about what they are reading, these skills will steadily improve. We have been working on our writing skills a little each day, and we will continue to do so for this school year. Again, we appreciate your support and care so much, and we hope you have an enjoyable holiday!

## Science

Students have been looking at different types of lenses. Friday we went out and looked at a prism and what happens to the light when it bends. We are also practicing the steps to the scientific method when creating an experiment. Monday they will change one variable in their experiment and retest their prisms to see if anything changes. The students have really enjoyed the unit on Microworlds, and we are all looking forward to a new AMSTI kit after the new year.

## History

Students are currently enjoying our short break from history. We are still teaching the subject, but with a stronger emphasis on reading for understanding and annotating text. This week, students will sign up for Newsela accounts (You can check out the website here: https://newsela.com/ ). This is a great resource that gives students access to non-fiction texts on their reading level that align with our standards. Once we return from the break, we plan to begin discussing the causes of the American Revolution. If you have a chance, try to talk with your students about conflict, taxes, and democracy. These are three of the main topics that will be covered soon.

As we move into the Revolutionary War, we will discuss the founding fathers, early democratic documents, war tactics, and more. We look forward to working through this exciting time period!

### 1 Festival Drive

#### Montgomery, AL

Remember that the Cinderella field trip cost is \$28. The first \$14 must be paid by this Thursday, December 17, 2015. Please submit the second payment by January 22, 2016. Thank you to all our parents coming as chaperones. All our chaperone slots have been filled. If you need the field trip form, please find it in the attached Google Doc link.

## Upcoming Event Dates

12/14/15

5:30 p.m. Planning Commission meeting - C5 learners will present their proposed changed for Exit 16.

12/16/15

C3 - Night at the Museum

12/18/15

C5 Holiday Party 11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m.

Last day of school before Christmas break

1/4/16

Professional Learning Day for teachers (no school for students)

1/5/16

First day back for students.

## Christmas Party

Each homeroom will have their own party. We still need parents from each homeroom to help us set up the party at 11:00. If all slots are full to bring something, you are welcome to still send a tasty snack for your child's homeroom if you would like to help. Thank you to all of you who signed up so quickly! We will also be reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas and comparing it to the different movie versions. This will lead us into our next study in English focusing on the telling and retelling of stories, particularly fairy tales.

## Notes

• Thank you to Costco and Mr. Nichols for the donation of rice several 25 lb bags of rice.

• All students need ear buds EVERYDAY.

• Computers should be charged at home each night. Many students are coming to school with dead batteries. We do not have a place for them to charge at school.

• Starting January 5th students need to have sharpened pencils everyday at school.