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March Highlights in Lower School, by Tally Lent, Lower School Head
additional articles written by Lower School Teachers
Lower School Head
March has begun in Lower School with a giant roar! For the two school weeks in March, much is planned and we have had excitement each day of this last week or more before Break.
We ended February last Friday with Pajama Day in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday, the Upper School Play, and the OmniKin Tournament in fourth and fifth grade sports. I am happy to report that no one fell asleep in their pajamas! The Lower Schoolers thoroughly enjoyed watching the Upper School actors (all of whom are either current buddies or former buddies to some Lower Schoolers and therefore of great interest to all) bring their highly humorous play to life. The fourth and fifth graders exhibited great skill and sportsmanship in their Omni-Kin game and everyone there had good fun.
March excitement picked right up on Monday with Bring a Parent to School in kindergarten and the kindergarten presentation of one of our Core Values of Honesty in Common Time. On Tuesday, we had a riotous Mardi Gras Parade with kindergartners through third graders processing and singing through the halls of Marshall, Crocker, and Ansin Buildings under Madame Niose's happy leadership. We enjoyed a lively presentation of poems from Jen and Travis of Poetry Alive, a Marshall for the Arts-funded group that is in residency this week in the Upper School. Fourth and fifth graders may be able to see some of the Upper Schoolers present poems this Friday and we look forward to that.
Second graders are readying their skits of Aesop's Fables for this Friday's Common Time, and fourth and fifth graders are excited to have their end-of-winter-sports basketball games on Friday afternoon. Third graders are bringing in their wonderful Presidential Board Games to share with their classmates, and first graders are sharing their animal research projects. Community Service continues with second graders singing Irish songs with their Grandfriends this week and third graders meeting with their ARC buddies the week we return to school after Spring Break. The Lower and Upper School Buddies will meet together for fun on the last Friday of the month.
Wonders and Smiles, our preschool book and craft activity, continues on this Thursday and also the last Thursday in March. And we are excited to have Dr. Wendy Grolnick speaking to the faculty on March 26 in the afternoon and to the interested public at 7:00 that evening. She will speak about encouraging children to develop their own intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and sense of competence. These are interesting and important topics and I encourage you to come to her talk at our Alumni Theater on March 26.
We have only eleven days of school in the month of March and we are putting each day to good use with active learning, happy socialization, and important leadership opportunities. I hope you have a happy, healthy Spring Break!
Kindergarten “Marches” On
With Spring Break in the middle of the month, March will fly by. The kindergartners' development can be seen all around. While they are outgrowing their clothes and losing teeth, they are also writing more easily, spontaneously, and in greater volume. They look increasingly like early first graders every day.
A number of candidates for this fall’s kindergarten class have been screened, and the differences between four and five year olds and our five and six year olds stand out in a positive way. What a difference a year makes! Development takes time, and maturity happens at its own pace. Where one child may be a good reader (already!) and some show amazing math insight, others show great leadership skills and are able to organize his peers, another shows advanced gross motor coordination, and still another manifests the ability to think divergently. I am enjoying watching how this year’s class of kindergartners is maturing, and seeing ways in which some of the areas of relative weakness ‘catch up’ to the areas of strength, while those areas of strength continue to grow.
Thank you for your active participation in the recent Math Event. I hope you reconnected with the notion that “math is everywhere,” and discovered some enjoyable ways to help Math come alive! Logic, spatial, and geometric thinking, measuring, patterning, categorizing, visualizing: these are some components of math ability. I hope that you could see this reflected in the activities at the Math Event, and some activities followed you home to become part of your fun time with your kindergartner. Many dice games, tangrams, and the card games of Solitaire and Pyramid, all provide a nice fun/learning balance.
In their journals, children are now in the habit of writing a topic sentence followed by a sentence offering some details. We have begun work on “trick words” (what Fundations calls sight words), so called because they often cannot be sounded out. One example of this is the commonly used word “are.” Try sounding that out letter by letter!
