January Newsletter

Below is the newsletter for January 2018.

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Newsletter 12.5.16

Below is the newsletter for the week of December 5, 2016.

Download (PDF, 3.79MB)

Newsletter 12.5.16

Below is the newsletter for the week of December 5, 2016.

Download (PDF, 3.79MB)

Library News

The Library’s Book Buzz Book Group has had lively discussions about a number of the TES Book Award Nominees over the winter months. Students had strong opinions about the role of different characters in How to Steal a Dog, they completed pictograms inspired by Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and we had our first graphic novel discussion with El Deafo.  In February students will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on two books that have adapted fairy tale themes, The School of Good and Evil and The Land of Stories: the Wishing Spell.   The group takes place once a month during recess/lunch for interested students in grades 4-6 who are reading books from the TES Award list.  Voting Day for the TES (Triton Elementary Schools) Book Award program will take place in March – stay tuned!

The Library is fortunate to have enthusiastic library helpers from Grade 5 who make up the “Library Team.”   Students come to the library in the morning once a week to help keep things organized in the library by sorting books, checking supplies, and special projects.  Currently, the Library Team is working on creating a book recommendation bulletin board in the Library hallway.  The Library is a more inviting and welcome place because of the efforts of our great team!

 

Spring PARCC & MCAS Testing Dates

Grade PARCC ELA PARCC Math MCAS Science
3rd May 2, 4, 9, May 16, 18, 23, 25 NA
4th May 3, 5, 10, May 17, 19, 24, 26 NA
5th May 2, 4, 9, May 16, 18, 23, 25 May 11, 12
6th May 3, 5, 10, May 17, 19, 24, NA

Kindergarten Curriculum

Mathematics

These past few months have flown by in kindergarten! We have started our next chapter in Math in Focus.  Our study will focus on measurement which applies mathematics in a way that young children can easily understand and relate to real-world experiences.  Children begin by touching, examining, and comparing objects to develop awareness of attributes, such as length, size, and weight.  Children can see and feel these differences which leads to comparing and ordering objects based on their attributes.

Using tools to measure length and weight connects the geometry of physical objects to numbers.  Children will be comparing visually and by feel, laying the foundation for use in later grades.

Social Studies & Science

In Science and Social Studies we have focused on the attributes of the different seasons and the life cycle of a tree. Students will be able to describe the weather and activities that are appropriate for each season. They will also be able to illustrate a tree for each season (with a focus on fall and winter). Currently, we are learning about traditions and talking about what traditions we do during December. Children have enjoyed sharing what they do as a family to celebrate the upcoming holidays. We will begin a unit on animals in the winter shortly. Students will be able to act out and explain the terms hibernation, migration, and active.

English Language Arts

Kindergartners are busy learning their letters and sounds! In Fundations our new letters are h, l, k, p, and j. The corresponding keywords are hat, lamp, kite,  pan, and jug. Additionally, we have been working on sentence structure including uppercase letters, spaces between words and punctuation. This week the question mark was introduced which sparked discussion on the difference between a statement and a question. We have also started isolating and sorting words by ending sound, which is a nice challenge for our kindergarten students! Fundations includes a story time and  recently, we have been acting out and retelling the story “Baby Echo Learns to Fly”. Children are asked to identify characters and setting as well as sequencing the events of the story. There is so much going on in kindergarten!

4th Grade Curriculum Focus

Science

In science, fourth grade students have been learning about the scientific method and the states of matter. Science began when students wondered about what a scientist is, what a scientist does, and what a scientist looks like. Fourth grade students were guided to the realization that scientists don’t always work in labs and they are not the picture-perfect mad scientists that so many picture. Moving forward, students learned about what scientists do: follow the scientific method. Students were introduced to the scientific method and then began their exploration of the states of matter. After being introduced to the scientific concepts of matter, mass, and volume, students will soon perform an enjoyable experiment during which they will attempt to identify a mysterious substance’s state of matter.

Social Studies

Fourth grade students have become cartographers! They have been learning all about maps, what features are placed on a map, and the different purposes they are used for. After learning new map vocabulary and identifying the location of vocabulary terms on an assortment of different maps,  students were introduced to the unit’s culminating project when they were asked to create their own islands based on a theme of their choice. The project is meant to synthesize student understanding of the concepts they’ve been learning about maps. Students were also introduced to the skill of referencing a rubric when working on a project to see what is necessary for success. Once these projects are complete, we will be kicking off our very exciting year-long study of the regions of the United States.

English Language Arts

The fourth grade began our very exciting writing program: Empowering Writers. So far, fourth grade students have learned about the three different types of writing: expository, persuasive, and narrative. For each of these types of writings, fourth grade students have learned the structure by analyzing and populating the program’s varied but specific graphic organizers. Most recently, fourth grade students have been studying how to build interesting and detailed sentences. During Reading Block, students began realistic fiction reading groups. Students are working on selecting evidence to support their answers to comprehension questions.

