Archive for March, 2010

Fristler Newsletter 2/26/10

Dear Fristler Families,

We made it through five days! Woo Hooo! This has been an interesting week for sure. Between the adjusted schedule, the crazy weather, and cabin fever, these kids have been pretty great. 🙂

Midterms came come on Tuesday. Most have been signed and returned, if you have not seen them yet, please ask your son or daughter. A field trip information/permission form was passed out today. We will be visiting Montpelier, home of James Madison, in April.

In language arts, most of the stories were turned in today. A few of the students opted to keep their stories over the weekend for five points off in order to complete the process sheet. We went over the sheet in class on Wednesday, but a few of them forgot to fill in the back of the form. Next week we will begin or next novel unit on Manifest Destiny. On Monday we will have a book pass and the students will be able to choose from about 20 titles. They will be grouped according to choice and reading level. There will be more specifics about this unit next week. We are also using language arts to work on our school wide literacy project on Three Cups of Tea. We will be very busy for the next four or five weeks!

In social studies, Ms. Lyon and I are working hard on our Manifest Destiny Unit. We are developing lessons to go with text sets (a variety of reading material about the subject-magazines, novels, poetry, picture books, non-fiction books, art books…) on the topic. Next week we will focus in on early Washington DC and some of the trails West. There will be a few homework assignments next week, but no notebook evaluations or tests.

In science, we have spent a lot of time in the lab. After talking about solutions, we have been seeing what will dissolve in water and vinegar. It’s been fun watching their reactions to various combinations. They are showing great lab procedures, attention to detail, and remembering the safety principles. I’m extremely proud of them. Next week, we will look more into the factors that affect dissolving. We will also start our final project for the novel unit. They will have a menu of choices for showing the science in their novels. It will also have a vocabulary component. You may have noticed that I have not yet sent a midterm for science. That will come home Monday. I’m sorry for the delay.

In advanced math six, we are done with classifying triangles and quadrilaterals. Next on our geometry list is a discussion of 3D solid shapes. The emphasis through all of this is comparing and contrasting. Resorting to memorization should be kept to a minimum as they master the material. There will be a final adding and subtracting fractions retake on Wednesday. Most of the students have already scored very well.

In math six, we have talked about triangles quite a bit and will spend a little more time on quadrilaterals next week before moving on. Through some daily warmups, I have discovered that some of our skills from earlier in the year are slipping, so there may be some time given to a review or two as well. The third attempt at the adding and subtracting fractions quiz is Wednesday.

One thing we are missing and time together as a whole team. With flex only 5 minutes long, it just isn’t happening. We have decided to do something about it by trying to work in an open wall work day next week. On days like this, we tell the kids to work on one of the things we give them whenever they are “on team.”

Watch out for the wind. Maybe it’s time for a bright, sunny, Spring day!

Student Connections

There is one particular student who I was unable to “break.” But, I think I may have made a connection today. The student proudly displayed a stats sheet from a sports game this past weekend and boasted that they were to be published in the newspaper. Prior to this encounter, I only received cold glares and attitudes. Today, the student worked much more efficiently, finishing 3 times as much work as they had completed in the past three class periods. Now that I have some insight into the student’s interests, I plan to continue attempts to make a connection and gain their personal respect. Hopefully this will translate into increased performance!

Fristler Newsletter 3/5/10

Fristler Families:

Happy March, the month in which Spring may arrive!

In language arts, we are beginning our Manifest Destiny Novel Unit. On Monday we had a book pass and the students were able to choose from 19 titles. They received their novels on Tuesday and should have one fourth of the book should be read by this Tuesday. On Monday we will have a journal writing activity on Indian Schools. Tuesday we will discuss the written part of the unit, concentrating on Genre. The written work will be due on Thursday. In language arts we are also reading and discussing Three Cups of Tea. Last Friday and today we worked on vocabulary with some Smartboard games.

In social studies we bounced around a bit. On Monday we finished our Mini-Dramas about groups in the West (49ers, Cowboys, Women, Mormons, Donner Party, African Americans and Chinese Immigrants). On Tuesday and Wednesday, Ms. Lyon prepared and taught a really interesting lesson on the design of Washington DC. Hopefully you had a chance to see the Capital City your child designed. Yesterday-Tuesday we will be working with Manifest Destiny Text Sets. The students will travel to four different stations (Women, American Indians, Trails, and Inventions) and interact with a variety of print material at each station. Yesterday and today went very well, the students worked hard!

In science, we FINALLY were able to draw our many mixtures/solutions/dissolving experiments to a close. In the end, we looked at these issues from a half-dozen perspectives. In class today, they pulled it all together with some analysis questions and drawings. I was very impressed with their reasoning skills. They even found evidence in their earlier experiments to cite. Wow … what a day! For the final part of the novel unit, we will have Monday and Tuesday in-class to work on the two vocabulary cards and project (either mosaic or poster). It will all be due Wednesday with presentations. I will give them a script to use for the presentation.

In both math classes, we are done with the fractions quizzes. We have also nearly finished with the classifying of 2D and 3D objects. The Wednesday quiz will cover the 26 vocabulary terms related to this material. Advanced math is slightly ahead and will be moving into area and perimeter on Monday.

Two whole weeks of school in a row. That must be some kind of record!