The excitement of the Lower School Play will continue to mount as we take part in rehearsals. As The Pages Turn will be performed twice: April 10 at 4:00 the curtain goes up for the parent performance, and the next morning we will take part in the all-school performance. Details will follow about costumes and we hope that you will put this on your calendars to save the date!
Lockers will be cleared out before Spring Break, so at the end of our two weeks away from school, please remember to ‘restock’ your child’s locker supplies with a complete change of clothing that fits, and that is labeled. We go outside rain or shine, so please think about sending in rain boots and rain coats as well.
From now until the end of the year, we will occasionally have recess with the rest of the Lower School. This will enable the kindergartners to sample the schedule they will adopt in first grade. What this means in practical terms is that we will go outside to the area across the LS driveway at 11:30, then go to lunch.
For those of you who have kindergartners with a summer birthday, you may want to consider having them celebrate in school. Please contact me soon as our calendar fills up quickly at this time of year, and we do not want to leave anyone out!
First Grade News
This month we are “March”ing toward spring! There is a little skip in our step as we enjoy the longer days. In first grade, we will be putting our creative energy towards writing a new story. The students will be provided with a character, setting, and a problem. They will take this information and write a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Each child will incorporate the writing traits of ideas, word choice, and conventions into their creative pieces.
Our phonics for the month will focus on blending and segmenting up to five sounds in a closed syllable. Some five-sound words have a blend before the vowel and a blend at the end. Trick word assessments will take place during the month of March. I encourage you to continue to work with your child so that these words are quickly recognized and spelled without hesitation.
We will begin chapter 8 in our math program. Chapter 8 develops place-value concepts for numbers up to 100 that include identifying the number of tens, writing a number in expanded form, and ordering three numbers.
The students will be introduced to mapping skills through the use of maps and books. Centers will be used to help learn these skills. The centers will focus on completing a map skills book, playing computer games that incorporate reading grids and classroom maps, identifying parts of a map, and creating a classroom map.
As we get ready to say good-bye to February and hello to March, we look forward to the change of seasons and these new activities in first grade.
Second Grade News
We have a very busy two weeks in the month of March. After our break, the "Spring Crunch" will begin as well.
In reading, we are working on our culmination for our Aesop Fables. Short skits will be performed by the two reading groups at Friday's Common Time. After our break, we will return to leveled reading groups.
In Fundations and Spelling, we will continue to work on "Trick Words", open syllables, y as a vowel and y, ly and ty suffixes.
In Language Arts, we will continue to work on our own versions of Aesop Fables, based on a real moral of Aesop's creation. We will also continue with our Six-Traits Writing, with editing and proofreading skills. We also hope to continue our communication with Elias, who will return back to Brazil this month. Second graders will write monthly letters to him, as well as send along pictures of all of our projects we will complete after our break. We will miss you, Elias, and we hope you will return to us next year when you are in third grade!
In G.U.M., we will continue to work on Unit 2- Sentence Structure. Second graders will learn about subjects, predicates, sentences that tell and sentences that ask, commands and exclamations.
After spending almost two months on regrouping in both addition and subtraction, we have moved on to Chapter 7-Geometry and Fractions! In this chapter, the second graders will learn how to describe solid figures (such as spheres) and plane shapes (such as squares). They will also learn how to name fractions. Some new vocabulary words for this chapter are congruent, angle and sphere. We will supplement this chapter with games and activities with geometric figures and fractions. We will also continue with our "Rocket Math" program, as well as continue with our digi activities in regrouping skills and money games.
In Social Studies, we will continue with our Junior Atlas program and will visit North America and South America this month, as well as reading our Scholastic News magazine.
We celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss already and will welcome the warm sun and milder weather of Spring (we hope). During this month, we will also visit again with our "Grandfriends" at Highlands and bring joy and happiness to each of them.
Thank you to the parents who were able to join us for our rescheduled Bring A Parent To School Days. We all had fun, as I hope you did as well!
I wish all of you a very safe and enjoyable break with your family and friends, and again, thank you all for your support in the education of your child. Happy Spring!