Mathematics

Fourth grade students began the year in math by kicking off the new Math in Focus program. Although a learning curve for all, students have found great success in the first unit on place value. They learned to identify the value of numbers in every place value up through the millions. In order to interact with place value and develop stronger number sense, fourth grade students practiced building large numbers with online and hands-on manipulatives. From there, they learned about the different ways that numbers can be written: standard form, word form, and expanded form. In addition, students also reviewed addition and subtraction with regrouping. Fourth graders are now investigating rounding and front-end estimation to check to see if their answers are “reasonable.” The children have also been practicing their math facts! They have just begun using Xtramath.com and Mobymax.com in order to practice. Students were sent home with their online codes so that they may access these sites and their account from locations outside of the school building.

 

5th Grade Curriculum Focus

Science

Science is alive and well in the 5th grade!  We are currently exploring the fascinating topic of animal and plant adaptations.  From the breathtaking beauty of the Amur leopard, to the familiar eccentricities of the giraffe, to the myriad mind-boggling species that inhabit the Earth’s cave ecosystems, we are learning that nothing in nature happens by chance.  As we begin to look at adaptations in response to climate, we will take on our first interdisciplinary writing piece, penning a letter to a polar bear in hopes of convincing him not to move to the Sonoran Desert any time soon!

English Language Arts

The fifth graders have become “lexophiles” collecting their own “25 cent” vocabulary words from their in-class and at-home reading. Every Friday, students share their new-found words with their classmates through Keys to Literacy activities, such as a word knowledge checklists and 4-square vocab boxes. Therefore, students have more engagement in expanding their vocabulary and they are learning the words of their classmates, too! Also in ELA, we are using a writing program in our curriculum called Empowering Writers. Students were introduced to this program in 4th grade and showed great improvement in their writing, especially in narrative work. This year, we’ll be focusing on expository and persuasive writing. We are sure you may know some very persuasive 5th graders! Our ELA work will also include a number of differentiated, cross-curriculum research projects using the library, technology, social studies, science, and reading.

Social Studies

After a thorough study of geography skills, we’ve found that mysteries abound in our social studies content this fall. What happened to the advanced civilization of the Mayan people who brought us our present day calendar? How did the Incan civilization manage to build thousands of miles of roads throughout South America without the use of work animals or simple machines such as pulleys or wheels? For the past  week,  we’ve  learned about how groups of people came to live together in a civilization and we’ve been learning how to  use  note taking  and research skills to gather new information. We’ll try our hand at writing friendly letters, imagining that we joined Mrs. Frizzle on her Magic School Bus tour of Mesoamerica.

Mathematics

In math 5th graders started the school year with a review of whole numbers.  They were writing numbers in word form, standard form, and expanded form.  Students also identified the value of each digit in a number up to the ten millions place.  Also, part of this unit was comparing and rounding numbers.  This past week we started our 2nd unit called Whole Numbers Multiplication and Division.  Students will learn to multiply and divide using patterns along with the standard algorithms.  Another part of this unit is simplifying numeric expressions using the order of operations and solving real-world problems involving multiplication and division.  Keep studying those multiplication and division facts!

6th Grade Curriculum Focus

Although it’s been summer-like weather in September, our students have arrived to school energetic and eager to learn. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing about their summers, goals, fears, and families! Sixth grade ELA and social studies are also off to a great start! Students have been writing about themselves, theme, plot, and character traits.  Our students are excited and prepared to teach third graders parts of plot in the coming weeks. We have been pleasantly surprised at their geography skills and their love of geography. We look forward to meeting you at Open House next week!

 

6th Grade Curriculum Focus

The sixth grade Number Theory math unit is underway.  Students are considering the many ways that numbers are part of their everyday lives; please check out the “Number of Things” projects on display in the sixth grade hallway.  This past week students worked in groups to study divisibility rules.  Each group created a presentation that they used to teach their classmates about divisibility.  Ask your child if the number 57 is prime or composite and to justify the answer using reasoning about divisibility.  Students are now working on “The Secret Problem” to explore how exponents can help make sense of a complex situation. They have been using a variety of mathematical tools to construct models that show their thinking about powers and exponents.

During science class, students created a Google Slides presentation that showcased a specific branch of this year’s science curriculum. (This is a sample student slide depicting a life science word cloud.)   Students are currently learning about the Scientific Method and are forming a lab safety contract with corresponding posters in preparation for the upcoming microscope labs that will kick off the sixth grade Life Science unit. In this unit, students will be learning about the plant and animals cells that make up all living things.