Third Grade News
Third grade is always a busy, vibrant classroom and the month of March is no exception. Whether the students are practicing for the play, tackling a difficult word problem, or enthusiastically participating in a game of OOPS!, we can always count on our students to persevere and give everything they tackle their best effort. We are very proud of how they have matured this year and continue to be amazed by their creativity and willingness to take an active role in their learning.
The days leading up to and following March break will be filled with much excitement. We will continue reading our presidential biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. The students will work on non-fiction reading skills, discuss what it means to be a leader, create a timeline of each president’s life, and discuss each president’s major accomplishments and their role in American history.
In Writing, the students will put the finishing touches on their Mayflower journals, which are truly masterpieces!
In Math, we will continue to explore the meaning of multiplication as we practice strategies such as splitting arrays, finding rules for In/Out tables, and multiplying expressions with more than two factors. We’ll play a variety of card and dice games designed to help master facts 1-12 and wrap up our unit before break. After break, we begin working with lines and shapes with our Geometry unit.
Our Presidential Unit will be greatly enhanced by each child presenting his/her timeline and board game of his/her president’s life. Each child will learn about seventeen additional presidents as they play each other’s board games in a round-robin style format after March break. It is a delight to see each child become the “teacher” as they explain and supervise other children playing their board game creation. As a class, we will continue our particular study of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.
As always, we’ll continue to build phonics and spelling, vocabulary, and conventions skills with Fundations and G.U.M. We are delighted with the level of creativity the students use to create their Wordly Wise Tic-Tac-Toe assignments. A highlight for us is reading the letters written to friends using Wordly Wise words and the hilarious advertisements for imaginary products!
Lastly, we will enjoy our ARC friends for a morning of cooperative games. We love our time with our ARC buddies and see this relationship as highly valuable for everyone at Applewild and the greater community. Seeing the children interact with their ARC friends is one of the many ways the children make us proud each and every day. Our next visit is on Tuesday, March 25 from 9:30-10:30.
Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy March break!
Fourth Grade News
With Spring Break in the midst of it, March promises to be a whirlwind month! Let’s hope if it does "come in as a lion", that it leaves as a lamb!
In math, we will be introduced to division concepts with Chapter 7. We will cover such topics as using patterns to divide mentally, dividing with remainders, dividing two- and three-digit numbers, dividing money amounts, divisibility rules, finding averages, and dividing by multiples of 10. Once again, a solid foundation in multiplication and division facts will make the acquisition of these new skills much easier. We are making great progress in that area, but hope that continued practice and “brushing up” is taking place at home.
In Reading, we will continue to read Bright Freedom’s Song by Gloria Houston. This book ties in with our Social Studies unit on the Slavery and the Civil War. It takes place during the years before the Civil War, and the main character, Bright, discovers that her parents are providing a safe house for the Underground Railroad. She becomes involved and helps to save a runaway slave named Marcus. We are studying this work of historical fiction in literature circles: small, cooperative groups of four or five students in which every member has a particular job related to the story. At the end of each section of the book, the groups meet to reflect on what they read and share the individual work they did for those chapters. Jobs include Discussion Director, Passage Picker, Character Sketcher, Word Wizard, and Connector. Every child will be able to do each job before the end of the book.
In Social Studies, with the States and Capitals Extravaganza behind us, we will move on from the Underground Railroad and focus on the Civil War. We will use a variety of media and materials in this unit, bringing this difficult, but important, period in American history alive. We will also be studying our Applewild Core Value of Civic-Mindedness. We will discuss what it means to be civic-minded, and each student will be asked to perform an act that represents the value outside of school. We will be sharing this value with the rest of the Lower School with a presentation during Common Time in April.
Speaking of Applewild Core Values, in Language Arts, we will continue to persevere with our weekly Wordly Wise and Spelling lessons. We will also finish Unit 5 in GUM and have an assessment at the end of the month.
I cannot believe we are at this point in the year. Once Spring Break is behind us, the rest of the year always feels like a final descent to the end. That said, we still have important curricula to cover and learning to be done. I wish you all a restful, happy break and look forward to your continued partnership for the remainder of the year.
Fifth Grade News
March seems like it very well may be coming in like a lamb, and we will be ready to deal with whatever that may bring. In social studies, we will be learning about China’s first known civilization, the Shang dynasty. We will also examine life in the Huang and the Chang River valleys and use our earlier studies to make comparisons with other civilizations.
In language arts, we will forge ahead with Wordly Wise lists and grammar lessons in GUM. We are enjoying the adventures of Bonnie and Sylvia in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
In math, we are strengthening our understanding of fraction concepts and we’ll connect some of those ideas to the decimal work we have already done.
We’ll be ready for the spring break when it finally arrives.
Physical Education News
February marched in with games played with our big pink ball. Depending on the class, Indiana Jones, volleyball, or Omni-kin was taught. Last Friday during Sports Period, we had our Eighth Annual Omni-kin Tournament. It was great fun with teams separated by only one point at the end, with the Grey team winning. Mr. Williamson officiated, Mrs. Lent, Mr. Mullins, and Mr. Brodeur coached the three teams. Mrs. Buck and Mr. Tambling kept score, while Madame Niose and Ms. Boise helped along the sidelines.
This week is kid's choice of games because they have worked so hard these past few weeks. The Olympics were a success, having competed for two weeks in PE, followed by the entire Lower School competing in the Simond's gym last Friday morning.
Having parents join in lessons was so much fun! Thanks to all who participated.
After March break we will be learning archery skills using recurve bows, flu flu arrows, and foam targets. Madame Niose will be joining a fifth grade lesson to incorporate French into Physical Education.
Enjoy the break and keep moving!
La Classe de français,
Mme. Katy Niose
Le printemps est juste au coin!>> (Spring is just around the corner!)
Mardi Gras: We celebrated “Fat Tuesday” in grades K-3 on Tuesday, March 4th. Kindergarten through Third grade had created masks and prepared songs for our traditional Applewild Mardi Gras celebration and school parade. We began our parade in the Lower School, making our way through fourth and fifth grade classrooms, and then heading up the hill to the Crocker and Ansin Upper School classrooms.
Kindergarten will begin learning a poem about a ladybug. They will review animals, shapes, days, and the weather, while playing games on the Activboard to reinforce vocabulary.
First grade will be concentrating on clothing vocabulary. They will be cutting articles of clothing for their girl and boy paper dolls that Mrs. Rantala so kindly made for us! They will also continue doing math in French, as they practice skip counting, and review their addition and subtraction facts.
Second grade will begin reading <<Cing Crayons Pour Nicolas, >> a colorful chapter book, containing familiar vocabulary. Now that second grade is accustomed to hearing and comprehending much French content, they will begin familarizing themselves with the written language. They will also illustrate chapter summaries, and play games to reinforce the new vocabulary. They will learn about “la maison” (the house), and review prepositions.
Third grade will learn to tell time in French. We will also spend time learning and reviewing several major irregular verbs: FAIRE; ALLER; AVOIR and ÊTRE.
Fourth grade will work on regular verb conjugations, both oral and written. They will learn about the food pyramid, and discuss restaurant etiquette.
Fifth grade will learn more about map skills, location, and buildings, as they practice navigating different French cities around the globe. They will create their own map game boards, and play them together. They will also be reading a chapter book entitled <<A la poursuite du sac vert>>.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at email@example.com (978-342-6053 x 312).
Music and Drama Notes
Please catalog the date! The Appleseed Chorus has begun rehearsals for their show AS THE PAGES TURN, created by Janet Gardner. What does she have to say about the show? “A dark cloud settles over the festivities of the grand opening of the new public library upon the arrival of Roger Thesaurus and the reference materials. Not even the head librarian, Paige Turner can help. They are devastated that the obnoxious Power Macs have taken over their jobs! Maggie Zene and others try to lift their spirits, but in the end, it is the rascally internet viruses who save the day!” I am really impressed with how much we have already accomplished! Please be on the lookout for an article in the weekly E-velope about costumes and important dates.
In fourth grade we are concluding our studies of the Aerophones in a traditional orchestra: the Brass family and the Woodwind family. With a discussion about the composer Prokofiev coming up, and Crocodile Rock on recorders, we will finish up with paper tube trombones then move on the Chordophones.
In fifth grade we have jumped back into our study of Blues and Jazz. We are practicing our call and response, our swing rhythms, and our improvisation skills with our voices and the Orff instruments. The two songs we are focused on right now are Follow the Drinking Gourd and John Henry.
This time of year is so very busy, and worth every second of effort we all put in. Stay tuned!
Vital details for the upcoming play
Greetings from the Appleseed Chorus! We are working very hard to create the best show possible to share with you on April 10th and 11th. Your children are focused actors and actresses who are taking all of their duties very seriously, and at the same time are having a ton of fun. The following information is to help you help your child get organized for the show.
MEMORIZATION: If your child is learning lines, they must be off book (completely memorized) by Monday, March 31st. That gives them almost two weeks to practice with nothing in their hands, etc. Many of the students have shared with me that they are on their way to being memorized, which is both amazing and wonderful: thank you for your work with your child.
COSTUMES: This year all Appleseed Chorus students (K - 3) will need to purchase a screen-printed t-shirt as part of their costume. This is to create a unified look for a “library”, and the artwork has been created by a student specifically for our show. The cost for this t-shirt is $6.50. An order form for your student will be sent home on Friday. Please fill it out and return it with your payment to Mrs. Lent no later than March 28th.
Other costume pieces are:
Dr. Goode/Clark Catalog: Tan pants, Dress shirt with a collar in any color, Black socks, Black Dress shoes
Kindergarten/1st Grade/2nd Grade/3rd Grade Reference Books/Paige: White long-sleeved t-shirt, Tan pants or skirt, Black socks or white tights, Black shoes
3rd Grade Computers: Grey long-sleeved t-shirt, Tan pants or skirt, Black socks or white tights, Black shoes
Bookworms: White hooded sweatshirt, Tan pants or skirt, Black socks or white tights, Black shoes
Viruses: Black pants, Black long-sleeved t-shirt, Black socks or white tights, Black shoes
If you have any questions regarding ANY of the above information, please feel free to contact me at school. We look forward to seeing you in April!
Fourth Recorder Ensemble & Fifth Grade Band
In the Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Beginner Band, we are now focusing on the compositions for the Spring Concerts. I have been showing students rehearsal and practice techniques to prepare for the concert. The compositions are more difficult than they have been in the past. These compositions are 2-7 part arrangements. Students need to trust their own reading abilities and not rely on what is being played around them. They have been playing the compositions with more musicality, by using different articulation and dynamics. We are also reviewing how to follow a conductor for clean beginnings and endings, and to help keep the tempos steady. Both ensembles are reviewing proper concert etiquette. The Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Beginner Band and I are looking forward to our Spring Concerts.
Kindergarten is ready to begin their special cars. They have had an opportunity, on paper, to design and name their vehicles. Using the drawings, we will begin to choose various additional pieces to add character to each vehicle. The kindergarten comes to shop eager to work!
We have cut and drilled all the necessary pieces for the balancing toy. We have chosen paint colors and in some cases completed the painting. For fun, we have assembled the toy to see if in fact it balances. It does! The joy on the first grade faces is so much fun. With a little diligence we will be sending the completed toy home before our March break!
The second grade is working very hard on making book holders and picture frames. There has been additional sanding to make the pieces smooth and ready to be painted. Each project requires measuring, drilling, and using a manual screwdriver to attach pieces. It takes a good deal of tenacity to get the pieces firmly together. Our second graders are a determined bunch!
We are beginning to hear music in the third grade as some of the students are completing their glockenspiels. Attaching the copper tubing with rubber bands requires small motor dexterity. Our third graders often work in pairs to help each other. After March break we will be choosing a wooden toy to build.
The fourth grade is beginning to assemble their lamps. The students are very patient, as occasionally some adjustments need to be made to assure smooth operation of the lamp. Though we have predrilled holes for the screws to attach pieces to the base, the fourth grade will need to use a little muscle to assure a good fit. The colors are beautiful and will be sure to brighten any room.
Our fifth graders are working very hard on their bird feeders. All of the parts have been cut to size. The very artistic fifth graders have begun to paint the parts of their bird feeders. There are red ones, yellow ones, and purple ones; some will even be multi-colored. Once the painting is complete they will assemble the parts together. They will also attach rope through the roof so they will be able to hang their bird feeders. When we return from spring break, we will put in the plexiglas panels and the bird feeders will be ready to go home, and feed our fine feathered friends.
Along comes March in the Lower School Art Studio
The short month of March is upon us, and we are busy getting ready for our spring shows! Applewild About Arts will take place in April, and the students are busy finishing up their projects. Kindergarten artists will finish their cave paintings this coming week. Ask your kindergarten student what it felt like to be in a cave upside down drawing their messages to other travelers! First grade artists will study Claude Monet and do some impressionistic paintings using his choices of subject matter for landscapes. In second grade, we will continue working on our dog portrait, developing a center of interest in our work as well as close up details. Third graders are painting close up drawings of flowers. These are true showstoppers! You can almost smell spring just looking at their work! Fourth graders will begin their study of Winslow Homer and create mini masterpiece seascapes and easels. The concepts of foreground, middle ground, and background will be investigated well as how to demonstrate point of view. Fifth grade artists will continue their unit on color theory following their color wheel project by learning about tertiary colors, tints and tones, and the various ways to mix colors to show shadows in paintings. Spring is coming, and the studio is alive with color and energy!
I can’t believe it’s March already, and springtime is on its way. This month marks the beginning of a great big shift in library lesson content for grades one through four; we’ll be beginning a unit on digital literacy and citizenship. Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org) provides an excellent curriculum for teaching internet safety and security, privacy, online etiquette, and even online research skills. This curriculum will be the framework for teaching our students about using the internet responsibly and in a way that is age appropriate.
To supplement our lessons, I’ll send home a useful tip sheet on Common Sense on Internet Safety for Elementary School Kids, with great information and strategies. Please feel free to use these as a guide to starting a discussion about expectations and rules for internet use in your family. The website is a rich resource, too, filled with great information for parents, and contains reviews of all kinds of media, including books, films, and video games.
Kindergarten will have to wait another year to begin learning about the internet; for now, we’ll focus on reading stories. We've been enjoying wordless books that allow us to use our imaginations and make predictions about what will happen next. The latest wordless picture book we'll read earned a Caldecott Honor this year: Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle. After break, we'll start reading about spring. One delightfully spring-y book we’ll read is And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano.
In first grade, our digital literacy unit will begin with lessons on internet safety. We’ll take a digital field trip to New York's Museum of Modern Art (www.moma.org/interactives/destination), exploring a “safe” website, and learning some good guidelines for staying safe online. We will discuss how the rules for online travel are the same as the rules in the real world: always go with an adult, don’t wander off on your own, and don’t talk to anyone you don’t know.
The second and third graders will also have lessons on internet safety. They will start to learn how to evaluate whether a website is appropriate for them, and what to do if it’s not. By the end of this unit, students should have a great list of websites that are age appropriate and fun to visit.
For the fourth grade, lessons on internet safety will focus on online communication like email and chatting. We’ll discuss what kinds of information are safe to give out, and what needs to be kept private. Students will participate in discussions about friends vs. strangers, and how to trust your gut when it’s telling you something is wrong.
The fifth grade will be seeing a lot of me in the coming weeks, as we get started on their Project Solar System travel brochures. The library website has a project guide, with lots of great websites to explore (http://applewildlibrary.weebly.com/project-solar-system-travel-brochure.html).
First and Second Grade Science
First graders are wrapping up their explorations of liquids in our Solids and Liquids Unit. What makes something a liquid? Is toothpaste a liquid? We actively explore these kinds of questions in the quest to learn a great deal about our world. We will wrap this unit of study up by seeing what happens when we combine some solids and liquids. When we return from Spring Break, we will turn our attention to our New Plants unit in which we begin to get our back garden going again for the growing season.
Second graders in their Balance and Motion Unit have been spinning and rotating, rotating and zooming, and experimenting with variables that make devices move more quickly or more slowly or become more or less stable. The excitement that is generated by this study is loud, energetic, and punctuated by “I got it!” Science is very exciting! There is a great deal of trial and error in this unit, and the level of persistence that the students demonstrate is remarkable and the level of achievement they earn through that persistence is terrific.
Third, Fourth, Fifth Grade Science
Third graders are now actively making connections as they learned that magnetism and electricity are related phenomena. A pre-assessment of their knowledge of the flow of electricity yielded some interesting ideas. Students have constructed and compared simple circuits with a focus on how the connections are made. They have identified the essential components of an electric circuit and understand their functions. Through investigations, students demonstrated evidence of the flow of electricity. We have discussed which materials are conductors and insulators. Some students have shared simple circuit boards they received as gifts. We will draw pictures and schematic diagrams to represent electric circuits. All students will be able to demonstrate an understanding that a circuit is a pathway through electric current flows. This concept will be built upon and applied to the construction of an electromagnet.
I hope our fourth graders enjoyed, as much as I did, sharing with their parents how we DO Science. Through several activity centers, students explored sound generators and musical instruments. Working in collaborative groups, they investigated the questions: What causes sound? And, what changes the pitch of a sound? Students observed and compared different pitches and investigated the variables that affect pitch. We scoped out sound waves on an oscilloscope screen to better understand vocabulary terms. With no more snowstorms interrupting class, we might be able apply this understanding to creating musical instruments that will be presented to the class. Student musicians will play an easily recognizable tune and share how to tune their instrument. We wrap up the PHYSICS OF SOUND with a look at the ear’s anatomy to better appreciate how we hear. When we return from March break we will discuss our next unit of study: IDEAS AND INVENTIONS. In this exciting unit, students will each be responsible for designing, creating, and presenting their own unique invention.
Fifth grade astronauts recently returned from outer space after completing a very successful Voyage to Mars at the Christa McAuliffe Challenger Center. Students spent several weeks in the classroom preparing for this mission. Each Crew Member had applied for, and been assigned a specific role to play. At the Challenger Center, after a mission briefing, these highly qualified space scientists assumed control of an exciting two-hour mission. Students participated in full-size simulations of both Houston’s Mission Control and a Space Station interior. This year’s Voyage To Mars was better than ever as new technology and teaching materials made the program more engaging and effective. A new state-of-the-art Planetarium just opened, and we were happy we found it! (I was determined to work some Physical Education into this field trip ). The featured presentation, Oasis in Space, took us on an amazing adventure through our universe, galaxy, and the solar system in search of liquid water. Spectacular visuals and a description of each planet in our solar system were presented, perfectly setting the stage for our next project: Project Solar System. For this project, we will work with Ms. Herring in the Information Center and learn how to do research at school and at home. Students will work in teams to research a planet in our solar system. They will learn how to use a desktop publishing program to design a travel brochure to get future travelers to visit that planet. Students will also be responsible for creatively presenting this information to the class.
Enjoy the break!
Important Dates to Remember:
Mon., March 3: Bring a Parent to School in Kindergarten
Tues, March 4: 9:15 Poetry Alive
to K – 5
10:30 Mardi Gras
Wed, March 5: 10:00 Second graders go to Highlands
Thurs, March 6: 9:00 Take a Look Morning
2:15: Wonders & Smiles
Mar 8 – 23: Spring Break
Sun, Mar 9: Daylight Saving Time starts: spring ahead!
Thurs, Mar 20: First Day of Spring!
Mon, Mar 24: Return to School
Tues, Mar 25: ARC buddies visit third graders
Wed, Mar 26 : 7:00 Dr. Wendy Grolnick from Clark University speaks about motivation. The public is invited to attend this talk in our Alumni Theater.
Thurs, Mar 27: 2:15 Wonders & Smiles
Fri, Mar 28: LS/US Buddies meet for an activity